September 5, 2012 § Leave a comment
I’d like to take a moment to update a post I did a while back about Geico’s ads. I was upset with Geico’s ads featuring a man on the street offering taste tests that supposedly were analogous to taste for insurance companies. This wasn’t the Geico I knew and loved!
I’m not sure if Geico is a fan of this blog and read my post (though, who actually reads my blog?) but their new ads are back to what I think made them great: humor. The new ads are about how happy Geico makes their customers. As happy as a bodybuilder directing traffic (below), Christopher Columbus in a speedboat, or Gallagher at a farmer’s market.
So how happy do these commercials make me? Happier than a blogger with more than 2 readers!
Thanks Geico. Keep up the good work.
May 23, 2012 § Leave a comment
“I don’t know the future. I didn’t come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell you how it’s going to begin.”-Neo, The Matrix (1999).
Like Neo, I don’t claim to know the future, but like a Venice Beach palm reader, five minutes with me will get you my craziest guesses.
Media creates and reflects culture, so I predict that as our culture continues to change, so will ads. Where will our culture be in 10 years? Our culture is becoming more digitally-oriented. Just about everything is Internet-compatible nowadays, from our cell phones to our TVs. And advertising has found a niche in the Internet.
As far as I can tell, this Internet thing isn’t going away anytime soon (as much as librarians would like it to). Advertising is evolving right along with it, from pop-ups to interactive banner ads. So long as there is money to be made, there will be an ad. Pretty soon technology will be so advanced that ads will be inescapable. (Maybe even in our dreams as predicted by Futurama.)
Futurama’s take is fairly crazy (that’s what they said about sliced bread, too!), but it could become a reality. As people become more interconnected with technology (like this future phone concept) ads will come with them. Who knows, maybe in the near future ads will become part of vision (sort of like an augmented-reality display) and there will literally be ads everywhere we look.
Ads can be annoying and detract from what we’re trying to do (causing many people to get ad-blockers), but they are constantly changing to better suit their environment (sort of like a virus). I for one welcome our advertising overlords and cannot wait to see how ads will change.
May 23, 2012 § Leave a comment
Cigarettes haven’t been allowed in television or radio advertising since the late 1970s. Why? Because of The Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act and efforts from the FCC. They banned cigarette advertising in TV and radio to help discourage adolescents from starting to smoke. Advertising depicting cigarettes and smokeless tobacco is currently still allowed in magazines and billboards, however.
I don’t understand the reasoning behind this ban. I don’t smoke, but a ban on cigarettes seems silly to me. I fully understand the media are powerful when it comes to convincing the public either way, and having only anti-smoking ads in television and the radio helps to deter would-be smokers. However, making an obvious point that smoking is so dangerous it can’t be shown on TV gives cigarettes a little bit more appeal because now they’re explicitly dangerous. This is also done on the packs themselves with the Surgeon General’s warning.
Everyone knows that cigarettes are dangerous, yet 45.3 million Americans currently smoke according to the CDC. And more people are starting every day. It’s unlikely that they’re starting or continue because of an ad they saw, due to the bans on cigarette advertising. So if it’s not advertising’s fault, then what is it? Perhaps peer pressure is to blame, or maybe a family member offered them one.
Whatever the reason is, I would argue that it’s not because of advertisements. The ban on tobacco advertising on TV and radio is useless. People are going to continue to smoke regardless.
May 16, 2012 § Leave a comment
It’s probably about time that I talk about why I’m in Creative Strategist (the class for which I write these posts). That reason is I want to be a copywriter. (I’m already on my way with a writer position on AHA for 2012-13.) I want to be a copywriter because, simply put, I love writing and being witty, and copywriting seems like the time when these two things intersect nicely. But what does it take to be a copywriter exactly? Here are some good copywriting tips I found through some research:
1) Get your first sentence read.
Maybe it’s a little obvious but without getting your audience to read your first sentence you will never get them hooked. The lead sentence must be interesting and attention-grabbing.
2) Copy should follow the “skirt rule.”
This applies to anytime the question is asked, “How long should it be?” It needs to be long enough cover it and short enough to be interesting. Copy should always be to the point. People are busy and don’t give away their attention easily.
3) Copywriting should be conversational.
Your writing should speak with your audience, not down to them. It needs to read smoothly and sound like a conversation you would have with a friend. It shouldn’t be too technical. However, jargon should be avoided. You’re trying to sell an experience, not an encyclopedia.
4) Know your audience.
It may sound like another “duh” tip, but how do you get to know your audience? Read magazines they read, watch TV shows they watch. Consume the media they consume and get to know how they feel about certain things.
5) Choose your words carefully.
Every word should add to your argument and should make sense to your reader. Don’t write uninteresting things that don’t make sense. Write efficiently because readers can move on from your copy at any time they want.
May 15, 2012 § Leave a comment
Political ads are a big thing this year, being an election year and all. Although they’re called “ads,” they’re much more of a public relations spot. The only thing being advertised is the candidate, but almost everything said is being spun around to make the candidate look better or make the other guy look worse. Whenever I see a political ad come on, I usually will change the channel or put the TV on mute. However, the good thing about watching a muted political ad is that you don’t have to hear it (everything said is biased, and there’s no point in only hearing one slanted side of the story) but you also get to see the great visuals that go on in political ads, always trying to make the candidate look more American or something (having an American eagle is always good).
My big beef with political ads is that audiences today have a great BS meter and know when something doesn’t smell right. And they can do a quick truth check using Politifact. I think audiences also don’t like ads that attack opponents, because why do it? What audiences do like, or should like I think, is to see candidates in action doing something. Not a scripted 30 second spot, but action that affects voters. It’s easy to have an ad that says you did a lot of things (with tiny text at the bottom with source information) but another thing to go out and do it. You can remind people about what you did in the past, but they care more about what you are doing currently, why they would vote for you based on what you’re doing presently. This is how to build a politician’s brand with voters.
With all that said, I look forward to this year’s political media circus. May the best candidate, and best campaign, win.
May 15, 2012 § Leave a comment
There is no question that product ads often cater to genders. Take Kia Soul, whose recent series of commercials featured cute hamsters, a campaign aimed more towards women than men I would argue. Even my mom now is thinking of getting “that hamster car” in place of her VW. (But only if the car dealer offers to throw in some hamster accessories as part of the deal, she says.)
Compare Kia Soul’s commercial to a Ford Mustang commercial:
The Mustang commercial is a little more action-oriented, and doesn’t feature any cute animals. Ford plays toward a male audience by showing the power and speed of their car. Kia shows hip-hop hamsters driving the Soul.
This isn’t to say that all guys would prefer the Ford commercial over the other, or that guys hate cute furry hamsters. It’s just that these two commercials gear their message towards different genders. Why is this? Why not make commercials that appeal to a wide audience and try to get as many consumers as possible?
I would argue that these commercials only focus on certain genders because that’s who their targeted buyer is. Ford probably doesn’t sell a lot of Mustangs to female drivers. Likewise, there probably aren’t a lot of men who want to buy a Soul. These are generalizations, I know, and these car companies probably know it, too. They focus ads towards their audiences because that’s who their products appeal to and who they’re going to be selling cars to.
May 8, 2012 § Leave a comment
Why does Nikon hire Ashton Kutcher to star in their commercials? Why not hire a nobody at a fraction of the price? Why put an entire campaign behind a celebrity?
The basic idea is that people like celebrities and will like things that celebrities say they like. However, Smart Money says that studies done on this actually come out inconclusive. It does say that there have been experiments that have led to the idea of “contagion,” that is that the more an object is handled by a celebrity (or an attractive salesperson) the more likely people are to buy it. The opposite is also true. (Who wants to wear a sweater owned by Hitler?)
So if a company can get a celebrity holding their product, more people are going to want that product because they believe that some of that person has rubbed off onto the product, so they’re kind of buying a part of the celebrity. Golf clubs owned by JFK have no more value than other golf clubs other than that they were owned by JFK.
Celebrity endorsements can also backfire on a company, like when a celebrity goes rogue. Advertisements for any products endorsed by naughty celebrities probably will be pulled because people don’t want to associate with those celebrities.