Choose your own ads – with YOUR EYES

May 1st, 2013 4 Comments By Lucy Sweet

Eye tracking technology is something marketing gurus get their coke spoons in a twist about on a regular basis. It’s so…Robocop! It’s so futuristic! You can like, see inside people’s BRAINS and sell them what they’re thinking about right now! (in my case, usually chips).

eyes 300x190 Choose your own ads – with YOUR EYES

Until now, it’s been pretty duff, but now researchers at Lancaster University have developed an advertising system called ‘Sideways’, which zooms in on faces and eye movements while people are shopping. Then a video screen can show them ads related to what they were looking at as they shopped. More usefully, it can also allow people to use their eyes to control advertising on screens, or scroll through content. An eye swipe, if you will.

Senior researcher Andreas Bulling says it can monitor the eye movements of 14 people at a time using a camera positioned behind the screen. “The system detects the faces of people walking by and calculates where the eyes are relative to the eye corners.” He explained.

The creators hope it will be in use in shops within 5 years, but it’s hard to see how this will work for targeted ads. I don’t know about you, but I look at a lot of things I’m not particularly interested in every day, because I have EYES, and that’s what they do – they look at stuff. Pigeons. Dog poo. Tins of beans. So if this catches on, expect to see a lot of ads you don’t give a toss about.

Business as usual, then…

Thousands Go Complain about Go Compare ads

April 30th, 2013 3 Comments By Lucy Sweet

Everybody universally loathed the original Go Compare ads, so a new campaign was created to acknowledge the fact it was so hated, featuring the Go Compare man being kicked in the stomach by Stuart Pearce and blown up by Sue Barker in a balaclava. Clever eh? Oh I bet there were some wry meta chuckles in the idea pod that day.

media go compare defaced billboard 300x182 Thousands Go Complain about Go Compare ads

But those smart arsed advertisers have been hoisted with their own petards, because now THOSE adverts have become the most complained about ads of 2012 – with nearly 2000 complaints.

31,298 complaints were made to the Advertising Standards Authority last year, mostly from people with nothing better to do. Thanks to the big response to the Go Compare ads, complaints about financial services ads skyrocketed by 86%. The Wonga ads, with their cunningly hidden terms and conditions, were also on the ASA list of doom.

People also took exception to Channel 4’s ‘Bigger’, ‘Fatter’ ‘Gypsier’ campaign to promote My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, which was third on the list with 373 complaints.

But nobody is more hated than the Go Compare man. It’s enough to make poor Gio Compario sing a heartbreaking aria from Madame Butterfly as he waits for the exhaust fumes to fill his Vauxhall Nova.

Hide, the Evian babies are back

April 23rd, 2013 2 Comments By Lucy Sweet

If you ever had the slightest ambivalence about children, those computer generated Evian babies would have put you off procreation for life. Well, the weird mutant infants are back to torment us, but this time, they’re not on rollerskates. It’s worse than that. MUCH WORSE.

Called Baby and Me, the new campaign shows a very French, very balding hipster in a V-neck seeing his young self reflected back in a car rear view mirror, then in a mirrored window on the street. Soon, other passers-by stop and see themselves as babies too and they all do a ‘funny’ dance to ‘Here Comes the Hotstepper’ by Ini Kamoze – and the world just got that bit more rubbish.

The first Evian campaign to show the dancing babies was the most viewed advert when it came out in 2009 – now this one has notched up over 20 million hits already. It seems that the world loves babies doing improbable things even more than it likes cats falling off tables.

It all just makes you want to get your water from the tap and throw the Internet in the bin, doesn’t it? I need a drink.

Mobile advertising triples!

April 10th, 2013 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

the brick talking mobile phone holder 184x300 Mobile advertising triples!While some people in media still think non-print outlets are nothing but a fad, the rest of the world progresses onward and newspapers are dying left, right and centre. A huge growth industry is advertising through mobiles and the market has seen a spike in spend.

Mobile advertising has nearly tripled to record levels, with UK digital ad spend hit £5bn for the first time. Huge. Advertising through UK mobiles grew a whopping 148% year-on-year and it doesn’t look like slowing down.

With around two thirds of the population having a smartphone or tablet, there’s a lot of money to be made.

Only five years ago, mobile advertising was making a weedy £25m. In 2009, mobile accounted for a paltry 1% of the total UK digital advertising market.

“There is simply so much buzz around mobile,” said Tim Elkington, director of research and strategy at the Internet Advertising Bureau. “Marketers are becoming more attune to the ‘always on’ nature of consumers who expect to engage with content wherever they are.”

The 4G rollout is only going to see ad spend increasing and marketing companies will increase their interest in social networks.

Football kits have come a long way since the days of teams releasing one kit every three years. The most noticeable change is that there’s at LEAST one new kit per year, and often, you’ll find teams having four or five shirts to buy at once (including goalkeeper tops, Champion’s League specials, away goalie shirts and third kits… not to mention training kits, jackets and whatnot).

And so, to Chelsea FC, who have a new kit coming out and, along with Adidas, want fans to pre-order it without actually seeing it, with the strapline: “It’s blue. What else matters?

As well as saying ‘just buy it because it is a blue kit’, Chelsea throw down the gauntlet and say “Prove your passion for the blues. Pre-order the new kit WITHOUT seeing it“.

Like Chelsea? Prove it to us. That’d be Chelsea who charge £87 to watch them play at Stamford Bridge in the West Upper. And the advert is jarring enough as it is, with the loathsome John Terry featuring heavily and Gary Cahill making an appearance as the plaything in some kind of Blue Meanie bukkake video.

Fact is, you’d be mental to buy a football shirt without seeing it first. The design might be awful. It might be one of those lycra shirts that clings to your non-athletic guts, choking you into misery. It might be sponsored by Nigel Farage’s face. That said, if you’re a Chelsea, no-one is that sympathetic because you’re Tim Lovejoy, and frankly, you deserve everything you get.

virgin media Virgin Media forced to drop unlimited claim

Virgin Media have been forced to drop an ad that claimed they gave ‘unlimited’ broadband after BSkyB and BT secretly teamed up and grassed them up to the ASA. Virgin Media users will know that their service isn’t exactly unlimited, and many will have found their download speeds cut by 50%.

This is bad news for Branson’s internet wing, as their whole marketing campaign is based around being faster than their rivals.

The Advertising Standards Authority received three complaints (the two from BSkyB and BT, and another from a member of the public) who said the advert was misleading consumers, saying that Virgin Media operates a “traffic management” policy that significantly cuts the internet speed of users who download a lot.

Virgin Media argued that a user would have to download 11,000Mb at peak times to have their broadband speed slowed temporarily, which wouldn’t affect 97.7% of their customers. However, ASA pointed out that consumers would invariably want to partake in “bandwidth intensive activities” thanks to Virgin’s marketing.

“In that context we considered that the restriction of reducing users’ download speeds by 50% was not moderate and that any reference to it was likely to contradict, rather than clarify, the claims that the service was ‘unlimited’,” the ASA said. “We therefore concluded that the claim ‘unlimited’ was misleading”.

The ASA banned the advertisement and told Virgin Media that they can no longer claim to be ‘unlimited’ or crow about ‘no caps’, unless they change the way they do things.

A spokeswoman for Virgin Media have come out swinging, saying: “Our customers receive unlimited, superfast broadband and, even if they’re one of the tiny minority traffic managed for a short period of time, Virgin Media customers can download more than other ‘unlimited’ services, including BT Infinity.”

“Unlike BT or Sky, all Virgin Media customers can download as much as they like, safe in the knowledge we’ll never charge them more.”

Selling cars is a tricky business. If you want to do something different to an ad with twisty mountain roads or neon cityscapes, what do you do?

Well, if you’re JWT India and Ford, and you want to sell a shipment of FordFigo cars, you create an advert that features a load of scantily-clad women tied up and gagged in the boot of Silvio Berlusconi’s car while he winks at everyone.

Berlusconi Ford 500x368 Ford advert features Berlusconi and some tied up women in the boot of a car

The tag line reads: “Leave your worries behind with Figo’s extra-large boot.”

Ford and JWT have both issued an apology and Ford have said that they didn’t approve the ads. Not surprising really as, on closer inspection, the lady in the schoolgirl outfit is crying as well. Classy, just like Sylvio’s bunga bunga parties.

Another ad features Paris Hilton with the Kardashian family being held hostage in the boot of her car. Astonishing.

Advertise your wares on a Japanese girl’s thigh

February 22nd, 2013 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

japanese thigh advert 225x300 Advertise your wares on a Japanese girls thighAdvertisers are always looking at new ways of flogging products to us gormless saps, and in Japan, the idea of marketing is being taken next level, as they promote products on the thighs of Japanese girls.

Japanese PR company Absolute Territory have started paying young women (over 18, you’ll be thrilled to hear) to wear advertising stickers on their thighs, just beneath the hem of their miniskirts and above their knee-high stockings.

And it is beyond creepy… and clearly going to work.

As of November 2012, over a thousand women applied for this odd service. Basically, the girl chooses a sticker ad and they have to agree to wear it for at least eight hours a day or more.

To prove they are actually doing this, they have to post photos of themselves wearing the stickers on their social networking sites.

And creepier still, it turns out Green Day rather liked this idea, employing Absolut Territory to promote the Japanese release of their new CD ‘!Uno!’ It would’ve been funnier if it was clap cream or something, but there you go.

We eagerly await elderly, busty landladies with adverts for Mr Porky’s pork scratchings plastered across their bosoms.


014AAA96 C183 C972 941F3897002D913A According to the ASA, cancer has never been scarier...The latest set of rulings from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) reveal that three complaints were made against Cancer Research UK following one of their recent advertising campaigns.  

For those not aware of their role, the ASA is the independent regulator for advertising across all media in the United Kingdom. They investigate complaints and then deliver a verdict which will either uphold the complaints in full/part or completely dismiss the complaint.

What was so deserving of reporting a charity to the ASA!? Well…quite a few things…

The first issue was that the letters were sent to members of the public in brown envelopes which did not contain an appropriate notice that this was marketing material. There was a small notice but the ASA decided that the wording of this was too small. The biggest gripe was that the envelopes were addressed to ”It Doesn’t Matter To Me WHO YOU ARE”.  The ASA ruled that because it was not clear on the front of the envelope that the letter was from Cancer Research UK, this was likely to be received as a threatening message.

Quite rightly the ASA also said that the issue of cancer was a distressing subject for many people but it was important that they balanced any harm from this circular against the very purpose of this campaign which was to raise awareness of cancer.

The fact that the letter itself was written as to appear to be a direct message from cancer certainly did not help alleviate the possibility of any upset that the letter was likely to cause.

EVERYONE KNOWS ME … And they know the devastation I cause … I AM CANCER … I don’t care who I hurt … WHY AM I WRITING TO YOU? I used to have everything my own way … I’M STILL HERE…

The ultimate ruling from the ASA said that the campaign in its current form was likely to cause serious distress to some members of the public and particularly those who were vulnerable and this advertisement must not be used by Cancer Research UK again in its current form.

Were you are recipient of this particular campaign? Here at BitterWallet we quite like the work of the ASA so over the next few weeks we are going to be putting together some features which focus on specific decisions by the ASA and try to work out who is the most mischievous merchant in terms of how many complaints are made and whether they were upheld or dismissed.

Scots miffed at Weetos character, ‘Big Baws’

December 17th, 2012 61 Comments By Mof Gimmers

Scottish parents aren’t happy that their children are eating Weetos, not because they’re not healthy or somesuch, but rather, there’s a character on the box called Big Baws.

Slang fans will know that ‘baws’ is a rather colourful word and now Weetos makers Weetabix have cottoned on, they’ve agreed to change it.

Weetos+ +Big+Baws 500x333 Scots miffed at Weetos character, Big Baws

One parent said: “My six-year-old started chirping on about Big Baws the other morning. I nearly fell off my seat. When I found out it was this character on the breakfast cereal box, I was very surprised. It’s not appropriate for something which is so clearly aimed at children. But it is funny.”

Another parent added: “I was getting my boys’ breakfast ready this morning and I noticed it. I nearly choked on the cereal and my wife thought I was taking the mickey.”

A spokeswoman for Weetabix said that ‘baws’ was meant to be a play on ‘boss’ (which everyone knows, is spelled ‘bawse’) and grovelled: “We now understand that this phrase might also be interpreted in a different way in Scotland and are working on amending the pack. We are sorry if this has unintentionally caused offence in any way.”

American A American Apparel ads get banned and therefore, many more viewsIn a bid to lose every single reader we have, before you start reading the news, type ‘Banned American Apparel ads’ into Google Images and see what happens.

Yep. A lot of bums and boobs, all in the name of advertising socks, scads and stockings. American Apparel are well known for using risque images to flog their wares and, of course, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) aren’t happy, banning a bunch of images and in turn, giving American Apparel much more publicity than the original ads could ever hope for.

The ASA said that it was “offensive and irresponsible” to use some of the images as they sexualised a model that looked under-16 and that these could be viewed by minors. Elsewhere, some other ads for hosiery website were deemed “unnecessarily sexual and inappropriate”, “sexually suggestive and gratuitous” and “submissive and sexually suggestive.”

Of course, American Apparel have defended themselves, saying that “it was standard practice to market hosiery, intimates or lingerie in the way done on their website” arguing that rival retailers sell similar products in a similar fashion which can also be viewed by kids.
Sections of the press aren’t happy either, with The Telegraph getting wearily aroused, saying: “One of the photographs found to breach the rules was of a woman wearing high denier tights but nothing else, bending forwards with her back to the camera. Another was of a woman wearing white tights but nothing else, curled up on a sofa, facing the camera. One of her breasts was visible.”

An ASA spokesman said: “We considered the model looked under the age of 16. We acknowledged that her poses were not overtly sexual but, because her breasts were visible through her shirt, we considered the images could be seen to sexualise a model who appeared to be a child. We concluded the images were inappropriate and irresponsible.”