George Duncan

Marketing copywriter/consultant, author

Archive for the category “Watch Your Ads”

Sex still sells

From Watch Your Ads – A media memo by George Duncan

Sex still sells

Maybe it’s just me, but I keep seeing sex references in several of the ads currently running.

Hold onto that spray can, lady!

The product designers at Dove succumbed to the obvious – if a bit ambitious – it seems to me, when they created the spray can for their antiperspirent. At 8” long and about 2” in circumference, you can guess what that hard white cylinder reminds one of. Less you miss the analogy, they even provided a little slit at the top. One lady in the ad is hanging onto it like she just discovered Piltdown man.

Get a room!

Volkswagen reaches back to the good old days of getting lucky in the back seat with an ad for the V Atlas. It features a family increasing one kid at a time, each supposedly conceived in a Volkswagen, beginning with the bug and progressing to the current Atlas. Each model is shown with windows appropriately fogged up, rocking gently in the woods, the family growing with each model.

In case you miss the point, it’s all backgrounded by Deano Martin singing – ready? – “The Birds and Bees”! Meanwhile, at the end, the whole family seems to be living in their car. Sad.

Mr. Dirty?

Then there’s the new series of kitchen cleanser ads that once featured a friendly Mr. Clean helping out in the kitchen, replaced with an updated fantasy Mr. Clean your clock, who’s slick as a siding salesman. Keep the cell phone handy, ladies.

GEICO strikes again. Sort of…

Less sexy than above, the ad begins in a restaurant with a character dressed in his Sunday best Roman togs, reciting Shakespeare. Camera pulls back to show he’s standing on a customer’s table. She tells the waiter she had asked for soup and he shoos the interloper away with “Caesar on a Caesar salad?” Then GEICO comes on to make the usual non-sequitur connection with the money you’ll save with GEICO Insurance. So, B+ for funny, F for relevance.

Did I see the ad for Squatty Potty? Yes, I did. Will I describe it? No I won’t.

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Mad. Ave. helps to break down barriers

From Watch Your Ads – A media memo by George Duncan

Mad. Ave. helps to break down barriers

Several recent ads are helping to break down various same sex and biracial barriers, while delivering some pretty good ads in the process:

Chase Bank’s wealth management division shows two young kids, an African-America girl and a white boy holding hands on their way to elementary school. Cut to the two again with the girl on a bike, probably going to middle school. Next they’re walking close to each other on the way to high school, then as young adults, and finally as presumably married and seeing a Chase Bank wealth management representative. Nice touches all the way.

Walgreens scores a hit with two ladies of a certain age, clearly together, first visiting a Walgreens for suntan stuff, then stripping their clothes off for a joint skinny dip at a nude beach. Delightful.

USAA (my insurance company) features a mixed race couple and their kids. She’s a vet getting USAA’s photo-fast service. The company specializes in covering current and former military folks with a variety of insurance services.

Women’s careers are the focus of a GE corporate ad announcing the company’s initiative to place 20,000 women in STEM positions by 2020. Good for them.

From the sublime to the nutsy

On the other end of the scale is a Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup ad (yes, good ole chicken noodle soup!) showing a family sitting down to eat – kids and parents. Voice over declares, referring to the kids, “if they won’t eat it, a least you won’t have wasted a lot of time making it.” Wow! Now there’s an incentive!

It’s stupid, but maybe that’s why I like the spot for Hormel Pepperoni. It’s a one-man band – a familiar sight 40-50 years ago – walking in a circle with his drum, cymbals, horn, etc. all going full blast.

But the worst of the week is an ad for chi-chi-chi chia! Two chia pet characters supposedly representing President Obama and President Trump – hard to tell which is which – grassy hair and all!

Keep clickn’…

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