Lego Empowers Girls

Lego recently released an advertisement that attempted to empower girls. Often Lego is associated with boys and building cars, trucks, or other “male” toys. Emerging companies are beginning to rival Lego’s idea of building blocks so they needed to come up with a counter advertisement. This one outlines the life of a strong girl who defends her decisions and uses Lego to explore her imagination. There is no gender specified Lego product, so they continue to aim their ads at young girls as well as young boys. Nerf guns are also doing the same thing, however they call their guns and arrows the Rebelle brand which is controversial sometimes.

Regardless, Lego is working to end gender stereotypes through their advertisements and products that market to both genders.

They also created a social media campaign with the hashtag #keepbuilding. It’s empowering and effective. Hopefully Lego continues this trend and other toy companies follow suit.

Bissell and Subways

Bissell is a well known vacuum company. In their latest advertising campaign, they set out to prove how well their product actually works. They used one of their vacuums on a Toronto subway station’s floor. To everyone’s astonishment, the floor was cleaned. Living in Chicago, we can assume how dirty the L platforms are. It’s safe to assume it’s that dirty in Toronto as well.

Bissell showed how confident they were in their product, they even had people watching and gasping interested.

However, most of these people may have been actors, because as it turns out, the ad was entirely filmed on a platform that is no longer used. (AdWeek)

Do we trust the results Bissell highlights if they weren’t on a used subway platform? Is this a tricky way to  get around advertising and create an idea of a product that does not exist?

Dove and Beauty

I am a person fan of Dove. Their ads related to self-esteem and body image almost always make me tear up. In their latest ad spot, they demonstrate how the feelings you have about yourself, can radiate and echo to those who love you. They used the example of mothers and daughters. They described what mothers liked and disliked about themselves and then their daughters also wrote a list. Most things matched up and Dove highlighted why this isn’t the way it should be.

These ads are effective marketing for Dove. They set themselves apart from similar beauty products. Creating that relationship through advertising is pretty much the most effective thing you can do. Some ads might inform people or encourage them to try something new or buy something once. Marketing stories create a feeling towards the brand. Dove stands up for women and their right to feel beautiful no matter what. I for one, am willing to pay extra to support a brand that brings ads into mainstream culture that highlight these issues.

Was this advertisement an effective use of Dove’s money? It doesn’t describe any of their products and what they can do. It does not inform anyone about a new lotion or sale.

Does marketing and storytelling pay off in the end?

Playful Violence

Dollar Shave Club is an online service that delivers men’s razors directly to purchaser’s doors. They recently released four videos that highlight what it’s like to buy razors at an expensive retailer in a comedic way. Their funny methods attract attention of their customers while also still selling their product. In one instance, the man buying a razor gets punched a few times by a trick one of the employees sets up. This is supposed to represent the way these employees often treat their customers.

In another one, an employee shoots a poisonous dart into a man who is simply trying to buy a razor.

Is the use of comedic violence effective in this case? Most razors have nothing to do with violence.

Are the producers creating a semblance of a problem that doesn’t actually exist in the first place?

Little Kids Swearing for Effect?

Recently, a group dedicated to creating an equal place for women, FCKH8, has been creating videos about girls. These girls are younger than 15 and wear princess dresses. The real controversy? They swear A LOT. It gets a lot of attention and gets people talking that’s for sure. In their newest online video, the girls have black eyes and beat up faces (just from makeup). They talk about domestic violence and standing up for yourself as a women. PLUS, they focus on men’s responsibility in the situation as well.

I personally think these are great. However, I can see why people would be offended by this. Children probably shouldn’t be swearing, especially in permanent and public settings such as these. But I would argue that the same reason we think little girls shouldn’t swear, is the same reason we tell women to ignore men, bring pepper spray, or learn self defense, instead of, you know, teaching men not to rape.

On a more relevant advertising note I think this is an effective viral video. It gets people talking about the subject, which is the ultimate goal of any ad.

Is the use of swearing helpful because it sparks controversy and conversation or does is negatively effect the overall goal of the producers?

All Grown Up

Recently, Old Spice took their creativity to the next level. They used their mantra of “what a real man wears,” and applied it to adolescent years. It reflects what happens to the parents when a boy starts to become a man. Only this time, we know he’s becoming a man because he wears Old Spice. The target audience seems to be younger adults/teenagers, which could hurt Old Spice’s branding and they could become the next AXE. If their market is primary young teenagers who want to be more manly, they could lose a lot of respect. On the other hand, Old Spice may be purposefully targeting this audience because they are failing within the older demographic.

Is this a flawed way to reach their changing target audience, or does Old Spice understand how this could backfire?

Do they want this “backfire?”


Gap has decided to rebrand their overall marketing campaign. While their clothes have always been simple and somewhat “normal,” Gap is pushing for people and average consumers to lighten up and worry less about what they wear. One of the marketing agents involved in this campaign discussed the importance of actions speaking louder than clothes. In this campaign, Gap is trying to get people to use their actions, rather than clothing, to tell people about their personalities. People who don’t need clothes to tell people about themselves should buy Gap’s simple and elegant clothes. They have received some criticism for this campaign because using the word normal can cause problems with people who don’t want to dress in Gap’s style. Are these people not normal anymore? It also creates a problem in the advertising industry. Because we can manipulate what people think is every day life and how things should be, using the word normal can be definitive in a negative way. In other words, creating a culture where Gap’s clothing is the only acceptable type of style may not be the best world to live in. All creativity and personality is dulled.

Overall though, this campaign is great for Gap’s target audience, as most of their loyal consumers do not want to wear crazy leopard print leggings or skull crop tops.

Gap’s use of celebrities also give the campaign weight and authority.

AIDS and Orientation

In 1990, the CTA posted an advertisement about the spread of HIV/AIDS. It was simple and condemned people for their ignorance on the matter while clarifying simple facts about the disease. At the time, the ad caused huge backlash and many people were very upset about it. The ad features gay couples. It was quickly taken down.

In 2014, the CTA published the same ad with slightly updated models. The message was still the same and it continued to feature lesbian, gay, and straight couples. This time around, barely any people look at it twice.

The obvious acceptance of gay culture is good, but did the AIDS organization who posted it lose their initial shock factor that caused people to talk about it in the first place? Did the ad lose meaning because gay culture is widely accepted in Chicago now compared to the 90’s? Or is the couples as the focal point taking away from the real message, how AIDS spreads, and now the ad can refocus on the original problem?

CTA-kissing-ad (1)

The caption reads: Kissing doesn’t kill. Greed and indifference do.


Rethink the Art Institute’s Unthink Project

The Art Institute is hosting an exhibit called Unthink Magritte. This showcases many of the different pieces a famous surrealist painter, Magritte has created. Everyone has seen the Unthink posters, sides of busses, and underground advertisements across the city. The Art Institute is trying to gain more visitors to their new exhibit by creating an intriguing and somewhat unknown theme. unthink


Throughout the city different advertisements force people to “unthink” their certain ideas about different things in their life. For example, Magritte’s famous painting featured above is repurposed with the tagline, “Unthink Selfies,” challenging readers to attend this exhibit for a refreshing idea of what art is. According to the Institute, “”Living in an age of mobile phones, in which we are so used to acquiring all sorts of information with great speed . . . has resulted in a loss of the ability to let a picture really take us into its own world…We surf the web and tap images on handheld devices.” 

The exhibit challenges people to rethink their ideas of regular objects and activities. Their idea of “Unthink” is actually an original and unique way to grab people’s attention. At first bystanders may not understand exactly what is being advertised but as they look closer the goal becomes clear: Check out this new exhibit at the Art Institute. I liked the creativity of combining a new way to look at life (regardless if you attend the exhibit or not) and what is legitimately present at the Institute. It appeals to both people who are familiar with Magritte’s work and those who are not.