Posts Tagged 'Advertising'

The Man Behind The Ikea Catalogue

The most important person in producing the 211 million worldwide copies of the Ikea catalogue?  Furniture impersonator Torbjörn Lundberg of course.

“I can be a sofa and an hour later I can be a lamp…”

Such versatility, what would they do without him?

Hilarious ad from Swiss agency Wirz Werbung Zürich.


McDonald’s Photoshoot

You’d be forgiven for thinking that the title of this post would offer scantily clad females posing in red and yellow bikinis, or perhaps even some interior shots of McDonald’s “restaurants” re-designed in a particularly creative manner.

But no.  As is such with McDonald’s, this is just about the food.

We’ve all wondered why the ‘perfect’ looking burgers on the menus differ so greatly from what we are given in our take-away cartons, and (somewhat to my surprise) McDonald’s have now revealed exactly why that is.

A burger made “in about a minute or so” and purchased over the counter

A burger “styled” over many hours for a photoshoot

The secret is a painstakingly laborious “food styling” session given to each item on their menu, before being photographed and given a digital touch up (obviously).  The whole process is proudly shown off in the video below.

I’m not really surprised at this (oh come on, we all know it happens), but what I do find mildly amusing is that McDonald’s actually employs the specific role of “Food Stylist” to carefully inject ketchup and taper the melting edges of processed cheese with a hot palette knife!

The difference is quite clear, but is this form of advertising fair on the consumer?

I mean, if you bought a car based on an advert you would expect it to look the same wouldn’t you?  The wing mirrors, doors and everything else would be in the same position and of the same appearance as shown in the advert.  I’m not convinced by their stance on this being a  true and fair representation of the end product (as advertising should be), but then again I need don’t really need any more excuses to avoid fast food restaurants beyond the health aspect.

Submit your own questions to McDonald’s here, you never know – they might just answer it for you!

Walk Of Shame

Now that it’s December and there’s less than three weeks to go until Christmas it’s perfectly acceptable to be encouraging the festive spirit.

And what better way than some great Christmas advertising.

No, not that Coca-Cola one, or the endearing John Lewis one, but instead the slightly amusing 2011 campaign from Harvey Nichols.

Turn the oh-so-relatable walk of shame into a “Stride of Pride” and (if you want to go a step further) share it with them using #walkofshame on Twitter!.


Paintball Machine

I’m not the world’s biggest fan of V Energy as a drink, but you can’t knock their advertising skills.

Around 840 paintball guns in this brilliantly shot promotional video instantaneously fire a multitude of colours to paint a character on the wall, much to the surprise of everyone around it!

The clip builds the audience to expect a grand finale and then the final shot is almost an anticlimax, until you see the end result.  Love it.

Via Fubiz.

Volkswagon Get Creative

In the age we now live in, of Sky+ and Virgin+ combined with ever busier and hectic journeys, adverts are becoming increasingly hard to see.  We are gradually teaching ourselves to tune them out, perhaps skimming the odd one when something outrageous catches our eye, but generally most of us don’t want to see the visual bombardment we encounter everyday.  The fast forward button on remote controls makes this extremely easy, as does the gradual learning of our subconscious not registering everything that our eyes see.

Auditory, however, now there’s a relatively untapped resource.  Yes, we have it coming from radio and word of mouth, but from a newspaper?  Well that’s exactly what Volkswagon‘s recent advert did.  Three weeks ago VW rolled out talking adverts in two of India’s national newspapers, The Times of India and The Hindu.

Local responses to the advert range wildly from “gobsmacked fascination” (probably where I’d initially find myself) to “downright annoyance” (one reader reporting that it took 15minutes to get the paper to stop talking!).

A photodiode powered audio chip plays on loop until you close the page.

Opening the paper activates a light sensitive microchip prompting the page to start talking.  Announcing all the product details and information you would typically glean from a written advert, but in an unfamiliar format.  It stands out, it catches your attention, and makes it very difficult to ignore or tune out.  Very clever.

Here’s the advert in action:

You can bet it made a few commuters jump when they opened up their paper on the train that’s for sure!

Innovative? Certainly, yes. Creative? Again, yes top marks for thinking outside the box.  But is it actually any good?  Perhaps had I experienced it for real, rather than via You Tube, it may be a different experience, but at the moment I’m not convinced this will become the norm any time soon.  I’m all for exciting new experiences, doing things differently and making your product stand out, for which you do have to admire VW for.

The audio chip in-situ on the newspaper ad.

For starters it looks quite clumsy, like it was a real afterthought to do this in addition to the printed ad.  Maybe it was, but it still looks like it ought to have received a bit more consideration.  For something electronic to go inside thousands of copies of the national paper that’s a fair budget, even when done efficiently.  You wonder how many of the electronics had problems – did all readers receive the intended experience VW aimed for?  I guess that’s a proportionate risk to pushing boundaries in any field, and we’ll never know if people don’t push.

One immediate issue was clear though as a flight was delayed due to police having to investigate a “stack of talking papers”!

Nobody got anywhere in the world by simply being content
Louis L’Amour, Author

That goes for companies as well as individuals.

Given that newspapers don’t tend to be treated that well either how long did the product last, or more how long was it designed to last?  As I type my thoughts on this up, I think my only real issue with this is environmental.  Those eletronics will need to be disposed of, and you can bet they aren’t likely to be recycled properly.  Should a global company such as VW have more responsibility than this?  Especially for a flash in the pan, one shot 24 hour advertising campaign.  I’m not saying stop being creative and stop innovating ideas like this, but design is so much more than that nowadays.  We should be encouraged to consider the entire product lifecycle, typically via a Product Lifecycle Management Process (PLMP – can’t help but think of a certain 50 Cent song whenever anyone says this) exercise, and that includes product disposal and recycling or reuse.

After the huge buzz it generated across the Twittersphere and other social media platforms you do have to admit that, despite a chunk of criticism and a whole heap of praise, it got the world talking about VW.  I mean, it even got them a mention on here, the coveted Inspirational Geek!

So, a successful campaign?  For me, yes.  It got the world talking about VW and the Volkswagon brand, it got companies thinking “why don’t we do that?” and it got individuals thinking “I could do that better”.  All great stuff, and all provoked from this campagin.  And whenever anyone does it in the future, even if it is implemented far better, the VW name will always crop up as they were the first to do it, a guaranteed form of legacy advertising.

Double Entendre Graphics

IBM have come right out of their rigid corporate shell and commissioned graphic designer Noma Bar to design a series of beautiful and clever illustrations to support their Smarter Planet campaign.

The Smarter Planet campaign is for technology giants IBM to welcome us to “the decade of smart” where “the planet has grown a central nervous system”.  Cool or what eh?

Technology has advanced incredibly over the past few years, remember that UI in Minority Report that we all gasped at?  Well only a matter of weeks ago a real life working example of this was presented by John Underkoffler on TED (skip to about 6mins30 for the really amazing stuff), demonstrating that we’re only a whisker away from infusing intelligence into systems that we build.  Designing more complex products will provide richer customer experiences and that, ultimately, is really what we’re all after.  Plenty more worth reading on the campaign site by cruising through the icons at the bottom of the page.

The humorous and witty posters use part negative space, part optical illusion to hide an image within the image, a somewhat elegant and surprising solution that big IT corporations traditionally tend to stay away from in favour of more linear and straight edged adverts.  Maybe this, deliberately or not, is hinting at future products and technologies.  Not necessarily hiding, but combining products within products, technologies within technologies, and more!  The future is almost upon us, so, for now, let’s just sit back and enjoy the graphics that go along with it.

Along with the initial image this is one of my favourites, combining a classic pen nib with a cheeky little USB.

A great series, well done Noma.

UNICEF Dirty Water Campaign

This looks like some pretty damn powerful advertising if ever I saw some.  Selling you dirty water.

A slick and prominent installation, that many people in affluent countries can relate to.

Thirsty? Fancy a drink? Most of us are never too far away from a vending machine (whether it actually works if you’re in, say, London is another matter, but you get my point) or a newsagent, and most of us again will think nothing of often handing over in excess of £1.50 for a bottle of water.  Yes it’s expensive, but it’s convenient, and in plentiful supply.  You might even say we’ve got it on tap, but that’s a poor pun, so I won’t.

The installation in Manhattan exposes this, with an emphasis on an emotional and physical response.  We can all relate to it, and immediately the message is clear.  At least subconsciously we are all aware that these sorts of issues exist in third world countries, but now it is presented as something humbling, and much closer to home.  Something you can actually begin to help with.

Everyday over 4,000 children die of water related diseases.  This is drummed in by the eight ‘flavours’ on offer from the vend – malaria, cholera, typhoid, dengue, hepatitis, dysentery, salmonella, and yellow fever.  Those lethal flavours are not so appealing anymore are they?

Each dollar spent in this machine goes to a UNICEF campaign providing clean water to those who need it.  By purchasing just one bottle you provide 40 days of water for a child that would otherwise be risking one of the very real diseases shown.

The video below shows it much better, I think the public reaction says it all.

On a lighter note there are some lovely vector graphics on the machines and the campaign website.

Visit the Tap Project for more info and to donate.  You wouldn’t drink dirty water. No one should.  So check them out on Twitter as well @unicefusa and spread the word.

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