Category Archives: Uncategorized

German supermarket Edeka’s immigration stunt

Edeka’s Hamburg store has made a very public point about racism and diversity by emptying its shelves of foreign products:

telemmglpict000138102296_trans_nvbqzqnjv4bqzbrq2yq8ldwj14fnjsawaiglio-bmkdssi-beiueyck

dhktgftwaaaylky

The aim of this stunt was to emphasize the importance of global diversity in a way that everyone can understand, so signs were made to help shoppers understand: “So empty is a shelf without foreigners,” “This shelf is quite boring without variety,” “Our range now knows borders,” and, “We will be poorer without diversity.”
The supermarket chain will apparently roll out the campaign in other stores as discussions surrounding immigration continues to heats up in the run-up to German federal elections in September. The immigration issue has dominated German politics since 2015 when Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that the country would welcome one million refugees fleeing war-ravaged Syria two years ago. The chosen city for this stunt is a prominent feature of the campaign – Hamburg is the second most populous city in Germany, with immigrants making up almost 15% of the population. Consequently, Angela Merkel is now expressing a desire to roll-back the open door policy, especially since stats such as a rise in migrant-related crime has contributed towards growing anti-immigrant and xenophobic sentiment in the country.

Reactions to the stunt have received mixed responses, especially in the political sphere. I think it’s a fantastic, real life analogy of how important immigration and diversity is to a country and its economy. It would be exactly the same here in London!

Edeka stands for variety and diversity. In our stores we sell numerous foods which are produced in the various regions of Germany. … But only together, with products from other countries, it is possible to create the unique variety that our consumers value. We are pleased that our campaign caused so many positive reactions.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , ,

SodaStream: Who Are The Homoschlepiens?

SodaStream is one of those brands who never fails to deliver fantastic ads. This time, Mayim Bialik (neuroscientist and actor in ‘Big Bang Theory’) is on a quest to learn the ridiculous habits of “Homoschlepiens – a newly discovered tribe with a peculiar behavioral anomaly”. This isn’t the first SodaStream ad I’ve blogged about, and I’m sure it won’t be the last.

Mayim is joined by ‘Game of Thrones’ actor Kristian Nairn (first KFC, now SodaStream?!) in a flashback scene after Mayim educates children at a futuristic ‘Museum of Unnatural History’. This isn’t the first time SodaStream have hired Game of Thrones actors – Nairn follows in the footsteps of ‘The Mountain’ (Thor Bjornsson) and ‘Septa Unella’ (Hannah Waddingham).
In the short film, the ‘Homoschlepiens’ are using bottled water, in an attempt to convey that using plastic is a primitive concept, because its destroying the environment. The concept was created in-house by SodaStream, and will run online on social media and SodaStream’s microsites. The aim was to encourage UK consumers to purchase a SodaStream rather than buy from companies like Coca-Cola and Pepsi.
The message that the use of plastic bottles is something to be ashamed of has led to a dispute between SodaStream and the bottled water industry, with the International Bottled Water Association sending a cease and desist letter to the brand over the ad! SodaStream’s boss Daniel Birnbaum has no fears when it comes to shaming brands like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Nestle and Danone, stating that:

The odds are against you – the amount of money these guys have. Not just with their lawyers – they have tremendous marketing budgets. And they’re using those to seduce and scare consumers around the globe. This generation, plastic bottles deserve the treatment of cigarettes. These bottles deserve to have warning labels on them. Single use bottled water should be illegal, and I believe there will be a time in our lifetime when it is.

Food for thought! Or water for thought?…

The Nation’s Sweetheart

The last few weeks have been both scary and uncertain for the UK, and with today’s results it’s safe to say we’re all feeling rather fed up. I’m immensely worried about the potential coalition between conservatives and DUP (who on earth are they?!) because collectively they represent everything I am against for this country, and the rest of the world.

In times of strife we must remember the positive things about this country – what we’ve all achieved, what we’ve got to look forward to and who we’re proud to call British. A personal hero of mine is British icon Louis Theroux – a man who is openly against Tory policies and against the intolerance that we often see in British modern society. Yesterday, he advised people to “bear in mind British values of tolerance, fair play, and caring for society’s least advantaged.” Couldn’t have said it better myself!

The UK is a bit of a mess at the moment but we’ve gotta get Theroux this together.

Pepsi: What Were You Thinking?!

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you will have heard about the catastrophic backlash Pepsi has received for their new TV and digital campaign featuring TV star and model Kendall Jenner. Created by its in-house creative team, Creators League Studio, we see Jenner on a modelling shoot who joins a protest mid-shoot. What is the protest for? I have no idea. No one knows.

Creatively, the advert is crap anyway. However, in terms of a brand ambassador, Kendall is actually the perfect candidate to reflect Pepsi’s pop culture background, which has previously featured other famous faces like Michael Jackson, Britney Spears and Beyonce. They could have worked with her social media influence and her fashion background to create a successful and fun campaign, but instead created a monster that has deeply offended and shocked so many people all over the world.
So how on earth did Pepsi get it so wrong? After a lot of thought since the ad was first released, here are my theories as to how this cultural tragedy unfurled:

  1. Diversity in the workplace: clearly no one of colour had any input in the narrative of this ad. Creators League Studio evidently do not have enough people of the backgrounds that they wish to represent in this ad.
  2. Work and fear culture: how the f*ck did this get approved?! How did no one at the Studio say “wait a minute, this concept seems really contrived”? Is there a culture there that makes people feel unable to stand up for what is right and wrong? I could never sit back and be part of something that I know is fundamentally wrong for humanity.
  3. Experience: without doubt, no one working on the commercial has ever been involved in a protest, experienced inequality, racial profiling, seclusion or segregation. Despite this, even if you have never experienced these things, surely you must know about it? The internet exists. History exists. There is no excuse.

The most disturbing and spoken about part of this advert is the scene were Jenner hands a Pepsi to a police officer. Firstly, this insinuates that protest can be solved by soda, which is highly insulting (the internet has gone meme-crazy on this subject). Secondly, and most importantly, this contrived scene is clearly mirroring that of the real life hero Ieshia Evans who faced police in Baton Rouge:

2016: A Picture and its Story

Ieshia Evans was detained by law enforcement when she protested after the shooting (and death) of African American Alton Sterling near the headquarters of the Baton Rouge Police Department. Both prior to that incident and after that iconic photo was taken there have been countless protests in cities like Baltimore, Maryland, and Ferguson, Missouri that occurred due to the police killing of black men. It has become an epidemic that is impossible to avoid on the news or on social media. There is no way Pepsi haven’t seen this image or heard of the protests.
Aside from the shocking claim that a can of Pepsi will create world peace, the contrast of ‘peace givers’ (Iesha and Kendall) is beyond insulting. Kendall is a white, cis, privileged, able-bodied, rich celebrity – if Pepsi wanted to create a peace-making, hero narrative they should’ve chosen an activist or a real-life hero.

DeRay McKesson, a leading activist in the Black Lives Matter movement said:

If I had carried Pepsi, I guess I never would have gotten arrested. Who knew? Pepsi, this ad is trash.

I couldn’t have said it better myself. In a world where violence and discrimination against African Americans has by no means decreased over the last century (if anything, it is getting worse), this has to be the most offensive, tone-deaf and contrived advert created during my lifetime.
What’s equally as perverse as using a real-life protest is the bizarre use of every token minority. The ad desperately tries to feature every single age, race, religion, gender, sexuality – whilst I praise diversity and inclusion in advertising, the clear attempt to show “co-existing” makes the Muslim woman and the “token-black-dude” stand out even more. It’s like they all sat at the casting couch and tried to tick off every single stereotypical type of person they could saying “yeah, she’s ethnic enough”.

aaeaaqaaaaaaaaqiaaaajdk0mgu0yjhlltnjotktnde5zs05mwiylwm4mju4mwqwztmwzg

Pepsi’s exploitative brand social activism concept has been spoken about so much that according to data from Amobee Brand Intelligence, digital content engagement around Pepsi has increased to 366% in just a day, including mentions of Black Lives Matter, the use of the phrase “tone-deaf” and tagging the ad as the “worst ever.”
An incredible amount of people have spoken out against how Pepsi have exploited the enduring suffering of marginalised people, so I have no idea how Pepsi will ever come back from this. Yesterday, they removed the ad and released this apology on their website:

PURCHASE, N.Y., April 5, 2017 “Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding. Clearly we missed the mark, and we apologize. We did not intend to make light of any serious issue. We are removing the content and halting any further rollout. We also apologize for putting Kendall Jenner in this position.”

I’m glad they have apologised, and that the ad has been removed, but I really hope this has been a huge wakeup call for advertising and marketing. I hope Pepsi get rid of their “creatives” and use ad agencies for the future. But, will anyone want to be associated with them? I guess if the price is right…
Pepsi claim that they did not intend to refer to any particular significant issues, but the notion of a protest itself is to make a stand against a social issue. So, what social were they trying to represent? All I see is cringey peace signs and random words. Trivialising protest in an age where people are desperate to see change is an insult beyond repair, in my eyes. I’ve written about jumping on the bang-wagon when it comes to social issues (such as using LGBT characters in ad narratives), and I find myself shaking my head in shame when the scenes cut to young, attractive people blatantly drinking Pepsi (got to get in that product placement) and laughing. This itself shows how the creatives involved have clearly never been involved in anything mildly political, because no one stands around posing, giggling and pouting at a protest. We even see a fist bump. A f*cking fist bump.

Allen Adamson, founder of Brand Simple Consulting said:

It’s trivializing the seriousness of the issue, that merely a can of Pepsi could solve all of the problems on the streets of our country. To some extent, it’s polarizing to the Black Lives Matter movement because it makes it seem like much ado about nothing, if you just passed some out at your demonstrations this wouldn’t happen.

Following this, something that also concerns me is the actors in the advert. Whilst it’s evident that the creatives themselves have no sense of privilege and suffering, why did the multi-cultural cast agree to take part in this ad? Did they not know the entire concept prior to filming? Were they desperate for their next big break? Did the mention of Kendall Jenner appear too appealing to turn down? It’s the same confused, cringe-worthy feeling I had when I saw African Americans defending Trump during the election. How can anyone from a marginalised group associate themselves with this?!

I could spend all day writing about what is wrong with this advert. There is nothing right about it, and if you can’t see how much of a disaster it is, you need to educate yourself and understand your own privilege. We will never move away from segregation, racism and violence if we don’t collectively stand up for what is right. This is beyond poor creative work – it’s a enormous, humiliating and derogatory kick in the teeth.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

BBH: Virgin Fibre

Advertising agency BBH has released a new campaign called ‘This is Fibre’ for Virgin Media, “that brings to life the unparalleled entertainment that Virgin Media customers enjoy through superior, ultrafast connectivity.” This beautifully crafted ad features a mix of dramatic storylines and characters, and of course their celebrity endorser Usain Bolt.
I like it! It’s epic, it’s engaging and well crafted.

Apple’s Priorities: Are Driverless Cars to Blame for the New MacBook Pro fail?

Apple has finally admitted that it is going to heavily invest in the self-driving car industry, wanting to utilise their software expertise. Despite safety and privacy concerns, Apple are wanting to have a head start on its competitors (e.g. UK’s first self-driving car Oxbotica) in what could be a highly profitable industry.
Not only did Paul Newman from Oxbotica turn a hacked Nissan Leaf into a system that can make any vehicle self-driving, Google have also tested a driverless car. However, in September, the Google car collided with another vehicle after the jumping a red light.

https://embed.theguardian.com/embed/video/technology/video/2014/may/28/google-self-driving-car-spin-video

Uber also swiftly managed to get ahead of the game by testing ‘Ford Fusions’ in Pennsylvania, USA, whilst collaborating with Volvo to develop a driverless car.

Steve Kenner, Apple’s Director of Product Integrity said:

The company is investing heavily in the study of machine learning and automation, and is excited about the potential of automated systems in many areas, including transportation.
Executed properly under NHTSA’s guidance, automated vehicles have the potential to greatly enhance the human experience — to prevent millions of car crashes and thousands of fatalities each year and to give mobility to those without.

Could this be the reason for the half-arsed attempt at the new MacBook Pro? If Apple are wanting to invest their time and money into this new lucrative industry (it could be worth £900bn by 2025), will they have time for their original fanbase – creatives?
Watch this space for ‘iCar’, which will happen sooner rather than later to get ahead the likes of Uber and Google

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Evolution denialism by Pence — Why Evolution Is True

This man scares the hell out of me.

Here’s a tw**t by Seth MacFarlane, who’s apparently famous but about whom I know nothing. Yes, I’m a cultural numbskull, but what’s important here is the point: Republican VP candidate Mike Pence is a straight-out evolution denialist. It flummoxes me that someone can be completely oblivious about the evidence for evolution yet be considered qualified for public […]

via Evolution denialism by Pence — Why Evolution Is True

Pair of misplaced glasses mistaken for art — Why Evolution Is True

I love this so much

The latest book I’m reading is by the New York Times‘s film critic A. O. Scott: Better Living Through Criticism: How to Think About Art, Pleasure, Beauty, and Truth. It’s a mixed bag, but, to give him credit, Scott’s taken a hard look at the value of his own profession, asking what the purpose of criticism […]

via Pair of misplaced glasses mistaken for art — Why Evolution Is True

Inter-LGBT / The Obstacle Course

An ad is great when there is no need for spoken words because the narrative speaks for itself.

Tagged , , , , , , ,