“Friendship” by Guinness — Not So Friendly?

I recently came across an incredibly moving commercial on a TED blog post called “Ads Worth Spreading”. Out of the ten well-done ads featured on the TED blog, my favorite was “Friendship” for Guinness.

I loved how the ad juxtaposed stirring music to rough visuals of grown men sweating and wheels chair crashing, almost as if the viewer knows that there is more to the story than just men intensely focused on their game. The announcer does not speak until more than halfway through the ad, which builds upon the already intense emotions of the basketball game. The ad’s heartwarming message about the choices we make for friendship and brand’s values/image is seamlessly tied together by the message about one’s choices about loyalty and friends are what reveal the true nature of our character.

According to Ace Metrix, the spot was the most effective TV beer spot during the third quarter of 2013. I encourage you to check the ad out for yourself, you may experience some different emotions than I did!

Yet, with any widely talked about brand communication, there always seems to be backlash. According to AdWeek, there was some initial backlash from paraplegic activists about the commercial’s portrayal of people in wheelchairs. These activists were unhappy with what they felt the ad alienated people in wheelchairs by making them seem as though they were “lesser” men that needed other people to conform to their way of playing basketball.
So Loyola, how do you feel about this ad? I loved the commercials use of music, visuals, sound effects, voiceover, and all around heartwarming message about friendship. On the other hand, I can see the point that the unhappy activists were making about the ad’s portrayal of the man in the wheel chair as pity, rather than solidarity between bros.

Do you think the ad is making an offensive comment about people in wheelchairs? Or, like me, do you believe that the point is more about friendship and eliminating differences between friends, sports, and bonding time over beer?

References
Basketball | Ads Worth Spreading | Watch | TED. (2013, November 29). Retrieved October 24, 2014.
Heine, C. (2013, October 3). Guinness’ Wheelchair Basketball Ad Spun Circles Around Competitors in Q3. Retrieved October 24, 2014.

Potty-Mouthed Princesses Curse for Good Cause

If anyone has heard about the Fckh8 Campaign then they know that they rely heavily on curse words to get their message across. Their campaign first started as a way to protest anti-gay laws, but now it has expanded to protest anti-feminist groups. They just released a video called “F-Bombs for Feminism: Potty Mouthed Princesses Use Bad Words for Good Cause” and it’s generating a lot of buzz. In the video, there a few little girls dressed up as princesses and it quickly goes from sweet to serious. The girls start saying how they aren’t just princesses, and don’t need saving; they’re independent. They bring up issues with unequal pay and violence against women, and basically just say “what the fuck” (excuse the language) to everyone against feminism.

A lot of people are having trouble with this ad, though. Many people don’t like the way the organization is using young children to sell shirts and raise money, but personally I don’t see a problem with it. I wouldn’t go so far to call this exploitation, because if they’re so young their parents are more than likely allowing them to participate. I think this is an interesting way to advertise a cause, an important one. They are appealing to a young, hip demographic that is desperate for new ads and creativity. It’s an ad with substance, and shock value, and is getting conversations started (which is the point, after all). Some think it is “unethical” to take a cause that people care about and try to make money from it…but they aren’t doing anything that other organizations aren’t doing. When Fckh8 makes money from their shirt sales, a portion of the profits go to different organizations surrounding that cause. I say good for them for making their approach so different, and creative, and for really getting the topics discussed.

http://vimeo.com/109573972

Reference:

Vitto, L. (n.d.). Little Girls Drop F-Bombs for Feminism in New Fckh8 Ad [VIDEO].

            Mashable. Retrieved October 24, 2014, from http://mashable.com/2014/10/22

/fckh8-campaign/

The Power of Languages

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In one of the presentation in class, we learned about the CEOs of many famous brands, their reputations, charismas, contributions and more. One of the world-renown CEOs today that I stumbled upon on Facebook is ironically, the CEO and the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg. I am sure that not many of you are aware of his secret gimmick that makes him welcomed worldwide.

Mark Zuckerberg can speak Mandarin quite fluently. As most of us know, he has a Chinese Wife and I think this is one of the main reasons he acquires the Mandarin speaking skills.

In the video, he greets the crowd and says that he is happy to be here and he loves this city. He says,”My Mandarin is bad but I am willing to learn. Maybe I need more practice.” There are 3 reasons he learns Chinese. First, his wife is a Chinese and her family only speaks Mandarin and he would like to communicate with them. Second, he wants to learn about Chinese culture and he thinks that by learning languages it can help him understand cultures better. Third, he likes challenges.

Languages are powerful channels of communication. In the present world, English is the universal language, and Chinese is the most spoken language. With this newly acquired language, Zuckerberg not only can communicate with his in-laws, he can also gain some fame from the Chinese speaking countries such as China, Taiwan, and maybe Singapore and Malaysia. By speaking a common language, it reduces the distance between people of different cultures and this is why he receives great welcome in the Chinese community and greatly impressed them just by uttering a few simple Mandarin sentences.

Language is a vital tool in advertising and martketing because it relates directly to a certain culture and it speaks to a particular community. That is why we have the same ads in different languages across the world. In this case, Zuckerberg represents his brand- Facebook and he is seen as a brand, when you see Mark Zuckerberg you think of Facebook and nothing else. So, he utilizes his skill in Mandarin to venture in to a new market in China where Facebook is banned. We can see its effectiveness in the expressions of the audience and the reactions they gave when Zuckerberg shows his skill; they were astonished.

No doubt that it is important to understand the culture of a different country to better understand the perceptions of the community, it will be a plus if we acquire some skills in the language that can communicate to the specific crowd so that it will enhance the accuracy and efficiency of the message we try to get across.

References

Mark Zuckerberg speaking chinese at Tsinghua University in Beijing! (2014, October 22). Retrieved October 23, 2014.

 

Ads Getting Spookier This Time of Year

As everyone knows, Halloween is right around the corner. Holidays are not only fun for the family, but they also provide a huge market for communications. TV shows have special Halloween episodes and advertisements get a little spookier. Halloween is not only celebrated in the United States, so there is a bigger market internationally that can be sold to. The two international ads today are from Ikea and Snickers.

Singapore Ikea’s Halloween commercial is straight from the Shinning. It shows a little boy riding a bicycle through an Ikea store to creepy music. The different home scenes set up throughout the store that he passes are also scary. At the end of his ride he comes across two people dressed in blue dresses that tell him to “come pay with us Danny” is an echoing voice. The commercial takes a turn when the two people end up being his parents summoning the little boy to go to the check out line with them. Here is the ad below:

The second TV commercial is Spanish advertisement from Snickers titled “Twisted.” They follow their ongoing campaign “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” but with a little twist. Instead of being an annoying are cranky person, they show the “hungry person” as a terrifying monster. A boy is teasing a girl and the “monster” turned around and growls at them. One of the moms offers the monster a Snickers bar. It turns out the monster was actually another mom and the party. The commercial ends with another comic twist as the man watching TV growls at everyone because he is a “monster.” Someone should probably give him a Snickers as well!!! The link to watch the ad is below:

http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/snickers-gives-you-early-halloween-treat-truly-twisted-ad-160921

So what do you guys think? Do holiday ads work? Personally, I think they work very well. They encourage everyone to celebrate by using their product. With Snickers, it is obvious why they would choose to market with the Halloween theme. Come October 31st, every kid will have at least twenty fun-sized Snickers bars in his or her basket.  But why Ikea? Do they have a reason to spend money on an ad other than to celebrate the holiday? Is it a good way to spend their money?

 

Gianatasio, D. (2014, October 22). Ikea’s Parody of The Shining Is Devilishly Good. Retrieved October 22, 2014.

Nudd, T. (2014, October 22). Snickers Gives You an Early Halloween Treat With This Truly Twisted Ad. Retrieved October 23, 2014.

CallSnap – A Fun Way To Decline Calls

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Ok you have a phone that can predict what you want to say, but what about when you’re on a call or doing something where you are unable to pick up the phone? Of course it is usually at that moment when your phone starts ringing. As of now we have the option of declining the call and responding via a text message if we want, but what if we could take a quick picture showing exactly why we could not answer at that moment? Not only would it be fun, but it would also be pretty helpful. Well that is what the smartphone application “CallSnap” does. It is a free app available for androids right now, and they are working to extend it to iPhone users as well.

CallSnap is very easy to use, and is an innovative program. There is currently no other application like it. After you download it you will notice a new icon on your answer screen the next time your phone rings. When someone calls and you can not answer it all you have to do is swipe the icon which will then open up a camera interface. Take a picture, whether it is a selfie or a picture of what you are looking at, and CallSnap will automatically send the picture as a text message to the person who is attempting to reach you, showing them why you are not available to talk on the phone at that exact moment.

Another option allows you to swipe a microphone icon over so that you can record a quick voice memo stating why you are not able to answer the call.
CallSnap also has a feature that allows you to chose a “Hold-On” or “Got-Call” option. So if you are in a meeting or maybe even a class, and your phone rings but you need a few moments to step out of the room you can swipe the “Hold-On” option. Your incoming call will then be answered and the app will let your caller know that you will be with them in a few moments. It’s like having a personal receptionist answer your calls.

Occasionally we all get that friend or family member who consistently calls non-stop no matter how many times you push decline. Then they also text until they get some sort of response from you. So CallSnap created a “Got-Call” option which lets your caller know that yes you received their call but you are in the middle of _____. You are able to fill in the blank or record your own memo. From there the app sets a reminder for you to call them back at whatever time you chose.

So lets say you were at a baseball game and your friend calls you right when the bases are all loaded. You most likely do not want to pick up the call at that moment. So just take a photo with CallSnap and it will tell the caller that you are at the game. Now of course CallSnap is not meant for every situation out there, but for the times when it is appropriate the app is really great. Right now you can download the app from the google play store for free.

I think this is an interesting concept and can definitely be useful for the right targeted audience. I think the company could get more viewers and customers if they had more promotions going. I think their commercials are pretty decent but there a few that could use some improvements like a better voice over etc. I also think the company should do some analytical research to see what the demand for a product like this is. Does anyone really want this? Is there a need for it? Is it user friendly enough or is it more of a hassle to have? I feel that they need to show “why” people should care about this app better.

I personally like the option of being able to send a voice memo of why I can’t take a call, but my favorite part was being able to place people on hold and play music because I always seem to find myself receiving an important call and I usually am not able to get out of the room quick enough to answer it. Or I’ll answer and say “hold on one sec” and then go to step out of class or wherever I am and the person hears the background noises and thinks I forgot about the call as I’m walking out, and then they hang up right when I get to where I can talk which can be frustrating especially when you are dealing with an important situation or business etc. So the “Hold-on” option would be my biggest reason to download this app once they make it available for iPhones.

References:

CallSnap Commercial. (2013, May 13). Retrieved October 23, 2014, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6IV33jRVLo

CallSnap Commercial. (2014, January 17). Retrieved October 23, 2014, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vHBUh073go

HOLD-ON! and GOT-CALL. (2013, March 5). Retrieved October 23, 2014, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WtEJT8pb6y8

The New Landscape of Advertising

This article opens up with some very interesting observations about the ways that commonly used technologies have evolved throughout the years. It caused me to realize that a lot of our technological terminology has become outdated. The author of the article provides some thought provoking examples of that, like the smartphone. It is pointed out that although it is viewed as a type of a phone, the phone app on the smartphone is not even one of the most commonly used apps on the device. Also, technology has evolved to the point where we would say that we are watching TV or listening to the radio, but in actuality, we are doing neither of those things. We are probably watching a made for television series or listening to a broadcast on our television or laptop. The point of all of those observations is to illustrate that as our methods of media consumption evolve, so must our methods of advertising.
The author explains that this is on the verge of happening, and goes on to explain a few attributes that the new TV advertising landscape will include, two of which I found very interesting. The first attribute that she covers is audience buying. Audience buying means that rather than buying shows and channels for advertising, we can now buy specific demographics that we want to advertise to, making the ads significantly more effective.
Other attributes that we could see in the new TV advertising landscape is flow media. Flow media means that advertising campaigns can come together seamlessly through multiple forms of media. For example, with flow advertising, a single campaign could integrate TV, mobile, desktop and tablet forms of media. This would give advertisers a lot more opportunities to effectively reach people through any form of media.
Personally, I am not at all surprised by how the new TV advertising landscape is taking shape. I like the fact that advertising is evolving alongside the forms of digital media. As someone in an advertising related field, these new developments are exciting to me. However, if I did not have any special connection to advertising I think that I would either not care about these new developments or that I would really find them annoying. What do you think? Do you think that the advancement of the way we advertise is a good thing or an annoyance? Or are you just indifferent?

References
– Goodwin, T. (2014, October 20). TV Advertising Is About to Change Forever. Retrieved October 23, 2014, from http://adage.com/article/digitalnext/tv-advertising-change-forever/295465/

The DMX Robot

Tribal New York is known for their innovative digital work and mobile apps. Recently Tribal New York partnered with the Consumer Healthcare Products associate to tackle a need for awareness on the growing abuse by teens of the drug DMX. DMX is most commonly found in over the counter cough medicines, and is most frequently abused by teens ages 14-19. The app targets teens in this age group who know about the abuse of this drug, or are in interaction with people who use it.

The digital campaign and mobile app that Tribal New York created to raise awareness on this important issue basically simulates for application users, the effects of what it is like to be under the influence of DMX. This is accomplished through taking a robot through a series of everyday task and seeing what happens. The results are quite shocking, and definitely a wake up call for those thinking of using the drug, or those who know people using the drug. It is a highly effective call to action for teens in these situations to seek help for those in need, or to stay away from such a harmful substance.

This is one of the most effective campaigns to combat substance abuse in quite some time. It does not use scare tactics, and it does not call upon the personal accounts of others. It simply lets the user experience the horrible effects of DMX, and learn how it can ruin one’s life in a very real and private way. It is also extremely effective, because this is the best way to reach the target market. Teens these days are glued to their phones—constantly using applications and playing games. Tribal clearly understands that if you want to reach this target market, you have to do it in a digital way. The technology is impressive to people of this age which gives the campaign extra credibility.

It is a very effective way to spread the word on the harmful effects of DMX, and surely other brands could benefit from awareness and PSAs executed in this fashion. What are some other brands or causes you believe might fit into this model? Would an app like this be effective in educating/changing your opinion on a topic such as this?

Van Gurp, M. (2014, October 13). Experience the effects of abusing DMX without trying it yourself. Retrieved October 23, 2014, from http://osocio.org/message/experience_the_effects_of_abusing_dxm_without_trying_it_yourself/