Posts Tagged ‘advertising’

You know how it is. You’re an eager young upstart graduate looking to make your mark in the cut throat world of marketing and advertising. Marketing 101 tells you to use current events as a hook to make your marketing materials more appealing. What Marketing 101 does not tell you, however, is that some things are just not suitable to be shoe horned into a marketing email. Like a man’s untimely death…

Unfortunately that is exactly what some bright spark at an airport parking company in the US did (no, we’re not going to name them and reward insensitivity with increased exposure), by emailing customers suggesting that the stress of checking in might have killed the man, in Chicago. The company, which operates at more than 85 airports in the US and Canada, sent out an email on Monday headed “Can on-airport parking kill?” and offered potential croakers parkers a cheery $5 off voucher, joking: “Don’t be late and end up in a crate.” Hilarious.

The marketing email stopped short of claiming that using their service could have prevented the death but did ponder whether the stress of the airport experience had killed the unidentified man “There could be many reasons for the cause of this man’s death, but based on the story one possible reason could be stress. The process of arriving to the airport, getting through security, and boarding the plane can be very stressful.”

airport parking 3048610c Airport parking firm use mans death in marketing email

Unsurprisingly, email recipients were less than impressed with the email, and the company was forced to apologise for causing “frustration and grief”, describing the email as an “unfortunate event”. Not as unfortunate as the poor man they thoughtlessly used though, eh?

“We would like to sincerely apologise for the last marketing email sent that has caused frustration and grief for our customers. We strive to provide our customers with the utmost service and respect; however, we fell short on this commitment,” the company said.

“There is no excuse for the topic of the recent email sent to our customers, and we can only extend our deepest apologies to those disrespected by it.

“We have ensured that any marketing or communication sent from our company will not contain any sensitive or offensive content of that nature. We appreciate your continued business with us and apologize once again for this unfortunate event.”

M&S go all ponce on new food advert

September 2nd, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

Marks & Spencer have launched a new TV advertising campaign for its food.

The ‘Adventures in Imagination’ (which, if it involved the Body Talk hitmakers, would be even more amazing) slightly harks back to their soft-porny ‘Not Just Any…’ series of ads, with erotic cutting and gooey centres oozing just so.

Gnnnggg.

M&S has said that the ad is to “tease the nation’s increasingly discerning taste buds” and highlights the most in-demand food trends featured in the retailer’s autumn 2014 range, such as lush looking patisserie loveliness, top quality cuts, runny Scotch eggs and showcases the Kouign-amann, a traditional Breton cake that is a cross between a croissant and a brioche.

It’s also a rare opportunity to hear that most-streamed-song-of-the-year Clean Bandit number.

The unnecessarily lengthily titled M&S executive director of marketing and international Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne said: “Over the last decade, consumers’ culinary tastes have become more adventurous and Britain’s love affair with food has really ignited.”

“Our new campaign reflects this shift and uses a different language to the price-focused supermarkets. It brings to life the hundreds of new ideas we have in our food halls every month by showcasing the sensual and surprising aspects of food – like its textures and movement – in a modern, stylish and precision format.”

‘A different language’ – nice bit of shade there.

2007 mad men 005 200x300 Virgin media ad banned for ‘misleading’ customers over potential savingsWe all know advertising is supposed to make you want to buy stuff, but we have a reasonable expectation that the adverts we are subjected to are not a bunch of outright lies. That’s what the Advertising Standards Agency is there for,right?

However, just because businesses can’t lie, doesn’t mean they aren’t found guilty of stretching the truth a little bit. Strictly speaking, you might consider it lying but the ASA calls it ‘misleading’. A new ruling from the ASA has just banned  a Virgin Media advert claiming that Sky customers could save over £400 a year by switching, when chances are, they actually couldn’t.

A regional press ad for Virgin Media Ltd compared Sky’s ‘The Family Bundle’ with Virgin Media’s ‘Premiere Collection’.  The ‘receipts’ shown in the advert listed the features and monthly total price of the respective packages. Sky’s Family Bundle was priced at £103.65 and Virgin Media’s Premier Collection at £67.99. The advert stated an “Annual saving with Virgin Media £427.92″.

The problem was not, actually, with the facts- while Virgin had handily included the cost of BT Sport, which is actually paid to BT rather than Sky- Virgin maintained that 100% of Sky customers who took the exact combination of services set out would achieve the claimed saving. Nor was this disputed by the ASA. Virgin also claimed that the trifling detail of the exact amount of consumers holding this particular combination of services did not affect the comparison being made or a consumer’s understanding of the price saving.

However, on this point the ASA disagreed, given that fewer than 0.1% of Sky customers did have those services, and could therefore possibly save over £400. The ASA noted that the ad was phrased conditionally, and that Virgin Media did not claim that all customers would save over £400, however the ASA felt that “it was necessary for a reasonable proportion of consumers to achieve the claimed saving,” adding that “using the comparison in this example, only a relatively small proportion of Sky customers would save to the degree claimed. “

As a result that advert was banned on the grounds of misleading by exaggeration. Moral of the story- don’t believe everything you read in the papers and do your own research when comparing costs of broadband and television services.

pg tips tea bag1 287x300 Pyramid bags are officially better than round ones, says ASA Tea aficionados have argued the toss about different shaped tea bags since the dawn of time (well, ok, that’s not exactly true).

But hotheaded tea drinking chimps everywhere are now going to have to concede that PG Tips pyramid bags DO let out more flavour than Tetley’s round ones.

Tetley were furious when Johnny Vegas and that godforsaken monkey appeared to trash their round teabags in a recent advert. They sit at the kitchen table and do a test to see which teabags are best, with Monkey concluding that:

‘PG Tips uses pyramid bags, so if we test one against a regular tea bag … you’ll see the tea has got more room to move, freeing the great fresh taste for a perfect cuppa.’

Tetley said that although they weren’t mentioned in the ad, it was obvious that as they are purveyors of round teabags, they were being targeted and ‘denigrated’ by a knitted primate.

BUT the Advertising Standards Authority upheld PG Tips claims, and enraged the Tetley teafolk by saying that pyramid bags WERE better, and that their round ones basically suck.

‘Unilever provided test results which showed that the infusion of tea, at 40 seconds and two minutes into brewing, was greater when using a pyramid teabag than when using a round teabag. We therefore concluded that the ad did not exaggerate the capability and performance of the advertised product and was not misleading.’

FIGHT!

Bitterwallet Facebook censorship Facebook will soon open advertising hellmouth From ’10 Great Tips to Reduce Belly Fat’ to irritating photos of Fitflops and exotic holidays, Facebook ads rank highly on everyone’s s***list.

So you may be interested to learn that Facebook is changing the way it tracks and shows ads. ‘Hurray!’ you cry, ‘No more crappy ads!’ Well, er, not quite. Because the two changes that they’re introducing appear to contradict each other completely.

The first new feature is quite useful. Firstly when you get an ad in your feed, you’ll see a blue arrow at the bottom. If you click on the arrow you’ll see a menu with a tab called ‘Why are you seeing this?’ It allows you to understand the Facebook tracking process – for example, maybe you ‘liked’ a page about sinks in 2008 and now you’re always seeing ads for sinks, etc.

You can then adjust your settings to opt out of ads for sinks by removing sinks from your list of interests.

So far, so good. But you’re not going to like the next new addition at all. Facebook said yesterday that they are going to do a Google on you and start tracking your web and app activity, then show you tailored ads.

If that makes you feel paranoid and itchy, you can opt out by adjusting the tracking settings on iOS and Android. However, Facebook might not be that interested in telling you about that, and annoyingly, they have said they will not be honouring the ‘do not track’ option, meaning you might get ads anyway. Hmm, wouldn’t want their users personal privacy to get in the way of a nice revenue stream, eh?

So the upshot of all this is that Facebook is about to get approximately one million times more annoying, but don’t worry – there’s a little blue arrow that you can constantly press to get rid of ads.

GREAT!

firefox 300x288 Mozilla: Killing off advertisements... for nowOnce upon a time, Mozilla’s Firefox was the browser for the indie kid. Lately, it has all been going a bit wrong, with OKCupid boycotting them and then people getting narky about the introduction of adverts.

We previously reported Mozilla’s plans for ‘Directory Tiles’, which would offer “pre-packaged content for first-time users.” Some of the suggested content would appear in paid-for advertisements.

That didn’t go down too well and now, Mozilla have said that they’re abandoning the idea altogether. Kinda.

Mozilla honcho Jonathan Nightingale says; “A lot of our community found the language hard to decipher [re: Directory Tiles], and worried that we were going to turn Firefox into a mess of logos sold to the highest bidder; without user control, without user benefit.”

“That’s not going to happen. That’s not who we are at Mozilla.”

They obviously want to make some money though. So now, Mozilla will “experiment” with “tests on our pre-release channels to see whether we can make things like the new tab page more useful, particularly for fresh installs of Firefox, where we don’t yet have any recommendations to make from your history.”

These experiments will now deliver links to “a mix of our own sites and other useful sites on the Web” and won’t involve people bidding for placement, yet.

“Sponsorship would be the next stage once we are confident that we can deliver user value. We’ll experiment on Firefox across platforms, and we’ll talk about what we learn before anything ships to our release users,” concludes Nightingale. “And we’ll keep listening for feedback and suggestions to make this work better for you. Because that’s who we are at Mozilla.”

Everline is Wonga under a different guise

May 12th, 2014 No Comments By Lucy Sweet

If you live in London, you might have seen some nice ads on the tube for a quickie loan company called Everline. Their clean design and helpful, understanding text is very appealing, offering to give a hand to people who are just struggling a bit with cash flow – like small business owners, or the self employed. Maybe you should phone them, because they seem like a fairly decent bunch.

everline 300x187 Everline is Wonga under a different guise

BUT WAIT! It’s only bloody Wonga, in Guardian broadsheet fancy dress. And of course, Everline don’t want you to know they’ve got anything to do with that so-called ‘toxic brand’, so there’s no mention of Wonga either on the ads, or the website. Unless you scroll right down to the teeny weeny print at the bottom, where there’s a cryptic acronym ‘WDFC’, which stands for… ‘Wonga Digital Finance Company.’

Everline came to the attention of investigative journalist Willard Foxton, who decided to dig a bit deeper and found the connection – and also found that their MD wanted to ‘differentiate the two brands’. YA THINK?

MP Stella Creasy has called Everline’s ad campaign and enigmatic branding ‘like putting lipstick on a pig’, but even so, there are plenty of satisfied customers – just like Wonga – who borrow and repay their short term loans without running up huge debts.

But to be on the safe side, if you’re a small business in a cash flow crisis, don’t be taken in by the ad. Their APR is 180%, so if anything goes wrong, you could soon find that your small business will be selling your own kidneys from the back of a Transit van…

M&S insists that clothing sales are up

April 10th, 2014 No Comments By Lucy Sweet

M&S have been in the wars of late, reporting wishy washy figures and falling sales over 11 consecutive quarters. Are other stores just doing it all better – or cheaper?

MS campaign 300x300 M&S insists that clothing sales are up

Whatever is wrong, they’ve reported that like for like sales fell by 0.6% in general merchandise over the last quarter, blaming heavy discounting over the last six months.

BUT, they’re also keen to point out that there’s a silver lining. Despite nobody knowing who those people are on the adverts, apart from that woman who may or may not be Annie Lennox, and a heavily airbrushed Emma Thompson who looks a bit like a bloke, M&S clothing sales are up by 0.6%.

M&S don’t normally separate their clothing figures from their general merchandise, so you could deduce that they’re desperately clutching at straws.

Still, they have to find a way to justify their million pound ad campaign and design overhaul somehow.

But there are other positives, too. Even though the British public seems to have gone cold on Marks and Spencer, internationally their rep is glowing, with overseas sales up 4.7%. And online sales aren’t too shoddy either – rising by a very healthy and un-Twiggy like 12%.

CEO Marc Bolland, waving his hands about and yelling ‘look over here!’ said that womenswear was showing ‘clear signs of improvement.’

Still, whatever you do, don’t mention the word ‘Next.’

Wonga ad banned for glossing over 5,853% APR

April 9th, 2014 No Comments By Lucy Sweet

Wonga is in hot water again, this time for an ad that claimed that their flabberghastingly high APR of 5853% wasn’t really that important and you should just forget about it – la la la.

wonga ladies 300x282 Wonga ad banned for glossing over 5,853% APR

The rubbery puppets of doom are shown ‘simplifying’ the terms of Wonga loans, thus: ‘Right, we’re going to explain the costs of a Wonga short-term loan. Some people think they will pay thousands of per cent of interest. They won’t of course – that’s just the way annual rates are calculated. Say you borrowed £150 for 18 days, it would cost you £33.49.’

BUT, 31 people complained to the ASA, saying that they were misleading customers with a confusing message which encouraged them to disregard their insane interest rates.

Wonga said that they were only trying to give a transparent example of a typical Wonga loan but they regretted confusing customers.

However, the ASA said they understood that APR did not apply for the time period for a short term loan, but banned it anyway, because it irresponsibly encouraged people to take out loans without considering the APR. They said:

‘We considered that, though it attempted to clarify the costs associated with a Wonga loan, the ad created confusion as to the rates that would apply. On that basis, we concluded that the ad was misleading.’

Maybe if Wonga are looking for an example of a representative loan, they could show the puppets struggling to make ends meet and turning to rubbery prostitution to pay it back?

We all know that alcohol creates a very specific kind of self confidence. The kind of self confidence that makes you pull your pants down, draw two ‘W’s on your butt cheeks, and flash your bumhole to people on a motorway bridge.

WKD Blue WKD ads banned on Facebook for promoting fun effects of alcohol

But the ASA has banned WKD’s Facebook ads for linking alcohol with self confidence with their so called ‘Wicked 8-ball predictions’ – which stated ‘You will refuse to do karaoke- at first.’ In their ‘About’ section they also said: ‘Where there’s good times, there’s WKD. We’re all about getting together with the best people and enjoying yourself – especially at the weekend. Like us and get involved.’

The Young Alcohol Council are angry that the company behind the disgusting blue elixir implied that alcohol is capable of altering mood and that the presence of booze was the key to having a good time with your friends. (Which of course, it is – they’re always a bunch of boring bastards when they’re sober).

Beverage Brands UK Ltd., who own WKD, said they hadn’t breached Facebook’s guidelines, but that it would remove certain posts. The ASA acknowleged that no alcohol was shown being consumed, but that their mascot – an idiot in a hat called ‘Head of WKD Weekends’ – implied that a successful weekend could only be achieved with the addition of WKD.

Of course, we all know that’s not true. It can only be achieved with the addition of beer, vodka and a nice crisp white wine. Oh, and drugs.

Cupcake dispensing ATMs, everyone

March 28th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

People who occasionally eat cupcakes are fine, but those cupcake fetishists are the scourge of the Earth. There is no-one more irritating than someone who dribbles on about cupcakes. These people probably share nothing but cat photos online and have a Pinterest dedicated solely to their wedding, which will never happen.

These wretched swine in polka dots who go to swing classes and have Nyan Cat wallpapers on their phones, are ruining it for everyone.

And now, over in New York, there’s a bloody ATM that dispenses cupcakes for those of you who are unable to walk into a shop and buy some.

This CakeTM is something to do with Sprinkles Bakery in NYC and when this thing appeared on the street, it “remained at a consistent 12-15 customers deep throughout the entire day as customers waited to punch in their orders on a touchscreen and watch a mechanical arm snag their delicious dessert treats,” according to a report.

Bring back national service.

Crocodile marketing scares everyone witless

March 3rd, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

National Geographic have done an advert of a 3D crocodile which is making people poo their pants with terror.

Of course, it is one of those optical illusions that looks rubbish from certain angles. However, when you’re going down an escalator in Brazil and it is at the optimum viewpoint, there’s a very real chance that you could do a small about of wee.

crocodile 322x500 Crocodile marketing scares everyone witless

The ad, shamelessly swiped off Reddit (thanks SAT0725), is a marketing ploy for ‘Mundo Salvagem de Richard Rasmussen’ (which means, roughly, ‘are you ready for adventure in the Brazilian forests? Wild world with Richard Rasmussen’).

You have to say, as marketing goes, this is frighteningly good. Until some old person keels over and dies of a heart attack.

Advertising: Now with interactive hair

February 28th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

Following on from British Airways’ planespotting ad, it seems like interactive is now quite the thing for advertising and consumer brand engagement.

The pharmacy brand Apotek have fitted out subway adverts in Stockholm with ultra-sonic sensors that react to when a train is arriving or departing the station.

The ads feature a lady with nice hair that swishes about in reaction to the trains.

Apotek Hjärtat – Blowing in The Wind from Ourwork on Vimeo.

Fancy that!

‘Sexy’ e-cig ad makes 1,156 people gag

February 26th, 2014 4 Comments By Lucy Sweet

Another day, another dodgy advert that treats women like sex dolls, this time for VIP e-cigarettes. E-cig advertising is controversial anyway, without making an ad featuring a quite angry looking and aroused woman saying ‘I want to see it. Feel it, hold it. Put it in my mouth.’ HAHA, she’s talking about e-cigarettes, but it’s hilarious because you – yes, you, the saddo on the sofa with the joggies that smell of rotten vegetables – you think she’s talking about your knob!

The classy folks at VIP did a male version (for, you know, balance) with him very helpfully asking: ‘Do you want to see it? I can get it out if you’d like. You can feel it hold it, put it in your mouth and see how great it tastes.’

THEN, the piece de resistance of awfulness was the tagline – ‘if you wanna vape, then vape with VIP’. Geddit? We’re assuming ‘vape’ refers to ‘vapours’ but hey, ‘Vape’ also rhymes with RAPE. HAHA, clever, eh? Someone find that copywriter and give him (let’s hope it’s a him) a huge congratulatory kick in the balls for that one.

Anyway, there have been 1,159 completely justified complaints to the ASA due to the overtly sexualized nature of the ad, which was broadcast in the ad breaks between ‘I’m A Celebrity’ last year.

Clearcast originally cleared the ad to appear after the 9pm watershed, and said that they didn’t think it was demeaning or sexist, it was just suggestive. While the ASA haven’t banned it outright, it can only be broadcast after 11pm.

How about just throwing it in a landfill with all the e-cigarettes?

Angry Beavers ad ban

February 19th, 2014 1 Comment By Lucy Sweet

While nobody would have particularly high hopes for a strip club called ‘Beavers’, there have to be some standards, or society will just fall apart in an avalanche of G-strings, Monster energy drinks and legal highs.
beaver Angry Beavers ad ban

So it’s lucky for the morals of our nation that the Advertising Standards Authority has stepped in to ban an advert that Beavers ran in that most prestigious of er, organs, The Watford Observer.

The ad featured a standard stripper bum with the strapline: ‘Sorry baby, the car broke down.’ Thus hinting that men were stopping off there for a dirty lapdance while the old ball and chain sat fuming at home over a baking tray full of burnt chicken dippers.

The ASA ruled that the text was ‘demeaning to women’ and was likely to cause serious and widespread offence.

The decision to make a stripper’s bum take up a third of the ad was also deemed to be ‘irreponsible’ and Beavers was warned not to use filthy pics and hideous Jim Davidson style sexist headlines in a family newspaper.

Ah, if only the ASA had to the power to tell that to The Sun…