The Advertising Apprentice

February 12, 2010

Made From Canada

Filed under: Advertising — adamlauzon @ 6:04 PM

So this week I’ve decided to call an audible, sorry I’ve still got a few football expressions in me from the previous couple Super Bowl entries, and instead of writing an entry on the over-saturated Olympic commercials we’ve seen in Canada in the last three months, I’m going to comment on, this the eve of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, the following email I received earlier this week from Molson Canadian.

If you click the YouTube link, you are brought to Molson Canadian’s YouTube page and are shown the following commercial, Made from Canada:

This commercial was clearly created with the intention of inspiring Canadians and furthering their sense of Canadian pride as the Vancouver 2010 Olympics are about to begin. I consider myself to be very patriotic, I always stand-up and remove my hat whenever I hear the national anthem, I celebrate Canada Day just as well as the next guy, and I support our troops and wear red on Fridays, but yet I can’t help but feel that this ad is a little too over the top. The visuals nicely matchup with the powerful words the announcer says. And at the same time it’s full of clichés that are seem to be all too common in beer commercials that aim to create a connection between the viewer and the product. The commercial hones in Canadians love of nature, playing hockey, and just generally having a great time when not working. Maybe if the ad wasn’t 60-seconds in length this wouldn’t be as prevalent.

But what do you think? Did Molson go too far with the bleed red-and-white patriotism in this ad or does it help bring you to a whole new level and that much more pumped for the 2010 Olympics?

Either way, Molson has to be pleased with the response so far. I received this email early Tuesday evening and roughly 72 hours later the commercial has already been viewed almost 70,000 times on YouTube.

In addition to commending Molson on a pretty good ad, even if it does go too far, you also have to give Molson credit for its efforts with the email campaign that informed us of the new commercial. Elements like making it personalized, “Hey Adam” and bolding key phrases of the message, fresh new look for Molson Canadian, Molson Canadian is a gift from this country’s abundant natural resources, and join us in raising a Molson Canadian to celebrate the opening ceremonies at the Olympic Winter Games and cheer on our Canadian Olympians all contribute to my positive opinion of the email.

Other elements of this email that Molson’s copywriters should be complimented on are the repetition of the phrase Molson Canadian. Throughout the email of roughly 250 words, Molson Canadian appears four times, reinforcing the idea that repetition is indeed key in advertising. There are several calls-to-action: visit their YouTube page to watch the commercial, visit their Facebook page, and finally Molson wants you to raise a glass of Molson Canadian. They are also successful in creating that feeling of the individual being subject to something exclusive because the ad has yet to be released, so you’re part of a select group that gets to see the ad before it hits airwaves.

With the start of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics just a few hours away, I’ll end this entry by saying GO CANADA GO!!!

February 8, 2010

Super Bowl was a Resounding Success

Filed under: Advertising — adamlauzon @ 9:22 PM

So how’s everyone feeling today? I was the responsible DD last night so I feel just fine today. Congratulations to the New Orleans Saints for winning last night’s Super Bowl. Their victory brought joy and hope to thousands upon thousands of people living in New Orleans.

Enough chitchat, let’s get to today’s topic, my thoughts on yesterday’s commercials. First off, I’ll address the commercials shown to Canadians as the restaurant I was at last night played the Canadian, CTV, feed of the game. (The cost to reach the estimated 6.7 million viewers that tuned in to CTV to catch the game was somewhere around $117,000.)

Here are some of the high-, and low-lights, from the commercials from last night’s game:

The following ad is great because it ties in two of our senses by connecting the sounds of the piano keys with the visual of the white and black Hyundai Sonatas ending the commercial lined-up resembling piano keys. The other component that makes this commercial stand-out is that it was one of the first ads aired where you instantly knew it was created specifically to be released during the Super Bowl because it just seemed like it was on another level in terms of effort and ingenuity compared to most of the other ads seen before that point in the broadcast.

Another ad I really liked was this Vancouver, BC tourism ad. The main reason that it sticks out to me is the use of celebrities such as: Kim Cattrall, Michael J. Fox, Erick McCormack, Sarah McLachlan, Steve Nash, and Ryan Reynolds. All of whom are originally from BC.

However the use of the star-power in this ad also reminds me a lot of the following Visit California commercial:

The following commercial left me puzzled wondering what the connection was between the ad’s message and the company that paid for the ad. You can see the video here. I clearly understand that the ad wants fathers to teach their sons about the importance of respecting women, why the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador paid for the spot is lost on me. I can see the ad being a PSA by a women’s rights group. But it just seems weird that Newfoundland Labrador would pay such a high amount of money for the airtime to air an ad of this nature. Why didn’t they follow their provincial counterparts in BC and air an ad inviting Canadians to go explore Newfoundland Labrador?

A couple other small observations from yesterday’s Canadian telecast of the Super Bowl:

  • There were a lot of commercials for movies coming out. Once I noticed the trend, I counted at least five previews for movies being released in the upcoming months.
  • CTV had many short promos for their coverage of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, whose opening ceremonies take place this Friday. The sheer volume of these promos, combined with other Olympic themed commercials, just came across as excessive.

Now for the American spots. (It’s important to note that just like in Canada on CTV and RDS, CBS saw a record for the total number of viewers for the big game. Nearly 106 million Americans tuned in.)

First, let’s address the controversy and the hype surrounding the Tim Tebow commercial.

Is the commercial really what so many people were getting worked up over in the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl? Based on everything I heard beforehand, I was expecting something much more extreme. This is very tame, light-hearted, and humourous. I’ve got absolutely no problem with it, and I think that all the negative, critical buzz surrounding it was much ado nothing.

This next ad left people wondering if the executives over at NBC have totally lost their minds. It’s not bad enough the ordeal they went through with Conan O’Brien and Jay Leno. But to then let Jay Leno appear in a 15-second spot with Oprah Winfrey and David Letterman promoting the David Letterman Show. The philosophy at NBC is probably one of “things can’t get any worse!”

I’m sure the 18-25 year old; male demographic can’t get enough of the following Motorola commercial starring the sultry Megan Fox. I just question whether her sex appeal is enough to incite action, above and beyond the “See more at motorola.com” final shot of the commercial?

Google’s 52-second spot was well done. Simplicity was the key to this ad in telling the story of a male student going to study in Paris, meeting a girl, getting married, and having a child. At first glance I wasn’t very fond of it, but after repeated views it began to wear on me. A really cool aspect of this is that Google has the opportunity to pretty easily create other ads to be part of this campaign. And I really hope they do create other spin-offs to this one in the future. (There are already several parodies of this commercial on YouTube.)

The Google ad is the only longer ad that really resonated with me. Both Coca-Cola and the Dodge Charger struggled with their attempts at producing an entertaining minute-long commercial.

I’m not a huge fan of Coke’s commercial just because it all seems a little too far-fetched; a guy sleepwalking across the African plains, interacting with various animals, in his pursuit of a Coke?!

The Dodge Charger commercial really needs to lay off the testosterone and the self-help books. I understand that they’re trying to empower men, but come on. The overuse of the phrase “I will” would’ve had me saying after about ten to fifteen seconds: “I will mute my TV until this commercial is over!”

One theme that seemed particularly prevalent to me as I watched the American Super Bowl commercials this evening was that a lot of commercials starred celebrities/sports stars. In addition to Jay Leno, Oprah, David Letterman, Tim Tebow (and his mother), and Megan Fox in three of the ads I’ve already discussed, other commercials featured KISS, the Simpsons, Lebron James, Dwight Howard, Larry Bird, Mark Sanchez, Don Rickles, Betty White, Stevie Wonder, Chevy Chase, Lance Armstrong, Charles Barkley, and Brett Favre. I may have missed a couple, but you get the idea.

So another year of great, and mediocre, Super Bowl ads is in the book. Ad agencies everywhere have probably already began to conceptualize ads to appear during next year’s game.

In the meantime come back and visit later this week, as I’ll be discussing the Olympic-themed advertising that has been prevalent over these last couple months.

February 5, 2010

A Showcase of Great Talent

Filed under: Advertising — adamlauzon @ 8:30 AM
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Super Bowl XLIV, or 44 for those of you that aren’t the greatest with roman numerals, kicks-off in less than 72 hours. The game features the Indianapolis Colts taking on the New Orleans Saints. If you are a regular follower of this blog, you’re probably one of the one in two viewers that will tune into the game that is more excited about seeing the commercials than the action taking place on the field in Miami. (I’m a big sports fan so Sunday will be double the fun for me!) As the Super Bowl is the Mecca for the advertising industry, it’s a topic that must be discussed further.

Just to elaborate further on a phrase in this last sentence, “Mecca for the advertising industry”, the Super Bowl presents an opportunity for advertising people to show the millions upon millions watching the game what they can do. Just like how the players on the field have spent months upon months preparing for this game, so too have the advertising men and women in creating some of the best commercials you’ll see all year. As Bernice Kanner describes in The Super Bowl of Advertising, (an entry on the Super Bowl wouldn’t be complete unless I quoted Ms. Kanner!), the Super Bowl presents “an audience actually willing to be advertised to. They are ready and willing to absorb your brand message as long as the ad gives something back, as long as it entertains.” That’s a “requirement” I’m confident we can say the five Super Bowl ads placed throughout this entry all fulfill. Some of the ads are even to entertain decades after they’ve originally aired.

The Super Bowl is also the one event of the year where an advertiser pays the most amount of money to have their ad aired. Early this week CBS, the American network carrying this year’s game, announced that they had sold-out the 50-60 30-second spots. The cost of a 30-second spot during this year’s game? $2.8 MILLION!! (For those of you unfamiliar with the economics of the advertising industry, the reason for what seems to be an unreasonably high cost for just thirty seconds of airtime is the large audience that will be tuning in to the game. Last year’s game had an average audience of 95.4 million US viewers.) Unfortunately for CBS though this rate is down $200,000 from the $3 million NBC charged advertisers last year.

Part of the reason for this decrease can be attributed to the economy. Companies like Pepsi and GM have decided against spending the huge sum of money required to be seen during the Super Bowl. Pepsi’s absence means that this will be the first time in 24 years that you won’t see a Pepsi ad during the Super Bowl. They’ve decided to invest the money normally allocated for the Super Bowl into online marketing efforts. GM’s backing out of the Super Bowl shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone as they’ve been reducing their prominence in sports for over a year now; a trend that the following article explains quite well.

One ad that will be aired that has already drawn quite a bit of controversy despite the fact that it has yet to be publicly released. The ad is for a Christian non-profit organization called Focus on the Family and features 2007 Heisman winner Tim Tebow, and his mother. The reason for the controversy is that the ad is expected to have an anti-abortion message.  However as the ad has yet to be released, I’ll reserve judgment until after I see it. But I will say this, some topics should not be discussed in a forum as grand as the Super Bowl, religion and politics in my opinion fall into this category.

As for the game itself, I think it will be a nail-biter that will be decided in the final five minutes. I like the energy and the resilience we’ve seen all year from the Saints, but I think the Colts have the big-game experience from having won the Super Bowl three years ago, and the depth to pull this one out. (I’d offer up a prediction for the score but if you follow In the Game Sports, you know I’m not the greatest at predicting football scores at all!)

Be sure to come back soon as early next week I’ll be writing about which ads I liked and which ones fell short. I’ll also offer up my take on the Tim Tebow, Focus on the Family commercial.

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