Tag Archives: campaign

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”.

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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.

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Best April Fools Day 2017 Pranks and Jokes in Advertising and Marketing

I’ve accumulated a collection of my top 10 favourite pranks from the creative world this year. It was hard to choose from such an array of alternative facts, that’s for sure. (I don’t think it’s a coincidence that 70% of the fake campaigns I found whilst researching for this post had something to do with dogs…)

10. Google Play for Pets:

Google has introduced a new category of games, apps and training tools to keep your pet stimulated:

Updates include:

  • New collections of games, apps and training tools your pets will love
  • 5-Paw rating system
  • Notifications when your pet has logged in
  • Multiplayer mode for nose-to-nose competition
  • Virtual Reality games to simulate real play

This fake product actually looks like something I can imagine happening in the not so distant future! I’m fairly certain I’ve already heard of apps and devices used to interact with dogs left at home all day…

 

9. Honda Blend

Honda Canada created Honda Blend, a blender for your car. It includes a blender and a refrigerated glove box to store the fruit and veg, and it even comes with an ‘exclusive cup system’.
Not so much a prank – just a fake product with funny undertones.

 

8. Google Gnome

The smart yard has finally arrived – Meet Google Gnome. See how Gnome can transform your yard.

I love this satirical take on Google Home for outside.

 

 

7. Virgin Australia Canine Crew

We are excited to unleash our new Virgin Australia Canine Crew in a world first initiative. On select flights, a Canine Crew member will work alongside our award-winning Cabin Crew team to offer a range of additional services.

This is a fake ad, but I’m going to call it a prank because Virgin are pranking all of us by creating such a wonderful and beautiful idea that’s not going to happen. Do not put this adorable idea in my head! Imagine the amount of fearful fliers who have their vertigo cured by puppy cuddles! Therapy flying.

 

6. IKEA: The Updated Småland

We’re about to transform Småland from a playground into a ‘press-play-ground’! Our studies of children’s play habits reveal that today’s kids prefer tablets to physical activity. So we’re replacing the magical forest with a haven of sitting pods with tablets—recreating the way your kids play.

The best part about this prank is the reactions on Facebook…

Leon Koh Kids should be running around giggling and playing. This pic of this beautiful gal with an expressionless face looks so scary to me as a parent

Wendy Choo This is so sad, why do the kids haf to come into IKEA just to face a tablet. Having fun is to move around exploring the surrounding and interacting with others. This is too lonely.

Leslie Lee So sad… Robot land. I thought Scandinavian education is different.

Conclusion: people are idiots and advertising works.

 

5. Hinge Parental Controls

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Dating app ‘Hinge’ introduced Parental Controls, “a dashboard in your Hinge account for your mom and dad to access.” Parents can set their preferences for your potential matches, such as choosing an occupation, timeframe for children, distance from parents, and select which holidays they’re available for visits. This genuinely sounds like something people would use.

 

4. Puppy Mudder/Tough Mudder

Introducing our newest event series, Puppy Mudder presented by Nulo. Starting in 2017, your fearless fluffy friend will be able to dominate our muddy courses across the globe. Events will feature fresh takes on classic obstacles like Barktic Enema, Electroshock Therapuppy, and more #PuppyMudder.

Yes, another dog related prank! The way this is filmed is so great, and apart from ‘Electroshock Therapuppy’ could actually be quite fun.

 

3. Pop chips: Cheddar “Cheese”

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Why go with alternative snacks when you can elect the only chip that can fix literally everything that’s wrong with snacks? People say that 11 out of 10 Russian snackers prefer this flavour because it tastes really, really, really, very good. It’s the best snack. There’s no snack that tastes better. Patriot Puffs are perfect for frequent golf trips and early morning Twitter rants, and even better if you get someone else to pay for it! Let’s make America snack again!

  •  yuge flavour!
  •  tremendous crunch!
  •  puffed with hot air
  •  45% less than promised
  •  glutton free
  •  36% of snackers approve this flavour

A prank wouldn’t be a prank without inspiration form the biggest joke of all time – Donald Trump. Even the CTA is a play on one of his most infamous comments: “grab’em by the bags! (soon)“.  Even the copy on the bag of chips itself is hilarious and mocking of Trump.

 

2. NanoDrop (SodaStream)

THE GREATEST INVENTION SINCE DRINKING! NanoDrop is a revolutionary product which ensures a dramatic decrease in your carbon footprint while increasing your hydration levels. keeping you fresh, cool and so hot all at the same time! If style and responsibility ever hooked up, NanoDrop would be their baby.

You have to check out their website – the amount of effort put into this fake ad is incredible. God knows how much it cost to hire Paris Hilton as their fake celebrity endorser and inventor, but her satirical acting puts the cherry on top! This isn’t the first SodaStream ad I’ve appreciated – they have some fantastic creatives working on their ads.

1. PornHub shares your videos

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PornHub users that click a video receive a pop up that thanks them for sharing their porn viewing habits on social media.
This may not have as much pandemonium and creative output as some of the others, but PornHub 100% have to claim the top spot by creating the scariest, creepiest prank of all time. I bet heart rates were sky high that day! Muahahaha

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#FreeTheFeed: Mother London

Ad Agency Mother created a Mother’s Day project for the UK’s holiday (Sunday 26th March), to make a statement against the judgement placed upon mothers who breast feed in public:

A celebration of every woman’s right to decide how and where they feed their children without feeling guilty or embarrassed about their parenting choices.

So, Mother created a giant inflatable breast and placed it on top of a building in Shoreditch on Sunday. The very detailed and very large breast boldly designed by the creative team aims to spark conversation about the attitudes towards the most natural form of feeding. Alongside the outdoor installation, Mother created a series of posters displaying the hashtag “#FreeTheFeed” and the reasons behind the project.

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I’ve always found it bizarre how people are happy to drink milk from a cow, but heaven forbid another human! This is a fantastic in-your-face, no-f*cks-given approach to a campaign, showing that social design is what we need to ignite conversations about outdated stigmas.

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Guinness (St Patrick’s Day): Iris & mcbess

St Patrick’s Day (Friday March 17th) is just around the corner, so ad agency Iris have teamed up with esteemed artist and illustrator mcbess to create a series of illustrations for their client Guinness.

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Featuring the line “Let’s Get Together”, mcbess has created characters enjoying the iconic drink, surrounded by numerous recognisable previous brand references such as the toucan (below), surfers and ‘sapeurs’ (AMV BBDO).

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Although mcbess is a hugely talented artist, and a favourite of mine, I can’t see past the TfL ads which have dominated the London Underground and therefore remained associated to TfL in my mind:

However, it’s certainly proved beneficial for mcbess that his work is instantly recognisable, due to the monochrome and complicated personal style, which has caught the attention of other brads like Nike, Converse and Jack Daniels.

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ANZ: #HoldTight

In the lead up to the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and Auckland Pride Festival, ANZ bank have released a campaign specifically focusing on LGBTQI couples and their reluctance to hold hands in public. Agencies TBWA Melbourne and TBWA Auckland aimed to highlight this problem and encourage people across New Zealand and Australia, and beyond, to show their support.
The campaign is based on research commissioned by ANZ which discovered that members of the LGBTIQ community were three times more likely (39%) to feel uncomfortable holding hands in public. In Australia, they are more than twice as likely (52%) than non-LGBTI (14%) to have felt uncomfortable performing the most basic gesture of love: holding hands in public. Also, while the vast majority of New Zealanders (95%) agree that everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, should feel comfortable holding hands in public, less than half of the LGBTI community (39%) truly feel comfortable doing so. Similarly, in Australia, 94% of people support everyone feeling comfortable with this show of affection, but only (43%) actually say they feel very comfortable. What a sad reality, and something we all definitely take for granted.

As part of a broader social campaign, in collaboration with Twitter, a custom emoji was developed alongside the hashtag #HoldTight. The campaign launched the ad (above) accompanied by stories told by ANZ staff:

Additionally, they also developed a limited edition custom wristband (featuring the same heart-shaped emoji hands), which will light up when people hold hands. The wristbands will be worn by attendees at the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and Auckland Pride Festival:

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Carolyn Bendall, head of marketing at ANZ said:

ANZ is using #HoldTight as a platform to share an important message about diversity, inclusion and respect and to help people understand the challenges that many members of the LGBTIQ community face. We hope to make a difference by encouraging the wider public to join in the conversation and show their support.

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Samsung Galaxy: Crazy

January is the month for fitness. “New year, new me” and all that crap, so agencies are jumping on the exercise bandwagon. Samsung’s advert by Weiden + Kennedy (Portland) communicates the idea that “Samsung’s Galaxy S7 + Gear Fit2 can help you make sense of it all by organising your workouts and helping you track your progress”.
Funnily enough, yesterday I blogged about Apple’s Nike+ Apple Watch which actually had a similar vibe – weird things relating to exercise. However, W+K’s concept is slightly more relatable and less extreme, being that we do weird things when we workout. Guilty!

The campaign is followed by 2 more ads, which I don’t think are as funny, but are reaching out to the Average Joes trying to lose a few pounds. Great campaign!

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Nike: Da Da Ding

Wieden+Kennedy (Delhi) wanted to tackle the issue that Indian advertising is still dominated by light-skinned women usually depicted in the home, leaving little to no inspiration for women who have no interest in being a housewife, or simply wish to enjoy sports and training. Sportswomen in particular are hugely under-represented in Indian advertising because girls are typically encouraged not to participate in anything that doesn’t benefit marital decisions or their assumed futures as mothers.

Mohamed Rizwan (Creative Director at Wieden+Kennedy, India) said:

Sport in India has a massive image problem, particularly for women. What we set out to do is give it a complete makeover by making it cool, accessible and fun. To that end, we commissioned some of the best image makers and musicians, and got together a crew of women that best represent sport in India right now.

Incorporating fierce sports stars, Indian pop culture and a catchy beat, this fantastic (and clasically Nike) ad was also accompanied by album artwork for the song “Da Da Ding”. W+K co-wrote the lyrics to “Da Da Ding” with Gizzle – at first glance, I assumed the song was a Missy Elliott number, but is in fact by Gener8ion feat. Gizzle. The fast-paced, inspiring song perfectly compliments the stars of the advert. These include national hockey player Rani Rampal, surfer Ishita Malaviya and former national badminton player (and Indian film actress) Deepika Padukone. The campaign is integrated in social media too, publishing the portraits below (by photographer Aman Makkar) of everyday athletes, national athletes and Nike NTC trainers on the popular networks Instagram and Dubsmash.

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The Asian market often depicts sport as too masculine, a waste of time and not a suitable career option. However, all of W+K global offices work on Nike, and after W+K Delhi won Nike in 2015, they haven’t steered away from the celebration of female sports stars despite the culturural differences.

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Old Spice: Rocket Car

Before you’ve even pressed play, you know it’s going to be good – Old Spice never fails to deliver! (… well, Wieden+Kennedy).
The satirical spot by W+K sees a confident man ‘push himself to the limits’, parodying every other male grooming ad out there with a hilarious background narrative from the main character. My favourite part of the narrative is: “Should I have taken even a basic ground-level engineering course of some type? Yes. Yes, I should have” before eventually crashing and blowing up in flames!

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IKEA: Products Renamed After Google Searches

The campaign ‘IKEA Retail Therapy’ was created by Swedish agency Åkestam Holst who based the marketing idea on research into commonly searched terms on Google. The search terms range from sad (divorce and troubled relationships) to hilarious (“my family doesn’t respect me” aka a Queen costume) to every day problems. However, whilst some are very witty (see below), some product names seem to have no relevance to the product ‘solution’ itself…

IKEA is where life happens. So, we simply renamed IKEA’s products as common Google searches about relationship problems in Sweden. Got a snoring husband? A family who doesn’t respect you? A never ending gaming son? IKEA can come to the rescue. Or at least put a smile on your face while you keep googling for an answer.

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Hillary Clinton for POTUS: Role Models

This ad wasn’t enough to open peoples’ eyes to the behaviour and hate-speech projected onto citizens of the USA by Trump. Yet in the aftermath of the US election this election campaign for Clinton seems more prevalent than ever. The ad is perturbed and dark, because it’s real – it’s scary, it’s disconcerting, and children are watching. Children are also far more susceptible, intelligent and aware than we realise.

Agency Droga5 created this ad for Clinton’s campaign based on the discovery that many parents were worried about letting their children watch the US election debates. The message is translated through this eery, very real campaign, communicating that parents were concerned about the potentially negative or inappropriate things their kids would hear from now President-elect Donald Trump.

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