Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Good, the Bad and the Not So Ugly

Time to subject you to my inner ad exec. Hooray! One of the favourite parts of my favourite advertising class was the bit where we'd bring in an ad every week and say what we liked or disliked about it. Feel free to play.

First The Bad with a capital B. I know this is a crappy picture, but hey, it's a crappy ad, so who cares?



Help me figure out what's going on here. The little "Kodak" in the corner tells us that we're supposed to be having feelings about either a camera or some film. Given that film cameras are nearly a thing of the past, I'm going to go with the camera option. Next, the text. OK, not bad - sorta catchy. We all have a Great Aunt Maud or a MIL who insists on giving us a size 38 XXXXXL, so OK. This one, apparently, is for men who don't understand sizing or don't care to ask, judging by Mr. Man there. I can still hang with that; whatever. Now check out the chick's face. What's the deal? I'd say it's safe to say that she's not a Happy Camper. Trepidatious, maybe? Pissed? Not happy, at any rate. Is her sweater supposed to be too big? (see strappy thing barely showing under her hair) Or is that just the style? Is he supposed to have put something way too small into that little box? I mean, the box is about the right size for a camera, but if this is a camera ad, she should be happy about receiving a camera, right? So I'm thinking it's not a camera. I don't get it.

This is a magazine ad. When you flip through a magazine, you're not sitting down to engross yourself in something deep. You're looking at something that's mostly fluff with short little articles that you can get through while the water is boiling for pasta, or you're standing by to wipe a kid's bottom after they poop -- a situation where you have a few moments to read, but not enough for anything real. In light of this, the ads should be something easily grasped in a few seconds (or less) and make a statement with strong visuals and very little text. In other words, it's not a game of "What's wrong with this picture?" No one's going to take that kind of time. Unless they're planning to ridicule your ad in a blog post.

This is a sucky ad.


Here's a much better one (though my photo of it is still crap) :





Look at that. It takes no time -- zero point five seconds maybe -- to figure out what we're supposed to know. Dry hands. REALLY dry hands. Therefore this must be a fix for that. You don't even have to read the text to figure it out. Now, if you suffer from dry hands, you will probably stop to read the text since you've already figured out that this is supposed to help you, so it's OK that there's a little more text than you can take in at a glance. The white bottle is a little unobtrusive, though, and the brand name didn't stick in my head. The brand should always stick in your head if it's a good ad, so this could be helped by perhaps adding the Dove name in the lower right hand corner - the place where your eye is going to stop as you glance over this page. Other than that, good ad.


And, finally, we come to the Not So Ugly Ad



It's certainly eye-catching, isn't it? And even though it's in French, you get the point. And the brand name - Le Coq Sportif - well, that will certainly stick, given the subject matter. For me, anyway. I might even frame this one and hang it up in my bedroom. OK, maybe not.

Tell me about your good, bad and (not so) uglies. Better yet, post about them. ^_^

23 comments:

Jaichan said...

Coco, my ex who you often read about in my blog, works for an ad agency in Toronto. He came up with this ad http://www.mediaincanada.com/articles/mic/20061101/pam.html
If I can find a copy of it online, I'll send it to you. It's great.
Gah. Le Coq Sportif sneakers are ugly. But I doubt I'd be looking at his feet.

Candace said...

Sounds great from the description - the "leaking through" on the back is a brilliant touch. :) And it looks clean and easy to understand. LMK if you find a bigger pic of it. :)

cindra said...

i have a lifelong screaming ad exec inside me! i cannot look at ads without critiquing them.

that girl in the kodak ad looks very leery of that man...that's really unsettling. maybe he just asked her to take nude photos of herself.

the dove one, good, but you know graphically could be better. kinda flat.

the running shoe one...hmmmm...no comment.

~d said...

is he gonna run wit no drawers on??

somewhere joe said...

The concept of the Kodak ad is a good one, but the execution is muddled. The problem is the photograph. I take it the photo is meant to convey disappointment or skepticism, but it's ambiguous - the worst thing an ad can be. Seems the producer was determined, at all cost, to present a 'Kodak Moment', when the concept calls for an Ellen Degeneres moment.

The second ad works because it grabs you and makes its point in a blatant and graphic way.

As for the third, sex sells and still does. The placement of the featured product is no accident!

Egan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Egan said...

Hmmm.. I think you're over thinking the first ad. I don't think the sweater she's wearing comes into play at all. I think the fit part is referring to the box and not clothes. You're shooting for the double entendre, but I don't think Kodak is. She does look like she's about to rip off his head though. I do agree Kodak screwed the pooch on this one.

The Dove ad is golden. The twig hand scares me in a Freddy Krueger way.

The naked man is hot. "I feel naked without them [shoes]. le coq sportif. Smile, it's sport!" is what it says in French.

somewhere joe said...

Here's a commercial I created for the city's annual Jazz festival. Local spots are all about information, but because I've worked with the parks department for several years they let me get a little artsy - my call. So I managed to stylize this one, at least for the genre, a bit. The Florida Special Events Association liked it - they gave it a Best Commercial award for 2005. You'll need highspeed and Windows Media Player to view.

http://joemasse.net/clips/jazz.wmv

tshsmom said...

Critiqueing ads is sort of a hobby at our house. It drives us wild when we watch a whole 30 second TV ad and have NO IDEA what they're selling! Now that's money well spent! ;)

Candace said...

Cindra - Maybe we all do. I thought maybe it ws just me from all those classes, LOL!
I find her look unsettling as well. Maybe she's just found out that he's Egan. ^_^

~d - I will be standing by with my camera in hopes of that. ^_^

Joe - I'm not even sure that's a "Kodak Moment." Aren't Kodak Moments shiny and sweet? This is just a Creepy Moment.

Egan - I'm not actually looking for a double entendre (for once in my life.) When it wasn't obvious to me what was going on, I looked harder to see if I'd missed something. Maybe that was the ad designer's intent. But I dislike the ad, and it doesn't make me feel shiny about Kodak, so in that case he or she has still failed. Yeah, what he's saying doesn't really make sense if you think about it, but I decided I liked it enough to ignore that fact.


Joe - I LIKE that! :) What made you go with the pink balloon? I like how provides a unifiying element across all the different cities and jazz styles. Is there some significance to the pink balloon, or was just something eye-catching you came up with?

Tshsmom - Have you ever seen "Joe Somebody" with Tim Allen? I love his company's ads running in the background listing all their drugs' side-effects in a rapid monotone. ^_^ Ridiculing poorly constructed ads should be a National Pasttime.

Winters said...

I wish I had a television...

C, you are a cultural portal for me. I thank you you for these, particularily the third ad picture, which is French, and I seem to remember spotting it in the Metro. "The Sporty Cock" indeed...

Trundling Grunt said...

I didn't realise Kodak had branched out into the vibrator industry.

I'll go with the sinister creepiness of the Dove advert.

And Mr Sporting Cock? Yes, it's eyecatching and makes you look. Well, not me of course, but you...

I have a particular loathing for drug (or pseudo drug) ads that I'll drone on about at some point.

Egan said...

You're right Candace.

somewhere joe said...

Candace, yes, the pink balloon is an avatar that has eye-catching and festive connotations - with a bouyant, aimless quality that made it the perfect object for moving through all the jazz-scapes, in search of the party. You got it... (The spot opens in Paris, a tribute to Lamorisse's The Red Balloon, the classic French film).

Interesting thread. Who doesn't love-hate advertising? We sometimes love the ads we hate.

Candace said...

Winters, we have a TV but we don't get any channels, and I find that I don't miss that. There's plenty to ridicule in the magazine industry. ^_^ And I have to love the Sporty Cock. Have you heard the expression "sporting wood"? Heh heh.

TG - OMG, I think you have it!!!

I hate drug ads. All that "Ask your doctor if Psillocide™ is right for you" makes me crazy. Why would you want to go ask for medication if you didn't even know what it was for?!? "Excuse me, Dr. I was wondering if you could give me. . ."(whips out long list) AAAAAAAGH!

Egan - About what? Never mind. I like hearing that. Excellent. ^_^

Joe - Ahhh ha, yes! The Red Balloon!

I love to hate ads. And sometimes I'm embarrassed to like ads. But other ones I love to love. Mostly, though, I love to be loved. ^_^

Egan said...

Good, I don't have to say it any longer then. My work here is over.

somewhere joe said...

Only Big Pharmaceutical can afford 60-second spots these days. But have you noticed some of the crazy-ass names they're coming up with for drugs now? Clopidogrel. Adalimumab. Are these drugs or spells?

Diesel said...

I like the first one. The chick is hot. End of story.

Egan said...

J'ai un coq sportif.

Candace said...

Egan - did you start that?

Joe - And they need them to list all the side-effects! OMG, are those real names? Those are bizarre. You have to love "Premarin" which is produced using PREgnant MARe's urINe. Eeesh. And no, that's not an urban legend. :-P

Diesel - ahhhh! I never thought of that aspect. So it works for you? What's your interpretation of her facial expression? Or doesn't it matter? Perhaps the hot chick is enough without meaning.

Egan - Are you sporting wood?

Egan said...

Yes, I started the "you're right" thing and I am sporting wood. It's almost Christmas so I'm very excited.

Gawpo said...

Well, I think Cindra is on the right path. But I think the look she's giving the guy is one of disdain, not cautious hesitation. She is pissed because he has obviously given her a gift that will NOT FIT into her small bag there. Also, by the looks of the back of the guy's head, he is too lazy to take nude photos of her. He's actually asking her to just give him some nude photos of herself. I don't get what Joe means, referring to the third photograph, by saying sex sells. What could Joe possibly mean? I don't get it. Hmmmm...

Candace said...

Egan - Has the Viagra worn off yet?

Gawpo - HAHAHA! I think you may have analysed the Mystery Ad! :)