Olympic Advertising May Be a Cause for Concern

Well the past few weeks have been a picnic for advertisers due to the Grammys, the Super Bowl, and now the Winter Olympics in Sochi. While many advertisers have brought out the big guns as far as advertising content, there has also been a fair share of controversy among companies that embrace diversity like Coca-Cola’s “America is Beautiful” campaign or Chevrolet’s “The New Us” campaign.

These advertisements have been met with both high praise and extreme criticism by some Americans. Although racial tension is involved in the controversy, the hot button issue for Sochi is homosexuality. This year’s Winter Olympics seems super charged between advertisers and viewers alike due to the sensitive condition of Russia socially and politically. With the law in Russia banning “homosexual propaganda”, friction between activists all around the world could be a threat to Olympic revelries. As this advertising season in the United States has become an indication that social change is occurring in favor of the LGBT community, the policies in Russia have not followed suit. Due to cultural ideological differences, it makes sense that certain views don’t align amongst countries. But the polarizing effect of the issue could be a source of conflict in the coming days. Advertisers are concerned about these differences, but feel confident that the nature of the Olympics will be enough to prevent any major negativity towards the Olympics. The event is made to bring people together and the strong emotions surrounding the events will not affect Olympic ratings. It is the hope of many advertisers that controversial topics do not seep into the public’s mind and lead them away from tuning in to the Olympics and wasting tons of money on exclusive rights and time slots. Maybe the world can set aside social issues for a few weeks, but this makes me wonder if companies showing these ads are like a raspberry in the face of Sochi. The advertising ideas do appeal to a lot of Americans in a positive way, but how does Russia feel about being connected to ads that they would most likely find inappropriate for viewing by their citizens? While this is far from a huge international crisis, I find it interesting that the United States is on the horizon of accepting diversity while Russia seems to act rather the opposite.

Sources:

Stuart, E. (2014, February 6). Fingers crossed, marketers count on olympic gold. New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/07/business/media/fingers-crossed-marketers-count-on-olympic-gold.html?_r=0

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Car Ads: The Bad, the Worse, and the Ugly

Ford Figo Ad

So the ad above was featured by Ford just last year…Seriously? Coming from a generation where society has gone from ignorance to tolerance to a new age where we are just starting to embrace out differences, I am shocked by the type of advertising that comes from popular, successful, and influential companies in modern times. It seems to me that many car companies have stooped pretty low lately whether it be sexism, racism, or even deception.

The print ad that I featured above is overtly offensive advertisement. Ford wanted to showcase their larger cargo space in the back by showcasing the number of women that a man can fit in there. There are so many issues with this ad… First of all, the ad is grossly infective. The target audience of the ad seems to be men who like to kidnap women. Seriously, who thought that was a good idea? Moreover, the fact that the ad is a cartoon makes the matter worse because it caricaturizes a very serious issue. The ad makes a joke about kidnapping and perhaps as far as sexual assault. Also the ad features women dressed provocatively and the man is smiling. This is offensive to both women AND men. Women don’t like to be portrayed as sexual objects and good men don’t want to be portrayed as criminals.

More awful ads available on this link: CNN’s pick for dumbest car ads from 2013.

Among these, there was a racist song in an ad against Chinese people and an ad showcasing clean emissions by showing a man that tried to commit suicide. Honestly, I question whether or not advertisers are thinking or are even socially conscious especially internationally.

Also, Nissan’s ad gets in trouble with the FTC for being dishonest with the consumer. The ad claims that one of their trucks can push a buggy up a dune when in real life a cable is doing all the work. The intense competition between car brands is pushing the advertisers’ limits, but they need to think harder and better without going to the cheap shots. Advertising should be fun and uplifting. For the case of cars, they can do so much better by portraying luxury and class. None of the ads featured here do any of that. Let’s cross our fingers that 2014 car advertisers work smarter than last year.

References:

Malter, J. (2013). Racist, sexist and just plain dumb car ads [Web]. Retrieved from http://money.cnn.com/video/news/2013/12/17/dumbest-moments-car-ads-chevrolet-ford hyundai-offensive.cnnmoney/index.html?iid=HP_Taboola

Payne, C. (2014). Nissan’s frontier ad is ‘deceptive’[Web]. Retrieved from http://money.cnn.com/video/pf/2014/01/24/pf-wheels-nissan-frontier-pickup-ad-dune-buggy ftc-fine.cnnmoney/index.html?iid=V_Series

(2013, March 22). Ford Figo Ad [Print Photo]. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/ford-wpp-apologizes-for-offensive-car-ad-2013-3

Skype Creates Connections

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Skype has been one of those companies that his been able to profit on peoples yearning for contact with loved ones. Skype is a video chat software that allows for real time video conferencing with people who can be situated all around the world. Skype recently launched a “Stay Together” initiative, which asked consumers to tell their stories about their long-distance connections with people. Customers were asked to post videos explaining their story and how Skype in particular has helped them keep a close relationship with the people they are not able to see in person.

http://www.skype.com/en/

The “Stay Together” campaign is a very smart advertising tactic for Skype. The videos uploaded manage to attract and hit home with consumers who are going through the same thing and it also brings awareness to other consumers who are not familiar with how Skype works.  One of the stories Skype decided to highlight was that of Sarah and Paige, who are both from different countries and have never met each other outside of Skype. What makes their story unique is that both Sarah and Paige were born without their left arms. Skype allowed them to form a bond that they were not able to have with other people. Skype has been able to advertise their ability to create connections with people. This connection Skype allowed them to create has made their quality of life better. 

Advertisements like these connect people on a personal and emotional level. This advertisement in particular went viral and has caught the attention of national talk show host like Katie Couric. When advertisements go viral, profitability for the company is almost always certain. 

http://katiecouric.com/videos/heart-warming-reunion-caught-on-camera/

As a consumer, I can relate to the emotional appeal this advertisement exhibits. Having been away from home since June, I rely on Skype and Facetime to keep in contact with my parents and siblings. Talking on the phone, and texting is nothing  compared to being able to physically or in this case digitally seeing someone you miss. Although my story is different from Paige and Sarah, the same idea that Skype keeps people connected is relevant. Skype has done a great job at providing a service that people want to use. Its advertisements show the good their software can bring people of all different backgrounds, and situations. The emotional appeal has kept consumers interested and others interested in what this company can do. It is important for companies to uses advertisements that appeal on several levels to consumers in order to stay relevant in the market. 

 

References:

Nudd , T. (13, November 04). After skyping for 8 years, two girls with a special bond finally meet sarah and paige’s story. Retrieved from http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/ad-day-after-skyping-8-years-two-girls-special-bond-finally-meet-153609

Horror in Advertising

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With Halloween approaching, a plethora of horror themes can be seen in commercials, TV shows, and general advertisements. AMC who is most notably recognized for producing shows such as Mad Men, The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, and now American Horror Story are no strangers to centering its advertisements with the seasons. Halloween is a natural attraction to many people. Ghouls, goblins, zombies, ghost, witches and so on make up interesting subjects for entertainment.

Cable television has taken a particular interest in creating Halloween based television due to its past success. Channels will offer programs like “13 nights of Horror” where they strictly play horror shows, and movies up until Halloween. Horror is a simple, popular, and fairly cheap to produce. Horror is the type of theme that allows for cliffhangers and calls for the consumer to create their own reason as to why something is frightening.

As a consumer I can attest to the interesting nature of horror. I am a sucker for sitting down and watching horror shows and movies simply because the month calls for it. Growing up during October I remember it became a thing to attend places like Knott’s Scary Farm, or Universal Horror Nights simply because we were bombarded with coupons and advertisements that were obviously catered to my age group. If attending these two was not an option we could always rely on inviting friends over and watching scary movies.

It is an incredibly smart idea for advertisers and marketers to run with the horror theme for as long as they can. Similar to Christmas, it has the option to advertise to the younger age group as well as adults. Cable television has been a prime example of this success. With record-breaking viewership for shows like The Walking Dead and American Horror Story, AMC has been able to stay relevant in television. Other channels like the Sci-Fi channel and ABC family have been able to produce programs that keep teens and adults interested in watching television during this month.

http://www.amctv.com/movie-event/amc-fearfest

The question is whether or not horror will continue to thrive. It is a possibility that Zombies, ghost, and aliens will eventually fade out. Depending on originality, I personally believe that the demise of horror appeal will appear with the lack of originality in programs and advertisements. Consumers can only take so much Zombies, and Witches in their advertisements.  While others believe that horror will only continue to grow we can only wait and see what the future of Halloween programs, and advertisements will go. 

References

Thielman , S. (13, October 28). Has halloween become the start of fall cable?. Retrieved from http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/has-halloween-become-start-fall-cable-153409

 

Zombie Advertising

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Its that time of year again when AMC’s critically acclaimed television show The Walking Dead is back on in the lineup of Sunday shows. With the season 4 premiere of The Walking Dead last Sunday, many companies found the opportunity to advertise their products with a Zombie theme. Unlike other shows like Breaking Bad or Mad Men, The Walking Dead provides the zombie theme that is especially effective during this time of year as everyone prepares for Halloween. Zombies seem to attract consumers into a cult like following. More and more T.V shows and movies have centered their themes on zombies due to its popularity. 

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http://youtu.be/KihE3IyHNPI

Hyundai is one of many companies to capitalize on the zombie theme and created an ad campaign for their new car the 2014 Hyundai Tucson. The advertisement shows a zombie proof vehicle completely equipped with guns, armor, chain saws, satellite, and a roll cage. Advertisements like these tend to grab the consumer’s attention and with the sleek and tough look of the vehicle spark an interest in the audience. Whether the particular audience decides to buy the vehicle or not, if they take the extra step to research the car, Hyundai has already completed part of its objective. What Hyundai did that is extremely beneficial is create a call to action in this particular ad. This advertisement ask fans of The Walking Dead or zombies in general to enter a contest in which they can win a zombie proof Hyundai Tuscan. Creating this call to action will encourage the consumers to watch the commercials, and participate in a contest in which the actual chances of winning are slim.

Strategically planning to team up with popular shows like The Walking Dead will only prove to be valuable. Companies and brands have the opportunity to attract more customers when those customers see a common interest. By offering contest like Hyundai, gives the company an opportunity to not only attract adult consumers but also to attract younger consumers who are in the market to purchase their first vehicle. The show not only brings in viewers but also creates a trust with its viewers. Thus, when someone or something in this case a T.V show approve of Hyundai’s marketing, a level of trust is already built up for Hyundai.

Companies should continue to seek endorsements from popular TV shows because it creates an opportunity to market online, on T.V and in the show itself. In these cases, Hyundai as a company would further endorse its brand by showing its vehicles in the show. The more the consumer is exposed to the Hyundai vehicles, the more they will become interested and eventually invest in.

 

 References:

 (n.d.). Retrieved from http://walkingdeadchopshop.com/

 Stanley, T. L. (2013, October 15). Hyundai giving away another zombie-proof survival machine in latest walking dead tie-in . Retrieved from http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/hyundai-giving-away-another-zombie-proof-survival-machine-latest-walking-dead-tie-153147

Apple beats Coca-Cola in Brand Value

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In a surprising move, Apple has now taken the number one spot in being considered the most valuable brand over Coca-Cola. Coke has for 13 years been able to maintain the number one spot due to the company’s ability to advertise anywhere and everywhere. Coke is a staple in the soda industry due to its global allegiance and recognition. Coca-Cola has been able to not only market their products with television and radio commercials, but also by special labeling through sponsorships. Being one of the most successful and profitable brands, it is surprising to see that Apple has been able to surpass Cokes brand value. This brings about several questions. Is Apple’s innovation what makes them now the leader? Is Coke somehow losing consumers? Or is Apple simply taking the lead due to recent releases of products?

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Many of these questions have various answers, but the most important thing to note is that Coca-Cola is not losing value or recognition. On the contrary, being already a large company with global recognition, Coca-Cola still has plans to market to consumers whom they have never marketed to before. For instance, due to Pepsi being the leader in the market of soda in Russia, Coca-Cola plans on heavily advertising during the Olympics in Russia. Coke plans on taking over the market through local advertisement and large exposure brought by the Olympics. Coca-Cola has been successful in dipping its hand in a variety of different markets by sponsoring athletes, products, and businesses. Through market strategy, Coca-Cola has remained relevant.

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Apple tends to market its products the same way through different forms of media. It has been considered number one in brand value partially due to the cult following have with its products. Most recently, the iPhone 5s was released and although it is essentially the iPhone 5 with some tweaks here and there, it was still able to produce a groundbreaking release. Last year when the iPhone 5 was released, five million units where sold, while this year the iPhone 5s produced a whopping nine million unit release. Thus, through globalization and advertising, Apple has been able to continue being successful.

Both Apple and Coca-Cola have a tremendous brand value. However, I believe that because of how relevant Apple is in society and how it markets to its consumers it has been able to create more brand value. Coca-Cola has been a household name for many households for a very long time, and now Apple is becoming a staple in people’s lives. Through offering a large range of products, Apple has been able to become leader in brand value. 

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References

Gross, D. (2013, September 30). Apple passes coke as world’s “top brand”. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/30/tech/innovation/apple-coke-top-brands/index.html?hpt=hp_bn5

 

Barr, A. (2013, September 23). iblockbuster weekend for apple’s new iphones. Retrieved from http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2013/09/23/apple-iphone-nine-million/2853755/

 

Advertising Through Twitter

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With mobile technology and social media on the rise, advertisers have begun to become creative when it comes to placing ads. Through mobile device platforms, ad creators have to find ways to reach its consumers in ways that do not stray them from the product being advertised. Twitter has recently begun to implement “promoted tweets” as well recommending twitter accounts that might interest the user. Through these forms of advertising, companies have the ability to interact on a more personal level as opposed to other forms of advertisements. 

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Companies are able to have personal interaction with its consumers through Twitter due to the small scale in which they have to respond. Twitter is becoming more interactive with its advertisers by providing platforms better suited for the companies’ advertisements. Through the promotion of tweets by celebrities or the “promoted tweet” mode, companies are able to share photos, news, videos, links, and more which reaches the consumer in 140 characters of less.

Twitter has recently added ESPN, Ford Motor Company, and CBS to its major advertising program. This brings in revenue to not only these companies but Twitter as well. Major networks like ESPN and CBS find it innovating to see the power that live broadcasting and twitter interaction can have. The interaction consumers have with television and twitter is in most cases 58% more likely to create a sale than if the consumer only saw a commercial without any twitter interaction. It is simple; the consumer likes to be in control at all times. With this interaction they can have through twitter, they are able to believe that they are controlling the outcome. Through twitter they can express complaints, concerns, and suggestions on the products.

The importance of twitter on advertising is increasing everyday. With new technology and advertising partnerships, Twitter has the potential to become one of the biggest advertisement platforms in the market. The problem with this is how the consumer will react if their social media is covered in advertisements. Facebook received criticism when they began to show more and more ads on its page. However, many people forgot about it after some time. I believe its beneficial to the companies to advertise on all social media platforms, and as a user of social media, I can honestly say I am okay with advertisements as long as they do not interfere constantly with my content.

 

References

Yeung , K. (2013, August 29). Twitter’s lead generation card opens to all advertisers with a new layout, analytics, and more. Retrieved from http://thenextweb.com/twitter/2013/08/29/twitters-lead-generation-card-opens-to-all-advertisers-with-a-new-layout-analytics-and-more/

 

Goel, V. (2013, September 23). Twitter adds cbs to its stable of big advertising partners. The New York Times . Retrieved from http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/09/23/twitter-adds-cbs-to-its-stable-of-big-advertising-partners/?_r=0