The Advertising Apprentice

February 2, 2015

Always Wins Super Bowl XLIX

Filed under: Advertising — adamlauzon @ 7:31 PM
Tags: , , , , ,

Super Bowl XLIX is in the books. Congratulations to the New England Patriots, though it could have easily gone the other way. It was an exciting game to watch with so many highlights. Canadian Football League product Chris Matthews had a breakout game and led to the CFL being mentioned more in the Super Bowl than they have before. There was the collective oh my gosh when everyone realized that Seattle’s Jermaine Kearse made the catch with a little over a minute left in the game. And of course the interception when Seattle was on the one-yard-line with Marshawn Lynch, one of the best offensive players in the NFL this year, in the backfield.

As this is an advertising blog I should probably talk about the commercials. Advertisers paid a whopping $4.5 million for 30 seconds of airtime. We saw the usual collection of spots featuring celebrities, beer ads, and blockbuster movies. There were some big hits and some big misses; I’m talking to you T-Mobile and Kim Kardashian. I’m going to stay away from the misses and instead celebrate five ads that for me won this year’s Super Bowl of advertising. Several of my top five spots celebrate the ads that leave you with a warm feeling.

1. Always – Like a Girl
Hands-down the best ad from this year’s crop. By showing the negative connotations of doing something like a girl, this ad then achieves it’s goal of empowering women when they had young girls run like a girl, throw like a girl, and fight like a girl.

2. Dove – Calls for Dad
A thank you to dads for being the men their kids need them to be. Simple but touching and very relatable.

3. Coca Cola – Download Happiness
While I’m skeptical of the premise that a bottle of Coke will make a cyber-bully stop, I like the approach of associating happiness with the product. And you can’t argue with a commercial that uses the kid fist meme.

4. Budweiser – Lost Dog
This is an example of amazing 60-second story-telling. You feel the bond between the yellow lab and the Clydesdales. You feel scared when the wolf appears and you feel joy and relief when Clydesdales show-up to provide some backup for the young yellow lab. It was posted on January 28th and already has over 21 million views.

5. Doritos – Middle Seat
I love all the antics the guy pulls to make sure no one sits next to him. Once he sees the cute woman, he drops the antics, but unfortunately for him he didn’t see her son. Great surprise ending!

As a Canadian I’m excited that starting in 2017, thanks to a ruling from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, Canadians will be able to see the big American commercials live, in real-time. You can read more about it in this Globe and Mail article.


January 30, 2015

Insight from 2015 Change Makers Conference

On Tuesday I had the distinct pleasure of attending of the 2015 Change Makers Conference. The conference brings together advertisers and marketers to talk about innovative campaigns that address, predominantly social, issues such as mental health, gambling, smoking, cancer, and texting & driving, to name a few.

I found that all six of the speakers were able to effectively provide some insight for those in attendance on ways the advertising community can make change happen. The speakers were also able to highlight examples of campaigns and spots that have done it right, in that they’ve affected change in powerful ways. We heard about a Brazilian billionaire who wanted to bury his Bentley, an Amsterdam hotel that prides itself in not being a clean hotel, and the first observed instance of monkey prostitution. And no, I’m not kidding about that last part!!

The six speakers at the 2015 Change Makers Conference were:

  • Marc Stoiber, Creative Strategist, Entrepreneur and Writer
  • Phillip Haid, Co-Founder and CEO of Public Inc.
  • Terry O’Reilly, Writer & Director at Pirate Toronto
  • Karen Howe, Senior Vice President & Creative Director of One Advertising
  • Tracy Danicich, Vice President/Campaign Director at the U.S. Ad Council
  • Stephen J. Dubner, Author

I’m one of those people that when I go to a conference or lecture I’m always taking copious amounts of notes because I really don’t want to miss any of the insight and wisdom that’s shared with the audience. (If you haven’t picked up from my previous entries, I love insight and value it so incredibly much. It’s something I’ve sought to cultivate since reading Phil Dusenberry’s One Great Insight is Worth a Thousand Ideas.) The benefit of my note-taking for this entry is that I’ll highlight the insight I gained from each of the speakers and I’ll also include some of the memorable ads/campaigns they talked about.

Marc Stoiber

Have you heard of the company Smith Corona? No, they’re not the founders of Corona beer! Marc Stoiber called them the most innovative company of the 20th century. In 1989 the company was worth $500 million, but by 1995 they were bankrupt. The reason according to Stoiber is that they forgot their sense of purpose and whom they were trying to appeal to.

In his speech, Stoiber described brands as, “They’re like the bow of a ship. Build a good brand and it will pull everything else along.” I love this. While I’m not someone that’s very fond of boats, I love this metaphor because of how it conveys the importance of any given brand.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

His speech also talked about how increasingly people’s needs are rising in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. As such he provided several examples of ads that are empowering consumers to do more. Empowering is the key word in that sentence; Stoiber noted that it’s important now for brands to tap into the need to self-actualize and achieve a higher order of meaning. Two really awesome examples he brought up were Nike’s Find Your Greatness and Apple’s Here’s to the Crazy Ones:

Nike – Find Your Greatness

Phillip Haid

Phillip Haid’s speech was all about engaging consumers. He’s of the opinion that we need to give the consumer a reason (incentive) to take action. I agree with this position. I find that with the busy lifestyle I have there’s nowhere near enough hours in a day, so if an ad wants me to take some sort of action, there better be something in it for me! Haid then gave 10 tips on ways to engage customers. Tips such as, “Make it Simple” or “Make it Fun” or “Give me a reason to do it”.

For Make it Simple, Haid gave the example of Telus’ Go Pink campaign, which was launched in 2009. For every user that created “an online, shareable photo gallery of their best friends”, Telus donated $1 to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. This is a great example because it’s something very simple that people can do to show that they support the cause.

For Make it Fun, Haid talked about the Fun Theory and the example of how in 2011 a piano staircase was setup next to a Sweden subway escalator. Would people choose to have fun and make music or would they continue to take the escalator? As is noted in the video below there was a 66% in people that chose the stairs over the escalator.

Finally for Give me a Reason to do it; Haid gave the example of Movember. Ah yes, the month that has become synonymous with hairy faces in the name of raising funds and awareness for men’s health. Since 2004 the Movember movement has raised $574 million and funded 800 programs in 21 countries. Now there’s a darn good reason to grow some facial hair in November, with possibly the added benefit of upsetting your significant other!

Haid’s speech ended by saying that failure equals success and he quoted Thomas Edison, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” I like this approach of advocating for failure. It’s not to say that you should actively try to fail every time, but take a chance, go for it, see what happens. If you fail, then you’ve just found one way that doesn’t work.

Terry O’Reilly

Terry O’Reilly’s speech focused on two things: counter-intuitive thinking and execution of superb strategy. He talked about not restricting yourself by thinking within the confines of your (product) category. He said there are three elements to a great strategy, “the strategy is a battle plan. A strategy must be meaningful. A strategy is born of intuition.” Basically it’s all about creating a culture that celebrates intuition, so trust your gut. As cliché as it may be, think outside the box.

One example of social change O’Reilly mentioned came from Chicago where to combat the issue of speeding on Lake Shore Drive, in September 2006 the city painted lines on the road to give motorists the illusion they were going faster in the hopes of slowing them down. You can read more about it here.

Another example he gave of counter-intuitive thinking is the Paris Metro system. They faced the problem of low ridership. Instead of trying to affect the views of the riders, the Paris Transit Authority took the counter-intuitive approach of changing the way they viewed their riders. One change they made was instead of calling them riders they began calling them customers. That combined with some internal changes completely altered the way the Parisian commuters viewed them externally. It sounds like they did a SWOT analysis. Remember that from your first year marketing class? Internally you examine you strengths and weaknesses while looking at your external opportunities and threats.

He also talked about the Hans Brinker Budget Hotel in Amsterdam. About a decade ago when everyone was feverishly using hand-sanitizer, the Hans Brinker Budget Hotel counter-intuitively published this ad:

Hans Brinker Budget Hotel – Improve Your Immune System

As O’Reilly mentioned the hotel took the unusual step of being authentic and managing expectations. O’Reilly noted that from this campaign bookings rose 35%.

I’ve made no attempt to hide in the past that I’m a huge Terry O’Reilly fan; every interaction I’ve with him has been nothing but very pleasant. He’s a legend in Canadian advertising but always makes time to for the up-and-comers. I had a little fanboy moment when I approached him and had him sign my copy of The Age of Persuasion. It was very surreal to be chatting with someone I’ve idolized for close to a decade. If you’re reading this, thanks Terry for making my month!

Karen Howe

The central theme for Karen Howe’s speech was how creativity makes the world a better place. She wants her peersto use creativity to tackle some of the most fundamental social issues we face. She noted that one way we can do this is by personalizing the issue to make sure people can relate. To show this she played the following YouTube video from

Not only does this video offer a humorous take on climate change, it certainly personalizes the issue.

Brazilian Billionaire Buries Bentley

Howe also talked about Brazilian billionaire Count Chiquinho Scarpa who wanted to bury his $500,000 Bentley. Why would he want to do such a thing? To raise awareness for the need for organ donation. The stunt worked and as this link details, there was a 31.5% increase in organ donation in the month after Scarpa’s true intentions were revealed.

Howe offered an empowering closing message, “in order to create change you must shake it up with creativity.”

One final note on Howe’s speech; she mentioned that there is lots of creativity coming out of New Zealand, so kudos to all you kiwis!

Tracy Danicich

Tracy Danicich from the American Ad Council spoke next. She provided an overview of what Ad Council does and highlighted some of their recent television public service announcements. For example, the following spot from the American Heart Foundation:

I really like this video because it grabs your attention and is empowering for women but it also nicely frames the issue of heart disease and stroke in women.

Danicich then discussed two case-studies, Smokey the Bear and 2min2x, which is all about encouraging kids to brush their teeth for 2 minutes, twice a day.

The Smokey the Bear campaign is all about fire prevention and it’s the longest running public service announcement campaign; it was launched in 1944. Danicich talked about how the Ad Council over the decades has faced the challenge of modernizing Smokey. A couple years ago they released a spot with a modern-looking Smokey that included a bear-hug. She was quite proud of how the Ad Council has evolved the strategy surrounding Smokey the Bear and managed to keep him relevant for over 70 years.

Stephen J. Dubner

Unlike the other speakers at the conference Stephen J. Dubner didn’t have a PowerPoint presentation with him, nor did he show the audience spots of ads that are doing it right. It was just him in the center of the room speaking to 300 people without any speaking aids. And yet he was probably the most entertaining speaker of the day. His background in economics drove his speech. He talked about how the use of data is great for understanding what makes people do the things they do, and how you shouldn’t rely too much on what people say they’re going to do because they’re likely to say one thing, but do something different, which be understood by revealed preferences vs. actual preferences. For this reason, Dubner says that a sense of belonging and the herd mentality matters greatly in affecting change. People have the mindset that they should do something because everyone else is doing it.

According to Dubner, we are living in an extremely altruistic time characterized by warm-glow altruism which is what people feel after donating to a cause. To illustrate the altruism in society, Dubner spoke about the counter-intuitive approach used by charity Smile Train in their once-and-done campaign. Basically the charity sent out a direct-mail piece and donors could choose one of three boxes: donate and never hear back again, donate and hear back from Smile Train on a limited basis, or donate and hear from the charity throughout the course of the year, which amounted to about 18 times. Surprisingly fewer than a third of donors chose the once-and-done opt-out and even more shocking was that Smile Train saw a 46% increase in donations from the campaign. Dubner suggested that the reason for the success of the once-and-done campaign was that it shifted the framework from a financial one to a collaborative framework. People felt empowered in a way they’ve never felt before.

If you’re still reading it could be because you want to see what I was talking about at the start of the entry when I mentioned monkey prostitution. The conference ended on a humourous note. Dubner talked about Yale economist, Keith Chen, who was doing research that taught monkeys how to use currency. The Coles Notes story of what happened is that one day of the monkeys exchanged the currency the researchers were using, to have sex with another monkey. That monkey then used it to buy some fruit! If you want to read more about it, check out this article from ZME Science. That’s the last item discussed at the conference, monkey prostitution!

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the conference and as the post above shows, I learned so much. It was a great experience to be in the same room with so many talented people, gain some valuable insight and hear about examples of ads and campaigns that show how to make change happen. There are several other examples from the conference of great spots that have been effective in affecting change and I plan to highlight them in upcoming entries.

January 24, 2015

Trivago Guy Gets a Makeover

Filed under: Advertising — adamlauzon @ 9:17 AM
Tags: , ,

Earlier this week I saw a Trivago commercial and to my pleasant surprise the rugged looking star of Trivago’s spots has received a makeover. Gone are the days of Trivago Guy (TG) being beltless, dishevelled and in strong need of a shave. Now we have him with a new haircut, a form-fitting shirt that’s buttoned appropriately and his facial hair isn’t nearly as gruff.

To refresh your memory, here’s a before spot with the relaxed and casual-looking TG:

And if you go to you’ll be able to see the after spot.

For better comparison, here’s a before-and-after picture:


The Trivago spots with Tim Williams starring as TG began airing in 2013 to promote the German travel website. In July 2014, Rolling Stone did a really great profile on Tim Williams. Some highlights:

  • He’s obsessed with rock music, (which likely explains why he had a profile in Rolling Stone.
  • He moved to Germany when he got the lead in a film, but decided to stay there because he met a girl.
  • The clothes he wore in the commercial were not his. The client wanted a relaxed, casual approach. The client, not Williams, also decided that he should forego the belt.

Last summer to cater to all the criticism Trivago received for TG’s look, the company decided they’d have a contest where people could provide style advice and input to contribute to the TG’s makeover. The winner, an Atlanta stylist, was to be flown to Berlin for a five-night stay and got to watch the filming of the new spot.

I must say that I really like Trivago’s approach in getting people in engaged. It feels extremely empowering when a company can facilitate this kind of interaction. And when a consumer feels a connection to a brand, they’re much more likely to be loyal to that brand and be a customer for life.

This is why social media is so integral to a brand strategy; it creates that ability to interact directly with the company. Of course on their end, the company must do it right in terms of how they respond to their consumers, and it can be time consuming. But in an age where everyone has a smart phone and is constantly on social media whether it be Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc. a strong and effective social media presence is absolutely essential.

Next week I’ll be in Toronto for Advertising Week 2015. I’m really looking forward to hearing Stephen Dubner, Terry O’Reilly, Marc Stoiber, and Tracy Danicich share their thoughts on innovative social marketing and public sector campaigns. Of course, in the coming days I’ll post an entry on the insights from this lecture.

December 26, 2014

Ask and you shall receive

Filed under: Advertising — adamlauzon @ 9:51 PM

In my last entry, I referred to a scene in the movie A Christmas Story where Ralphie receives a pair of pink bunny pyjamas for Christmas. I mentioned how envious I was of him and how I hoped to one day get a similar pair of pyjamas. Well yesterday morning I received a present that made me laugh; a t-shirt with Ralphie in his pyjamas.


In that last entry I also mentioned that if I ever got my hands on an outfit like that, I’d wear it with pride. And that’s exactly what I did all day yesterday. I had boastful smile on my face as I wore that t-shirt everywhere I went, including through the airport!

December 24, 2014

It Keeps Going and Going and Going

Filed under: Advertising — adamlauzon @ 10:45 AM
Tags: ,

One of my favourite Christmas movies is A Christmas Story. I always laugh at how at every chance he got, Ralphie would ask for a Red Ryder BB gun, and everyone would reply that he’d shoot his eye out. And sure enough that’s exactly what happened!

Ralph from A Christmas Story

Towards the end of the movie, as the family is feverishly unwrapping all their gifts, Ralphie opens a present from his aunt; some head-to-toe pink bunny suit pyjamas. (There are days where I’m jealous of him and wish I had some of those pyjamas myself. If I did, for some good laughs and to embarrass my loved ones, I’d wear them out in public!)

Other than being a potential future source of embarrassment for my friends, the bunny suit pyjamas also reminded me about another pink bunny that we’ve seen for years: the Energizer Bunny. Since 1989 that pink, sunglass-wearing, battery-powered rabbit that’s been going and going and going. It also gives us an example of how successful you can be in developing and building your brand. 

Here’s the first commercial starring the Energizer Bunny:

As we see in the spot above, the Energizer Bunny was created as a cooler parody to the pink rabbit Duracell used in advertisements beginning in 1973. Since its creation over two decades ago, the Energizer Bunny has accomplished a lot: it has become a dictionary term (making it into the Oxford Dictionary in 2006 – Energizer Bunny n: a persistent or indefatigable person or phenomenon); starred along Darth Vader in a commercial (which interestingly enough wasn’t aired during the SuperBowl), and has been turned into a huge hot-air balloon, being taller than the Statue of Liberty.

The examples above show the concept of how a cute little bunny meant to sell us some batteries has turned into so much more than a marketing vehicle. The Energizer Bunny itself is even merchandised. Energizer has the Energizer Bunny Store where you can buy hats, shirts, mugs, even a onesie for your baby!

This is amazing because you’re paying Energizer to basically become a walking billboard for them. While they make somemoney off the merchandise sales, they score big with all the unpaid exposures they get from you walking around with their name and logo on you.

Does the Energizer Bunny help Energizer sell batteries? Probably not. I feel that the Energizer Bunny has overshadowed it’s goal of selling more batteries for Energizer. Flip over the remote for your TV and check which batteries are in there. Are they Energizer? Mine aren’t. I have a couple Duracell batteries enabling my channel-surfing. With the Energizer Bunny, the name recognition has clearly been established, but when I need batteries, name recognition alone doesn’t cut it. I think that price has the biggest impact on battery purchase decisions. So while Energizer did a great job in that first spot in showing both bunnies playing the drums and how the Energizer-powered bunny lasted longer, the Energizer Bunny became bigger than the company. Clearly though Energizer embraced the unexpected fame the bunny acheived for the company and harnished its popularity for other gains.

Next month I’ll be in Toronto for Advertising Week and am looking forward to the 2015 Change Makers Conference. Speakers include CBC Radio Under the Influence host, and author, Terry O’Reilly, who loyal readers will remember has been mentioned often in this blog, as well as Freakonomics author Stephen Dubner. Stay tuned for an entry on that conference and I have several other great ideas for entries for the New Year.

However you spend the holidays, I hope you’re surrounded by great company and have the opportunity to enjoy yourself. I will see you all next year!

December 17, 2014

What’s Old is New Again – The BlackBerry Classic

Filed under: Advertising — adamlauzon @ 11:42 PM
Tags: , ,

If you went BlackBerry’s website today you’d have the option of playing the following video:

Between the slow-playing piano, the minimal on-screen text, and the impressive shots of the BlackBerry device, BlackBerry did a great job in introducing us to the BlackBerry Classic. With today’s entry I’m going to veer off script and instead of talking about a great ad or brilliant example of branding, as will be the case with my next entry on the Energizer Bunny, I want to the lead-up to, and the release of the BlackBerry Classic. I should also point out that this entry will mainly be told from my perspective as a consumer.

Today at an event in New York BlackBerry CEO John Chen unveiled Blackberry’s newest device, the Blackberry Classic, which is a throwback to their Bold 9900. You can read about it in this Canadian Press article.

What caught my eye actually has little to do with today’s release of the Classic, but a lot to do with BlackBerry’s announcement last month. In late November the company revealed that between December 1st, 2014 and February 13th, 2015 that people with an iPhone 4s or later would be entitled, between trade-in and a top-up of, to up to $600, when they traded in their iPhone and bought a BlackBerry Passport. The top-up was the key element in that deal because at $150 for American customers and $200 for Canadian customers it sweetened the pot just enough that if you had an eligible iPhone and were contemplating a switch Blackberry, your curiosity would be piqued.

I have an iPhone and switched last fall from the BlackBerry Bold because I lost confidence in company after hearing in September 2013 that they were cutting a significant portion of their workforce. (My decision to go with the iPhone as opposed to one of the Android devices is due to the fact that I have several Apple products and am familiar with Apple’s platform.) While I have been very happy with my iPhone the one element I miss is the physical keyboard. When I heard about the BlackBerry Passport promotion, I was intrigued. While doing some research into the Passport I discovered the device was being sold for $699; an amount that even with the money I’d get for my iPhone seemed a little steep. I looked into it further and a couple weeks ago I came across the Passport in a store and within seconds of picking it up and playing around with it, I knew it wasn’t for me.

As I looked into the Passport offer I learned that BlackBerry planned on releasing a new device this December, the Classic which is modeled after the Bold. As I mentioned above I had a Bold and loved it. At a retail price of $499 it’s a lot more attractive than the $699 I would have to pay for the Passport. And it’s basically a no-brainer for me, spend $499 to get a device that replicates its previous inception. It also helps that it’s being sold at a better price-point.

I’m impressed by what BlackBerry was able to do, intentional or not. And based on the history of the company and their track-record, I’m inclined to believe the timing of the Passport offer and the release of the Classic was definitely planned to attract iPhone users not so much to the Passport, but to the Classic, and a week before Christmas at that. The move will also boost their sales as they approach the end of the their 4th quarter, but I’m not a business major so I can’t speak to that too much more than that! Economics aside, BlackBerry did a great job with using the Passport to help them push the Classic. They’ve won me back! Now that I’ll have a physical keyboard again, maybe I’ll write a post or two from my Classic; something I would have never considered with my iPhone.

December 4, 2014

A Gift from Samsung Santa

Filed under: Advertising — adamlauzon @ 11:40 AM
Tags: , ,

After a two year sabbatical I am back, reacquainting myself with the world of advertising and sharing the passion I have for it through these posts. Moving forward I plan on posting new entries every 10-14 days that will be a bit shorter, but there will still be the occasional entry that rivals a research paper from my university days! I also want to continue with the author interview entries that were very well received from when I interviewed Terry O’Reilly and James P. Othmer.

So let’s jump right into it, shall we? What should my first entry back be on? How about an entry on something seasonal, like all the Christmas ads you’ve seen since basically Labour Day! There’s one ad in particular that I want to single out and shower with praise.

Have a look:

I first saw this ad this past Sunday while watching the Steelers and Saints game. (Thank you Antonio Brown for the all fantasy points, even if they were in garbage-time!) There’s a lot to like about this spot. For one the fact that it’s able to keep your attention for the entire two minutes. I was so immersed in the story that I thought at best it was only a minute-long. By today’s standards of shorter spots and consumers with reduced attention spans, a two-minute commercial is extremely rare.

Midway through the commercial I had to stop and think about what was being advertised. You see various Samsung products throughout the commercial but because you’ve been so drawn in by the story with Kristen and Dax decorating their house for the holidays, you lose track of the fact that this is still a commercial whose purpose is to get you to take action and buy some of the several Samsung products you see. The copywriter did a great job with the copy because generally we are very guarded with all the ads we see daily, but personally I found that this spot got us to drop our guards and enjoy it.

Another element of this ad that you must love is the likeability of real-life couple Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard. The cute factor is huge in this commercial with their matching Christmas pajamas, their ugly Christmas sweaters (the dogs had them on too), and the way Dax helps his pregnant wife. For Samsung it must have been an obvious choice to cast the couple in this commercial following this ad for the Galaxy Tab S, which since posted on September 14th has received over 20 million YouTube views:


I tip my Santa hat to you Samsung for creating an ad that is so long it doesn’t feel like an ad, that gives the gift of a great story and that stars a couple that is truly likeable and that we can all relate to!

(Disclaimer: I have not received any compensation from Samsung for this endorsement; though with Christmas coming-up hopefully they keep me in mind!)


February 8, 2012

The Blah Super Bowl

Filed under: Advertising — adamlauzon @ 11:34 AM

“Blah” – In a word that’s how I would sum up all aspects of this past Sunday’s Super Bowl XLVI. I’m a huge sports enthusiast, but five years from now if you were to ask me what I remember from the 2012 Super Bowl, the only two things that will likely come to mind are that the Giants won and during the half-time show, some hip-hop artist that a majority of the people don’t know, flipped-off the hundreds of millions watching the game.

Despite the average price tag for a thirty-second spot being $3.5 million, even a lot of the advertising was sub-par. We saw the usual-mix of beer and car ads, commercials featuring celebrities, and movie previews. Below I’ve featured the spots that did standout, for better or worse, in what I feel was an off year all around for the Super Bowl.

How can you not smile after watching this commercial? It features faces of the M&M brand consumers are already very familiar with and a song that was a big hit in 2011. The other good thing about this commercial is that I think it was the only one for candy-bar product class. This helps it stand apart from its competition in a big way.

Just a thought for the designers at Fiat, how about giving your car a name that people don’t have to pause and think about pronouncing before saying it?! The lead-up is way too sexually charged to then make the connection to that particular car. It would work for a Lamborghini or Ferrari, but not a subcompact Fiat. Though it was a nice touch to have a tattoo of the Abarth logo on the back of the girl’s neck.

This has a really good storyline that hooks the audience in order to highlight a feature of the Audi S7: its powerful headlights. To then incorporate social media with the Twitter hashtag #SoLongVampires… bravo!

Danica Patrick and the Pussy Cat Dolls aside, the only real element of this commercial worth praise is the QR code in the lower left corner of most of the spot. To measure its effectiveness and to see if this is a trend that will continue, I’d love to see how much traffic it actually brought to Go Daddy’s website.

This commercial has some real nostalgia value for both the consumer AND Matthew Broderick. I like Honda’s effort in tapping into that.

A lot of people really liked this commercial. I’ve got all the respect in the world for Clint Eastwood; he’s an amazing filmmaker and actor, but honestly this commercial didn’t really strike a chord for me. Although I do think it’s a great follow-up to Chrysler’s spot from last year’s Super Bowl where the Chrysler 200 was driving through the streets of Detroit with an Eminem track in the background. Also I realize the concept for this ad is based on the notion of half-time being the time to rebuild, but airing it during half-time of the Super Bowl when many people are in the bathroom, getting another beer, etc, likely did not have as much of an optimal audience/exposures had it aired at the start of the game, right after kick-off.

These six spots are my advertising highlights from Super Bowl XLVI. Even though there were some good ads in this year’s crop, there was also a lot of “blah”. Is there an ad I didn’t mention that you really enjoyed? Feel free to write me and share your thoughts.

December 19, 2011

Christmas Greetings from Acart Communications

Filed under: Advertising — adamlauzon @ 11:54 PM
Tags: , ,

This past Friday, the following video was posted on YouTube:

That’s right, this slightly creepy, yet ingenious video, a parody of the Paranormal Activity movie franchise, is supposed to serve as a Christmas card from Ottawa-based ad agency Acart Communications.

The video itself was very well-done and effectively holds your attention for the minute and forty-two seconds running time because you want to figure out where it’s going! Even the pun in the title of the video is a nice touch. Paranoël Activity shows its purpose and consistency with regards to copy reinforcing visuals, with the copy “You better watch out… hiring the wrong agency can be a nightmare.” Followed by the solution to the so-called nightmare, “Luckily, you’re in good hands with Acart.”

Since being posted online, it has been viewed nearly 4,000 times on YouTube. While this far from makes it a viral success, it has people talking. I first heard about it Sunday in a tweet, which I then re-tweeted, (be sure to follow me on Twitter, @adam_lauzon) from Ads of the World. That tweet plus re-tweets, by the way, reached 75,836 people. In addition to being featured on the Ad of the World website, the video has been posted to social media websites Reddit and Funny or Die, and it has been embedded on several other websites.

If you work at Acart, what more could you want? They probably posted it online figuring it would generate some buzz locally here in Ottawa. But to get to work Monday morning and see the worldwide attention it has received must have been unexpected. Their efforts with this video should undoubtedly result in some calls from prospective clients. So if you are in the Ottawa-area and have advertising you’d like done, you now know who to call.


December 15, 2011

The Heart & Stroke Foundation Wants You to Make Death Wait

Filed under: Advertising — adamlauzon @ 1:49 PM

Leading up to, and throughout, the holiday season, I’ve noticed two different campaigns from an organization very near and dear to my heart, pun intended; the Heart & Stroke Foundation (HSF). The headline for today’s entry is the bold and attention-grabbing tagline being used in spots for one of their new campaigns:


As a quick side before I get further into this discussion, while studying advertising in Sudbury, I volunteered with the HSF.  It was nothing short of a very rewarding experience and I highly recommend everyone to get involved in your community and give back.

But with that being said, in this case, my position on these campaigns is not biased because the advertising speaks for itself. The two commercials above are extremely well done. I think the HSF and their ad agency absolutely made the right call in producing two targeted spots; one aimed at men and the other aimed at women. The uncommon and almost eery narration from the perspective of death added an element to the spots that enhanced their effect. And this is ultimately why their tagline, Make Death Wait, despite being simple is so strong and very effective in terms of being memorable. At the end of each spot there was a call-to-action that directs people to the HSF’s website to donate, but I can’t help but think that raising funds was a secondary objective for this campaign; the primary objective being to increase awareness of heart disease and stroke.

The other HSF campaign I’ve seen a lot lately has been in promotion of their Heart & Stroke Calendar Lottery. Their ad buy must have significant because for what it seems like the last two months, anytime I’ve turned on the TV; I’ve seen a spot for this campaign. These types of lottery promotions from not-for-profits is not uncommon, the Ottawa Hospital Foundation and Princess Margaret Lottery are just two examples of organizations you’ll see similar promotions from during certain parts of the year.

The difference between the two campaigns is that the Make Death Wait campaign is, in my opinion, about increasing awareness while the calendar lottery’s primary objective is to raise funds for the HSF. But what I feel is unique is the timing: the constant exposure to these spots helped remind us about the HSF and create that name/brand recognition leading up to the launch of the powerful and arguably more important Make Death Wait campaign.

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