Saturday, October 1, 2011

Awesome Political Ad

Not that I'd ever vote for them, but I was pretty impressed by this. After years of seeing ads that taunt party leaders' policies and personalities in great detail, this was cheeky, relevant, and perfect for the young, hip crowd that votes NDP. No, it might not tell undecided voters which party is best for them, but it certainly does a good job of getting uninformed or apathetic voters to pay attention! It's even short enough to play before YouTube videos.
Bonus points for playing up Andrew's feminine, underdog attitude so subtley.

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Ethics of Groupon-type Websites

Group discount websites such as Groupon, LivingSocial, and DealTicker has been the biggest online phenomena of the past year. Marketers, businesspeople, the investing community, the media, anthropologists, and everybody are wondering if the business is sustainable, if this is a new model of shopping, if the stocks are overvalued and more.

Most importantly, the Average Joe, Jane (or Nyla) are developing new tastes from these group-buying-deals. Consumers are trying things like wine-making, water-skiing or micro-dermabrasion treatments for the first time.

The three reasons behind shaping new consumer habits:
  • Consumers receive a friendly email about the deal for something they hadn't yet perceived a need for, full of clever copywriting and right into their inbox
  • The coupon expires in a few hours, increasing the potential for impulse shopping
  • The prices are often amazing which makes previously unaffordable products and services within everyone's reach
But this is where the problem begins. Group discount websites are making new experience more attainable for the consumer, but isn't being socially responsible whatsoever.

These two deals are from my favorite group-buying site, DealTicker in the last  week:

$9 for a month of unlimited tanning!
To sell this tanning service, DealTicker writes "Do you have the pale pallor of a creature who has just clawed her way out of a crypt? Have those cold Canadian parka entombed winters left you with a deathly glow brighter then Casper’s? Did you abandon your Goth gear years ago yet somehow your skin never got the memo? It’s time to radiant a healthy glow by taking advantage of today's DealTicker of $9 For 30 Days of Unlimited Tanning Courtesy Of Radiance Tanning ($70 Value). There’s nothing wrong with wanting a healthy tone to your flesh."

Nothing except skin cancer. At a really great price. Tanning has been dubbed the new "smoking" due to its detrimental health effects and risk of skin cancer. Not to mention, making it "unlimited for a month" may tempt many to milk the deal by going way too many times in a single month.

And if the tanning one wasn't all that bad, here's one for $110 worth of smoking accessories:

$29 for $110 of "smoking accessories"

This one isn't even ethically questionable. Smoking is the original "smoking" and we are all extremely familiar with the strict smoking regulation that exists in Canada (and with good reason).

On this gem, DealTicker writes "From pipes and bongs, to vaporizers and rollies, they really do have absolutely everything you could ever imagine when it comes to smoking. So instead of wasting time trying to find a smoke shop that is relatively close by, you could just simply have your items shipped straight to your door. The best part is that when your order arrives, it will be packaged in a discreet plain carton box, so that your right to privacy is respected."

So you can smoke your pot without having your mom, roommates or wife find out. Just when you thought cigarettes were no longer sexy, DealTicker brings lung cancer back at an affordable price.  It says you have to be of legal age to smoke to purchase this deal, but how do they even monitor this? The final sentence to the article reads, "if you really want to discover a new smoking experience, then take a puff from today’s cross country DealTicker, and you’ll quickly be able to get your fix."

What do you think of these types of online discounts?

    Tuesday, June 28, 2011

    My Favourite Bieber Product Endorsement

    I saw this Justin Bieber nailpolish collection at a Shopper's Drug Mart this weekend. There was shiny purple, metallic silver and all my favourite colours, aptly named after his songs.

    It used to be that to endorse a product, you had to use it or be familiar with it in some way.
    Not so with Bieber (although I wouldn't be surprised if he does actually use this stuff). A little bit of background research tells me that the nail polish sold over 1 million bottles in the States in the first two months of its release.

    Sunday, March 13, 2011

    What We Want in Websites

    Here's a lesson in website-making from two of the most famous comics on the internet: thinks: agrees:

    Wednesday, March 9, 2011

    "BBM Helps You Flirt..."

    James Sturm writes

    "Lately I’ve been keenly aware of the amount of advertising that insists connective technology is essential to our happiness (Faster speeds! Fewer dropped calls!). Four months ago, I barely noticed it; now it is an affront, a lie so obvious that it’s insulting. Adding to my anger is the fact that until the Web came around, I’d successfully avoided the addiction gauntlet. I’d steered clear of any trouble with gambling, booze, and drugs. To be blindsided by the Internet (my helpful and wonderful friend!) doesn’t seem fair. But complaining is useless, isn’t it?"

    This ad is a perfect example of this:

    It's terribly sad that the people featured in the ad have replaced the pleasures of face-to-face flirting, personal, actual, human interaction and connectivity, with typed words, and "received" notifications. All the body language, the "instant conversation" that would come with a real life conversation are now on their phones.

    And am I the only one that thought that the woman "eager to trade her BBM Pin" comes across as ridiculously desperate, while claiming to play "hard to get?"

    In an age where we are all perhaps a little too connected, is this an effective ad strategy for RIM?

    Monday, February 28, 2011

    ..and the Ugly

    The worst website I've seen in a while.

    Welcome to 

    • It takes forever to load, and simply moving your mouse moves the whole scene around.
    • The creepy real-people-in-a-cartoon-background all speak at you, often freezing
    • If they attempt to list their products anywhere, I couldn't find it. 
    • They place way, way, way too much emphasis on all this health and nutritional stuff. Does Dole really need a section for men's health, one for women's health and a different one for fitness and prevention?
    • None of the "blog-type" sections has been updated since 2008. Most updates were in 2005 (I'm assuming this was when the site was made.
    • There's a whole bunch of videos hidden under "Dole TV" which cannot be found elsewhere on the Internet (hint: Youtube channel anyone?)
    • The Super Kids section is overstuffed with games, comics, music and a lot of other budget intensive things that I'm sure no kids really visit anyway. 
    • It is impossible to navigate your way around simply to anything. Click on pink-shirt-lady, then the package-of-fruits-with-halo, then the banana, then the banana again to reach the page that gives you nutritional information about fruits and veggies.
    • Did I mention clutter? It's overflowing with content. I feel overwhelmed and overloaded and just simply don't have the patience...

    the Bad

    A half serving of vegetable for dinner? Mixed in with all the wonderful processed Kraft Dinner ingredients?

    And when compared to the regular Kraft Dinner,
    KD Smart has:
    12% more saturated fat
    9% more sodium
    12% more sugar
    4% less protein

    (Thank you Weighty Matters for the information)

    the Good

    I've been hearing a lot of negative things about food advertising lately: dishonesty about ingredients, marketing to children, glossing over the important health details etc.
    Maybe they could take a page out of the Ontario Government's (low-budget) books?

    Tuesday, February 22, 2011


    "Casual," quirky wedding gowns, courtesy of hipster favourite Urban Outfitters has recently launched:

    Wednesday, February 16, 2011

    Try: Hugs, Humps, Meets, Is, Tickles, Loves, Cooks, Phones

    One of the most innovative ways to get a viewer to interact with an advertisement that I've ever seen. While the average viewing time for an ad online is 30 seconds, I personally spent 10 minutes playing with it without getting bored. Not to mention the amount of interactivity and creativity necessary on the part of the viewer means they'll remember the ad sure!

    I can't decide if Hunter Tickles Bear or Hunter Humps Bear is my favourite!
    My only concern: Does the brand message get lost in the process? Even after 10 minutes, I couldn't remember what brand of white-out this was for. Thoughts?

    Saturday, February 12, 2011

    A New Commitment!

    After taking a month off or so to think through the blog idea and even trying out Tumblr, here's what I've come to:

    I'd really like to blog more frequently, so keep your eye out over the new few weeks for a Brandwashed overdose.