Thursday, October 28, 2010

Calvin Klein is up to their old tricks again

Thank goodness Australia has an advertising standards bureau with the power to ban offensive advertising. In this case Calvin Klein has done it again. This time the offending ad depicts what some might interpret as a woman being raped while one man stands by looking rather nonchalant. In the past CK has been called down for their Heroin Chic campaign featuring super model Kate Moss, and  “kiddie porn” campaign that depicted what looked like underage models in sexually suggestive poses. Turns out, after a U.S. Justice Department investigation, those models were not underage, but you get the point, I think. So why do advertisers have to go to such extremes in order to gain our attention, and is it worth it from either a marketing point of view or from a societal perspective? I really enjoy much advertising, but sometimes campaigns like this really make me wonder. Maybe David Potter was correct way back in 1954 when he described advertising as an institution of abundance that, unlike some other institutions, lacked social responsibility. Although this is not the first ad campaign I’ve seen that depicts women in an intolerable situation, it doesn’t make it okay. I find the return to such a tired, old, and totally inappropriate advertising image, depressing. I hope Calvin Klein doesn’t try those ads out in the United States, although based on passed performance, I wouldn’t put it past them.

Super Bowl 46 Sells Out

You have to be impressed that it isn’t even November and the 2011 Super Bowl commercial inventory is already sold out. Just the other day the remaining two spots were sold at their retail price of $3 million each. The 46th Super Bowl will be played on February 6, 2011 at the new indoors Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. It will be televised live on NBC in the United States and by various other broadcasters around the world. Historically, the worldwide audience hovers around 110 million viewers. Given the state of the U.S. economy, a sell-out is pretty spectacular in my humble opinion. I wish Super Bowl advertising served as a barometer of the economy’s future, however most of the ads are for familiar brands – Pepsi has purchased 6 advertisements. After being absent from the spectacle for two years General Motors is likely to return; that’s a very encouraging sign. But they have a good story to tell and a new tag line “Chevy Runs Deep” to sell. And of course we know there will be some consumer generated advertising (CGA) opportunities to ensure fan engagement. I’ll have more to say about Super Bowl advertising as we move closer to the event. But I’d say that selling out the entire inventory of spots, and these last two at full price, makes me feel very optimistic about the future.

Monday, October 18, 2010

How much does that ad cost?

It's always interesting, I think, to consider how much one 30-second television spot costs on prime-time television. Advertising Age published an article today with the cost per spot for the programs listed above. Which program is the most expensive on which to advertise? American Idol. One 30 second spot on American Idol costs more than $400k, and of course one would never just purchase one spot, as repetition is an important part of the advertising game. By the way, the $400K does not include the cost of producing the commercial, which could easily double that figure.

Friday, October 15, 2010

How do you advertise a commodity?

While creating difference among razors is becoming difficult as manufacturers go from three to four to five blades and beyond, when it comes to commidities like milk, eggs, and veggies the process of creating difference seems unlikely. The "Got Milk" campaign doesn't brand milk, but rather encourages consumption of the category. There are brands of eggs, like Eggland's Best, but what about veggies? Is there a carrot with a difference? The creative folks at Crispen, Porter and Bogusky have come up with a campaign for Baby Carrots that is off the wall, attempting to align carrots with junk food. Novel idea. But I wonder if, beynd the commercial itself, there is anything in a carrot that will make someone turn away from their favorite chip or other snack food. Nevertheless, this is an interesting case study. I always think it's fun to develop creative ideas around products with no discernable differences. Take two quarters, for example. Do you think you could come up with a campaign that makes one 25 cent piece seem better than the other?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Does Grover Smell Like a Monster?

I thought this Sesame Street parody of the Old Spice commercials was a hoot. Thought you might enjoy it.