Category: advertising


I try to like you, I honestly do. You’re overall message is a good one – treat animals ethically. Your tactics however have ethical questions of their own. I’m all for comedy, but this commercial just rubs me the wrong way. Probably because it’s stupid.

“It is sometimes necessary to shake people up in order to initiate discussion, debate, questioning of the status quo, and, of course, action.

Thus, we try to make our actions colorful and controversial, thereby grabbing headlines around the world and spreading the message of kindness to animals to thousands—sometimes millions—of people. This approach has proved amazingly successful”
(Taken from their “Why does PETA use controversial tactics” on their website.)
That stance is debatable, but it’s certainly the easiest route. However, if being controversial is admittedly part of your strategy, then what does that say about your overall agenda? Meat is controversial, and forever will be. We can’t sum everything up in commercials.
I believe our culture eats too much meat. I think wearing fur is stupid. But I’ll never get behind PETA if all they ever put out are sexy and scare-tactic based ads.
Besides, everyone knows bacon is what really “knocks the bottoms out” of women.

OK, but seriously? WTF PETA… That’s your big idea for getting people to eat less meat? Trying to convince young women that their boyfriends will suddenly become studs if they don’t consume meat?

“Tell your boyfriend not to eat meat so that he can treat you like it”

*The rest of the campaign (the call to the microsite) is for “user submitted” videos, but I don’t want them embedded on the blog.
I have learned from the concept though, and their mistakes in it. From it, a different project came out of it. Thanks PETA!
Last week the UO SOJC had the fortune of Ed Cotton, director of strategy at BSSP, as our executive in residence. Cotton spent over three days discussing with us topics ranging from how to write a real creative brief to why account planners have arguably the most important job in advertising.

I saw these presentations in person, but luckily for the rest of you he has just archived the decks to slideshare for all to see.

I think there are a lot of takeaways from the presentations, but after reviewing them for the first time I think of them as a “state of the union” for the advertising world. They’re packed full of inspiring modern examples of what people are doing right. The pics obviously can’t explain Ed’s insights, but they’re still informative as a standalone.
My favorite part of Ed’s time with us was when we did impromptu pitches based off of a “standard” brief vs. a creative brief. When I heard he was going to teach us how to write better creative briefs I assumed it was just going to be a kick ass slideshow full of tips, tricks & strategy. With this approach we got to experience the difference in results that come from a standard brief vs. a creative and involved approach.
In the “standard” approach we were just handed a piece of paper with a problem and a desired solution for a split target audience. It was pretty cut-and-dry, and so were most of the results after the quick 10 minute deadline he gave us. We were handicapped by the lack of creativity in the brief.

After that Cotton told us that we were going to try a creative approach to tackling the same problem. Instead of giving us a better sheet of paper he started to explain what he thought the real problem was. He did it in an upbeat and engaging manner and within just minutes all of the groups had a better understanding of the problem and the permission to be creative in solving it. The results were clearly much better and I think we all presented with a little more confidence than the first round.

I also had the opportunity to do another quick pitch to Cotton with some fellow J-schoolers as an unofficial part of the No Right Brain Left Behind project. Three other students and I got together for a few hours during a crazy week and came up with a quick presentation on how we think young kids can be encouraged to be creative in their early years of school. We called it -KidSourcing- and the basic idea is that kids would be challenged to solve a real life problem that is important to them. Our idea is that if kids have a real desire to solve a problem, then they will be motivated to find a creative solution to that problem. We didn’t have all the angles figured out, but it was still cool to pitch an idea to a perceptive crowd. Check out some of the official entries to NRBLB, some great stuff in there.

A big thanks to Ed Cotton for sharing his time with us and a bigger thanks to the SOJC for bringing him to us.

(some quotes from my notes)

“A good brief should make you wake up at 3am in a cold sweat wanting to write”

“A good brief should be dripping w/ inspiration, think of it as an inspiring set of directions”

“What’s the ONE thing we need to know?”

“Michelangelo got a brief from the Pope before he painted the Sistine Chapel”

-Ed Cotton


Ed Cotton on twitter
OMG they’re adorable!

wait a minute…..

I really like this spot from Method cleaning products. The first time I saw it I thought it was just a parody of the famous scrubbing bubbles until they took it a step farther. From there I think they use comedy to great effect for explaining how & why many conventional cleaners aren’t telling the full story. Not everyone agrees as the The #1 rated YouTube comment for this video states:

“this basically says that you will become a victim of sexual harrassment every time you take a shower if you don’t use Method cleaning products. Now that’s good marketing”
Sure, the video has an obvious sexual overtone in the dialogue, but the message is about cleaning products. I think they took a smart approach to the topic rather than just spouting off statistics about sketchy chemicals. We don’t have mandatory labeling on cleaning products (or on many product categories for that matter) and for some reason most of us are OK with that.

Method was promoting the Household Product Labeling Act, an act that would require household cleaning products to label all ingredients contained in the product. If we require it on most packaged food & beverage labels, then why not on the very things we use to clean up after ourselves? Why aren’t they transparent with the information?

The bill never became a law, but perhaps somewhere down the road we shall see some of the -ites, -enes, -zenes, -ides, & -ones that make up the recipes of our cleaning products. I don’t even think it would curb their sales that much considering all the things we already consume that we don’t understand.

Have you ever cleaned something and felt dirty about it afterwards?
If this video doesn’t look familiar, I’d encourage you to watch it before reading the post. I think the power of it is spoiled if you don’t.

As you may know by now, I watch A LOT of commercials. This my friends is f#*@!ng brilliant.
It’s comparable to a short film w/ a powerful message, because it basically is a short film. There’s the perfect amount of mystery to keep you interested and engaged and it’s quite rewarding when you find out that Mr W. is actually Mr. Wind.
It’s amazing how much emotion they managed to pack into just a 2 minute spot.

I’m currently in the UO student group Ad Society. I created these photo manipulations from pictures found on-line and created the mock ads below.

The assignment was open ended w/ the topic of “What if…..”
I chose “What if smoking was good for you?”

Pretty basic photoshop stuff, but it was fun to brush up on the skills while having a good chuckle.
Hopefully the subjects I picked make the message that much more obvious to the viewer. In general it’s pretty funny to superimpose stuff and a lit cigarette in Lance’s mouth is about as juxtaposed as one can pose.
I plan on making some fully OG mock ads in the near future, so this was a good warm-up.