Tag Archives: advertising

The Truth About Santa Claus, Coke Pusher

Did Coke create the modern Santa Claus? If so, artist Haddon Sundblom was the man behind the beard. Here he models for himself as Santa Claus.

Instead of complaining about the commercialization of Christmas, let’s celebrate one of the finest and longest-running advertising campaigns centered around the season.

Did Coca-Cola Really Create the Modern Image of Santa Claus?

Technically, no. If you check Snopes, that claim is marked “false.” The myth-busting site does give Coke partial credit, however. And according to the soft-drink maker’s own website, “Coca-Cola® advertising actually helped shape this modern-day image of Santa.” Not much argument there.

Did Coke Choose the Color of Santa’s Suit?

In 1862, Civil War cartoonist Thomas Nast drew Santa Claus for Harper’s Weekly as a small elf-like Union supporter. Nast continued to draw Santa for 30 years, along the way changing the coat from tan to red. So Santa’s red suit came from Nast’s vision of St. Nick, not Coke’s corporate color.

Thomas Nast's Santa Claus for Harper's.

Winter Wasn’t Always Coke Weather

Back in the day (the Roaring ‘20s), people thought of Coca-Cola as a drink for warm weather only. To rectify that perception, the company began running ads in 1922 with the slogan “Thirst Knows No Season,” then followed up with a campaign connecting the beverage with Santa Claus to lend it some cold-weather cred.

Sundblom’s Santa

The most famous version of the man with all the toys is the one created by illustrator Haddon Sundblom. Coke credits its advertising agency for the vision: “Archie Lee, the D’Arcy Advertising Agency executive working with The Coca-Cola Company, wanted the next campaign to show a wholesome Santa as both realistic and symbolic.” So in 1931, Sundblom got the gig to develop advertising art using Santa Claus, with a twist: the images would depict the actual Santa, not a man dressed as Santa.  Continue reading

Slow Boat to San Diego with Carnival

Enjoy a romantic camping-at-sea experience onboard the Carnival Splendor.

Pop Tarts® and Spam® delivered fresh daily!

Let the spoof ads begin! After losing all power due to an engine fire, the Carnival Splendor cruise ship had to be towed back to port in San Diego, turning what started out as a four-day Mexican Riviera cruise into a seven-day float from Long Beach to San Diego. Now it’s parody time.

First one out of port (at least that I’ve seen so far) is this mock ad found via email from writer Jeff Abbit aka The Undisclosed Agency. It’s just too good not to share. Enjoy.

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Political Attack Ads – How Effective Are They?

Vote For Pedro - One of the better signs seen at the Jon Stewart "Rally To Restore Sanity And/Or Fear"

Hello, Voters!

Is the Old Spice campaign still effective? Joe Miller of Alaska thinks so. Miller, the Republican candidate for Senate in Alaska, is still fending off his rival, incumbent Lisa Murkowski, whom he defeated in the primary. Not content to simply fade away, Murkowski is trying to hang onto her seat by running a write-in campaign as an Independent.

Combining equal parts humor and attack, Miller’s commercial is currently polling well in the Wall Street Journal survey of effective attack ads. One commenter to the YouTube channel thought it outdid the original: “This is even better than the Old Spice commercial…”

If you’re not already overwhelmed by the onslaught of mostly negative political ads, check out the selections  chosen by the Journal and vote on which ones you think are most effective. It’s your civic duty.

By tomorrow it should be pretty obvious which spots worked best.

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Accidental AutoTune Celebs – Antoine and the Bear

Antoine Dodson's YouTube rant has spawned a hit song as well as a Halloween costume.

The Rapist and the Rainbow

A funny thing happened at the most recent wedding reception I worked. The mother of the bride says to me (as the DJ), “Have you heard that song about that guy on YouTube who stopped the rapist?”

A song about the what…? I don’t think so.

“You know, about the intruder who snuck in and was trying to rape the guy’s sister in her bed?”

Hmm. No, I don’t think I’ve heard that one before.

Then there was the 13-year-old’s birthday party, where some kid wanted to hear the “Double Rainbow” song.

Is that a Skittles commercial? No? I don’t think I’ve heard that one either. Sorry, just not as hip as I used to be. (So much music, so little time.)

Lyrics by YouTube, Music by Gregory Bros.

“Bed Intruder” and “Double Rainbow” have a few things in common.

They’re both hit iTunes songs that were inspired by viral YouTube videos. Both have resulted in new commercial opportunities for their accidental stars. Continue reading

Axe vs Old Spice vs Grover – Smells Like a Monster

Axe stakes its claim as "Canada's #1 Men's Deodorant" with a billboard that reads: "For men who'd rather be with a woman than on a horse."

Smells like…

Competition! Old Spice has been on the receiving end of a few potshots lately, which is to be expected after being on a roll (or on a horse) for a while.

To start with, the company’s shirtless spokesman, Isaiah Mustafa, went moonlighting away from his regular gig as The Man Your Man Could Smell Like for Old Spice. He did basically the same shtick for someone else, but on the other side of the world and without all the props. Maybe he just needed a break from the bathroom. He went all the way to Australia to disrobe for… Continue reading

Of Malls, Music and Mobile Marketing

Irvine Spectrum Center wants to connect to your phone.

Shopping malls and other marketers are increasingly using mobile text message marketing to connect more closely with customers.

It’s a smart move. As mobile marketing company Emarcom points out, three things that all consumers now carry at all times are: keys, wallet, and phone. That means text message marketing is a highly effective way to get close to your customer’s pocketbook.

Reach Out and Text Someone

Emarcom’s J.M. Bernstein notes, “Of the 280-plus million mobile phones in the U.S., rarely is one’s phone more than four feet away.” Ain’t it the truth. Continue reading

The “Inception” Ad Deception

Inception: The Dream Is Real. So is the marketing.

Inception” is a powerful, original film filled with deceptions. Both the special-effects kind and the plot-driven mental kind. There are also larger themes running through it. If you haven’t seen it yet, don’t worry. No plot points will be revealed.

This is Not Another Review

Critics were sworn to silence before it opened. If you still care what critics are saying after a “dreamy” $62.8 million opening weekend and a cumulative $143 million for the first 10 days, a collection of choice review excerpts can be found at the WSJ Speakeasy blog.

As a fan of both film and advertising (see 101 Ad-Movies in 99 Years), I want to highlight some of the ads and how well they tied in with the story themes. The multichannel marketing campaign consisted of traditional TV spots along with Facebook fan pages with social games, mobile apps, and an online comic book to create fanboy engagement and spur strong word of mouth. Continue reading

Starbucks Keeps It Simple

Starbucks hops on the "simple" bandwagon with "real food." Were they faking it before?

Simply coincidence?

Less than a week after writing about how Simple-Minded Marketing Works, I stopped in at a Starbucks and couldn’t help noticing the screaming all-caps headline on a previously blank napkin.

The coffeehouse that recently brought you free wi-fi, but selectively discourages loitering (not every store has a sign posted), has hopped on the simplified ingredients bandwagon. Now Starbucks is offering “real food” that’s “simply delicious.” This raises some questions: Was it all artificial and fake before? Continue reading

Old Spice Guy Spends Two Days In Bathroom, Blows Up YouTube

Isaiah Mustafa as the Old Spice Guy, the hardest working man in the bathroom.

After two days and two hundred kajillion personalized videos, even the Old Spice Guy has to take a break and come out of the bathroom.

Please forgive the link overload here, but after spending the last 48 hours or so in front of a camera, the Old Spice Guy (Isaiah Mustafa in real life) has been overwhelming social media channels by tweeting links to customized videos made for fans with his bare hands.

The suave smelling dude responded directly to ordinary average fans from Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, gave shout-outs to corporate pals like Starbucks, GQ and sister company Gillette, nods to influential blogger fans like Perez Hilton and Guy Kawasaki (“Is there a Girl Kawasaki?”!), props to celebrity friends like Ellen Degeneres, Ryan Seacrest, Apolo Anton Ohno, and Ashton Kutcher. He wowed Mrs. Kutcher by bashing a pirate piñata, courted Alyssa Milano with roses, wooed Rose McGowan, successfully proposed marriage on behalf of fan JS Beals, and admitted he’s only human and will eventually die someday. He even responded to himself (Isaiah Mustafa). Continue reading

Simple-Minded Marketing Works

Do "post-recession" consumers want the "simpler" things in life? Or do they really want the easy life?

Simple Does Not Equal Easy

Simplicity is often difficult to achieve, which would explain the phrase “deceptively simple.” (It’s one of those strange dichotomy-conundrum-oxymoron-type things. Take your pick.)

Whether in writing, design, engineering, or cooking recipes, simplicity is key to effectiveness. So it follows that the challenge of this post will be to not clutter it up with too many examples. (Note to self: edit!)

Simple is Sophisticated

Leonardo Da Vinci said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Albert Einstein remarked that “everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.” Then there’s the famous KISS acronym (“Keep It Simple, Stupid”) credited to Lockheed Sunk Works engineer Kelly Johnson.

KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid - Easy to say, not so easy to do.

(Vigilante Grammarians will note that although KISS is often spelled out as “Keep it simple, stupid,” Johnson used it without the comma. The expression was not meant to imply that an engineer was stupid; just the opposite.)

Marketers Discover the Popularity of “Simplicity”

It’s tempting to add “Well, duh!” to this heading. But the use of the adjective “simple” when marketing food has suddenly become newsworthy thanks to a recent study by Innova Market Insights. Continue reading