Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The line is crossed

Advertising is a powerful medium. In many ways it defines, shapes and informs culture. I love advertising. i love the creativity and the intellectual challenge required to effectively sell products.

One of the reasons I started my own agency, is because I did not feel comfortable with the ethical compromises that were needed in order to work for certain clients. Unfortunately when you work for someone else, you do not always have the luxury of making judgement calls on whether a project is ethical or not - somebody tells you what you are working on, and then you work on it. At The Whisper Shop we try to make decisions on whether to work on specific clients or briefs with a wider understanding of the implications of our work.

... which brings me to the point of this post. Hell Pizza's new Hitler ad.

In the grand tradition of "controversy for the sake of controversy" advertising, Hell Pizza revel in making controversial advertsing, underpinned by a (understatement) irreverent brand. They advertise in a manner which is intended to get old ladies, and guys in tweed suits to complain loudly to the media, which in turn will lead to widespread condemnation by the media, which creates millions of dollars of free advertising to their ACTUAL audience, who think they are cool because Hell extend their middle finger to the system. Rocket science huh?

Their game is to induce complaints. If you do find something offensive and actually complain about it, you're falling right into their evil little trap. It's brilliant strategic word of mouth advertising.

But what if it's morally and ethically wrong? What to do? Ignore it? Let it just wash on by? Giggle and laugh along with them? I don't know the full answer, but lets humour them and talk about their latest billboard.

Their latest billboard feature Adolph Hitler in full Nazi regalia, swastika's and all with the line "you can convince some people that heaven is hell" . Hilter if you remember was the guy who was responsible for the murder of millions of Jews, homosexuals, gypsys, handicapped people, other ethnic minorites and his actions also contributed to the deaths of millions of other soldiers and civilians (including possibly people you are related too) in WWII. Hell are using him to sell Pizza.

I will quote a friends complaint today to the Advertising Standards Authority:

"The campaign explicitly uses Hitler and the Holocaust, history's most horrific genocide as a marketing tool. The swastika symbol alone is an image that incites racial hatred and simply should simply not be allowed in advertising. It is the blatant promotion of fascism. Racists, white supremacists and other hate groups, use this symbol in the promotion of their values, and it is accordingly banned in many other countries.

New Zealand need not [allow] the use of such offensive and foul imagery to sell pizza. The text and image is offensive as it blatantly and EXCLUSIVELY uses the regime that directly caused the tragic death of MILLIONS of people to promote their food. This kind advertising breeds ignorance toward the horrors of history that can, and must be, learned from."

My personal opinion is the campaign is horrific. I ask the question of their management and agency. How can you look yourselves in the mirror in the morning? Surely you must have some qualms or conscience that will prohibit certain topics or images from being copted in your personal search for the almighty dollar? Maybe not. Maybe you love the fact i hate it.

My response will be simple. Maybe it won't make change a thing, maybe writing this will actually be of greater benefit to Hell Pizza than harm. However at least i am responding. I, nor The Whisper Shop will ever buy a Hell PIzza again, and I have laid a complaint with the Advertising Standards Authorithy. It's not much, but at least it's something. I will not be defined by apathy.

By the way, the copywriting on those billboards is terrible.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Classic Ad - Atari

This is advertising gold from sometime during the 80's. Starring a robot, carol channing and kareem abdul-jabaar. I love their proposition for the Atari - Don't watch television, play it.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Truth, Lies and Advertising : The Art of Account Planning

The book that began my career as a planner.

"Account planning exists for the sole purpose of creating advertising that truly connects with consumers. While many in the industry are still dissecting consumer behavior, extrapolating demographic trends, developing complex behavioral models, and measuring Pavlovian salivary responses, Steel advocates an approach to consumer research that is based on simplicity, common sense, and creativity--an approach that gains access to consumers' hearts and minds, develops ongoing relationships with them, and, most important, embraces them as partners in the process of developing and advertising.
A witty, erudite raconteur and teacher, Steel describes how successful account planners work in partnership with clients, consumer, and agency creatives. He criticizes research practices that, far from creating relationships, drive a wedge between agencies and the people they aim to persuade; he suggests new ways of approaching research to cut through the BS and get people to show their true selves; and he shows how the right research, when translated into a motivating and inspiring brief, can be the catalyst for great creative ideas. He draws upon his own experiences and those of colleagues in the United States and abroad to illustrate those points, and includes examples of some of the most successful campaigns in recent years, including Polaroid, Norwegian Cruise Line, Porsche, Isuzu, "got milk?" and others.

The message of this book is that well-thought-out account planning results in better, more effective marketing and advertising for both agencies and clients. And also makes an evening in front of the television easier to bear for the population at large."

Monday, August 13, 2007

Tips for blogging, fulfilled it's purpose - gave me content

According to brandchannel for a successful blog you have to post every day. for this and other tips on blogging click here and you'll discover whether I followed any of their other rules.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Classic Ad - Coke (Jack White)

Coke make a reference to an ingredient in their original recipie

Classic Ad - Honda "Kog"

The greatest TV ad of all time imho.

Classic Ad - Nike "Instant Karma"

An average ad that has stuck in my head for 15 years. Why? A great song.

Monday, August 6, 2007

The end of the master brand

An interesting white paperby Geordie McClelland from Brandchannel. He writes:

"Master brands and brand architecture are two of the many inward-focused notions that have come to define the world of branding. While these concepts heralded an important milestone, continued adherence to their principles may lead to branding’s downfall. Inflexible models and exclusive language inherent to these concepts are alienating branding’s most critical potential proponents, giving the impression that as branding practitioners, we have built artificial processes to justify higher fees for what otherwise would be considered “expensive marketing.” In this article, we will make the case that traditional brand jargon, brand architecture and its numerous flavors - such as Branded Houses, Houses of Brands, Endorsed Brands and Sub-brands under a Master Brand, and any other “branding” term that puts unnecessary conceptual distance between a business and its brand(s)—is ultimately detrimental to the discipline of branding. We will then provide an alternate view of brand system management that we feel is more relevant to the needs of businesses and the many stakeholders they serve."

Download the full white paper here