Tag Archives: Advertising

More Positively Awesome PSAs

I’ll go on record: I love PSAs.

Especially the clever, the outstanding, the shocking, the unique. Because if there’s one example of how even the most boring messages (and public service announcements are most certainly that) can be turned into something special, than this is it.

Perhaps the best I’ve found yet is the catchy jingle, dark humor and adorable animations that are used to convince dumb Aussies not to die on Metro trains. Sounds like a real winner, right? Just press play.


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Filed under Great Advertising, Great Viewing

Meow Hear This

As a small agency, it’s hard to stay relevant. But it’s even harder to have the balls to know when to take a leap that no one else will. Furry, mesmerizing little balls.

Well, Toronto-based shop John St. did — forsaking the ‘outdated’ realm of traditional advertising and focusing solely on the growth medium of tomorrow: online kitten videos.

Of course, this is a parody of the ad biz and a clever one at that — after all, these are the chaps that came up with the now-classic Pink Pony case study — but it makes you stop to think: damn, if that isn’t a decent idea.

Sample the cat nip and discover how self-promoting really can be the same as self-depricating.

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Filed under Great Advertising, Great Viewing

Capturing Attention Across State Lines

I love reading the OOH ads on my morning “L” commute for a number of reasons:

1. At 8am, they are about the closest thing to ‘literature’ that  my caffeine-deprived brain can process.

2. They are usually so bad, they’re good (read: bad buzz). “Why yes, I am schizophrenic and have bulimia and would like to take a study for five cents an hour…”

3. Once in a very very very veeeeery seldom while, you actually see a well-placed ad that peaks your attention. Surprisingly, that happened to me this morning.

Plastered across my Red Line train were the following posters, creepily styled after a ransom note and cryptically discussing the plight of the “kIdnaPPed ChiCAgoAN”.

One oddly placed ad might not have been enough to convince me to interrupt my one-man staring contest with yesterday’s RedEye (which I’m very good at) – but with the whole car plastered with clues and snippets, I found myself intrigued.

Upon arriving at work, sure enough, I pulled up the URL – surprised to find a social-media-geeked-out travel advertisement for St. Louis, MO. To be honest, I was pretty impressed. Not only did the cross-channel marketing on the L not even mention a whipser of the product, yet still hold my attention long enough to type in a URL, but the payoff – a site chock full of video, Twitter feeds, Google maps and more – sold the end product in a whole new way. Long story short, they got me, I signed up for their contest and I became a sucker. Nice.

Just consider me another statistic, another conversion, but I sincerely appreciated the adventure of it all a hell of a lot more than reading a yellowing placard of “Visit Deleware – the FUN state!”.

Oh, and my RedEye appreciated winning the stare off competition for once.


Filed under Great Advertising, Great Copy, Great Sites

When Angels Fall, We Rejoice

A word of warning: this ad is not tasteful, groundbreaking or even that clever – hell it doesn’t even have dialog. Nevertheless, let’s take our ‘witty advertising commentary’ caps off for a moment and just appreciate what very well may be the best commercial ever made (if you’re a red blooded American male, that is).

Directed by blockbuster Maven, Michael Bay (Transformers, Armageddon, Pearl Harbor) and premiering last week during the Victoria’s Secret fashion show, this ad follows a very simple formula: naked women + techno music + jump cuts = pure unadulterated greatness. Enjoy.


Filed under Great Advertising, Great Shots, Great Viewing

Score One for the Lil’ Guys

frsh adsThere’re a couple ways to look at the down tick in the economy in terms of advertising:   1. the big guys are taking a hit as major brands pull back on their advertising budgets and   2. who cares, the little guys are doing better things with cooler brands and less money.

Living, bleeding and breathing point #2 is ONETWENTYSIX, a boutique design and branding studio based in Long Island. Doing some great identity, photography and print work, they’re one of a generation of boutique agencies pumping out stellar style for local and small market brands.

Personally, I think this is great for advertising and for creative professionals looking to stretch their wings. It’s not bad for niche brands either – especially those with the desire to create a unique style and leave a different taste in consumers’ mouths.

My hope would be that we continue to see some of this tight newcomers succeed. It’s obvious that they’re putting out better stuff than what some of the old brass have been doing lately.

And for those that are interested, these guys have a pretty sick visual blog that shows off the range of their various design and photography campaigns.

Kudos, guys. Let me know when you need some edgy copy work done. 😉

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Filed under Great Advertising, Great Design, Great Viewing

Best of the Bad Buzz – Halls

Some advertising campaigns are awesome. And some are just awesomely bad.

Stay away, fair lady...


This one – snotty noses, bad sweaters, ’80s hairdos and all – has been staring at Chicago L riders for the last week or so. If it were a placard here or there, it might be a clever ad. But if you step onto one of these train cars literally plastered with simulated oil portraits of middle-aged, red-nosed, thrift-shopping germ monsters, you might begin to feel a little scratch in the throat where the was none before.


A snot-filled shot from my 8am train

Ok, Halls ad execs, let me follow your thinking here. Apparently during flu season we’re all:

a) aging hipsters with

b) noses redder than Paris Hilton on a coke binge

c) in desperate need of inspiration to pass on the H1N1 virus.

Hmm… obviously a soothing Halls must be the answer!

Nice sweater vest


Good try. I understand the old-school, thrift-shop sweater, hipster look is in right now. But seeing the spitting image of Aunty Jean looking like she got worked over by a dump truck really doesn’t inspire me to buy your product.

As if the guy blowing his nose on his shirt sleeve in the seat next to me wasn’t inspiration enough.



Filed under Bad Buzz