Wednesday, August 26, 2009

New Texting While Driving PSA

A new texting while driving PSA from the U.K. is making an impact. I first saw it on NBC Nightly News last night, where they showed the first 30 seconds or so and claimed it's already gone viral. The full-length version runs 4:15, but it's worth a watch. Like many PSAs, the content is pretty graphic.

Yesterday, coincidentally, I was driving in a lane next to a girl who was texting--two hands on her phone, no hands on the wheel, no eyes on the road in front of her. Luckily for me, she was swerving right while I passed on her left. NC state law now prohibits texting while driving, as do other states. (I'm not in NC now.) Hopefully all others will follow suit soon.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Video In Your Magazine?

Yep, the Sept. 18 annual fall TV preview edition of Entertainment Weekly will feature an insert by CBS with a 2x2 paper thin video player. And the player is even interactive! It'll feature 40 minutes of promotional content for CBS as well as a spot for Pepsi Max. Apparently it's even rechargeable. This is the first ever use of video in a print ad.

Can we say wow? I never thought I'd see the day when we'd be putting videos in paper products (I never really thought about it really) but it's a crazy cool idea. I'm curious to see how well the video survives if the magazine gets beat up or rolled up or smashed. I thought I'd pick up a copy of that Entertainment Weekly issue just to check it out, but unfortunately they're only going to be available in New York and Los Angeles. You can see a little preview of it on You Tube though. I'm also curious to know the cost, even just the production cost for the video player inserts. Crazy cool.

(via Truth Against the World)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Truth in Advertising #38

On your birthday, it's expected that you bring in treats for everyone in the agency.

(Take note, Anonymous.)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Steer Clear of the First Children in Advertising

There's a big ad controversy going on in DC at the moment revolving around some posters in the DC Metro that mention Obama's daughters. The posters are indeed politically motivated—they lobby for healthier school lunches and were placed in the Metro to target commuters going to the Hill just a month before a congressional vote on the Child Nutrition Act. The White House has requested the removal of the posters, but the group responsible for them, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), has declined to do so, stating they think it's only President Obama's handlers and not the President himself who have a problem with this.

There are more than a few problems here. First off, the ad itself is bad. It's just plain bad advertising. The concept is boring, the photography and design are bland and typography is just plain awful. What is that speech bubble font? Some even worse spin off of Papyrus? The concept of the ad seems to be calling out that the children of the rich and privileged (aka the Obama girls) eat better than those in public school lunch programs. Well no kidding! They go to a private school that costs $30K per year—they eat better than I do! And guess what, children in a $30K per year school are always going to eat better than those eating on the public dime.

If the PCRM's agenda was really just healthier school lunches, I think their campaign would have done better to compare public school lunches—especially since there are some out there worth noting. Appleton, Wisconsin's public school system seems to have it figured out and they have a great, healthy school lunch program in place. It is not only more realistic comparison, but it shows it can be done economically. Unfortunately, in researching for this post, I learned quite clearly that just healthier school lunches isn't all the PCRM is all about.

True, the Obama daughter's school lunch menu includes a vegetarian option for each meal which, if you read this Washington Post article is what this whole debate is about for PCRM. Not surprising either since a little reading on the PCRM's website for their school lunch initiative,, says that they are for healthier lunches, but via vegetarianism and veganism. They actually suggest schools stop buying meats, cheeses and butter if you read their recommended changes to the National School Lunch Program. Yikes! A little googling about the organization shows their really not so subtle about their activism and are clearly advocates for vegan diets. Umm... Somehow I don't think the Obama's will want their daughters mixed up in any such political activist group.

Perhaps that little hidden agenda is why they ignored seemingly logical and interesting directions, like referencing Appleton, in favor of a trite concept that would get them some press. Well, that and actually being transparent about ridding schools of meat probably won't win them too many votes. I'm all for healthier school lunches and I love what's going on in Appleton, Wisconsin, but you'll never find me in favor of veganism. Thank you, but I am a proud omnivore and manage eat a pretty healthy and low fat diet, meat and all.

In any case, if you're going to ruffle the feathers of the White House and seek attention from the press, at least do it with a decent piece of advertising!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Truth in Advertising #24

A 'one-off' piece of advertising is rarely used just one time. Beware of scope creep.