Two Ads Pt. 2

“Live True” is the more recent Dewar’s ad.

A fantastic advertisement if it were for a nonprofit or perhaps a political campaign, this advertisement should sell about as many bottles of Dewar’s to customers new to the product as feeding me a fifth and sending me out into the streets of London with a sandwich board.

So much time, money and talent (some very smart, hard-working people made this awful ad) is wasted on advertising.

Which is a shame, seeing how moving it can be.

The biggest disappointment for me is digging only a few months back into Dewar’s advertising history and finding the ad I posted yesterday. Other than the gritty aesthetic, the only thing the two have in common is that they are both trying to sell you scotch.

— by Jeff Osborn

First Aid

It is Friday, so I will try to make this as brief and light as possible.

Warning, do not watch the below U.K. advertisement from St. John Ambulance if you do not feel like tearing up.

Just as this article notes, this advertisement utilizes the freedoms of the internet by shocking audiences and providing solutions.

This is a cause worth getting attention over. The success of this campaign is that it does not just shock, it informs and educates. The reality behind the advertisement is horrifying: We are not prepared to handle very realistic situations involving our loved ones that could arise any moment.

The main strength of this spot is the build up of suspense and tension in a short period of time. The terrifying ending is brutal and enlightening. A happy ending does not elicit the same kind of reaction.

Finally, I like this spot as an example of marketing at it’s best. There are such negative connotations around marketing and advertising, as though lying, selling and sliminess come with the turf. The truth is that if every marketer thought like the souls that put this spot together, we might have already ended hunger, stopped war and cured cancer.

Marketing can create meaningful social change, which is why I am so eager to condemn it when it falls short (sadly this happens often) and rave about it when it is used to its potential.

Freedom Pt. 2

Remember advertisers, the freedom that the Internet provides to you and your audience means that they have the freedom to walk away, turn you off or simply ignore you.

Pop-up ads, ads before You Tube videos and banner ads are old thinking, worthy of the television era.

Keep spending money and resources on that old thinking if you want, but nobody is talking about your AM Radio-esque 15 and 30 second spots interrupting Hulu presentations. Instead, everybody is talking about Chipotle Grill, Back Country Dot Com, and Poo-Pourri.

Embrace your new-found freedom instead of clinging to old, ineffective ways. Stop beating audiences over the end with boring ads like they don’t have any other options. You are free to make art. So make it.

prometheus + coors light tv spot

All tie-ins are not created equal.

Try as the marketers behind this awkward spot may, human-killing aliens and Coors Light just do not work well together here.

Over the years marketers have successfully and seamlessly tied thousands of products in with one another. The best marketers sell you something (Coke, Budweiser, or a BMW perhaps) without you even knowing by building an emotional connection between you and the product while you think you are simply watching your favorite madcap group of tele-friends ham it up while you sit on your couch or the newest romantic comedy in the theaters.

This ad, unfortunately, is clumsy, overt, and more awkward than me in eighth grade.

Tie-ins do not work if the audience notices them. I am not the only one who knows this. I promise the folks behind this ad know it, which is what makes a fumble like this so confusing. Television ads are not cheap. Producing them is not especially inexpensive either. To me, the biggest problem with this ad is the waste and disconnection from the current situation of potential consumers.

How far could those same marketing dollars have taken either company if spent on a new, vibrant, creative social media push?

Ads like this make me question how much marketers have really learned over the past decade. This spot smacks of the lazy, money-blowing old guard. Companies cannot afford to treat their marketing like this anymore.

The American auto industry collapse provides constant examples of what not to do while your business model evaporates around you, and one of those lessons is “Do Not Waste What Money You Have on Television Ads Just For The Sake of Having Them.”

Hollywood is definite offender. The American film industry can complain about how nobody goes out to see movies anymore, but Avengers and fine films like Midnight In Paris are proof that audiences will still spend money on GOOD movies. The extra cash to toss away on crappy films has gone away, which means that it is more important than ever to put a thoughtful marketing push behind any given film. This ad is proof that at least one person hanging around the upper strata of Hollywood still does not get it.

lobster and seafood salad subs

Subway and and Quiznos must be trying to outdo each other in a self-imposed “disgusting looking sandwich” competition.

Until a few days ago, it was difficult to imagine a more revolting sandwich to look at than Subway’s new line of avocado disasters.

Quiznos obviously saw those sandwiches as more than a series of unappetizing poor-judgement calls. The big Q saw them as a challenge, one they could not let slide by without responding to.

One reason I did not include the T.V. ad I first saw is that it might make you vomit on your keyboard, ruining it forever. These images, I hope, will get across the horror that is Quiznos’ newest sub. Just know that the T.V. spots are only more effective in that after viewing, you will want to eat one of these sandwiches even less than you do right now.

I am not just disappointed by two fast-food chains I used sink a lot of money into making menu and marketing decisions bad enough to be indicators of a total lack of understanding of what (eternally hungry) people would like to eat. I am disappointed even more by the fact that the companies that made Jared and fuzzballs with teeth household names are now producing marketing this out of touch.

Since Subway and Quiznos have apparently abandoned the age-old, battle-tested marketing stance of “trying making your product look good” for the less-traditional approach of “trying to make your product look as terrible and as undesirable as possible,” here are better T.V. spots from both:

Final Comment: I don’t always complain about the marketing direction taken with sub sandwiches, but when I do I harp on the same point tirelessly.

everything is marketing

I can remember finally breaking down and buying my first iPod when I was in college.

Everyone I knew already had one. I had been fine with that fact for a while, but then, slowly at first, I was not fine.

A television ad can tell you about a product, it can even make you want it. But an advertisement cannot make you NEED it.

I would see the white ear buds every day around my college campus. It seemed like everyone had them. I had a CD player, which was becoming more and more embarrassing to pull out on the buss or in the library. I needed an iPod. The feeling that owning one was a necessity rather than a desire built inside me until I just could not bare it any longer.

Sure, there were plenty of Apple and iPod commercials on T.V., but seeing the devices every day was what finally put me over the edge. I was slow to catch on that these things were cool but when I did, I felt like the last person on earth without one. And that felt crappy and lonely and lame.

I can remember ordering my new iPod online and getting it in the mail. It felt amazing to finally have one, my own words etched on the back and my music filling its memory. The first day I went to classes with my new iPod I saw the world differently. I stopped noticing the students WITH the white cords trailing into jackets and backpacks. All of the sudden I only noticed the people WITHOUT them. And I was not one of them. I had the white head phones. I was in.

A television ad can tell you about a product, it can even make you want it. But an advertisement cannot make you NEED it. The feeling you get from not having it while everyone around you (that you care about) does have it is what pushes you over the line from want to need.

Apple got it a long time ago. Now, more marketers are figuring out the fact that dumping money into advertising should be a piece of the stagey, not the entire strategy, but it took a long time. Design, timing, allure, service, and so many other factors all make up great marketing and the success of your product.

The surge of the digital revolution has marketers scrambling to figure out how to advertise to more people more efficiently, but the basics have not changed: Create something remarkable that fills a need (real or perceived) and make it available to the right people. Marketing is not just selling the thing once it is made. Marketing is everything from conceiving of the thing to fulfilling orders and handling upset customers. When it comes to your product, marketing is everything. And everything is marketing.

does any airline have “it?”


I wanted to talk a bit about this commercial from October 2010 before discussing a new spot featuring Richard Branson. It is important to note that this ad, titled “Your Airline’s Either Got it or it Hasn’t,” was Virgin Atlantic‘s first global ad campaign.

New to me, but not new, this ad from Virgin Atlantic goes for broke and succeeds. With some.

I got a 007 vibe, for sure. The concept appears to be taking the viewer through a fantasized flight with Virgin.

The ad successfully strengthens the brands identity as THE cool airline. But does it make people who are not already attracted to the brand want to fly Virgin? I am not sure it does (or did).

The ad is hip, pretty to look at, slick, representative of the brand and dreamy in a very good way. But it is missing a hook, a next step for the uninitiated to the Virgin brand.  The one-liner at the end feels forced and unnecessary, dashing the possibility of a strong close.

Overall, I feel like this commercial is an example of an Airline industry that cannot quite get connected to its customers. And if Virgin cannot do it, who can?

movie trailer tuesday – the help


Did this trailer make me want to see the movie?


I did end up seeing The Help, but not because of the trailer. I can imagine that this trailer was effective on some people, but I remember seeing it and declaring no interest in seeing the film. I finally saw The Help (on DVD) because so many people that I knew liked it so much.

The trailer for The Help is my least favorite type of trailer, and is usually not very effective on me. By “Type of trailer,” I mean the kind that tells the entire story in two short minutes. Those trailers turn me off right away. The film could be about ninjas on the moon battling aliens from the future with martial art AND their intellects, and a trailer like this one would cause me to suddenly lose interest.

I did like that the trailer was sprinkled with humor, which turns out to be one of the best parts of the film itself.

The trailer also gives the viewer glimpses of a potent performance by Viola Davis. If you watch only her clips carefully the trailer starts to become a lot more effective.

Was the trailer effective as a commercial?

I would say, yes.

Like I said, this type of trailer is my least favorite. But there are plenty of people who can see past a boring trailer to the heart of the story.

I believe the scandal, humor, and subject matter probably attract people at a higher rate than the trailer as a whole repels them.

too cool

I cannot be the only person noticing a flood of commercials featuring people doing things you never see them do in real life. One of the most obnoxious to me, is this Hyundai commercial from Christmas two years ago:

Hyundai might want to appeal to people like the ones in this ad, but they probably do not. Likely because people like the ones shown in this commercial are usually too busy walking or biking places or planting urban gardens or buying non-prescription fashion glasses to drive any car. Let alone a Hyundai.


I liked the premise of the commercial, but I was annoyed by the disconnect by the story it was trying to tell and the product it was trying to sell.

Keeping in mind my discussion about consistency from last week, what business does Taco Bell have depicting a guy like this as a customer? There are probably a few, but that is not Taco Bell’s core customer base. But not a lot.


First of all, I have never seen a Wendy’s that busy. Ever. Second, people inside Wendy’s restaurants are usually a lot older, and sadder looking.


There are several more offenders, including many McDonald’s offenders from when they launched their McCafes. I cannot seem to find my favorite examples right now, but I will add them to this post as I collect them.



movie trailer tuesday: extremely loud and incredibly close


I have not seen the film, but this trailer sure made me want to.

Yes, this film came out long, long ago. But I saw this trailer for only the second time tonight before Contagion, and was captivated by the shots, narration and glimpses allowed the audience. I have not read the book and I do not know much about the story. I am not a fan of Sandy B, or even Tom Hanks for that matter. But something about this trailer was really compelling to me.

I think it is just a really neat, concise piece of storytelling. This trailer tells its own story. One that is fascinating, funny, emotional and personal. But the story the trailer tells is incomplete. It is a mystery.

And to solve the mystery, all you have to do is watch the film.

And (yes, there is another “And”) the film promises (according to the trailer, anyway) to provide more of the things you loved about the trailer in addition to answering all of your questions and completing the trailers story.


Note: I happened to be out of the country when promotion for Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close was in full swing, as well as when the film came out. Actually, I missed the marketing for most of 2011’s Oscar nominated films. So, starting today, I will address trailers from all ten nominees for best picture. I am a little late (ideally, I would have started this ten weeks before the Oscars), but I am still going to plow ahead.

Up next: The Help

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