Category Archives: Advertising – General

33 Chilean Miners, 1 Year and Freshly Pressed

My Freshly Pressed experience came from a post about the Chilean miners, who were rescued October 13, 2010.

It was one year ago that 33 trapped Chilean miners were freed from their underground captivity while 1 billion people around the world watched live.

I watched “Los 33,” too. Then I wrote a post shortly afterwards: Oakley and the Chilean Miners—Publicity Goldmine. It was about the rescue from the perspective of how Orange County-based Oakley benefitted from the “product placement” of having the miners emerge wearing their sunglasses.

Was the publicity avalanche opportunistic or inadvertent? Did it matter? Why were some people so upset if Oakley happened to benefit by helping? I hit “publish” late that night, then went to bed without giving it much more thought.

Then next morning I checked my email to find a surprising number of blog comments. Continue reading

Where Where You When Steve Jobs Died?

How did you find out about Steve Jobs death?

Years from now, will you remember? I think I will, which is why it’s worth at least a blog post.

I first heard about Steve Jobs passing via Twitter. On my MacBook Pro. The poetry of the “coincidence” didn’t escape me. As Matthias Worch put it, “That’s not a bad way to go.”

iHeaven. A poetic tribute.

We have the technology, so let’s put it to use in remembering one of the pioneers who made it all possible. Steve Jobs not only helped create a new industry with the Macintosh personal computer, but also revolutionized software, music distribution, digital moviemaking, smart phones and tablet computing. And along the way, Apple also put out some pretty mean advertising, usually in collaboration with agency TBWA Chiat/Day.

Here’s the TV commercial that launched the Apple Macintosh computer. It’s widely regarded as one of the best, most effective adverts ever made. Directed by Ridley Scott, the spot aired only once in January 1984, but it turned the Superbowl into the advertising showcase it’s become today.

RIP Steve, and thanks for showing us how to Think Different. “Because the people who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”


Advertising Tributes to 9-11

American Airlines ran this ad following the attacks of September 11, 2001.

In the wake of September 11, 2001, advertisers struggled to find the right tone in their communications. It didn’t seem appropriate to try to be funny following the devastating terrorist attacks that took nearly 3,000 lives. But it was also difficult to appear serious and sincere while promoting a commercial venture.

Sympathy Ads

The vast majority of print advertising that ran in the immediate aftermath offered sympathy and condolences. Businesses that had been located in the World Trade Center expressed remorse over the loss of their employees and vowed to continue.

I was amazed to see the variety of condolence ads that came from countries all over the world, including the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia where the majority of hijackers were originally from. For a while I saved a file with many of these ads, but it got to be overwhelming. I now wish I had some of them to post a few images for you.

Life—and even advertising—had to go on. Continue reading

What Do You Do When the Power Goes Out?

The famous Victrola brand, made by the Victor Talking Machine Co. of Camden, NJ.

Boy, we sure do depend on electricity! So, what do you do when there isn’t any?

Besides remembering where the candles are, I had to explain to my kids which of the house phones would work in the event our power went out. Of course, the laptop and phone batteries will only last so long. But without a phone, computer, video game or TV, what would they do for entertainment? Somehow I can’t picture them reading by candle light.

Even before the San Diego power failure, I was thinking about how fun it could be to use my recently restored Victrola phongraph in the event of an outage for some old-school musical entertainment. (Better than trying to act out a home-style version of “Glee,” right?)  Continue reading

The Osama 2011 Swimsuit Issue


He’s spending a lot of time in the water these days. Gotta love the placement here.

Taco Bell Bites Back with Ad Aimed at Hungry Attorneys

Taco Bell asks attorneys for an apology. Not that they really expect to get one. After all, that would mean admitting they were wrong.

Where’s the beef” was an ad slogan for Wendy’s back in 1984. But lately it’s been a charge leveled at Taco Bell by a law firm out to pick the fast food giant’s deep pockets.

Alabama-based law firm Beasley Allen Crow Methvin Portis & Miles (now there’s a mouthful) claimed that Taco Bell’s mystery meat was comprised of only 35 percent beef, based on an unspecified test by an unnamed analyst. Taco Bell insisted their beef was 88 percent beef, 12 percent “Secret Recipe.”

Taco Bell fought back with hard-hitting ads in January that said: “Thank you for suing us. Here’s the truth about our seasoned beef…”

Obviously someone smelled a meal ticket. As USA Today reported, “With annual sales pushing $7 billion, Taco Bell ranks as the nation’s sixth-largest fast-food company, according to the 2009 findings from the research firm Technomic. Continue reading

Truth In Advertising, What a Concept


Yes, this is a terrible business name. (Sorry.) But then again, lowering the bar is a sure-fire way to avoid over-promising. After all, what do you expect from a truck stop/convenience store, anyway? If you’ve at least got a clean restroom, you’re already ahead of most of the competition. And this place was hopping. Go figure. (Found in Kingman, AZ)



Remember to Fix My Stinky Car, Then Pull My Finger


Let’s hope that hand’s been washed.



John Galt follows Jerry Garcia


Just saw “The Music Never Stopped,” a moving movie about a father and his prodigal son, a brain tumor, and the healing power of music–especially the Grateful Dead. Looking forward to John Galt’s big screen debut with “Atlas Shrugged,” opening on April 15: tax day, appropriately enough.

A Toast to Guinness Advertising

Guinness produces brilliant advertising. Oh, and their stout is not too shabby either.

For creative types, beer is the Holy Grail of advertising accounts, because almost anything goes. It’s a chance to do outrageous gags with big budgets. But the problem with most beer commercials is that they usually end up being generic and formulaic. Funny set-up, add logo, insert tag line as punch line at the end. Done.

Guinness has always been different. Sure, it’s had plenty of big budget TV spots, but they’ve always been based on the brand’s “unique differentiators” (as they say in marketing-speak): the Irish heritage and the slow pour that a good stout requires. Guinness commercials wouldn’t work for any other brewer.

A Guinness Facebook post recently asked fans to list their favorite tag line from the brand. The responses were many and varied: “Brilliant.” “Good things come to those who wait.” “It’s good for you.” “Guinness for strength.” “It’s alive inside.” “My goodness, my Guinness!” Continue reading