This Week in Advertising: Feb. 15 – Feb. 21

Welcome back to RSVP’s This Week in Advertising feature! This regular series includes the news tidbits from the advertising world that interested, excited, or amused us this week. We’re glad you’ve joined us – let’s see what happened This Week in Advertising:

  • Let’s kick off with a quick lesson in what NOT to do when your company is on the receiving end of some backlash: Seasalt & Co., a company specializing in Photoshop tools, posted a bizarre ad featuring an ominous-looking tree with an even more sinister noose dangling from one of the branches, ostensibly to promote their latest line of graphic design tools…somehow. When the responses they received were less than flattering, the company began threatening legal action against those who complained, then eventually deleted their social media accounts, only to resurface later, with their Facebook page scrubbed clean of the ad, the responses to the ad, and any reference to the ad. A halfhearted and confusing apology (predictably) soon followed, and we suspect the clean-up will continue in coming months. The moral of the story? Think before you advertise, and take criticisms to heart – preferably without unnecessary legal threats.
  • At the other end of the tact spectrum, online retailer ModCloth is known not only for selling high-quality clothes in kitschy cuts & prints at affordable prices, but also for promoting realism & body diversity in their advertising – they were the first company to join a pledge against using Photoshop on their advertisements to create “unattainable body images,” and the company frequently uses images of everyday customers wearing their clothes in catalogs. They continue this tradition with their 2015 swimwear campaign, which features actual ModCloth employees instead of models. The ads include women of various heights & shapes, and have generated quite the social media buzz on Facebook, Twitter & Tumblr.
  • ModCloth may not care much for Photoshop, but millions of graphic designers the world over do, and use the program to design & create the eye-catching ads we see in our daily lives. Adobe is celebrating its iconic design program’s 25th anniversary with a vibrant 60-second ad set to Aerosmith’s “Dream On”, which will air during the Oscar Awards this Sunday evening.
  • Oh, did we mention the Oscars are on this Sunday? You can prepare for the big night by watching the stirring, emotional ads the Academy developed to promote Sunday’s show – just have some tissues ready.
  • Oscar-night ad spots are as coveted as those nestled in between plays on the Super Bowl, and American Express alone will be airing four ads, each costing the credit card company around $2 million dollars. These commercials will feature various celebrities – who are also AmEx clients – talking about their rises to fame & overcoming the obstacles that stood in the way of their dreams…dreams that are now worth $2 million dollars.
  • We know this isn’t *technically* advertising-related, but we can’t help but be fans of Mad Men, the hit AMC show that has transfixed millions over its seven-season run. The show, set in the dog-eat-dog world of 1960s advertising firms, begins its final season on April 5th, and the first trailer indicates that the swinging-sixties have given away to a very sideburn-ed & plaid seventies. Catch the spot here, and be sure to tune in to AMC on April 5th – it’s certain to be memorable.

    Contributed by the RSVP Staff

This Week in Advertising: Feb. 8 – Feb. 14

Welcome back to RSVP’s This Week in Advertising feature! This regular series includes the news tidbits from the advertising world that interested, excited, or amused us this week. We’re glad you’ve joined us – let’s see what happened This Week in Advertising:

  • Fast food behemoth McDonald’s has had some recent advertising struggles. From the ire over their “Signs” commercial (which led to a very NSFW parody on YouTube), to their on-going “Pay With Lovin'” promotion that gives the socially awkward among us heart palpitations, the burger giant just can’t seem to catch a break. Not to mention, McDonald’s continues to face scrutiny over the ingredients & healthfulness of their food – concerns they attempted to address in their “Our Food, Your Questions” series. That move only led to more headaches for the company, as people began to worry about eating a french fry made with 19 ingredients. Despite being at the top of the fast food chain, McDonald’s faces falling profits & and a tarnished image – what to do? Embrace it – McDonald’s most recent ad campaign features its signature Big Mac sandwich, and boasts that it is not a healthy food, with one ad proudly proclaiming “NOT GREEK YOGURT” over a juicy image of the legendary burger. Will this once again bring customers back to the Golden Arches? Or is America no longer lovin’ it?
  • One Kansas ad agency was on fire this week after unveiling a creative & all too realistic billboard in which Kansas City Royals’ outfielder Jarrod Dyson’s feet appear to be burning a path as he runs between bases. The ad included rope lighting along the “fiery” path that caused it to look a little too real, and the billboard sparked (pun intended) multiple phone calls from concerned citizens to the local fire department.
  • A company’s logo is arguably the most important part of its brand & image, and a successful logo transcends cultures & language barriers, as Turkish artist Mehmet Gozetlik demonstrates in his “Chinatown” series. This collection takes famous & recognizable logos, from Pepsi-Cola to NASA, and translates their English names to Chinese. See the full series on his website here – and find out how many famous logos do you can recognize.
  • Finally (and sadly), longtime Fortune 500 graphic designer, Stu Samuels, lost his battle with cancer in August of last year at the age of 82. Friends, family and colleagues will remember the graphic design great in a memorial service next week in Delray Beach, Fla.

    Contributed by the RSVP Staff

This Week in Advertising: Feb. 2 – Feb. 6

Welcome to what we hope is the first installment in our new series, “This Week in Advertising”! This is where we will recap notable advertising moments & news from the past week, and occasionally offer our own insights into what these stories mean for local business owners in our area.

This past week, all eyes were on the Super Bowl, where commercials have become as important as the game & halftime show themselves. The offerings ranged from inspiring & heartwarming:

to absurd:

and of course, to celebrity cameo-stuffed pop culture send-ups:

Not every commercial was a touchdown – see Nationwide’s Debbie Downer of an ad below, if you feel like starting your weekend off on a depressing note:


What does this teach us? Well, the most successful ads this year were either clever (like the Loctite, Snickers & BMW ads), or uplifting (like Always & Dove’s offerings), and the ads most likely to hit a sour note were depressing (Nationwide), or gross (the toe fungus commercial that we, frankly, refuse to link to because, ick). When working on your advertising, you need to not only know your target audience, but also the general atmosphere – what mood do you want to evoke in your ad’s audience, and what environment will your ad be presented in? Nationwide flubbed by inserting a grim commercial in the middle of what is essentially an enormous nationally-televised party, while Always & Dove gave us hope & warm-fuzzies during a broadcast in which many gather with friends and family to watch the game and celebrate. And never underestimate the power of clever, well-executed humor – it will make your company seem hip, laid-back, and friendly.

Thank you again for joining us in our first edition of This Week in Advertising, and join us next time  – who knows what the coming week will bring!

Contributed by the RSVP Staff