Product Placement

Within the last several years the advertising industry has had to turn to creative ways to market products because people just don’t buy into them like they used to. It becomes harder and harder to advertise to people because they are already experiencing information overload daily. Yes, impressions are extremely important to eventually selling the product, but there are so many other ways to advertise.

In recent years, subtly in advertising has really proven successful especially in prime-time television programming.  A great example of this subtle type of advertising is product placement. Product placement is a form of “embedded” marketing where products are literally placed into context of a story, like in television, movies, music videos, and things such as these.  The audiences are usually unaware of the product placement.

Product placement in the media is so often seen that it is hard to pick out examples, but since I am a Glee fanatic I will talk about this show. In a February episode of Glee, a song number was literally performed in a Gap retail store. In this case, the product was Gap clothing. Gap paid money for Glee to feature their clothing in the show in order to subtly influence viewers to buy Gap clothing. The cool factor of Glee would ultimately rub off on Gap, which would drive foot traffic to Gap stores everywhere. This is how product placement works.

In theory, product placement is a very effective way to catch the eye of consumers in a different way than the way traditional advertisements do.

Reality Television

What is our fixation with reality television? America seems to have officially changed their viewing pleasures from scripted television programming to “reality” television. I put the word “reality” in quotes because how real is “reality” television – not very real at all; but to the public, it is.

Yes, “reality” television has swept the nation.  The variety of reality TV available has grown exponentially within the last several years. American Idol really flipped the world on its backside. The many types of shows appeal to a wide range of audiences. From Keeping Up With The Kardashians to Swamp People, form Hoarders to So You Thing You Can Dance, virtually every demographic can be tapped into one of these reality shows.

Not only does this phenomenon give power to a new kind of celebrity, but also gives the public the right to imitate these newfound celebrities because of their “real” actions.  It is honestly scary to think that we give people like Mike “The Situation” celebrity status because of his drunken escapades on the Jersey Shore; however, this new kind of celebrity gives the more traditional actor celebrity a better name considering they are actually earning their status through hard work (e.g., George Clooney).

Another frightening happening is that the people watching these “reality” television shows get younger and younger, especially the ones watching MTV or VHI. These shows do not set good examples for young people because they are still learning. Watching reality television in this case tends to be a bad influence. Imitation of these so-called celebrities leads children to act accordingly. Not only children, but also adults are influenced.

I doubt this phenomenon will end in the near future. There seems to be some sort of “reality” programming on every network.  Some brands are based on this reality concept and the fact that they are adhering to what the public wants makes them strong. You have to actively listen to what your audience likes and “reality” TV is the answer in some cases.

Pepsi’s New Face

I’d have to say that I am impressed with the new Pepsi campaign. Pepsi is known for incorporating a famous spokesperson into their campaigns and running with them as long as people like it, (e.g., Britney Spears).  This usually works for a while but people tend to go back to drinking their beloved Coca Cola. Pepsi has never really had command of the market. The new television spot, aired earlier this month, really inspires young people to live life to its fullest. Through this commercial, the inspirational feeling of living in the moment will come after buying a Pepsi product and enjoying every last sip.

The aspect that makes this Pepsi campaign different than the rest is that it offers an experience rather than just a product. Before, Pepsi paid influential people to advocate for their brand in all parts of the campaign: print, TV, radio, and online. This intervening audience influences the target to make buying decisions in favor of the brand, in this case Pepsi. Even this last Super Bowl ad for Pepsi was forgettable; remember King’s Court anyone?

This ad does not incorporate a spokesperson though. The entire spot shows the experience of a hot dusk night in a place like NYC or at the beach, at a concert, a fashion show, where young people play and exuberate happiness “in the moment”, all while drinking Pepsi. Fun; they are having so much fun. Nicki Minaj’s “Moment for Life” is playing through the duration of the spot, which reiterates that Pepsi will be apart of those special moments.

I think that this ad campaign might be more successful because it incorporates a song rather than an individual and relates drinking Pepsi to a larger audience who don’t have faces. It could be anyone, including you.

Fiat Argentina Steps Over the Line in Giant Cleavage Commercial

I was reading my favorite advertising blog, AdFreak catching up on the latest in advertising, marketing, media, and design news and I came across the ads of the world section. I immediately stopped scrolling down the page when I saw a screen shot of huge cleavage with a tiny man sticking out of them on David Kiefaber’s blog post.

Leo Burnett Argentina created this campaign to promote Fiat’s Palio as “the car for the best time of your life.” Kiefaber responds to this tagline with “Even if you’re the kind of shallow moron who would count your girlfriend’s bob job among those times.” He continues to relate “the best time of your life” to other superficial likings that some men might find intriguing. Yes, it’s true the stigma for car companies in advertising is to relate their cars to women. That is a proven way to attract men to buying cars. Although this ad might fly in South America, there would be a huge backlash if aired in North America; not only because of the blatant disregard to class but for ripping of a scene from the most iconic American film seen today, The Big Labowski. (please laugh)

This brings attention to one of the main components of creating an advertising campaign. You must take into consideration your target market. This ad could not be successful in North America due to the nature of the American public. They feel it necessary to censor these kinds of videos to protect children and feel proper. It is a stigma to be less open to these topics. In Latin America, however, the public is more lax in responding to commercials such as these. Even in the Spanish soap operas you will encounter a significant amount of sexuality. This public is more open to it and open about it to others. It is just in the culture.

I agree with Kiefaber in his assertions toward this particular commercial. This ad attempts to relate a woman’s decision to get a boob job to a Fiat Palio. I don’t know how well those two concepts correlate but I’m sure this ad was not just created on a whim.

“The Pitch”

It seems that reality television has swept the world. American Idol, The Real World, Mobwives, The Jersey Shore, and so many other shows much like these have captured the minds of viewers everywhere. Production teams have forever changed the television industry because once they hit the jackpot with these concepts as far as what viewers want to watch; they never turned back. Reality TV scripts have stretched far ranging from best singer to grossest hoarder. Finally they have come up with an unscripted television show about pitching a good advertising campaign for a client in a competitive environment.

The television show called “The Pitch,” aired for the first time on AMC on April 30, 2012. This show goes behind the scenes of the high-pressure situations that encompass America’s top creative ad agencies competing to the pitch a new account to one perspective client.  The show airs once a week and each week, two different agencies go head to head as they “pitch.” These agencies only get one week to prepare for each pitch.

The two clients involved in the show right now are Subway and WM (Waste Management) and the four agencies involved are SK+G, the Ad Store, McKinney, and WDCW.

This show is meant to simulate the cut- throat atmosphere of the ad industry and the time constraints agencies have to create fully integrated ad campaigns. In reality, the industry is much like this. Ad agencies compete everyday for that special client’s attention. If they don’t have any clients to work for, they are out of the job, literally. Although, the environment is difficult to navigate through as a creative and a planner, the reward is well worth it in the show and in reality.

Nike: I Would Run To You

Now back to Advertising…

Nike. I’m pretty sure if you have ever attended advertising, marketing, public relations, or business class in your lifetime, you have heard about all that is the colossal brand Nike. They have gone through so many transformations that it is hard to count; all of which have been successful.

I have the fortunate luxury to attend the University of Oregon and we like to call our very lucrative donor Uncle Phil; an endearing term of course. As an effect, we are surrounded by the Nike brand everywhere we go, whether it is Autzen Stadium or Student Recreation Center.

I feel compelled to write a blog post concerning the new Nike Campaign, “I Would Run To You.” The commercial spot is very entertaining. On one side, there is a physically attractive female putting on her running gear that is all Nike brand.  On the other side, a man, her boyfriend, gets ready for a run also, but the difference is that he is not wearing Nike clothes or running shoes.  Gleaning from the name of the campaign and the song they both sing, they run from far distances to each other, one succeeds while the other fails. I bet you can guess who succeeds. Yes, the woman running in the Nike apparel prevails, thus demonstrating the strength of the brand.

The message they want to point out is that Nike will get you to wherever you want to go whether it is your boyfriend in the next town or down the block to the market. Of course, Nike has the means to display this message in a creative and enticing way so they did. This television spot is exceptional and brings in some humor to gain viewers.

As far as I am concerned, Nike can never go wrong. As long as it stays innovative and ever changing, which it has thus far, it will continue to be a powerhouse.

Alouette je te Plumerai

I’m sure everyone has seen the new Target television spot “Color Changes Everything” that includes that catchy little French tune “Allouette.“ I first heard this song when I was in pre-school. When I first saw this commercial, I wondered, why did they choose this song?

I find it necessary to describe what the ad exemplifies so that everyone is on the same page. A hot air balloon draws closer to the middle of a city backdrop. The city is seemingly grey which contrasts with the bright colored red balloon approaching. This automatically draws your eye to the color. Out of the hot air balloon, springs brightly and vividly dressed individuals performing acrobatic tricks to move about the city. Everything and everyone they touch turns to color, completely changing the dull world they live in for the better. Throughout this fun and entertaining clip, the song “allouette” is playing.

At first I just looked at the connection superficially and thought that they choose a song in a different language to show that they are sophisticated and worldly, to coordinate with their target audience; an audience that wants more than just a product. This was not something Wal-Mart, one of Target’s biggest competitors, would do. It just wouldn’t work. This could definitely be one of the reasons for choosing this French/Canadian song.  Or what if they just found that this song worked with the tone they wanted to present. This also could have been a contributing factor.

Although these conclusions could be correct, I needed to go deeper and find out what the song really meant. Target marketing executives would not just use this song on a whim; there is so much research involved in creating these commercials. Everything is scrutinized.

I found that the song actually had multiple layers of meaning, and when joined with the video could relay a strong message. The song when spoken in English means “Lark, nice lark. Lark, I shall pluck you.” Surprising right? In Europe, people would think Larks as pesky birds that woke them up when they least expected. This was the reasoning behind the “plucking.” This could indicate a meaning for the video as a wake up call. Where is the color world? Time to wake up and realize that you need to go to Target to get some color in your life.

Another interesting find is that this song usually involves audience participation, with the audience echoing every line of each verse after the verse’s second line. It is considered a community song. Each verse builds on top of the previous verses, similar to the Christmas carol, “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” Everyone knows that one. The people that excitedly spring out of the hot air balloon run through the city creating color. They intend on building color in that community. Target as a brand is very reliable and intertwined into the community. Just like the song builds on itself, the people form the ad build color and move throughout the city, until it is time to go unto the next city, where they will build color yet again.

This may be a stretch but makes for an interesting perspective. The Target “Color Changes Everything” commercial is one of my favorite commercials thus far this year and I have definitely gone to Target because of it.