An Apple Holiday

Apple’s holiday ad released over the weekend, “The Song” has already been viewed and scrutinized by the public.  The video, both dynamically shot and creatively thought through will appeal to the viewer’s emotions without a doubt.

Apple has become a leader in the industry and with last year’s holiday commercial, the public had high expectations for the company’s clip.  The idea for the commercial was simple, as it combined generations together with the use of technology.  It was tasteful; Apple did not overload their product throughout the clip.  In fact, they only showed an Apple product once in the 90 seconds that it took to play out.  Instead, they focused their energy on the storyline and the story behind the product.  The choice in placing the emphasis less on the product and more on the plotline promotes Apple’s people-oriented lifestyle and dedication to their customers, which is interesting considering the overall customer satisfaction has greatly decreased as of late.

Placing a commercial out without heavily promoting a product can be risky because the intended message, to shop with said company, is not always reached to the audience.  I really like this advertisement however, as it serves as more of a holiday greeting than promotional ad.  Because Apple is such a powerhouse company, the average consumer is aware with not only the brand name, but the products that it supplies.  This makes it possible for the company to advertise in this way.  Simply telling their audience “Happy Holidays” does not necessarily promote a product, but encourages the viewer to believe that they are cared for by Apple.  This creates a brand identity that consumers gravitate towards.

I think the advertisement is great.  I think it appeals to all generations and is done so in a tasteful and professional way that would be expected from Apple followers.  It really proves that words and flashy products are not necessary to make a successful advertisement.  Do you agree?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WRsPnzcZ1VY&feature=player_embedded

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The Interview: Comedy or Act of War?

Seth Rogan and Sony Pictures have pushed the envelope when it comes to film production, as their latest movie to be released will not only depict the assassination of a world leader, but will center its theme around an actual leader, Kim Jong-un of North Korea.

Never before has this sort of geopolitical action been taken in the film industry, and Sony executives realized this risk going into production; as the leader of North Korea is alive and well.  Turns out the leader does not share the same comedic taste as Seth Rogan and other producers, as he not only disapproves, but has labeled the film “an act of war” and branded some of those involved with its production as terrorists.

The $40 million film that will be released on Christmas day has stirred up emotions between the nuclear-armed country and those it surrounds as well as the United States.  Sony’s Japanese chief executive has intervened with production of the film in efforts to relieve some of the tensions built up over the matter.  Executives urge producers to scale back the violence in scenes where the ruler is assassinated in emails sent back and forth between them and the producers.  Sony has already been attacked and after being hacked, much of their confidential information has been released.  Though there is speculation as to who did the hacking, there is no real evidence supporting these suspicions.

While poking fun at another country or political system entertains the public, Sony may have gone too far with this film, as it directly involves an unpredictable real life ruler who is upset and has promised disciplinary action against them.  What was supposed to be a cutting edge and innovative production has become a point of conflict, before it has even been released.  Though the intent for sure was to provide incentive to watch the film, Rogan and Sony Pictures may have overstepped their boundaries, as the film may possibly affect Japanese negotiations with North Korea and has absolutely angered a powerful ruler.  However, the hype has definitely spread the word about the production and I’m interested to see the unfolding of events as the film gets released.

Kittens in Uber, and I Missed Out

Uber delivered kittens. KITTENS.  They delivered kittens to anyone who ordered them for a playdate.  I didn’t hear about it, and I’m kind of upset.  Now I know some of you already knew about this, and maybe I live under a rock.  But if I do, a decent amount of my friends both cat-loving and cat-hating must do the same because they were not aware of this event either.

On National Cat Day, (because apparently that’s a thing) seven cities across the United States delivered kittens to anyone’s doorstep who ordered them.  For $30, anyone could order a playdate with a cat via Uber, and an Uber would bring you a cat for a fifteen minute play date.

Here’s the kicker, ALL the proceeds from the playdates went towards the local animal shelter that these kittens came from.  All the animals were up for adoption at from one of Chicago’s many adoption centers, and these playdates allowed for the kittens to be free of their cages for a period of time and greatly exposed them to the community.  The entire program was really a wonderful and forward-thinking idea, so why didn’t I hear about it?

I have the Uber app on my phone.  It is linked to my email and while I don’t follow Uber or any major animal shelters on social media, I use Uber frequently and donate to PAWS, one of the largest animal shelters in Chicago.  This is the second year that Uber and the ASPCA have teamed up to bring kittens to peoples’ doorsteps, and I really think that the potential outcome for the campaign could be huge.  When looking at successful ad campaigns, most have advertising for the event that is just as heavy as a build up to the event as the actual event itself.  Because the campaign is most likely directed at people in our demographic, the use of social media alone is crucial for the success of the campaign.  I think the event could have gone viral so easily.  I hope they do this again, and I hope they implement a better strategy next time, so even more people are aware of it.

John Lewis Steps Up Holiday Ad Game

Christmas comes early in the advertising world, sometimes before we even get our first frost.  November 1st brings a host of Christmas advertisements in stores, online and in print.  Before the customer has even thought about the holidays, they are bombarded with red, green and flashing lights pushing them towards festive shopping and holiday spirit.

John Lewis, an upscale department store in Great Britain has done the same in releasing its first holiday commercial, though they differ from typical holiday ads.  Instead of typical in-your-face ads flashing their holiday deals, John Lewis annually creates a story advertisement selling the holiday and the theme they create.  Though not directly including the company’s deals and promotions, it is clear to everyone who knows John Lewis that the ad is from them.

This year, they’ve created a story about a boy and his friend penguin, Monty.  The story is heartwarming and fitting with the holiday atmosphere, and represents the start of holiday shopping at John Lewis.  Plush versions of Monty have been created to sell specially as holiday gifts, just as characters from previous years’ ads have been recreated for profit.  They’ve even written a children’s book about the story, which will be sold specially at John Lewis stores.  They’ve essentially created a Christmas product which is appealing to young children, and available only at their stores.

The focus on the story and atmosphere rather than the selling of product is meant to create an atmosphere different from the rushed and cut-throat holiday industry everywhere else.  Their unique product ensures a profit from the ad.  Does this make the ad more effective than the others?  Does it truly convince the public to do their holiday shopping with them?

One Size Fits Most? Ok.

One size fits most is the motto Brandy Melville clothing has adopted, their one size being a small.  The retail store originating from Europe has made its way overseas, and has multiple locations in the United States.  Their unique and controversial branding has caused a major stir among the public.

Founded by Silvio Marsan and his son, the company gained popularity quickly in the states.  With prices comparable to brands like American Eagle or Forever 21, Brandy Melville stands as a strong competitor to teen based companies.  However, unlike other companies who cater to smaller sized women, Brandy Melville carries no large sizes, and very few mediums.  With sizes that fit no one above a size two, the brand advertises an image that goes above and beyond other brands that promote thin lifestyles.  Unlike Abercrombie & Fitch, who despite being criticized for advertising thin customers still carries sizes up to a 14, Brandy Melville does not give the option for many to buy their clothes.

They advertise a very specific demographic, with Instagram pictures consisting completely of leggy white girls without any sign of fat on their bodies.  They emphasize the thigh gap and mid drifts revealing washboard abs, yet insist that there is something for everyone in the store.  If they clothes don’t fit, there are always accessories that customers can purchase.brandy

What are the ethical dilemmas regarding this choice of brand advertising?  Is blatant exclusivity acceptable in the fashion industry?

First off, the creators of the brand are men.  How hypocritical is that?  Whether or not it was intended, creating clothing that only fits a size small and advertising them with a very narrow demographic suggests that the owners only accept certain body images.  This is detrimental to the public who on average, are a much bigger size than a zero or two.  They feel pressured to conform to the company’s norm, or they shun the product completely.  The exclusivity in the ads suggest that people who don’t fit into those sizes are outcasts, and this says a lot about the brand’s mission.  Do we want to endorse a product that believes in the exclusion of others? Maybe, I guess it’s up to you.

New York Activist Stirs Up Negative Feelings With New Advertisements

The American Freedom Defense Initiative (AMDI) has funded one of its members, blogger and activist Pamela Geller, to create an AD campaign to support the United States in its fight against ISIS; or so they claim.  The Ads are set to be displayed on 29 September on 100 MTA buses in New York and hardly show support for the US and their troops.  Instead, the ads consist of anti-Islamic slurs and incorporate the faces of James Foley and Adolf Hitler in them.  One reads, “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man”.

anti-muslim ad

The problem with these specific ads, is that they targets the Muslim community as a whole which has already seen a rise in hate crimes against them by 143% since last year according to NYPD’s hate crimes task force.  Despite backlash from the MTA bus system, the courts have ruled that Geller’s advertisements were a protected right under the First Amendment Rights and they cannot bar her advertisements from their buses because of the content if she has the funds to display them.  Because the MTA revised some of their advertising standards, their safety and security director was able to reject some of the proposed advertisements for fear of public endangerment, though the rest will still run. Critics of the advertisements claim that they are racist and discriminatory, and do not benefit the community in any political way.

The tactics used in these ads seem to be fear and hate based, comparing their target to Hitler and using pictures of the now deceased journalist James Foley to sell their point.  Personally I think that the use of these advertisements are hateful and do not positively influence the public in any way.  Whether intentional or not, the ads are worded in a way that is offensive towards all Muslims, and does not make a clear point.  Upon reading these ads I did not feel as though they targeted ISIS, and I did not think they put the AMDI in a positive light.  The way you market and advertise yourself to others through promotions and sponsorships helps to determine the way your organization is perceived.  I think these ads are detrimental to the organization’s image.

What do you think?  Is it ethical to advertise your own personal beliefs if you can afford it?  Do you think these ads are appropriate?  How do you think these ads are affecting the AMDI’s  image?

Celebrities in Advertising

Matthew McConaughey stars in latest Lincoln commercial.  The advertisement displays the actor driving the newest model alone, and capitalizes on his words to convey the message.  That is, that Lincoln is not only a sophisticated luxury brand, but also carefree and versatile.  The use of a top list celebrity is to bring a sense of luxury, while his matter of fact tone creates an easiness in efforts to make the car more relatable to the average person.

In this case, McConaughey endorses the product not because of the cost, but because of the function.  He was paid for the advertisement, so this affects the credibility of his statements.  One would hope that the products that celebrities endorse are those that they actually support, but as a present day consumer that is one assumption that cannot be made.  Using a celebrity to promote a product is both genius on the marketers’ part, and ridiculous on the consumer’s end.

Celebrities attract the average consumer to products and ideas that they may not normally endorse.  Like loyal brand customers, there are loyal celebrity followers that through social media and other sites, promote the actions of said celebrities.  Those who follow McConaughey will have be greater impacted by the advertisement, however, because he has a household name, his ad will reach more people.

That being said, we live in a society that disproportionally idolizes celebrities and their actions. Those impacted by the ad will most likely be impacted because of the star who participated in it, rather than the actual functions of the car.  This is ultimately detrimental to the consumers because they are exposed to products and information that they may not actually want or need.

What do you think?  Is using a celebrity a good idea for advertisers?  Is it unfair to use them to represent products solely for profit?