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Posts Tagged ‘advertising’

The Top 7 #PRFails of Super Bowl XLVIII

money bowl

Ummmm … no.

So, on behalf of my cronies at PRNewser, we know this is not the forum for advertising and what more than 102 million people saw on display (other than that atrocious football game — no offense, Seattle). And yet, this topic is here. Why? A simple aphorism that has been a fundamental tenet in this biz forever:

What you pay for is advertising; what you pray for is public relations. 

As soon as each :30 ad came on TV, America began buzzing — in homes, in bars, on the phone and all over social media. Yes, that’s “free advertising” but is it what the brand paid for when prospect consumers are torching the advertisement in effigy? No. And that is why flacks were born — understanding perception. Get it? Persuasion. Ads. Perception. Spin.

So, let’s turn those umpteen bajillion frowns upside down and discuss the #PRFails of what is affectionately called #BrandBowl 2014.

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You Won’t Believe How Quickly This New Old Spice Campaign Goes Viral

Just when we figured the Old Spice guy had run out of tricks…

This video is OK, but the concept behind the campaign makes it great.

If you see a tweet or Facebook message from a friend telling you all about an illegal neck workout machine, a 100% solid gold headset or another, equally ridiculous “bro-tastic” product in the next few days, then you may get punked into watching a clip like the one above. Just click on or or to start.

The campaign includes nine different URLs and clips, and we took a couple of screenshots after the jump.

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Alabama Law Firm Makes Racist Ad, Blames Hackers

Wong Fong ShuCelebrities and athletes, you see what you did?

Every time you dolts get half-baked, full-on drunk or just mad at the world, you put out a bad tweet or post. Sure, you feel better after the smoke and satisfaction of the intended party wallowing in the misery you have created but then the backlash comes.

The angst. The feedback. The publicist answering our calls. The boss telling you to fix it. The significant other pointing a finger and calling you “Stupid.” Yeah, it’s time to fix it. However, instead of doing something that requires little time, no problems and hard luck like, you know, admitting it? You hold a press conference, furthering feeding your immense ego about nothing, and tell the onlooking media, “My phone was stolen and someone else logged in as me.”

Wait…what?! Whelp, this story I’m about to share is all your fault, so I hope you all feel guilty. Meet Mr. Wong Fong Shu. (Yeah, this is going to be fun.)

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Happy Thanksgiving to All the Racist ‘Sexy Color’ People

Sexy Color Tanning SalonAs we have opined previously in this trusty blog, Christmas often overshadows fall and winter seasonal marketing efforts for the big box retailers. I suppose small businesses realize that same epiphany, which has to explain this breaking news alert in the world of #AdFail.

For that, we take you to Dothan, Ala. in an industry you didn’t think couldn’t get uglier…it did. Fake bakes.

Enjoy this ad, and the fun story from the greatness of As you can tell, the owners of Club Sun Color Studios have figured out an all-too-classy way to market during Thanksgiving.

This from their cornucopia of bigotry and idiocy…advertisement:

“Have a Colorful Thanksgiving! The Indians brought more than just ‘corn’ to the first Thanksgiving…they brought Sexy ‘Color’!”

You know, if NFL mascots and Portuguese explorers sticking a boot in their behind doesn’t offend Native Americans completely, this should do the trick. Oh look. The ad even comes trollop Pocahontas with fringed stilettos and some Puritan bimbo dressed like Betsy Ross, I suppose.

Nothing says “Thanksgiving” like a pleathered tan, Daniel Boone’s naughty dreams and mimicry of genocide. Pass the turkey, please.

Now Presenting the Gettysburg Address Sponsored by Bud Light

Bakersfield-Condors-Gettysburg-Address-Jersey-590x633In today’s hyper-advertising-everything-with-a-modicum-of-real-estate world, marketers are finding novel reasons to get their brands in front of the consumer public. Be it reality shows to sporting events, newscasts to weather prognostications, it doesn’t matter. It’s a free-for-all.

And then there are historical anniversaries. You wouldn’t think those cherished and near sacrosanct events would be held to the same shilling standards, but alas, this is the 21st Century. Good times.

Meet the Bakersfield Condors, a minor league hockey team searching for ways to commemorate the Sesquicentennial of the beloved Gettysburg Address. It was four score and 70 years ago when President Lincoln read only 272 words to free the slaves and liberate a nation against its worst crime against humanity.

Fast-forward 150 years later and that prodigious event has been reduced to a night in minor league hockey…sponsored by Bud Light?! What the what?

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To RFP or not to RFP: What a Friggin’ Question.

RFPsI was trolling through AdAge last week—as is my routine for finding jocular pieces of information—and came across the article “One Small Fix for Broken RFPs: A Little Feedback, Please“ by Mark Simon.

The following was a lovely call out quote for me:

This isn’t about changing your mind or challenging your decision. It’s not an appeals process. All anyone wants is to learn from the experience so they can be smarter next time. Scottish author Samuel Smiles said, “We learn wisdom from failure much more than success.” Which is another way of saying: Give it to me straight.

To wit, the church said “AMEN!”

Requests for Proposals (RFPs) — namely, the governmental ones — are the banes of existence for every agency. Don’t get me wrong, they are vital to the economic foundation of most smaller agencies. One RFP can create a retainer that will pay for a year of overhead, but those heads need to get lobbed off and leap through rings of fire to pitch said RFP.

So, given what we know about RFPs and understanding popular opinion, to RFP or not to RFP? Pros and cons after the jump:

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Portland Radio Station Gets Slammed for Racist Billboard Adoring its Fans

kxl_billboardPop culture is so great, right?

We all get to add memorable quotes to our lexicon of coolness. At parties, we become the local ‘Jeopardy’ champion because of our potpourri of useless knowledge. In life, it just makes us all feel better that we can force “Show Me the Money,” “You Can’t Handle the Truth,” or even “My precious” in a conversation.

Most of our pop culture references come from movies and reiterated by the radio heads on-air. I should know. I was one for 12 glorious years. A station where I did not work is KXL 101-FM in Portland, Ore.

I suppose that’s a good thing because with this article, I probably would not have lasted. The station’s promotions and marketing department were thinking of a way to further enhance its tagline “Stay Connected.” To wit, someone who knows pop culture spoke up with a great movie reference that turned out to be a half-baked idea (and a full-fledged case study) for crisis communications.

See the picture?

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E-Cigarettes Have a Huge Cheerleader: Big Tobacco


Smoking ads are a skosh different these days

Smoking ads are a skosh different these days

The Marlboro Man. The Virginia Slims Gals. The Phallic Joe Camel.

These images have been engraved in our medulla thanks to a bajillion dollars in advertising budgets by big tobacco for the past six decades. For all those years, smoking was made to look cool, care-free and almost bitchin’. That is, until multi-billion-dollar lawsuits forced them way out of business. You know, pity and such. Boo-hoo. Whatevs.

In fact, according to this story from NPR, tobacco companies have paid more than $100 billion to state governments as part of the 25-year, $246 billion settlement in the past 15 years. 

Many thought that was the death knell for the industry. Until some foreshadowing a few years back, which was found in a movie that — no joke — is an absolute must for all PR professionals to watch, “Thank You for Smoking.”

In this film, and the last scene of the linked trailer, is this dialogue between Rob Lowe (agent Jeff Megall) and the great Aaron Eckhart (smoking lobbyist):

Jeff Megall: Sony has a futuristic sci-fi movie they’re looking to make.
Nick Naylor: Cigarettes in space?
Jeff Megall: It’s the final frontier, Nick.
Nick Naylor: But wouldn’t they blow up in an all oxygen environment?
Jeff Megall: Probably. But it’s an easy fix. One line of dialogue. ‘Thank God we invented the… you know, whatever device.’

Whelp, beam me up, Scotty. The future is definitely here and big tobacco is so digging them — E-Cigarettes.

In a story with a great headlineThe New York Times delves into this obvious cheering section to help bring smoking back to the forefront and coolness factor out into the open.

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Hockey is Back. Will Nike’s Anti-Lockout Ad Still Work?

This new Nike ad, from Wieden+Kennedy New York and Biscuit Filmworks director Tim Godsall, flies defiantly in the face of the NHL lockout by giving hockey-lovers a chance to declare that “hockey is ours.”

The spot features kids decked out in their gear, looking directly at the camera and asking the league “what are you gonna do, take my skates? Take away my puck?” The message is clear: The NHL may have all the power, but fans and the amateur players really “own “the sport–and no lockout can take it from them. While we’re hardly the world’s most dedicated hockey fans, we found ourselves stirred by their testimony.

But–in case you missed the tidal wave of exuberant, profanity-laced Facebook and Twitter posts–the NHL lockout is officially over. Now what?

In some ways, the ad still works; even when the NHL is fully operational, the sport is more about the fans than any team owners or league officials. On the other hand, it’s pretty hard to get around the fact that the spirit in which the ad was made no longer applies.

What do we think? Does the message still resonate, or should Nike pull the ad?

Deutsch, VW Go Sci-Fi with Matrix-Style ‘Spin-O-Scope’

Confession: Back in the halcyon days of the early 80’s, our family owned a yellow Volskwagen beetle; our dad would drive erratically around our neighborhood imitating Herbie the Love Bug. We loved it, but we never really thought of the car as a particularly hip model. Now VW and Deutsch LA have teamed up in an effort to make the 2013 revamp a little sexier than its predecessors using interactive pages and camera stunts borrowed from science fiction movies.

360-degree views of cars aren’t exactly new to company sites, but this “Spin-O-Scope” campaign takes the concept two or three steps further: Not only do the interactive pages allow users to spin the car around and get a better look at the whole package, they also include a customization tab so prospective buyers can play with options like trim, color, and engine type to see how their ideal beetle would look—and how much it would cost.

Deutsch reports that the VW site has seen “almost a twofold increase in the amount of time consumers spend on it” since the campaign debuted, and we can see why. It certainly makes the car look a whole lot cooler.

Have we seen any interactive web campaigns fit to rival this one? Here’s a video if you want the whole experience in 90 seconds:

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