This Week in Advertising: Mar. 8 – Mar. 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:


  • You may remember that we highlighted McDonald's response to recent trials and tribulations in this very feature just last month, but in case you've forgotten: Ronald & Co. launched an ad campaign that touted their food's dedication to being absolutely terrible for your health in response to the (frankly, legitimate) concerns consumers & experts alike have about eating french fries with 19 ingredients in them. In what seems to be a bewildering about-face, McDonald's recently announced its plans to add kale to its menu via some to-be-announced item(s) in select markets this year. This development also seems to fly in the face of the chain's promise to cut back on its sprawling menu offerings, and only serves to confirm what the rest of us have suspected for years & what The New York Times put into words earlier this week: McDonald's is suffering a crisis of identity (is it too late for a mid-life crisis? After all, the brand is making its first appearance at the über-hip SXSW festival, where it will likely stick out like dads at a One Direction concert).
  • Speaking of dads, remember how horrified you were when your parents found your diary? Remember the epic speech you made about privacy and how you're "twelve years old now and can like boys and stuff!"? No? Just me? Well, anyway, Facebook wants to continue the creeping tradition parents everywhere started all those years ago, and will soon launch a feature called "Topic Data" that enables advertisers to see what users are saying about brands, products, and events on their personal pages. There is no word yet on whether it will also track mentions of how dreamy Seth in 4th period chem looks when he smiles.
  • Even though parents can be, like, totally annoying and stuff, we absolutely love and appreciate them...granted, we may not realize it until we're 20 and living in our own apartment for the first time ever and finally realizing how much work it is keeping ourselves fed, housed and clothed. It is in the spirit of parental appreciation that American Greetings unveiled their #worldstoughestjob ad last year, in which the company posted a fake ad & interviewed applicants for what sounded like indentured servitude, but actually turned out to be mothering. While American Greetings put the salary for being a mom at $0, British florist Interflora has released a "Mum Salary Calculator" that allows parents to put in the amount of time they spend acting as their child's/children's teacher, caregiver, chef, etc., and calculates what their salary should be, if parents were, you know, compensated in money instead of love.  The calculator operates in pounds, but you can convert your salary to dollars here.
  • Let's end things on a feel-good note! Microsoft is famous for its support of charities & innovative thinkers, and launched the #CollectiveProject to highlight innovative thinkers whose ideas could make the world a better place. One #CollectiveProject student, Albert Manero, founded Limbitless, which focuses on creating bionic limbs for children in need. This week, Manero joined forces with Tony Stark himself (actor Robert Downey Jr.) to present a young boy with his very own Iron Man-esque bionic arm. Watch it here, and have a great weekend!

    Contributed by RSVP Staff.
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This Week in Advertising: Mar. 1 – 7

Welcome back to RSVP’s This Week in Advertising feature! Apologies for last week's hiatus; a nasty flu bug made its way around the office, but now we're back & better than ever! 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:


  •  The millennial generation has proven a difficult audience for advertisers to capture, as these post-Gen X-ers are less inclined to watch television shows traditionally, subscribe to print magazines and newspapers, and listen to radio. The key to reaching this up & coming (and highly idealistic) demographic may be in the message, not the medium: brands like Coke, Dove, and McDonald's are targeting Millennials with positive, uplifting messages, in hopes of generating new business & continued loyalty. Could your business benefit from a similar approach?
  • March is Women's History Month, and many companies are focusing their attention on common issues facing women in our world today. A striking example comes from across the pond, where British charity Women's Aid created an interactive billboard featuring a battered woman's face (WARNING: the link includes an auto-play video, so proceed with caution in quiet spaces). As more people look at the billboard, her cuts, bruises and other injuries disappear and heal; this is achieved using facial recognition software to register the number of people who have looked at the ad. The message is clear and powerful:the best way to combat domestic violence is to pay attention to those abused.
  • Oreos may be the most fun cookie to eat: you can dunk them, twist them, pull them apart, and if you're my younger sister, you can eat the creme from the middle & stick the bald cookies back in the package to be discovered later by someone else who just wanted a snack before bed (...not that I'm bitter about that, all these years later). ANYWAY. Oreo is embracing their cookie's playful history by inviting several artists to illustrate words commonly associated with the iconic snack, including "dunk," "twist," and "dream." The colorful, creative ads are part of the brand's "Play With Oreo" campaign.
  • Remember when travelling by plane was a delightful, luxurious experience? Well, OK, neither do we, but ask your grandparents about it! Before airlines were faced with the Airline Deregulation Act in 1978, they competed not on price, but on service, food, and passenger experience - and they sold the heck out of it, with colorful ads depicting exotic locations in whimsical & lush detail. You may be stuck in coach (don't worry - most of us are), but you can get a look at the good ol' days with German artist Matthias C. Hühne's upcoming book, Airline Visual Identity: 1945-1975. The massive book, which includes full-color depictions of ads from the golden days of air travel, isn't due out until April (and costs a whopping $300+), but you can whet your appetite with some classic airline ads courtesy of AdWeek.
  • Finally, Business Insider set the record straight this week when the popular publication shared a video on Facebook, correcting common mispronunciations of 15 popular brands. Think you know how to say "Adidas" properly? Watch the video to find out!

    Contributed by RSVP Staff.
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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
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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
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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:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MKYhY--mLXg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOhlRQ9d9hY

to absurd:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JaK85bFQwSM

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzUFb8QJ_80

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3UO2A2p-19A

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:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKUy-tfrIHY

 

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
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