Monthly Archives: September 2009

Angry Russian man promotes yogurt

Here’s a Russian ad for Actimel, the yogurt-type drink marketed as DanActive in the US.  Similar to SouthWest Airline’s “Wanna Get Away” campaign, this memorable spot (using actual office footage, I believe), closes with a tag line that roughly translates as “Need a vacation”. (As my Russian is only so-so, I could be mistaken.)

Though the product is not featured at all in this spot, save for the closing screen, I love advertisements like this. It makes an immediate impact, both through its hilariously shocking conclusion, as well as its universal appeal. After all, haven’t we all had similar daydreams about annoying co-workers?

I always like seeing foreign advertisements, particularly in places where the culture is radically different from here in the US. It’s always interesting to see the cultural memes that come in to play, as well as the appeal to basic human nature that has cross-cultural appeal.

Social media = freedom?

In the course of my daily Internet wanderings, I stumbled across this article from Socialmediatrader.com on the World Information Access report regarding banned social media. According to the report, since 2003, 64 citizens unaffiliated with news organizations have been arrested for their blogging activities worldwide.

worldmap

Not surprisingly, many of these bloggers/tweeters/etc are from countries we generally associate with lack of freedom, e.g., China, Iran and Saudi Arabia. More interesting was the appearance of India and Brazil in this report.  Excepting these two anomalies, this list is a virtual who’s who of repressive governments.

In total there have been 940 total months of jail time served by bloggers in these countries, with China, Egypt and Iran accounting for more than half of all arrests.  Many of these arrests are a result of bloggers exposing corrupt or unjust practices by their government on an international stage. Additionally, among the arrestees there is a strong representation of pro-secular bloggers, particularly in Muslim countries. A good example of this is the prominence of Twitter users in Iran during the election protests this past summer.

Of course these social media sites are often subjected to a swift crackdown from local authorities. With an average sentence of 15 months per offender, it seems that this dissemination of information is not taken lightly by the ruling party, whether it be the communists in China or the fundamentalists in Iran. As such, these citizen journalists demonstrate the value/threat of a free media to totalitarian regimes.  With freedom of information being one of the cornerstones of democracy and personal liberty, these bloggers present the ugly, private side of tyrannical governments for the entire world.

Interestingly enough, fundamentalist and secular social media users in Islamic countries are virtually identical in number, both comprising approximately 3% of the total world wide presence, according to the report.

Though it may be a gross over-simplification, it seems that one of the hallmarks of progressive countries is in their approach to social media. It will be interesting from both a political and technological view to see how these still-new media forms shape future revolutions and protests. In this age of mass media and information sharing, sites like Twitter may become bastions of liberty in totalitarian countries.

Stop motion insanity

This is from a juice ad from Brazil.

Video

(The embedding is not working, click on the link below).

do bem™ – Açaí Juice 100% fruit (Tic Tic Tac Wafer’s Keyboard) from Hardcuore on Vimeo.

Writer’s Ruminations #2

The key to successful writing is rewriting, though it helps if you’ve got a little talent to start with.

The negative side of social media

In case you’re not a sports fan, there was  a well-publicized fight between members of the football and basketball team yesterday at my alma mater, the University of Kansas. Not surprisingly, the national media, and especially fans of our rival schools, had a field day with this. An area of particular focus was the Facebook status updates of sophomore point guard Tyshawn Taylor.

Tyshawn Taylor

Unfortunately, this young man neglected to consider the consequences of his social media interactions.

I really can’t break down the situation any better than my friend Bear Goodell did on his blog, so I’ll let you read it directly from him.

Bank advertising, You’re doing it wrong

bank_trust

Every time I see or hear an advertisement for a bank, either in print, on television, or on the radio, I’m struck with the same thought: whoever is masterminding (most of) these campaigns is taking the wrong tack.

Fact: Everyone hates banks. We hate the hours, the slow service, the low interest rates we earn, and especially the fees.

Why then, I ask, do bank ads primarily focus on things we are not concerned about, e.g. FDIC insurance, rewards on credit cards and free checking? No one worries about their savings account anymore because the federal government insures it. No one really cares about credit card rewards because they are so widespread, and almost everyone has free checking. As such, these pieces aren’t really telling us anything we don’t know, and thus, not motivating any action.

If they really wanted to get our attention, banks would start advertising extended hours, improved customer service, and a reduction in stupid fees. While some financial institutions are promoting these benefits, most are not, primarily due to the fact that it would require some fundamental shift in current policy.

And while many bankers (conservative people by nature), may be reluctant to change their policies in order to improve their marketing efforts, I have no doubt that their current campaigns yield very little return, other than perhaps promoting the institution in a general way. And if this is the sole benefit of running “free checking” ads, wouldn’t they be better served with less emphasis on message, and more on branding?

Idea for television spot:
Wide angle shot of devastation from hurricane, silent except for wind and cries of seagulls. Slowly pan in on one building, seemingly untouched amid the clutter. It’s (Bank name) Bank. Fade to Black, (Bank name) Bank appears in white letters on black screen.

How did this get the green light?

I don’t know anything about this source, so I can’t confirm the authenticity, but I’m hoping this isn’t legitimate.

From Ugly Doggy:

slide_2705_37938_large

According to Ugly Doggy, these are real Play-Doh ads from Singapore. Also included in the campaign were a Play-Doh cleaver, chainsaw, matches and razor blade. I don’t know a whole lot about the culture in Singapore other than caning is an accepted corporal punishment, but I guarantee this campaign wouldn’t have made it out of the concepting phase in the US.

Bonus points for originality and creativity, though…