Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Constipated? Say CHEESE!

The graphic above is the splash page for Zelnorm™ - a drug used to treat "Irritable Bowel Syndrome."

Irritable Bowell Syndrome isn't pleasant - people who have it are pumped with just enough chronic stomach pain/problems to make life, well, crappy. Not terrible or excrutiating - just a pain in the butt.

Punny, eh?

The Creative Director for this campaign was thinking smart - writing on the model's bellies is direct, speaks to the sufferer and identifies the source of the pain. But why on earth are the models SMILING?

If I were suffering from "Abdominal Discomort, Bloating, Constipation," I wouldn't be smiling like a church greeter - I'd be wearing an appropriate face. Kind like that girl in Willie Wonka and the Chocolate factory who swells up like a blueberry.

Dunno about this one - Novartis is a huge company and can/should be able to really test ad concepts before blowing them out the pipe - maybe since I don't have Irritable Bowel Syndrome, I don't "get" why the guy could be giving a "Dude!" grin and have "I Want Relief" on his gut. Maybe his next stunt will be the ole' 'pull-my-finger' trick?

If it were me, I would have Photoshopped ship window portals that looked into raging storms or maybe nasty little creatures onto the model's bellies. Instead of having the photographer shout, "Smile!" I would have suggested, "You'll never poop!" and captured their first expression.

Unless there's some "inside thing" about Irritable Bowel Syndrome that's secretly enjoyable, I don't see anything to smile about.

Friday, December 22, 2006

"You'll Shoot Your Friends Out, You'll Shoot Your Friends, Out..."

In the pre-Christmas shopping spirit, the above ad is an actual ad touting a Mattel Toys M-16 replica. It's real. But the product isn't manufactured or sold any more and hasn't been for about 40 years.

Other, more talented bloggers have already blogged about the cultural/societal implications of this advertisement, so I won't.

However, it's brilliant - both in layout, art direction and copy.

Such a pure layout - headline, illustration, copy, logo. You don't see ads like this any more. Nowadays, there's so much drivel about "branding" and "design" that today's adsmiths seem to forget people aren't consuming ads like art. They're looking for products to buy. This gem nails the necessary simplicity required for effective advertising.

The kid is a masterpiece of illustration. Yellow, "Mom bought me" pants, matching shirt & socks, white sneakers - he's timeless. I bet his name is Danny. Or Darren. Or Doug. But check the pose - the Viet Cong don't have a chance against his obviously practiced stance. But Danny doesn't mind the Commies as much as he admires his M-16. His paternal gaze upon his Marauder seems to indicate he's whispering, "That's the way, Champ - you know how to do it!" under the clatter of gun fire and spent brass casings.

But it's the copy that gives this ad its genius. No fewer than 13! Exclamation points! Ever listened to a 9 year old boy talk about something he likes? "Dad! Guess what! At school today, we caught a lizard! And Martin killed it! With his boots! It was gross! Wanna see it?! I brought it home!"

Pay attention to the subhead, "If you think this gun looks great, wait'll you hear it!" In one sentence, the copywriter mows-down every other toy gun made. The copywriter has defined the toy gun category by "great looks" and outstanding sound. You can't disagree with anything about this ad - kind of like when the slick car salesman slides up to you and points to the shiny machines in the lot and says, "Don't new cars look great?"

The closing paragraph is brilliant in its brevity and focus - "Get Mattel's new M-16 rifle. It's the greatest!"

"It's the greatest!"

And that's all we need to know. Oh, for a time machine to wind back to 1967 and peek into the homes of little boys on Christmas morning.

"BRAAP BRRA-A-A-AP BRAP BRAP" "Isn't this great dad?!"

Friday, December 15, 2006

I surrender - my tastebuds come in peace.

The graphic above comes from the menu at a restaurant named, Boston's. They are a Friday's-Applebees-Ruby Tuesday's-O'Charleys-Chili's-Whatever clone that sells pizza.

How does a restaurant set itself apart in a marketplace of imitators?

Excellent food? Outstanding service? Unique decor? Innovation?

Assaulting tastebuds?

"Honey, tonight let's go to Boston's."


"They're planning an 'all-out assault' on my tastebuds!"

"Really?! With what?!"

"Their food!"

"Wow! I've never been assaulted with food, before, except for that time at the Zoo when the monkey's threw..."

"Honey, that wasn't food they were throwing."

"Oh yeah. That's right."

As it was, the pizza wasn't that assaulting at all.

UPDATE: A Sadvertising reader wrote the he saw "ASS" in the headline right away. Now that he mentioned it, that's all I can see. "ASS" and "PIZZA." Eeeewwww.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Delighted! And Surprised!

The graphic above is a screen-shot of Chicken of the Sea's "Selected Recipe." They call it, "Holiday Tuna Tree."

In case you're not courageous enough to click on the graphic to get a closer view of the "Holiday Tuna Tree," the descriptive copy beneath the photo reads:

"This holiday dip will surpise and delight your family and friends. The festive shape will add to your table decorations."

You're darned right they'll be surprised and delighted - surprised that you actually made it and delighted to have something to give you grief about for the whole next year. "Hey. Remember that TUNA TREE?! (ha ha ha ha ha ha)"

"Let's go to the Miller's Christmas Party, honey - you know that last year they had that fabulous TUNA TREE!...NOT!" (more laughter).

There's probably no more incongruous word pair than TUNA and TREE. And pity the poor photographer - just look at the subject; what can you do with it other than not take the picture at all? I think it looks like a baked candle.

Oh the energy we'll consume trying to figure out how to sell stuff at Christmas. But I bet no one will be consuming "Holiday Tuna Trees" this year - except cats.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Interior Design for the obsessive compulsive.

The picture above is from an 2.5qt. jug of Dial® hand soap.

Three things of note -

1. There's 25% more Dial® antibacterial goo in THIS jug than the 64oz jug, but the Dial® people aren't charging you for it. (Thanks!)

2. If you look at the bottom lower right hand corner, you can read that this jug is a refill container and not a dispenser. Good! Can you imagine how awkward this 4lb'er would be sitting next to the sink? Can't you see some little kid, teetering on a stepstool, trying to dispense their dollop of germ killer while balancing this behemoth? I can - then I hear the dull thud of 40lbs of flesh hitting the floor, the requisite 2 seconds of silence, then the rising crescendo of "wwwaaaaAAAAAHHHHH!!!"

So far, I'm flying wing to wing with the Dial® people, 100%.

3. The hand soap is "Antibacterial Decor" hand soap.

Gotta' tell ya, this "Antibacterial Decor" stuff stopped me dead in my kitchen. What on earth is "Antibacterial Decor"?

Our house isn't decorated in Antibacterial Decor. It's not ANY decor other than breakfast debris, stuff the 1yr old has pulled off/around and "kid friendly" furniture. And having just had the carpet vacuumed because our oldest puked Black Cherry Jello onto it, a case could be made that our flu-ridden house was decorated in VIRUS.

What would "Antibacterial Decor" look like, anyway? I can see a lot of white...a lot of enamel...a lot of chrome and stainless steel. Basically, a Dentist's office. There is no way I'm decorating my home like a dentist's office. But, I'm wrong about that anyway because the Dial® people have provided a clue as to what "Antibacterial Decor" looks like - it's floral. I guess when you think of "Antibacterial", think "flowers."

The marriage of floral and antibacterial stands to reason. It's hard to imagine those paragon's of clean - mothers - charging their children, "Stop playing with those filthy flowers!" or "As soon as you get done playing in those flowers, wash your hands. With soap!" Moms like flowers. Moms plant flowers. Moms covet flowers. Flowers = Spring and Spring = Spring Cleaning and Cleaning = destroying bacteria.

Interestingly, however, there's a bug on that sunflower - look closely at the 9 O'clock position. That little spot is actually an insect. It didn't come through on the scan, but I went out to the kitchen to have a close-up inspection of the container and indeed, it's a bug. And every mother knows that where there's bugs, there's bacteria.

And where there's bacteria, there's Dial® Antibacterial Decor soap to kill them.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

They're in Colton, I tell you...COLTON!

The above graphic is from a Foxnews banner ad. It's one of those clever internet ads that - in a nutshell - recognizes where the browser is from by doing a quick trace-route and then flashes customized, location-based content.

So, if I were in New York City, the ad above would read, "Find Wealthy Men & Beautiful Women In New York City."

Only, when I saw this banner ad, I happened to be in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. I didn't click on the banner ad to verify where it went, but it's probably safe to assume it's for a dating service. Makes sense - who wants to find "Poor Men & Ugly Women"?

Anyway, there are some interesting aspects to this little banner ad that are worthy of comment.

Colton is a typical prairie farm town and in typical prairie farm towns, being "Wealthy & Beautiful" is not like "Wealthy & Beautiful" in a city.

Oh, there's wealth in Colton. But it's Farm Wealth and "Farm Wealth" is different than "City Wealth."

Farm Wealth buys a $35,000 pickup every year and repairs clothes with duct tape. Farm Wealth spends $2,500 for cattle semen but won't buy milk without a coupon.

That guy in the photo? He's "City Wealth." If you're working around cows and corn without a shirt, you're not rich - you're messed up.

And there's beauty in Colton, too. It's Farm Beauty and "Farm Beauty" is different than "City Beauty."

Farm Beauty is a strong back, thick skin and dull sense of smell. Farm Beauty is looking good in whatever jacket the feed company is giving out - and if that family is a "John Deere Family," then Farm Beauty is GREEN.

That girl in the photo? She's "City Beauty." If she's working in Colton, it's by the hour and it's only during County Fair Week - and chances are, she won't be back. Ever.

Marketers are forever looking for silver-bullets - that word, that way, that, that...thing that will make people move on command. As the population grows, our privacy diminishes and technology becomes more invasive, ads like this will only get worse.

"Find 6 guys with new Ford F250s and 3 women who can run a round-bailer in Colton!"

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Hey Reuters, is this true (pt. 2!)

Well, a big "Well, DUH!" to Reuters for canning the photographer who faked the rocket attack shot from Lebanon.

(see the post below).

But, chances are good he won't stay unemployed for long - there are plenty of franchise restaurants who need food photography for their menus.

Thanks Reuters!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Hey Reuters. Is this true?

Hey, Reuters! I just emailed you.

A sadvertising reader found this photo and the Yahoo story says it's yours.

Can you verify that indeed, this photo is from your news service?

If so, the bigger story is that Adobe Software is now making weapons.

If not, someone's lying in your good name.

Thank you.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Over-reaching the slogan.

The graphic above is from a web ad touting a new Lincoln automobile. Lincoln's ad slogan is "Reach Higher."

So, together, it's: Lincoln. Reach Higher.

(sigh) Rust never sleeps and neither do awkward slogans.

Lincoln (period, completed thought). Reach Higher. (period, completed thought).

I think the copywriter wanted "Reach Higher" to be a command. So, to Reach Higher after a Lincoln is probably referring to...Lexus? BMW? Mercedes?

And, if you're reaching, reaching, reaching for a Lincoln, you probably can only afford the Ford.

Going after the ambititous, start-up crowd is a good idea but the objective is to capture them, not become a stepping stone to other brands or end up as a mirage of materialism.

The solution here is to give the car a slogan that does more than give a weak motivational pep-talk. Lincoln customers are working hard for a destination, not more straining and struggling.

How's this! "Lease me, impress everyone. Including yourself."

Or, reach a little higher and get a used Lexus that'll be cheaper to maintain in the long run allowing you to buy that Porsche you REALLY want.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Fitzgerald was right. They are different.*

A Brooks Brothers customer isn't likely to be burning time in a Target™ or Wal-Mart register line.

No, the Brooks Brothers customer is different.

He looks at orange, lobster & crab embroidered shorts and thinks, "Those! I want those!" And he dispatches "his people" to obtain those crustacean crested shorts for his bottom.

And, once endowed, he puts on a tight white t-shirt, slaps a belt around his middle and he's off to the Club!

Hmmm. I smell revolution coming.

*"The rich are different from you and me." -- F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

A model's life. It's not all fun and drugs.

Sometimes, marketing people have the hardest job on earth. Yes, the HARDEST. JOB. ON. EARTH.

We can guess why the layout person cut the model's head off below the nose - the poor guy's eyeballs are probably dangling by their optic nerves.

A blazer like this could kill someone if not worn carefully. No, a blazer like this shouldn't be worn at all.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Good guys.

SYNOPSIS: Bundle-brains* steal Coke™ secrets and try to sell the to Pepsi™. Pepsi™ takes the high road and turns the bundle-brains in.

RESULT: Pepsi™ adds mortar to the foundation of Business Ethics.

Personally, I am not a Pepsi person. However, that Pepsi has the Ethics to do the right thing makes the company much more savory.

SALUTE! Pepsi.

* A "bundle-brain" is a term used to describe primitive brain development in animals - worms, insects, arachnids - they have "bundle brains."

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Hee! Hee! Hee!

The graphic above is a scan of a Whoopie Cushion my daughter "won" at a Chuck E Cheese restaurant.

We spend years telling our kids, "Farts aren't funny. Say 'excuse me.'"

Then, in the mere exchange of 5 paper tickets, Chuck E. Cheese himself puts his stamp of approval on the plastic-scented, inhumanly loud simulation.

It's mine, now. I hope she forgets about it.

The next time we're forced to go to CEC, I'm going to give the kids a choice - we have lunch BEFORE and they can get another whoopie cushion. Or they can eat lunch THERE and they don't get a whoopie cushion.

Same results.

POSTSCRIPT: I'm getting feedback from sadvertising readers that farts are, indeed, funny.

Here's one reader's opinion: "John Lennon. The Queen of England. Ghandi. Saddam Hussein. Cher. Michaelangelo. Pee Wee Herman. Barry Bonds. Marilyn Manson. The Chicago Bears. Rammstein. Don Knotts. Jesus Christ. Martha Stewart.

They all fart, or have farted... everyone farts.

Loosen up, giggle a bit."

I was buying it until he got to Jesus Christ and Martha Stewart. No way.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

"Earth to NASA - Come in NASA (static SFX) - NASA, we have a problem..."

The graphic above is from a CNN.com story regarding the upcoming shuttle launch.

There is no question the headline is awful. The question is, "How does a grief-giving headline make it into the story in the first place?!"

There are three likely reasons:

Reason 1. The entire NASA PR department scheduled vacation time at the same time.

Reason 2. Aerospace Engineers are socially inept and can't relate on an emotional level with the general public.

Reason 3. NASA really believes the shuttle is a piece of junk.

Click on the headline to take you to the story - read for yourself how top NASA officials can't agree on whether or not an impending launch is safe. In short, we have a top-management bicker-session going on about the safety of the shuttle.

"It's gonna blow up!"
"Is not!"
"Is too!"
"Is NOT!"
"Is TOO!"
"Is NOT you...you...Yoda™ face!"
"Piquard's gay!"
"Kirk's a jerk!"
"I know you are, but what am I?"

The risk of putting fragile, soft people into explosive rockets is obvious. We KNOW this isn't a trip to the mall. But to turn each pioneering act of space-travel into an office pool is messed up.

OR...Reason 4: NASA is selling commercial space on the live launch.

"Guys, we can get 100 Gross Rating Points if can get some 'thrill' back into these launches! We toss out some doom&gloom, bite our nails, maybe show some tearful goodbyes...crying kids, mom, dad, wringing their hands, it'll be HUGE!"

I hope it's Reason 4.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Praise the Lord and Pass the Heal Potion!

The graphics in this post are from the website of a new computer game titled, "Left Behind: Eternal Forces."

It is a computer game that places the player in a post-rapture environment. In case you're not familiar with "The Rapture," it's the alleged abduction of all good Christians by God, right before the devil incarnate wrecks unholy hell on those "Left Behind."

From their own website, "Left Behind: Eternal Forces" features:

· Conduct physical & spiritual warfare : using the power of prayer to strengthen your troops in combat and wield modern military weaponry throughout the game world.

· Command your forces through intense battles across a breathtaking, authentic depiction of New York City .

· Control more than 30 units types - from Prayer Warrior and Hellraiser to Spies, Special Forces and Battle Tanks!

· Play multiplayer games as Tribulation Force or the AntiChrist's Global Community Peacekeepers with up to eight players via LAN or over the internet!

What they're saying is this: "There will be holy Jihad. All infidels will perish!" Check the screen-shot below - haven't we heard this kind of rhetoric before?

Obviously, with self-righteousness like this, they don't need a savior, they need a decent BRAND MANAGER.

Soon, zealots from all over God's green earth can practice the devlish art of religiocide because, "It don't matter! All the good'uns ha'been taken up!"

We can read that Jesus healed, wept, lead, preached - even got pissed off (at people who profit from other people's ignorance).

But - can you imagine Jesus scrunched down on the crest of a hill, peering over a group of Pharisees, whispering, "Ok. Here's the plan. Mark...you and Simon walk around the left flank. John, Bartholomew...you guys get the flaming tar balls ready. Judas? Ok- you saunter down there and distract'em while me'n Peter rush in to cut off their ears!"

Good grief - too many people's brains are in their "left behind."

Christian culture is definitely in need of salvation.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Marketing Terror 101

You couldn't beat the Nazi's for understanding the subtleties of communicating "terror."

Of course, the Nazis were awful human beings. But as "marketers" of their awfulness, they were superb.

Exhibit A: Putting air-driven sirens on their Stuka dive bombers. (cue aircraft diving noise) "STUKAS!" Egads, horrible sound, evil name and a big bomb to punctuate the thought = pure terror-branding success.

Exhibit B: Black uniforms for the SS secret police. Of course! Evil doesn't wear khaki. Evil wears BLACK! Duh! You think those black shiny boots were quiet? Heck no! Those terrible clips and clacks of goose-stepping was designed to make anyone swallow hard.

Exhibit C: Panzer Tiger tanks. What a name - "Panzer Tiger Tank." In WWII, the Brits had the "Matilda." The American's had the "Sherman." The Nazi's had...PANZER TIGER. And the Tigers ate Matilda and Sherman up, too.

So, along comes North Korea, star-struck and hell-bent on winning the "I'm Rotten Too!" contest with Al Queda and Osama. Instead of hijacking planes, NK is going ballistic for MISSILES.

As a terror weapon, Missiles rule. No mess, no mug shots - just a big ol'red button and a huge WHOOSH! Everyone goes "oooh!" and "aaah." Scientists in lab-coats get to high-five along with the jackbooted military.

And such an opportunity for terror-naming - geez, just writing here, I'm coming up with a jillion great names for a missile - "SKORTCH" or "SKYVYPER" or "IMPAYLOR". And, using the clever spelling, NK could have them trademarked too!

But no. NK deems their new missile, "The Taepodong."

Oh bruther. Who on earth is going to be afraid of a Taepodong!? Granted, it's not as groin-pinching as NK's OTHER evil missile, the "No-dong," but it's still...well...silly! It's irrelevant that the "Taepodong" or "No-dong" or "Whateverdong" mean something really firey-nasty-rotten in NK. To the intended targets (i.e U.S.A), they're geeky. And frankly, geeky doesn't cut it here.

"Hey. Did you hear NK launched a bunch of missiles at us? They're supposed to hit in 7 minutes."
"Yeah. Taepodong 4's."
(pause) "No way!"
"What did you call them?!"
"Taepodongs. Is that stupid or what?!"
"What's a freaking 'Taepodong?!"
"Beats me, but it sounds like..big...dumb...stupid...dog-thing."
"Well, for a sec I was thinking like a SCUD or a Russian KH-31."
"KH-31! Now THAT'S a Missile!"
"So..uh...wanna come over after work and watch American Idol with me and Michelle?"
"'k! See ya."
"Yeah. See ya."

And the Taepodong's whiz off harmlessly into space, where they eventually collide with the sun and leave a momentary blemish on the infernal surface.

Then, some lab-coat guy in an observatory writes in a journal, "Today I saw a little brown smear on the surface of the sun. I think I will call it a "tapodung."

Lobsters, 1. Hungry humans, 0.

"...trying to determine whether the creatures suffer along the way."

"...lobster condos."

"...away from children's tapping fingers."

"...are treated with respect and compassion."

And then...

"...expectations for quality and flavor."

Evidently, pampering the lobsters wasn't a good idea.

So, the right decision would have been to humiliate them in huge tanks and let kids drive them around on the grocery store floor.


Next up? Better living conditions for bacteria cultures in yogurt. Plastic is sooo tacky and have you seen the gaudy colors on yogurt packaging these days?!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Mmmmm! Tastes like Randy.

The graphic above was sent in by a sadvertising reader. It's a breakfast cereal named, (a-hem) "Good Friends."

Somewhere out there, this little box of roughage is giving a stand-up comic an hour's worth of one-liners.

"Hey! Who ate all my Good Friends?!"

"Those are my Good Friends. If you want Good Friends, buy your own!"

"Cut up'a little bannana, some whole milk, pour it over some Good Friends...MmmMMM! That's breakfast!"

"I'm outta Good Friends. Gonna'have to pick some up after work."

And of course, there's the obvious referrences between Good Friends and the potentially unfriendly effects of "33% fiber", but after the previous blog post, I'm trying to avoid scatological humor.

Although the health-food industry seems to want to make their cause more palatable to a broad market, they just can't seem to bridge the gap from fringe to mainstreamYou can't have good friends and eat them, too.

Pass the Grape Nuts™ - no grapes, no nuts, no friends. Just breakfast.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Into the Bounding Surf for You!

The above image is another from my collection of vintage ads - this one is an ad for "Sal Hepatica" laxative from Life Magazine, July 23, 1944.

It's a wonderful ad with evocative illustration and engaging copy - just look at poor Al; ratty hair, furrowed brow, the look of despair - you just KNOW he can't poop.

But thankfully, Al's wife has a glass of Sal Hepatica handy (or maybe rocket fuel?!). Whatever's bugging Al is going to get blown away by that stuff!

Anyway, here's the actual copy:

6 A.M. First day of Al's vacation - and what a start! Al is sluggish, headachy...full of constipation symptoms. But smart Mrs. Al suggests a sparkling glass of Sal Hepatica - right now, before breakfast. And then -

8 A.M. Into the bounding surf! Is Al grateful...

I have to stop there - there's this vision of Al running pell-mell into the ocean, then...kind of...stopping...and just kind of...stopping....and Mrs Al daintily bounces into the surging sea and Al screams, "DON'T COME IN THE WATER!" Then, sheepishly pleads, "Just leave me alone for a sec, okay?"

Mrs. Al - knowing the power of Sal Hepatica, puts one fist on her hip and wags her finger, playfully scolding her relieved husband, then giggles and scampers off to the dry, clean towel underneath their beach umbrella.

Later, Al and Mrs. Al have a great time playing on the beach. But they know better than to go into the ocean. For a while, anyway.

He he. A big toast of Sal Hepatica to the writer and illustrator of this excellent, classic example of advertising.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

We're such wimps nowadays.

The above graphic is another scan from one of my old magazines, circa 1968.

"Are you miserable with pain and aches of leg ulcers, swelling, itch, rash due to deep venous congestion or leg swelling of the bulged veins or injuries?"

Nowadays, if anyone is "...miserable with pain and aches of leg ulcers, swelling...venous congestion...bulged veins or injuries," they'd better be in ER.

But back in 1968, you grit your teeth and sent away for a "FREE BOOK" to learn more about the subject.

"Kids! Shut the screen door - you're letting the bugs in! You know what happens when flies land on your father's leg ulcers!"

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Things that make you go, "Uh...uh-oh."

The above ad was scanned from my collection of old print ads - it's an ad for a toilet that "flushes up."

It had to have been an exciting time for Old Man McPherson when his imagination fertilized the idea that toilets could be unplugged from the forces of gravity.

It had to have been especially thrilling to witness the first success - oh man, you KNOW people were happy when the test sample went up, up and finally, away... Especially Mrs. McPherson!!

And when those first ads hit - the powerful surge of human affirmation must have been spine-tingling: "Honey! Look'it this ad! See?! Someone's actually gone and done it! Now we can finish that basement!"

And soon, handy-man dads were proudly explaining to their families, "...and then, the bad stuff goes up this pipe, high up over our heads...," while Mom and the kids anxiously eyed the path of the black pipe up, up and up, instinctively backing away...

Here's to you, Mr. McPherson - (toast). To great ideas, to bold vision and to the vain attempts at harnessing nature.

Napalm of the Vanities

The graphic above is a screenshot from the website of The Telegraph.

The headline reads: "Amoured suits are 'too goofy' say US troops"

It's one step away from, "Camo makes our butts look big!"

I don't believe The Telegraph sourced actual U.S. Army soldiers. The soldiers that Wily knows know the difference between being a fashion victim and a victim of enemy fire. They'd all choose "goofy" over "bloody" any day of the week.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

It Came From the BOG!!

(UPDATE 5-19-06: A sadvertising reader has pointed out that Wisconsin produces more cranberries than the northeast. I hope that my mention of the Northeast did not lead any other sadvertising readers to overlook the value of Wisconsin. Without Wisconsin, not only would we suffer from a loss in cranberries but Minnesota would also tip over, spilling thousands of Minnesotans into Iowa, Illinois and Lake Michigan.)

The above graphic is from the back label of a bottle of Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice.

Cranberry Juice is great and Ocean Spray is the undisputed ruler of the market. About the only thing they could ever do to screw up their business is to replace cranberries with cat pee.

Anyway, you have to wonder about that last line on the label - whenever you see a trademark symbol, (™), you know it's important enough to get the lawyers involved.

"Straight from the Bog!"™


Instantly, my fond memories of sparkling, tart cranberry juice cascading down levels of clinking ice is replaced with one of fetid biological muck and rubber waders. At least that's what comes to mind when I think of, "Straight from the Bog!"

"Cranberry bogs" are a Northeastern thing and usually not-at-all unsightly or gross. But to the rest of the country who grew up on late-night horror TV, "Bogs" are places where teenagers get eaten by fish-beasts.

That probably explains why "Straight from the Bog!" is on the back label and in small print. I can well imagine one of Ocean Spray's founders getting glassy-eyed and emotional talking about 'the bogs' that fostered his fortune. He probably insisted on the trademark. But as a marketing word, "Bog" is blech. That's why it's not on the front of the label, in bold print.

Ocean Spray makes delicious juice - from rich New England fields, morning mists that blanket the berries with pure dew...and acres husbanded by generations of wholesome, hardy folk who always tell the truth, make their own furniture and smile with the radiant glow that comes from years of tingly cranberry juice.

Not bogs.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Ah'dun drah'v a Duhhhdge!

The above graphic is from Dodge's website - it's promoting their new vehicle, the "Charger."

"Attitude d'jour" graphics, interactivity, compelling product - what more could this website need?

Oh, well of course! It needs a computer! Or, "broadband." Either one will do.

Got "broadband"? Good! Then you can see the snazzy "Flash" presentation. But if you don't have broadband, Dodge recommends that you use a computer to view less complicated graphics.

Wait - don't have a computer? Then this website won't work.

Either Dodge knows something about its customer's intelligence or it doesn't have a clue about its customer's intelligence.

PS - maybe it's me, but it sure looks like that Dodge Charger is leaking transmission fluid and oil all over the web site. But, what do I know? I'm not a Dodge customer.


Thursday, April 27, 2006

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Brother, can you spare a quarter?

The above graphic is the design chosen for South Dakota's commemorative quarter.

The Commemorative Quarter program is extremely cool. It promotes interest in our currency, fertilizes state pride, enlivens history, gives something for coin collectors to get excited about.

However, a sadvertising reader made a commentary on the coin program's design-work as, "...poorly conceptualized and embarrassingly crude, almost childish in excecution." Strong words, but unfortunately, he's got a point or two.

Take the South Dakota coin above. Appreciating the challenges of reproducing figures in metal relief, I'm sure the artist could give Thomas a little more mouth definition. Right now, it looks like he's getting ready to blow puke down the hill.

The Connecticut "Charter Oak" is rather stark - those who don't know the history of Connecticut's "Charter Oak", are left with only one assumption - the most notable thing about Connecticut is a dead tree.

Florida's coin is rather mysterious - old ship arrives, lands on the beach, then a spaceship leaves. Remember the movie Cocoon where all the old people get whisked off a retirement community by a UFO? According to the coin, Florida might well be a giant New Age space port for its burgeoning retirement community.

"Cows, cheese, corn - FORWARD!" I can hear those words rising up from schoolyard football games all across Wisconsin. Of course, Wisconsin's slogan is "Forward". But coupled with the graphics, all I can think of is, "Backward."

Oh well. The designers of these coins had to work with committees, focus groups and sacred cows of so many people - it's a testimony to the quality of the idea that even if the artwork is cheesy (WI), it's still cool.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


The graphic above came from a 1952 Van Camps ad that we can assume was supposed to sell more Van Camps beans.

Instead, I think it's safe to say it scared the living hell out of its viewers and probably didn't sell many beans.

50+ years later, we can only hope the illustrator has found the peace, isolation and the heavy medication he/she needed because the person responsible for this art-direction nightmare was not quite right at the time.

Working from the bottom up, the product is well placed, but eating cold Pork and Beans out of the can ranks with scooping congealed bacon fat with saltine crackers as an all-time YUCK.

Not quite sure why it was necessary to include the drop of clear 'goo' dangling from the spoon - perhaps a competitor's pork and beans was perceived as dry? Anyway, we get the picture - these cold beans are glisteningly moist!

The shirt - has the texture and coloring of something that's been buried in the backyard. What's missing is "PROPERTY OF PSYCH WARD" stenciled on the chest.

Now, to the face. Ahh, the face of a little boy/girl/thing that only the Crypt Keeper could love. But, we know whomever spawned this gargoyle had a vain side - where else could little Damien/Damienita get support for wearing mascara?

Lastly, there's a story in that hat, but we probably don't want to know it. Maybe it was Grandma's hat. Maybe it was daddy's hat. Maybe it was...dunno. But I think we can be certain that the hat WAS someone elses at one time. But now, that hat is definately his/hers and we don't want to know how he/she got it.

"I told granny that I like my beans cold. Poor granny. She was not a good listener. It's not nice to be a bad listener. But because granny wouldn't listen, she had to give me her hat..." (cue psycho music).

I have no clue who to source for copyright, but then again, maybe it's better that way.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Good Mornin'...ya liddle CHICKS! *hick*

The graphic above is an ad for Shenley's Whiskey. It was published in a June 1945 edition of Life magazine.

Ah, the 'Good Ole'Days' - when days began with bright promise and a belt of booze. Specifically, Schenley Reserve!

We can only assume that ole'rooster has had his morning nip - why, he's already hollerin' at the kids.

Dad Rooster: "Sthing a Sthong of Sthunny...*hick* G'dam*d Morning, ya liddle whinin' sh..."

Chicks: "Waaaaah! Mommy! Daddy's had too much of his special medicine! Waaaah!"

At any rate, we'd NEVER see this for Seagrams or Crown Royal today. If we've learned anything in the last 60 years, it's that mornings need to be started with CAFFEINE!

PS - this post is in honor of my friend Col. Bruce Porter - WW2 ace fighter pilot. He painted a big ol'bottle of Schenley's on the side of his F6F-3N night fighter. After flying combat all night long over a black ocean, a sip of Schenley's after landing would have been understandable.

Well, at least we've weeded out the scary ones.

The above graphic is a photo taken for Franco American (the people who make Spaghetti O's) in 1957.

Evidently, if you conceived a child near a nuclear testing facility in the 50's, they had an appetite for worms.

But that's not the gross part. Notice how the "spaghetti" seems to be trying to escape the coming maw. They're alive?! Or, that's some really stiff spaghetti. OR, that "child" is moving his fork awfully darned fast.

Anyhow, we can only hope the "spaghetti" is soft because those teeth are really better suited for cut and slash processes - you know, like attacking people as they walk past the swing set, then retreating to the sand box while the victim bleeds to death. (I learned about this technique on Discovery Channel's Shark Week!)

So, the point is this - we don't see kids like this in ads anymore. Flouride, dentistry, hair cair products and Adobe Photoshop® have sure raised our aesthetics.

Thanks to www.plan59.com for the graphic.

Oh. Is that a hot dog he's got in his mitt?! 3 hot dogs and a pound and a half of "spaghetti"??!?!

Monday, March 20, 2006

We're havin' SNACKS!

The above graphic is a package of "snacks" that I received aboard an Alaska Air flight.

What are they? Why, they're Snacks, of course. You know - Snacks!

A "mix" of Snacks, actually. Premium ones, too. And in case you're still wonderin', these Snacks are Great Tasting. And, you should also know something else about these Snacks - these Snacks are a "Custom Blend"! Imagine - a Custom Blend of Snacks! You won't find another bag of Snacks like these Snacks, anywhere else!

Obviously, some person of refined tastes oversees these particular Snacks to make sure they meet a high standard. The graphic designer also holds these Snacks in high esteem - note the Purple bag = Royalty - red & yellow accents add for excitement...THIS MUST BE THE GOOOOD STUFF! There are "snacks" and then there are THESE Snacks.

If you show up at the Oscars or at The White House and ask, "Where are the snacks?" You'll be served THESE Snacks. Probably.

What are they? They're SNACKS!

All this writing about Snacks is making me hungry...(time warp to call home to see what's for dinner).

Ooooh! We're having FOOD tonight. Premium, custom-blended FOOD!

Oh'yeah...a big, steaming, hot plate of FOOD.

Want some Food?

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

CNN - The Most Trusted Name in Time Travel"™

The above graphic is from a CNN.com post on the discovery of a new dinosaur.

Did you know the new dinosaur was "brightly colored"? CNN does.

Evidently, "The Most Trusted Name in News" got its slogan from developing some pretty fantastic means of reporting.

He he...I have this vision of a hookah pipe sitting in the middle of CNN's news bureau while sitar music boings away in the background...

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Unforgivable - the cologne for the cold and lifeless.

The graphic above is from a Younkers™ ad flyer - it's a promo piece for "Sean John's" new cologne, "Unforgivable."

Ya'know, if Mr. John walked into my office with the burning desire to create a personal fragrance, I would have...

A. ...suggested a different name than a name that represents the final judgement before being cast into an eternity of horror.

B. ...chosen a different photo than the one that looks like I'm snuggling down with a bunch of dismembered women.

C. ...told the woman in the upper left to cop a different vibe than the "I'm gonna cut you!"-thing she's got goin' on.

D. ...suggested he not try to spell "Orgy" with the lame-ass art direction (come on, ad people - it's funny in the conference room, but it just makes us all look stupid in the next industry-expose-d'jour book).


E. ...suggested any quote other than, "LIFE WITHOUT PASSION IS UNFORGIVABLE."

According to Mr. John, a dispassionate life of boredom is the heart of his cologne.

That's right - "Life without passion" is about his cologne, Unforgivable.

I've butchered my share of words in my career, but I haven't yet tried to kill a product with its own slogan.


Maybe...maybe I'm being a little harsh.

On second glance, look at Mr. John's face. Surrounded by what appear to be gorgeous half-naked women...he looks rather, well...passionless.


Maybe he's just being honest.

And honesty in advertising? That's forgivable.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Target: WOMEN.

The image above is an ad for Target® and it was found on the back of a Northwest™ Airlines in-flight magazine.

It's a brilliant ad and I hate it, too.

It's brilliant because it captures a vibe so darned well - red, white, hip, fun, with-it. It's also a visual burr; dangit if it's extremely difficult to keep from looking at the thing. There are so many questions, unfinished stories in this ad, it's impossible not to wonder...

Who are these people?
Why do they need warehouse dollys?
Why are they running?
Why is there a pay-phone?

Good photography, excellent art-direction and amazing copy (he he).

It's brilliant! Really...and I'm not just stating that. This is a very, very good attention-getting ad. Target is fighting for the same customer as Wal-Mart. If it were your choice to identify with a Wal-Mart customer versus one of these hip, with-it Target customers, who would you choose?


But, the guy?

He's...well...well...well...well, judging by his legs, I figure he's not making much money as a male model - at least he's not spending his money on food. I'm wondering if he's got the muscular ooomph to push that cart very far at all.

And his "I-cut-my-hair-with-some-shards-of-glass-I-found" hairdo doesn't do the ad any good, either.

Oh well. Guys aren't this ad's target audience - women are. And this is the guy that Target chose as a good guy to put on an ad that targets women.

So. This is the guy.

THE guy.

This is the Target guy.

No muscle, no tone, bad hair.

Honey, I'm finally HIP!

Monday, February 27, 2006

He finally landed.

The graphic above is Robert Scott - pilot, ace and author of the book, "God is my Co-Pilot."

He was my hero...and if you're looking for a hero, you would do well to call him your hero, too.

The world is less, now.


Saturday, February 18, 2006

My Juicy Ass Needs Depends™

The graphic above is from a Victoria's Secret® banner-ad on Fox News.

Say what you will about the practice of printing words on buttocks, but the word "Juicy" doesn't belong there.

Think about it - you look at someone's ass and think, "Juicy"?!

"Juice" is a liquid - typically, an aromatic, ripe, liquid.

Aromatic, ripe liquids + ass = diarrhea

"Look at my ass! It's JUICY!" In other words, "Look at my ass! I haven't been this Juicy since I was 5 months old!"

Yeah, and you've probably got a fever of 103+ and you should be trying to keep that all-important fruit-juice from blowing out your orifices.

Sometimes, I wonder if one of these days, popular culture is going to take a big ol'enema.

Now that'd be Juicy.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Dove® Promises (part 2)

***If you work for Dove chocolates, read the post below this first. THIS post is for a handful of readers who were less-than-impressed with the "academic" nature of the critique against Dove's® goofy chocolate wrappers. They wanted dirt. And dirt is what they shall get.

That being stated...

The above graphic is a scan of four Dove® dark-chocolate wrappers. Inside each wrapper is a saying intended to illicit some kind of a response from Dove chocolate customers.

Egads. I sure hope Dove® chocolate customers are smarter than average, because these sayings amount to nothing but bad advice. Baaad advice - as in, this is the kind of stuff 13 year old girls pen in the back of their Jr. High Annuals.

Here they are...

1. When two hearts race, both win.

No, when two hearts race, both do NOT win - at least the odds are good that one will lose. I had a buddy in college get a girl pregnant. Enough said.

2. Be mischievious. It feels good.

Being "mischievious" may indeed feel good, but what's the point of feeling good when a cop is walking up to your window with his hand on his Glock and the other forming a leather-gloved pointer? Then again, maybe Dove® is talking about farting in some else's office cubicle...in that case, it's still bad advice as farting is not so much mischevious as it is plain ole'rude.

3. Love without rules.

WTH?!?! "Love without Rules" may work in the insect kingdom, but not with people. Start taking out all of the "rules" of Love like commitment, honor, respect and selflessness and you pretty much end up with that scene in Fatal Attraction where the psycho woman kills the family rabbit and... ah, why am I even argueing this point?! This was definitely written by the Patchouli & Hemp set that names their "love children" after radioactive elements and fruit.

4. Wink at someone driving past today.

"Hey! Bubba! Wake up! See that there ol'Suburban back there? She done WEENK at me! Ah'swair! Ah'm gunna slow down some..."

Wink at someone on the road?! Only if you can steer with one hand and shoot with the other.

Again, in all seriousness, these wrappers could have been done so much better - to feature the excellent product, reinforce the ocassion - without the juvenile platitudes.

Nevertheless, I've scarfed down 6 of those delicious dark chocolates today and they could have been wrapped in cat hair for all I care - they taste great!

Dove Chocolate® - Indulgences that could be sweeter.

The picture above is a scan of Dove® dark chocolate wrappers. The printed messages are on the inside of the wrapper.

The first wrapper states, "When two hearts race, both win." The second wrapper states, "Wink at someone driving past today."

Dove® chocolates are good. REALLY good. Especially the dark chocolates. But these labels are dumb.

NOT necessarily dumb because both pieces of advice are silly - "Both hearts racing" works for deer and deer hunters. "Winking at someone driving past" can lead to an exchange of pepper spray.

These labels are dumb because they do not connect the customer with the product in a way meaningful enough to warrant Dove® paying for the Promises® registration. Here's why...

The premise is good - create a way for customers to connect the product to the primal driver within the customer. That "primal driver" is a spirit of indulgence, of luxury. However, there are some hurdles to get past - chocolate is fattening, relatively expensive and unnecessary. By associating a clever phrases that incite "indulgent thinking" (passion, mild naughtiness), Dove® hopes its customers embrace this little bit of fun and associate it with the Dove® experience.

But, these cute sayings fall way short of the mark. Again, the advice is bad. But even WORSE (from the marketer's point-of-view), the advice doesn't make the reader think about Dove® chocolate!

Dove® could have had much better Promises®.

"This chocolate might be the naughtiest thing you do this afternoon. Eat two."

"Go ahead. You're skinnier than her, anyway."

"You have to work hard for chocolate like this, so the calories don't count."

"Take me shopping (hunting, fishing, climbing, working, etc.)"


Clearly, the copywriter was working over their lunch hour on this stuff and probably not eating chocolate.

In the meantime, I'm hoping the next wrapper my wife gets says, "Get a job to pay for the engine overhaul on the wreck laying in the garage."

Now THAT is indulgent thinking.

And I'd buy her Dove® chocolates. Often.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

So, hey baby...you..uh'fly here often? *hick!*

The graphic above is from the Safety Card of an Airbus 320.

I finally succumbed to the urge to actually read one of these things and the picture above just cracked me up.

If you've flown at all, chances are good you've experienced, "Drunk-on-the-airplane-guy" before and the good people at Aero Safety Graphics have him NAILED.

He's been pounding Hot Wings and Miller Lite for 6 hours, waiting for his delayed flight and now, he's talking to imaginary sales contacts.

"Ya'know...our XL490 series blows the ASS...blows the ASS!...off HP's whole g-damned server archite-ture...ya'know?! Ya'KNOW?!"

The tie is perfect, too.

Thank you to Susan - the courteous flight attendant for letting me walk off the plane with this little gem.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Bling Bling, Ka-ching, Ka-ching.

The graphic above is a poster that accompanied a "Bratz™" toy doll - a doll marketed towards girls aged 6-10. According to the Bratz™ official website, the Bratz™ girls have a, "...passion for fashion.™"

Having a more than passing interest in marketing, I decided to do a little research on Bratz.™ According to Delia Bourne - Marketing Manager for "toy giant Hamley's", "We find Barbie is popular with girls under six, whereas Bratz are dolls with attitude that children of today aspire to."1

Read that again -

"...attitude that children of today aspire to."

Read that again -

"...attitude that children of today aspire to."

Read that again -

"...attitude that children of today aspire to."

Oh...read that again. One more time for old-time's sake:

Read that again -

"...attitude that children of today aspire to."

So, children of today aspire to turning themselves into sexual fishing lures?!

It goes back to that quote from Ole'Hitler - "If you tell a lie often enough, people will believe it to be true."

If you believe that Bratz™ are what kids want "nowadays," then soon enough, some snake-minded marketer will cram it down our throats...and vice versa.

Girls, put the dolls down and go outside and play in the fresh air.

1.) SOURCE: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/femail/article.html?in_article_id=370946&in_page_id=1766&ito=1490