Merry Christmas From Some Sheep

I can’t recall ever seeing  a television ad for Brooks Brothers.

The upscale clothing company prefers to stick to print ads, so when they do come out with a commercial, the company makes sure its top-notch.

For their Christmas ad this year, Brooks Brothers employed the help of some sheep to sell customers on their wool scarves and sweater.

Check it out here.

I found it slightly creepy the first time through, but after subsequent viewings, I’ve warmed up to the singing sheep and their preppy attire.

Still, I’m very thankful they didn’t stoop so low to have an angry sheep saying “Baaaaaaaaa humbug” in the background. A lesser company (and agency) would have.


So Long, White Coke Cans

Change isn’t always such a good thing, a truth that Coca-Cola is finding out the hard way.

Last month, I blogged about Coke’s decision to temporarily change their red cans to white in order to raise awareness for climate change and the preservation of polar bears in the Arctic.

After receiving thousands of consumer complaints, the company has switched back to their classic red cans.

Apparently many customers confused the new white Coke cans for Diet Coke (an understandable mistake to make), and others complained that the “white Coke” tasted different (I think there’s a good psychology experiment in there somewhere).

So I guess the polar bears will just have to save themselves. In the long run, Coca-Cola is all about making money, and they’ll do whatever it takes to keep up their profits.

A brief history of penguin books ad campaigns (Part 6)

The human ear has never looked so attractive, thanks to these ads promoting Penguin’s line of audiobooks.

I have to admit I’m not a big believer in audiobooks in general. They seem to be for lazy people who don’t have the imagination or patience to read a book on their own. Instead, they rely on the narrator’s voice to create the world of the book for them. <End rant.>

Whatever. These still are great ads, regardless of my qualms about audiobooks. Very nice concept design and illustrations.

We can only guess that the characters will go straight from the listener’s ear and into his or her brain, thereby making a (hopefully) lasting impression. And maybe then the reader will be compelled to pick up a hard copy of the book and read it for himself. =)

Vintage Thanksgiving Ads

This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for how far the advertising industry has come in the past century.

You need proof? You got it.

Let’s start with this Quaker Oats ad all the way back from 1905.

This ad reminds us that the only important thing in this life is health. What a great, uplifting message. Because we know if you’re not in perfect health your life is meaningless . . . right. Personally, I have never been thankful for Quaker Oats and that oatmeal mush of theirs. But they have stuck to the William Penn thing all these years, so good for them for being so consistent.

Next, an ad for General Telephone System (what?).

Wikipedia tells me the company is now “defunct,” and it’s easy to see why after looking at this ad.

336 Thanksgivings ago . . . the Pilgrims were eaten by a giant man in a red shirt, apparently. Who knew Paul Bunyan existed back in those days? Oh, the things we learn from advertisements!

Another ad, this time from Ocean Spray, also makes false assumptions about the Pilgrims. If only they knew how American society has abused and misused their namesake all these years later . . .

I would like to see the proof that the Pilgrims did in fact eat cranberries at the first Thanksgiving. And notice the use of “women” in the second paragraph. I guess men didn’t cook back in the 1950s.

Way to go, copywriter, for cramming in THREE recipes on this ad! That’s gotta be a record of some sort. Not that anyone will be able to read them without a magnifying glass . . .

Lastly, nothing says “Thanksgiving” like smoking a cigarette. Or at least that’s what Camel wants/wanted you to believe.

Isn’t this pictorial progression of Thanksgiving dinner so helpful? It’s like a roadmap of sorts that guides us through each course so we know what we’re seeing in each picture since we don’t have eyes, apparently.

This is both hilarious and disturbing. I’ve always thought the amount of smoking on Mad Men was excessive, but this ad really does show how much people smoked in the 50’s and 60’s. Seriously, a cigarette after each course? And to think that Camel was telling people it was good for their digestive fluids! I love/hate how their food editor recommends leaving a pack of smokes on your dinner table to keep you company at all times. Gross. Camel forgot to mention that everyone who read this ad is now dead.

It kind of makes you wonder what we’re doing today that will kill us all on 50 years.

And on that happy note, Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

United Colors of Grotesqueness

Benetton, the notorious Italian clothier, is back at it again with yet another controversial ad campaign.

In their latest publicity stunt, the company released a series of print ads showing famous political leaders from around the world kissing each other.

The images were, of course, photoshopped. But still. Ew.

Sarkozy and Merkel, friends at last

One of the photos, which features the pope kissing Ahmed Mohamed el-Tayeb, a Muslim leader in Egypt. The Vatican has since announced that it will take legal action against the company, although Benetton did stop running the particular ad after receiving a flood of complaints.

None of these ads have anything remotely to do with clothing, which just shows that Benetton is doing everything it can to drum up some much-needed business. Sales from the clothing manufacturer have decreased significantly in the past few years, according to The Wall Street Journal.

But will the campaign’s message of peace resonate with consumers? Or will they just be totally grossed out? I’m with the latter group.

Click here to see the rest of the ads.

Gearing up for Black Friday

I admit it. I’ve never gone shopping on Black Friday.

I have a friend who’ll be visiting from Toronto this Thanksgiving, and he’s never been to Chicago. He insists that, in order to get the whole “city experience,” we go in on Black Friday. I told him that’s ok with me, just don’t expect to make the journey back home because we’ll most likely get killed by overzealous shoppers.

Seconds after this picture was taken, the photographer was promptly trampled (probably).

For whatever reason, I just don’t see the appeal of standing in the cold at 2 a.m. for three hours, trampling everyone in sight when the doors finally open, and getting punched in the face by the other guy trying to get that last flatscreen TV. I’d much prefer to stay at home, sit by my fireplace and drink some hot cocoa, reflecting back on what a good Thanksgiving it was.

But for those of you who are weird enough to do it (please explain why . . . and don’t tell me it’s because of the sales, because you could shop online if you really wanted), it’s time to start doing your research.

Thankfully, there’s the official Black Friday app for everyone who needs to have every store’s deals at their fingertips. And pretty soon you’ll be seeing all those glossy ads in Sunday’s paper for every store in existence.

Like this one for Toys “R” Us. Seriously, I can’t imagine a worse place to be on Black Friday. I have learned not to mess with parents of small children.

It’s also disturbing to see that the toy store is opening on THURSDAY NIGHT. Now this I do not understand. So much for dedicating Thursday for being thankful. Looks like Thanksgiving is now being overthrown by Black Thursday.

Er . . . Friday.

A brief history of penguin books ad campaigns (part 5)

Some people have mentioned that this series can no longer be classified as “brief” now that we’re running on Part 5, so again, my sincerest apologies if you find this boring. But too bad, because I’m going to keep doing it.

Once again, Penguin takes us on a trip around the world with this series of advertisements, this time in Tokyo, Paris and London.

On other advertising blogs, I’ve read comments criticizing these ads for their lack of copy, saying they don’t “communicate” anything. While I can see their point, I have to disagree completely. It is the lack of copy that makes these ads so absorbing.

The people shown in each ad are so lost in their books that they’ve created their own worlds within a world (sorry to go all Inception on you).

The ultimate question is: would these cause you to buy a book?