Why the French Are Better

In case you needed another reason to believe in the complete and total dumbing down of America, there’s more proof.

In a predictable move, Sony Pictures Classics has forgone the original French poster for its new film Carnage, opting instead for one of the most boring posters you’ll ever see.

The French poster isn’t exactly groundbreaking, but boy is it fun. Those colors, those faces . . . who knew Kate Winslet could look so unattractive?

So why did the studio make the switch? Are they afraid Americans might actually see a creative poster and think to themselves, Well I guess I will not be seeing THAT movie!

More specifically, I don’t get the gray sidebars on the English poster. And is it just me or is that picture really weird? Like, what is going on in this picture and what does it tell me about the film? NOTHING.

In the French version, we get that there are four main characters who appear nice at first but will probably lose their minds by the end of the film. And since it’s a comedy, it will probably be funny. Sign me up!

The English version tells me that the film will feature four Academy Award-winning and nominated actors standing around talking in at least one scene, and a mirror and two glass vases will be featured in the background. Oh, and it’s a new comedy of no manners. WELL THEN SHOW US THAT! All I see in the poster is manners, manners, manners. Everyone looks so nice and polite. Borrrrrrrrrrrrrrrring.

Let’s mix things up and have some fun, shall we?

See the trailer for the film here, and then decide for yourself which poster better fits the film’s mood.

Shake Your Head

One of the great things about spending part of my summer in London was taking the tube into downtown London everyday. I mentioned before how much I love the London Underground, and part my love for it stems from all the ads that inundate you from all sides.

The friend I travelled with always commented on how every poster for a movie or show playing at the West End tried to cram as many 5-star reviews onto the poster as possible. I think it was a little bit of a stretch when I saw a poster for Transformers 3 overloaded with 5-star reviews. Once you got closer, you could see that the reviews were from no-name critics, of course, but still. The British population must be more obsessed with what the critics think than us populist Americans.

I’m so glad I was able to find a picture of my favorite ad that I saw whilst sitting around and waiting for the next tube. It comes from Volkswagen, and it utilizes white space surprisingly well.

Many clients might be nervous at the sight of all that white space, but I bet Volkswagen was quite pleased with the end result. Check it out:

If you’re having a hard time reading it, here’s the copy:

A                  Golf
is                  up
to                 10%
cheaper        to
run                over
3                   years
than              the
competition.  It’s
true,              no
need             to
shake            your
head.

And of course when you get done reading it you feel like an idiot because you realize your head has in fact been shaking back and forth for the past minute.

A Brief History of Penguin Book Ad Campaigns (Part 4)

I’m beginning to see a trend in our look back at some of the great work Penguin does with their advertisements, and hopefully you are too.

Every ad in some way or another plays off the theme “You can take a book with you anytime, anywhere.” It’s an interesting and (I think) important message to be sending to the public in our tech-obsessed world.

I love the tagline in these ads: “Unputdownable.” You can’t say that about a lot of things these days, but certainly there are plenty of books out there that could be classified as such.

In these examples, the books the models are reading are so good, they’ve even become a part of the person himself.

My apologies if you hate books, these ads or this series I’ve been doing. Only a few more and it will all be over, I promise. =)

New look, Same Old Coke

For the first time in its history, Coca-Cola is changing the color of its cans from red to white. The cans will also include a silhouette of a mama polar bear with her two cubs.

The company is hoping the switch will raise awareness (and money) for the Worldwide Wildlife Fund. The $4 million campaign comes on the heels of a new discovery that has many scientists fearing polar bears will be the first major species to go extinct due to climate change.

The polar bear has long been the iconic symbol of Coca-Cola since the 1920s, so it’s nice that the company is giving back to their mascot.

Coke has also set up this cool Arctic Home website where you can learn more about saving the polar bears. Definitely worth a visit, regardless of whether or not you buy into the whole “ice caps melting” thing.

The new cans are expected to stay on shelves until February 2012.

Sick. Sicker. Sickest. Dead.

I’m sick right now. Like you care. Basically I’m telling you that because this is going to be short and non-earth shattering (because all my other posts are, duh).

It seems like I’m perpetually blowing my nose. If you must know (and I know you all must), my tissue of choice is Puffs. Those cartoon people blowing their hearts and noses out make me smile. (Side note: Have you tried the Puffs plus lotion with Vick’s? That is one tissue that will seriously make you high. One blow and it feels like you’ve just snorted 10 oz. of crack. But the intense pain it provokes somehow takes away your cold a lot quicker, or so I’ve experienced.)

So even though I’m a Puffs guy, I have to give a shout-out to the good folks at Kleenex for today’s ad.

Can I have all my Kleenex’s monogrammed, please? That would just be so great.

Good work, Kleenex. If you keep up the work, you might even sway my loyalty away from those cute Puffs ads with the British guy narrating them. Maybe.

This is Halloween

I have to admit, Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays. Since the time I was a young lad, I loved dressing up and going trick-or-treating. The candy was never a big deal to me, honestly. (Unless I got a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. In which case it became a big deal.)

I don’t recall exactly what I dressed up as. Except this one year I do remember being an M&M. Wish I had a picture of that one.

So speaking of Halloween, ad agencies will play off any and every holiday that comes around, mainly because great ideas are hard to come by. So they’ll take any help they can get from holidays made up by Hallmark.

Here are five of my favorite ads that play off Halloween in one way or another.

1. Snickers

Like all things Halloween, this ad is pretty creepy, but in a good way. But the more I look at it, the more creeped out I get. So I’m just going to move on now.

2. San Francisco Zoo

I did not know koalas could be so scary. In fact, the longer I look at this ad, the more scared I get. So I’m just going to move on now.

3. Woolite

All I can think about when I see this ad is Harry Potter, so I’m a fan. But really, it is quite clever. Question, though: Shouldn’t we still be able to see the witches’ faces? Perhaps they’re wearing big black socks over them? Because that would make a lot of sense . . . not.

4. McDonald’s

You can hate on McDonald’s food all you want (I rather enjoy it . . . no, really), but you have to hand it to them when it comes to their advertising. They rarely make bad decisions, and like this ad, their print ads try to be as clean and simple as possible. I can’t think of one thing wrong with it.

5. Universal Studios Theme Park

Well sign me up for this ride! Anyone who enjoys getting scared (ME!) is going to totally dig this. The only thing more frightening than seeing Freddy Krueger onscreen is seeing him in real life. Sign me up.

Your turn: Do you have a favorite of the five? Or is there one that you think is totally awful and you’re saying to yourself, How could anyone like this? 

Do tell.

A Brief History of Penguin Books Ad Campaigns (Part 3)

We continue our series of examining Penguin ad campaigns with these three subtle print ads.

All those poor people look so bored. If only they had a Penguin book to read. Hmm . . .

I think I mentioned this earlier, but I always loved seeing what people were reading on the subway / metro. Now, with the invention of Kindles and iPads, it’s harder to stalk them to see what they’re reading. Sad.

I like that these ads are in black and white. It makes these people look even more boring than they already do without books in their hands. Nicely done, whoever the creative team behind this campaign is.

Check out Part 1 and Part 2 if you missed it earlier.