Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Someone's got the jitters, someone's got the jitters, someone's...

The graphic above is from CNN/Money.com. According to the article, Starbucks is closing for 3 hours of employee training.

"...would foster enthusiasm in it's 135,000 U.S. employees and improve the quality of drinks..."

CEO Howard Schultz states, "We believe that this is a bold demonstration of our commitment to our core and a reaffirmation of our coffee leadership."

Wow. In one swoop, Starbucks has admitted:

A. Morale problems.
B. Quality problems.
C. Training problems.
D. Marketing problems.

No...no..., Mr. Schultz, it's an obvious statement to pervasive Groupthink in your organization, dude.

I can just hear the "Employee's Only" teleconference - lead by some balding dysfunctional-dad type leaning over a Starbuck logo'd podium...

"Ok you people, how many times have I told you that enthusiasm and quality...but NOooo...what do we have to do...thick skulls...mindless morons...if you can't...find someone who will...get back to work."

Oh. LIKE the Dunkin' Donuts response!

""...to ensure that no coffee lover is denied a delicious espresso-based beverage...small lattes...for a promotional price of $.99 on Tuesday..."

But DD would have had a HOME-FREAKING-RUN if they would had the beans to give it away for free.

Oh well. Tomorrow, I'll plan on stopping by Starbucks. I'm sure it will be dramatically, incredibly improved.

If not, what are they going to do...close for a whole day? A week? A month? A...???

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Underwhat? Underhow? Underwhere?

The Costa Rican Undie Lords that manufacture Jockeys are truly experts. Only the pathologically contrarian or ignorant would argue over Jockey's supreme standards in underwear fit, finish and durability.

But the underwear packaging designers have dropped the ball on clear communication.

In the trade, these little symbols are called "Icons." They're supposed to be pictures that communicate meaning without the constraints of the printed word.

Frankly, I don't have a clue what they mean and neither did my wife (and being a mom, she's rather qualified in all-things-underwear.)

The symbols look rather like a question from an IQ test - if so, my guess was B. But since I still wasn't quite sure what the other symbols meant, I am resigned to Undie Dumbity.

We had one idea - that perhaps someone at the factory is sending a secret message: "We're hiding in the mountains inside a pail of water, a box and a Star Wars vehicle."

Ok, that was silly. But so is printing incomprehensible symbols* on a package printed in one language ANYWAY.

What's the harm? None, really. But I guess if graphic designers are going to be tasked with Universal Communication, we should be able to universally understand it.

*Yeah, yeah - the icon on the right is a late 19th Century Iron. The second one over from the right is probably a washing machine (make sure no one's inside it before turning it on). No clue as to the triangle-shape - maybe that's a drill bit? (keep them away from my undies!!) As for the pair of eyes peaking out of the laundry basket, they're kinda creepy.


Monday, February 18, 2008

Truth in advertising. (For car-guys only)

The graphic above is a photo taken from a Triumph ad circa 1967-ish.

Little did the Creative Director on the shoot know that he/she was photographing an accurate depiction of Triumph automobile ownership.

Of course, the NEXT picture would be the tow truck hauling the thing away.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Men's Valentine's Day Tip: Do the mopping.

The ad above is for Pine-Sol cleaner and was taken from the March 2008 edition of Family Circle magazine.

It shows a woman mopping the floor while a dog and a guy holding a dog bone lay tweeting on the grass outside.

The copy reads, "The Powerful Scent of Clean."

The message, on the other hand, reeks of a dirty deed. The art direction on this ad is too bizarre for words and frankly, as a male, I'm a little unsure about the unspoken messages wafting up from this female-targeted ad.

What happened here?! Dad and Doggie were huffing Pine-Sol and got conked?!

Or, is mom...no...on closer look, that ain't no mom - that's a SHE BEAST! The woman's got a neck hairier than a hyena! In fact...looking a little closer...she probably IS a hyena! I swear I didn't retouch this thing - just scan & post; egads, that woman's skin looks like she's been bathing in Pine-Sol, too.

"I'll get'choo my prettEE YEAHA HA HA HA HA!" (insert poof of flame, smoke and the smell of lemony-fresh sulphur).

Then again, listening to the frustration of women as they describe their mate's contribution to daily housework helps me to understand a little witchiness.

D'ya the art director wanted to put a little puddle of red on the floor?


It's a crime scene.

And Pine-Sol cleaned'er right up.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Sun, Fun, Drop and Roll!

The graphic above is from a flash-banner ad on Foxnews.com - it's supposed to promote the Florida "lifestyle" community called, "The Villages."

What are we supposed to assume here? The final moments before the paunchy guy collapses on the green from heart failure?


Or perhaps he's perplexed why the giant logo has come between himself and his golf ball? "Strange...feeling...must crawl...to the...orb of power..."

Or...no. I won't think about the possibility that it's Act-Like-Your-Pet day.

Think I'm being too hard on the golf photo? I was too until I reloaded the graphic and got the photo below.

What's that guy doin'!? I get the impression the air smelled like Peach Brandy and a few seconds later, she hit him and he went down like a sack of mud.

The Villages slogan is, "Live the Lifestyle."

My answer is, "No. At least not while I have impressionable kids."

Monday, February 04, 2008

Super barf ad.

This morning, my buddy Mark asked about the "worst superbowl ad."

I have no idea which is "worst" because I'm not privy to the barometers of success for the ads. The worst ad, of course, would be the ad that cost the client the most money without result.

Advertising is supposed to interest the consumer to the point where the consumer and client exchange money...right?

Perish the thought that a production company/ad agency would ever create an ad that didn't return the investment to the client!

Anyway, the ETrade ad for the puking baby was disturbing. I wouldn't call it "worst" but I'd call it...well...kinda spit-upy.

The premise is good - communicate the message that trading stocks online is so easy, a BABY can do it.

"Hey look! I just bought stock! I bought stock! If I can do it, you can do it...(BARF!)"

The message appears to be, "Get an Etrade account and play with your money until it makes you puke."

In a time of bulimic debt, anorexic saving and childish spending, the message is rather poignant. Babies are irrational, helpless and require a great deal of care and guidance. Just like economies. I guess.

Hmmm. Maybe ETrade is just telling it like it is.

But even so, the ad doesn't make me want to use ETrade. Instead, the ad makes me wonder if it isn't time to get all my money OUT of the markets and IN to a shoe box.