Posts Tagged ‘advertising’


This post is an email from Domingo T. Ligot:

In his book entitled “The Tipping Point” Malcolm Gladwell wrote about a campaign slogan a long time ago about cigarettes which read “Winstons taste good like a cigarette should”. Slogans like these are coined by highly paid experts employed by advertising agencies who sell their services to anyone wishing to promote something like an item or product for sale including a candidate seeking public office. Mr. Gladwell recounts that the Winston slogan successfully “stuck” in the minds of cigarette smokers in America first then the rest of the smoking world that steadily Winston started to gain ground and eventually begun to outsell its competition like Philip Morris, L&M, and other brands. It goes without saying that the study and coining of effective slogans certainly requires an understanding of its target market. The market for Winston cigarettes and its competitors Philip Morris and L&M clearly would be a higher strata of the smoking public than perhaps smokers of Bataan Matamis, Gold Coin, and Fighter, local cigarette brands then that were cheaper (1/2 the price of Winston etc. or cheaper for those who still remember) so that the slogan for Winston must appeal to a more sophisticated motivation to choose this cigarette from its competitors than slogans promoting the cheaper cigarettes. It will not be unusual therefore to find slogans aimed at lower strata markets like the poor sounding unsophisticated, inane, and ridiculously simple because, lets face it, they would’nt be able to understand or appreciate a sophisticated slogan anyway. (Do you recall a sound bite for Bataan Matamis that aired over the AM radio many years back which even sounded like a “ngo-ngo” speaking? The idea perhaps was to promote Bataan Matamis to the real poor even a “ngo-ngo” who is a ridiculed but amusing fellow likes it). An ad agency which does not know or appreciate this basic reality will fail in its business.

With the foregoing as background let us now examine certain political slogans of the recent past. Candidate Joseph “Erap” Estrada used the slogan “Erap Para sa Mahirap” when he won the presidency and more recently candidate Noynoy Aquino had the slogan “Kung Walang Corrupt Walang Mahirap” when he won the presidency. Glaringly common in the two slogans is the word “Mahirap” betraying that the target of both slogans are, you guessed it, the “Mahirap” or poor. Going back to the Winston slogan analysis above, it makes sense that when your target market for a slogan are the lower strata of society it must by necessity sound inane and ridiculously simple otherwise it will not be effective or, in the words of Malcolm Gladwell, it will not “stick”. If we are to ask their promoters whether the candidates sincerely believed or meant what their slogans said, we will probably just get a shrug and a “who cares they won did’nt they” retort. But unfortunately the “Mahirap” will swallow these slogans as true albeit inane and insincere, just look at how Erap remains popular among the poor despite his shenanigans while he was in office, and in the case of President Noynoy you can see how the poor currently resonate with his supposed anti corrupt campaign they have become like mindless hooligans out to lynch GMA at whatever cost. The lamentable thing however is many of those who should know better ride on this ignorance and instead of promoting calm and orderliness they serve like rah-rah boys egging the poor to proceed in their mob mentality (Recall who were on platforms with microphones egging the “masa” to invade Malacanang during the so-called EDSA III and those now in congress, especially the party list kind, and priests who love to run and those who love to appear in media every chance they get who are dressed and speak nowhere near being poor). Are the poor really in the hearts and minds of these powerful people, are they concerned that the poor are just being exposed to more harm than good? Who cares, they won didn’t they!

The ad agency and the expert who came out with the slogans must have gotten a hefty bonus and a rousing celebration after the elections for coming up with the winning slogan, now they rest until the next election, that is simply how it works.

Domingo is a retired lawyer from the Philippines. He has worked in various capacities as a lawyer in both the private sector and Philippine government.


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Just checking in on the happenings since its been roughly a couple of months since the now infamous Deepwater Horizon oil spill from the BP oil rig.

As reported by Reuters, in New Orleans, while tourism ads are getting pulled for sensitivity to BP, oil firms are lobbying to overturn Obama’s 6-month ban on deepwater drilling, which was in reaction to the spill. On the Huffington Post, beach weddings are taking a dive in Florida.

Meanwhile, as you consider the total effect of the spill–social, economic and environmental–you might want to check out If It Was My Home, which apart from social activism features an interesting Google map of the oil spill which you can overlay on your own home to appreciate the scale. (Thanks to Freakonomics).

“Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless handheld”

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Just recently in Reuters:

Cereal maker Kellogg Co has agreed to drop advertising claims that Rice Krispies will strengthen children’s immune systems.

Ideas on health are more compelling than health itself. To the tune of US$13B a year.

Ironically this blogger doubts kids will stop eating the sweet cereals soon, regardless if its not actually healthy.

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

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Just a two interesting ad campaigns from HSBC about how points of view differ across the world.

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Cars are sometimes known as the “toys for the big boys”. My passion for cars goes back to my youth when I played with toy cars from Matchbox and extends to today.

Here are several car commercials that made me stop for a moment, playing to two of my poisons: automobiles and critical thinking. Each commercial waxes philosophical about some emotion or idea that associates with each car. I’ve put some captions under each video to help you appreciate the smart dialogue behind each one. Hope you enjoy them.

Jaguar – Gorgeous

Gorgeous deserves your immediate attention.
Gorgeous makes effort look effortless.
Gorgeous stays up late, and still looks gorgeous
Gorgeous has no love for logic.
Gorgeous loves fast.
Everyone cares what gorgeous says.
Gorgeous gets in everywhere.
Gorgeous can’t be ordinary even if it tries.
Gorgeous pays for itself in the first five seconds.
Gorgeous doesn’t care at all what others are doing.
Gorgeous was born that way.
Gorgeous trumps everything.
Gorgeous is worth it.

Porsche – 911 Carrera

It’s a funny thing about a Porsche,
there’s the moment you know you want one,
there’s the moment you first own one,
and for the truly afflicted,
there’s the decade or two that passes in between.

From its first days on the road over 40 years ago,
the 911 has ignited the kind of passion in drivers that only a Porsche can.
And now once again it is poised to redefine what is possible.
Introducing the new 911 Carrera.
It is, quite simply, the purest expression of who we are.

BMW – The Follow

You vary your distance. You stay to the rear, to the right.

Never more than a few cars behind.

It’s all about patience, percentages, timing.

If you get too close, move into their blind spot.

If you lose them, just keep moving, hope for the best.

Out in the open, distance is subjective.

You can let the target bite the horizon, so long as you know their patterns.

The waiting is the hard part, your mind wanders, wondering what it would be like watching your own life from far away.

On foot it’s the same, distance, patterns, anticipation.

If the target doubles back, never react.

Whatever you do, don’t get too close.

Never meet their eyes.

There’s something waiting at the end of the road. If you’re not willing to see what it is, you probably shouldn’t be out there in the first place.

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The above image is from an ad campaign run by Marie Claire Magazine for the Reproductive Health Bill, encouraging people to think and speak  for themselves in tackling the issues. The image (head) is one of three (the other two: mouth, face).

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Following the negative sentiments on the Nike ad campaigns just previously posted, I came across an interesting term in psychology partly related to the reaction to the cross-symbology.

Pareidolia describes the phenomenon of attaching significance to seemingly random stimuli. It falls under the general category of apophenia–which is the “pattern seeking” tendency in people. Although pareidolia is not strictly confined to religious context, a number of cases of pareidolia have religious connotations.

Some examples of pareidolia in a religious context:

Virgin Mary on a cheese sandwich

Sun cross on the American Flag

Cross-shaped MP3 player from China

Pope image in flame shape

You can find further examples of religious pareidolia here.

Context is the important factor to consider when facing similar cases of pareidolia–although the cause of the phenomenon is still debatable amongst researchers. In the case of the aforementioned Nike ad–pareidolia tendencies merge with intentional marketing to create the impact and arguably this is proving to be a very effective strategy although evidently some Christians do not enjoy the effect.

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Two years ago, Nike was criticized for featuring football athelete Wayne Rooney in a cross-pose which was described as “chilling” by a story on the Daily Mail.

An inadvertent reprise to this is a recent ad for Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao in anticipation of his fight with Oscar dela Hoya:

Advertising blogger, WAWAM, describes the ad as offensive to Christian sensibilities:

the art director choosing to show manny with his hands stretched apart is not really to show manny in prayer, but it mimicks the position of  Christ on the cross. manny’s hands stretched out that way in front of a cross is what i find offensive. it violates one of the most revered images in the catholic faith – Christ’s sacrifice of his life during the crucifiction. the nike ad wants us to think that manny is nailed to the cross, as Christ was. that is very offensive.

Granted that the cross symbol is important to Christians, but the usage is so ubiquitious and prevalent throughout history that perhaps the religious sentiment might be taking it a little too seriously.

However, the Pacquiao ad does have blatant references to Christian prayers–which to a country like the Philippines that is 80% Catholic might be really toeing the line of religious tolerance.

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