Tag Archives: advertising

Do fuckfriends offend you?

Ad from Tuesday Gazette's Page A5 (click for full image)

Ad from Tuesday Gazette's Page A5 (click for full image)

On Tuesday, for World AIDS Day, a full-page ad appeared in the Gazette that was designed to catch attention and promote safe sex. On the background of six really long condoms were over 200 fake personal classified ads, some flirty but others raunchy or crude, promoting anonymous sex but also safe sex. Many mentioned condoms being a must, or made vague references to cleanliness and “safe”-ness.

Three of the more ... graphic of the ads

Three of the more ... graphic of the ads

Although AIDS awareness campaigns are almost always designed to shock with this kind of crudeness, having it right up front of the A section of a newspaper was a bit much for some readers, who have sent in letters to complain, particularly about the unmangled use of F-words:”long fucks”, “seeks fuckfriend”, “gang bangs”, “want to fuck now and again”, “meal & fuck session over the holidays”, “fuckfest”, etc.

You had to scan a while to find the first one, and they’re in the minority, but you can imagine some underage children having a few giggles (and scratching their heads).

Was it too much? Should the ad have been partially censored? Or is our collective Victorian attitude toward sex a small price ot pay to prevent people from getting a horrible disease? (One might argue that people’s naive delusions about sex are part of the problems AIDS battlers face.)

For me, I’m just impressed the creators of this ad came up with over 200 fake classifieds without repeating them.

Rogers reverse graffiti ads are a ridiculous waste

A worker pressure-washes the sidewalk through a Rogers ad template

A worker pressure-washes the sidewalk through a Rogers ad template

The other night, leaving work just after midnight, I noticed a pair of guys with a truck doing some cleaning. It’s not uncommon for graffiti removal pressure-washing to take place late at night downtown, since that’s when pedestrian and other traffic is at its lowest.

But I noticed something odd: They were spraying a board of some sort.

The Rogers template up close

The Rogers template up close

Getting a closer look, I saw it was an ad for Rogers, and put two and two together: these guys were part of some guerilla marketing campaign for Rogers, engaging in “reverse graffiti

Now, reverse graffiti is not a new concept. It’s been used before to great effect artistically, and it’s been usurped by corporate forces too. So despite what the marketing genius behind this thinks, there’s no new ground being broken here.

But that’s not what bothers me.

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The future of street advertising

Tourist guide pillar at Ste. Catherine and Peel

Tourist guide pillar at Ste. Catherine and Peel

Earlier this month, the city installed a new one of those tourist guide pillars on Ste. Catherine St. just east of Peel. Since that’s just outside the Gazette office, my colleagues quickly took notice. A bit bigger than the three-sided pillar it replaced (but not as big as those giant cylindrical ones), it is noteworthy because the map side is actually an interactive touch screen.

An information screen above a larger touch screen with tourist information

An information screen above a larger touch screen with tourist information

In fact, it’s two screens working in concert, though the top one is easily ignored because its black background blends in so well.

It’s a prototype developed by Astral Media, which owns the other pillars. Right now the touch screen consists solely of a downtown map and some buttons that allows you to locate various types of locations on it (metro stations, hotels, etc.). There’s also a video camera to deter vandalism or attempted theft.

Ads are slightly less static too

Ads are slightly less static too

The other two sides have static display ads. Though there’s some “innovation” there too. The ads are actually scrolled (I mean that literally) back and forth to either allow some timesharing or just impress some marketing executives.

Tourist information runs on Windows

Tourist information runs on Windows

Oh, and in case you didn’t notice, the touch screen runs on Windows. Here it’s asking me to help install new hardware (perhaps the touch screen itself, since touching didn’t work).

H&R Block tries social media marketing

The big wigs at H&R Block have apparently heard that social media marketing is the new thing, so they’ve apparently hired some kids to shoot videos of themselves going places as part of a campaign called “Refund Road Trip”

The one-minute “webisodes” (20 seconds of which are text intros, teasers or ads for H&R Block) are on their website at RefundRoadTrip.ca and on YouTube, where they’ve gotten a massive modest pathetic view count ranging from 348 views to three views (plus about 800 for the trailer).

On the website, visitors are encouraged to enter a contest (for a whopping $5,000!) where they put together maps of their proposed road trips, where they do the responsible thing and blow their hard-earned money playing tourist.

To me it seems kind of silly in this recession environment to be encouraging people to spend tax refund money on unnecessary trips instead of retirement savings or paying down debt, but those things just aren’t as fun as taking an RV and going across the country.

I mention this (and sadly give H&R free publicity) because the Refund Road Trip makes a stop in Montreal. The videos of the Montreal portion of the trip start at Episode 24 (which is on YouTube but hasn’t been posted to the H&R website yet).

After that you can see the fun of hauling luggage up stairs, putting on makeup and walking around taking pictures.

My favourite though is Episode 27, in which “Cassidy” (who knows/cares if that’s his real name) walks out of an apartment next to CafĂ© Chaos on St. Denis and somehow ends up on an OC Transpo bus holding a copy of Ottawa’s 24 Hours daily before the sun comes up. That’s some fast walking!

Ad placement is everything

Daily Mirror, June 13, 2008

Daily Mirror, June 13, 2008

This page from London’s Daily Mirror from last year is getting passed around online as of late. A fellow editor spotted it on LiveJournal. It’s also on Reddit, which pointed directly to an image on Joey deVilla’s blog. Here’s his blog post from June, where the image originates.

The layout of the article here looks funny to me, but that’s because I work for a broadsheet instead of a tabloid. It also shows the problem when editorial and advertising put together parts of a page without seeing what the other is doing until after edition.

Bell answers to no one

A standards body that Bell Canada doesn’t belong to has reached a decision in a case that Bell refused to participate in, where the only evidence was heard by Bell’s chief rival (Rogers), and has ruled against Bell, only to have Bell outright reject the ruling and do nothing about it.

Doesn’t that make you feel better?

Now Bell can continue to claim to be Canada’s fastest network, even though a ridiculously one-sided decision has said that’s not true.

Koodo: We don’t mean what we say in our ads

Paul Jay at CBCNews.ca called Koodo out over the fact that they call fixed-term contracts and system access fees “sleazy” in an ad when Telus, which owns Koodo, has fixed-term contracts and charges system access fees.

A day later, Koodo responded, saying they don’t really mean that the others are “sleazy” but they just needed to attract people’s attention in the ad:

I don’t think here we have any belief that there is anything really being done by any of the other carriers to trick or to be sleazy…

So there you go. Don’t believe Koodo’s ads, because Koodo doesn’t even believe them.

Another gigantic waste of money from Bell

Bell billboard on St. Jacques St. West

Bell billboard on St. Jacques St. West

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve been exposed to ads in print, television, online, outside, in the metro and elsewhere from Bell Canada, which recently changed its logo, dumped its beavers and has launched a massive ad campaign to … introduce their new logo, I guess.

As if to underline the pointlessness of the redesign and the ad campaign, Bell first put up anonymous ads in the metro, with little slivers of the logo. I’m sure some marketing genius thought that would get people’s attention (they certainly bought enough space to get noticed). But really, nobody cared enough to look into it, gossip about it, or put the ad puzzle pieces together to figure out their source. (Well, almost nobody).

When the ad campaign launched, it introduced taglines in both French and English. The French version is “la vie est Bell,” which is a cute but obvious pun. In English, the taglines all end with a bolded, coloured “er”, as in “today just got better“, which makes no sense and has no connection with Bell.

Combined with ads for Telus’s Koodo service, expect to be bombarded with cellphone-related advertising, expecially in the metro.

Bell is also heavily promoting the Samsung Instinct, which it paradoxically promotes as both the “hottest phone of the year” and an “Apple killer” (sorry, “killer“), all with a straight face, in a desperate (and desperately transparent) attempt to show that not having the iPhone doesn’t make Bell executives cry at night.

But the worst part for Bell customers: Every one of the millions and millions of dollars spent on advertising, marketing experts and website designers is a dollar that is not spent improving customer service, lowering rates or expanding the network.

La vie est Bell, indeed.