Verizon doesn't exactly have a reputation for being an organization that's empowering its users. After all, it is Verizon that's leading the fight against net neutrality, which would amount to an Internet that is basically the opposite of user-friendly. Perhaps that's why they've launched a new ad campaign designed to convince us that, through powerful transmitters, Verizon is on our side in the fight against prejudice. (I know, right?)
When a conversation turns to branding (and don't all of your conversations turn to branding?) the efforts of Absolut Vodka, the little alcohol company that could, are inevitably evoked. There's good reason behind this, too. Although ads for alcohol are extremely problematic, Absolut has certainly made a name for itself with a distinct brand. In fact, I'd bet that most of you can conjure up an Absolut ad, complete with their unique typeface and slogans, without even having to consult your Google image search.
That's why I've been a little surprised lately to see Absolut eschew their brand for an over-the-top cinematic spot (one loaded with messages about gender, of course). Behold:
Most people with a finger on the pulse of pop culture (and I'm guessing that includes you if you're reading this) know that the new season of AMC's Mad Men premiered on Sunday. Now, for those of you who are waiting for it to come out on DVD, fear not: This is our weekly advertising forum, so no plot spoilers will be revealed here. I want to talk instead about the ways in which advertising is being dealt with within the show so far. (If you're interested in a plot discussion though, I like Slate's TV Club. Good stuff.) Now, on to the advertising!
Every time I go to download files from a BitTorrent tracker site I am constantly bombarded with ads for sex/dating sites or straight up pornography and I'm sick of it. Women are engaging in online technologies as well and we are repetitively told that we don't belong.
Last week, we had our first-ever Mad World Book Club meeting, and it was great! As many of you know, we discussed Jean Kilbourne's Can't Buy My Love, and everyone had lots to say about gender, persuasion, advertising, and fried dill pickle chips (we met at Bernie's Southern Bistro). However, as many of you also know, most of our readers don't live close enough to meet us in person for pickle chips, which is why we're hosting this virtual version of the Book Club.
We had a conversation in the comments section on another Mad World post a while back regarding ads that use real people instead of actors to sell their products. Do these people get paid? Are they actually just actors in disguise? Why are we strangely compelled by their "real" presence in commercials? Well, dear Mad World readers, to get to the bottom of these issues, I recently went undercover as a "real" person in a commercial photo shoot (well I guess I wasn't technically undercover since I am actually a real person, but you know what I mean) and got the scoop.
You know how every once in a while someone comes into your life–be it in person or in book, music, film, or some other form–and totally blows you away because they're saying everything you've been thinking, but in a way that is smarter and better than you've been thinking it? Like they took what was inside your brain and made it make sense? Jean Kilbourne is one of those people for me. As a young feminist beginning my academic career in media studies, no one hit more nails on more heads for me than she did. I am sure I'm not alone in feeling this way about Ms. Kilbourne and her work, which makes it all the more exciting that her book, Can't Buy My Love, is our first Mad World Book Club selection!
Advertisements for dinner-related items are almost always loaded with gender weirdness. The doting mom cooks for her nuclear family, and they love her for it–thanks to the help of whatever fantastic instant food item is being showcased. This is such a well-worn commercial trope that we often don't notice it unless it is absent, which is (sort of) the case with the latest campaign from Stouffer's: Let's Fix Dinner.