Monday, September 29, 2014

This Harmon Kardon "ad" is just nasty

Sometimes I look at an ad and think, "why did the Art Director even think of this?"

The weird oral-foot-fetishy violence of it aside, there's no game going on and nobody in the stands. So why would anyone be bothered by their cheers?

I'm guessing that this is another example of a vanity ad, not actually appearing in any paid media or necessarily approved by the client, submitted for creative awards shows. Sad.

Two other executions include a dog with its head up its ass and a musician with his head up his sousaphone.

Thursday, September 25, 2014 launches its annual Halloween viral outrage earned media campaign

This year's earned media campaign leads with Huffington Post's coverage of the "Sexy Deadmau5" costume. I'm contributing to their marketing as well, just like I did in 2011, 2012, and 2013.

Let's be honest with ourselves: Outrage is the currency of social media. Marketers offer up new outrages with every passing season, and we predictably rage about it to anyone who will hear.

Sure, the advertiser will take some heat, but the people who will get angry with and their ilk are not the ones buying "Sexy Mario" or "Sexy Racist Native American Stereotype" costumes. And the negative publicity will just add to the edginess of choosing to go to a party dressed as a sexualized teenage private school girl.

It's a win-win clickbait strategy for sleazy marketers and internet social justice warriors alike. And girls lose. Like always.

I'm sorry. Feel free to lament my hypocrisy below:

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Victoria's Secret wants your daughters to know what a "perfect body" looks like

I don't expect much from fashion advertising. I know that they're selling an idealized self-image, making people think that you can magically transform into an airbrushed beauty if you just buy their brand. It's a fantasy, like vacation advertising. I get it.

But this mall poster, at the new Victoria's Secret boutique in Ottawa's Rideau Centre, still irked me.

The Rideau Centre, at the nexus of Ottawa's bus routes and downtown business, shopping and tourism streets, is the favoured hangout of teens from across Canada's National Capital Region. This display faces the main escalators that hundreds of young people ride every day. And its implicit message, beneath the pun on the product name, is clear.

More than ever before, today's young women see the female body exposed, critiqued, and brutally shamed in the public and private media to which they are addicted. And the young men grow up in a time when viewing and judging women's bodies is a national pastime.

I'm not a prude. I think that nudity and healthy sexual interest are completely harmless. But setting up impossible visual standards for women (at least, those who don't spend four hours a day in the gym before being digitally smoothed and contoured) and emblazoning the words "the perfect body" over them is bound to cause insecurity in girls and impossible "standards" for the boys who will date them.

Add to this that the Ottawa VS includes the "Pink" sub brand — aimed at 15-to-22 year olds — and this gets even more creepy.

Do better, Victoria's Secret. We know you can.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Provocative Nunavut FASD posters have a Russian connection

Via Storify

Last week on Osocio, I reviewed an anti-FASD campaign that ran at LCBO stores, and took some heat for my claim that its potentially shaming approach to any drinking in pregnancy wasn't helpful. But that campaign was pretty mild when compared to the new ads by the government of Nunavut:

According to the CBC, these posters are "provoking a strong reaction from residents" — both positive and negative.  They were designed by Atiigo Media Inc., a communications company in Iqaluit that specializes in northern issues.

The ads certainly are intended to provide shock value, showing the fetus literally drowning in alcohol. That's not exactly biologically accurate, but some locals apparently feel the strong messaging is justified by the high rates of alcohol abuse in the north, which has prompted some communities to ban alcohol entirely.

I still object to the unnecessary shaming or scaring pregnant women, even as I have to admit that I am culturally isolated from the communities for which this campaign was created.

Notably, while trying to find a better image of the campaign, I stumbled upon this Russian campaign from 2012:

While it is not uncommon for PSA campaigns to share creative ideas for public good, I wonder if this was a partnership or plain old plunder...

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Paypal snarks Apple in full-page NYT ad

According to Cult of Mac (**shudder**) this ad ran as a full page in the New York Times last week. While Apple isn't specifically mentioned, the reference to stolen nudes is an obvious hit at the company, whose iCloud security was questioned in the breach. (Apple denies this.)

Paypal obviously feels the heat from the new iPhone's Apple Pay feature, so casting doubt on Apple's general security might seem like a great idea. But it seems pretty underhanded to me.