'The New Yorker' sells out to those unscrupulous Canadians

Posted on Thu Jun 24 2010


Canadians might be embarrassed to share a continent with their noisy downstairs neighbors, but they sure do love our patronage. Their latest declaration of love came via The New Yorker, in which Canadian companies and brands bought nearly every inch of available ad space in this week's issue, in advance of this year's Ontario-hosted G-8 and G-20 summits. Everything from tourism organizations to universities pitched in to build the Canada brand in the minds of The New Yorker's readership as a place where movers and shakers move and shake, and laugh at cartoons that aren't funny (it is The New Yorker, after all). The revenue from this deal is said to exceed the $1.1 million that Target paid for 18 pages back in 2005. Agencies spend more than that to market laundry detergent these days, but that's still an impressive sum just to convince people that Canada is for grown-ups. In fact, I think they may have overdone it; certainly they could have gotten this message across without buying an entire magazine's worth of ads. Why didn't they just air commercials during golf tournaments with all the other rich guy pandering?

—Posted by David Kiefaber

'GQ' story on personal brands fails to enhance Alex Bogusky's

Posted on Mon Feb 22 2010


An article in the March issue of GQ magazine (which isn't online yet) is worth checking out, and not just because it quotes Brandweek twice. The piece, titled "Meet the Happy New Me, Same as the Crappy Old Me," chronicles the attempts of writer Shalom Auslander, an author and NPR contributor who's often compared to David Sedaris, to rebrand himself. Auslander, who writes copy for an unnamed ad agency, consults other, anonymous branding experts to decide what his personal brand should be. They never really come to a conclusion, but along the way we get copious one-liners ("I prefer writing fiction and occasional journalism, but the Dark Lord pays well, and there's free coffee on the 23rd floor" and "If the Cow-schwitz bovine death camp known as Burger King can be a barrel of laughs, what's stopping me?"), and the article casts much-needed doubt on the idea of personal branding. But the reason the piece is a must-read for ad types is a cameo by Alex Bogusky. In the story, Auslander is en route to Denver to meet with the man Fast Company calls "the mechanic of cool" only to find that Bogusky has canceled the meeting, leaving the author no choice but to fly back from his stopover in Chicago. Auslander brands Bogusky a "glorified shoe salesman" and considers flying to Denver anyway to excrete on the doorstep of Crispin Porter + Bogusky's headquarters. The only problem with that plan is, knowing the agency, they'd probably film that and turn it into a hot viral video.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Fashion ads and magazines continue to alarm and confuse us all

Posted on Tue Jan 5 2010


It's not enough for supermodels to be wafer thin, now they're supposed to shed their epidermis, too? They probably would drop a few more pounds without all that pesky skin. Who knows, really, if that's the message in this new ad for Paris fashion house Lanvin. It would be creepy enough if it were just the model looking like a body-painted science project, but seeing her in a lip-lock with a non-zombie hottie is even worse. What's the definition of obscene again? Meanwhile, Marie Claire has put a naked and reportedly unretouched photo of supermodel Jennifer Hawkins on the cover of its Australian edition for February. See, she has dimples on her thighs, the mag says. Not visible to the human eye, I say. The issue somehow supports the Butterfly Foundation, for Aussies who struggle with body-image and weight concerns. I'm seeing disconnects all over the place here and just itching to recommend big ham sandwiches and women's studies classes to all involved.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

Don't fall for that insidiously evil advertising, says ShopSmart ad

Posted on Tue Sep 1 2009


Those Madison Avenue types—such buggers! They use "tactics so subliminal that you may fall victim simply by breathing," says ShopSmart magazine, a Consumer Reports sibling, pointing out that a chocolate-chip-scented candle burning in a store can make me buy a sweater I can't afford. This and other useful tidbits are featured in a solicitation for the 2-year-old, ad-eschewing publication, which landed in my mailbox recently. Here's what I re-learned about the supermarket: "Strategically placed signs, flashing coupon dispensers and displays play mind tricks that make you buy more, spend more and make impulse buying almost irresistible." So that's why I ended up with a cart full of stoner food! Come to think of it, I could probably benefit from the "psychologically improved shopping" that ShopSmart preaches as a way to minimize all that marketing invading my subconscious. Subscription sold! Hey, did that mailer smell like cookies?

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

'GQ' readers not afraid to spend, spend, spend despite downturn

Posted on Thu Apr 30 2009


Recession? What recession? The readers of GQ don't seem to think there is one. According to a consumer trend study, "What Men Are Buying," the Condé Nast magazine concludes that male consumer attitudes toward current and future purchasing are right on par with ... those of the advertisers that GQ seeks to retain and attract, oddly enough. According to the study, men say they are least likely to cut back on fragrances, grooming, apparel, and footwear. The unemployment rate is hovering around 9 percent, and men are into grooming now more than ever. You don't say?! Here are some survey results straight from the metrosexual's mouth:
  -- 81 percent of respondents agreed with the statement "The best investment is on myself." Uh, leading the witness? Likewise, 71 percent said they would rather curtail elsewhere than cut back on the items related to personal appearance. Uh huh. I always thought if a man were given a choice between a stick of deodorant and any kind of food on a stick, he will choose the latter.
  -- 76 percent of the men agreed that "in these tough economic times it is more important than ever to buy products and services that have a reputation for quality, even if it means spending more money." Nothing but the best for GQ readers, who never settle for plain wrap when they can buy expensive, ego-stroking, logoed crap.
  -- 70 percent said they'll be spending more or the same amount on wine and liquor, and drinking more at home. Bottlers of booze, you obviously need to tap the bachelor-pad market asap.
  -- 92 percent honestly believed they will be "earning more or the same amount of money in the next 12 months." All that drinking can lead to delusions of pink elephants, too.

—Posted by Becky Ebenkamp

For guys who are too lazy to have sex, there's the 'Coucha Sutra'

Posted on Mon Feb 9 2009


DirecTV had a serious brand problem. How to make the satellite TV service fit in naturally inside the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. Saddled with this seeming impossibility, Deutsch L.A. trotted out the "Coucha Sutra." Click here to see a larger image.
  Consider it modern man's Kama Sutra, says the agency. "The ancient Indian spiritual text, composed in the 2nd Century AD and famous for its detailed illustrations of human sexual behavior, has been revolutionized by DirecTV to depict the multitude of 'positions' assumed in the most sensual and spiritual of places in our time … the couch." Included among the not-so-racy illustrations are "the Bogart" (women's feet on top of lap), "the bat cave" (man and woman hanging upside down) and the third wheel (woman draped on man, who shoots daggers at a friend who has overstayed his welcome).
  The ad is either destined for dorm rooms everywhere or the trash.

—Posted by Kenneth Hein

'Playboy' and Skoal making sticky, brown, weird love together

Posted on Wed Dec 17 2008


There's so much that's odd about the Beauty and the Beast-esque partnership between Playboy and Skoal—it's hard to know where to begin.
  The 12-page co-branded Skoal mini-magazine, which is being included with Playboy's 55th anniversary issue in January, makes sense on a basic level: Dippers are mostly men, and Playboy is mostly a men's magazine. Still, it's jarring to see the Playmates lounging around with the Skoal props. Women not named Gretchen Wilson notoriously flee from chewing tobacco. They don't take off their clothes and roll around in tins of the stuff. Nor do they go fishing with their giant green Skoal-tin chairs. (That's a lot of tobacco in those chairs.)
  Hopefully the editorial content will go some way toward redeeming the enterprise, although the sample page sent to the press isn't that encouraging. It's a page of party jokes supplied by Skoal dippers, and the only one that's halfway amusing happens to underscore the disgusting nature of the dipping habit: "Q. What do you get when you sit in the back of the truck when someone is spitting out the front window? A. Freckles."

—Posted by Tim Nudd



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