J.Lo + Fiat = An Awkward AMA Performance

Fiat’s promotional roll out is a lot like the little engine that could. It keeps trucking up that hill and into various media venues making such a  it large commotion that I must address it again. Fiat seem to have entrapped JLo in a rather unfortunate contract, which apparently required her to incorporate the car into her AMA performance. When I say forced, sponsorship or blatant unabashed product placement this is what I mean.  See  below.

(JLo AMA Performance 2011)

It’s not awful, it just doesn’t make sense. The car appears, she hops in,it spins and then she’s out and moves on. There is little rhyme or reason to why the car appears in the performance other than the fact that the performance mirrors the ad, choreography, location, song and all.

Fiat achieved its goal in reaching several million captivated 18-34 year-old Americans. As far as catching a large number of eyeballs, the Fiat USA Chief Marketing Officer can sit back and have a scotch, celebrating a job well done.

But as we know, putting in ad out there doesn’t mean it worked. Ads flop everyday, products are pulled from shelves and advertisers have to forfeit multi-million dollar buys to get an ad off the air and out of publication. People don’t like feeling like they are being advertised to. Unabashed product placement gets a big eyeroll from lots of Americans, because we don’t like to be made like we are dumb, consumer machines who will buy anything just because we saw it on television. We especially don’t like it when it encroaches into our entertainment without the warning, “we will return, after a message from our sponsors.”

This is why this placement misses the mark. It’s just to obvious.

 

 

 

Let’s Get Ethical: Advertising to Children

 

Videos like the one below calls into question the roll that advertisers have in the lives of American children.

 

 

This little number, called the Fast Food song is available on a CD and MP3 for children to sing along to with the appropriate hand gestures. However children learned this song, it is probably safe to say that they knew about these fast food institutions prior to hearing the melody.

This following clip from the documentary Super Size Me shows how easily children recognize the fast food character Ronald McDonald, but are stumped when trying to identify figures such as George Washington and Jesus.

 

 

We can only guess how many times children have to have seen Ronald McDonald in order for them to recognize him instantly and be able to recall what company he is associated with as well as certain aspects of his personality. It may be that children naturally are more interested and therefore pay more attention to what they see on television and inside their McDonalds happy meals than what they learn in school. But regardless, this makes a very interesting and sobering point.

With problems such as the children’s obesity epidemic, fast food companies and advertisers are made out to be the bad guy. Whether fast food companies and their advertisers are making children fat, isn’t the main problem, but more so the influence advertisers have on children as consumers. The main problem is that children do not have the same mental capacity as adults and developmentally do not have the ability to decipher advertisers messages and understand that they do not always represent reality. Because of these deficiencies, educational programs have begun to pop up with the mission to make kids media smart buy teaching them how to read and decipher advertisers’ messages.

PBS Kids has a portion of its site directed solely to this purpose called, Don’t Buy It, where it teaches children the tricks that advertisers use to get them to purchase their products. Here, children can learn how to recognize an ad whether it’s a sponsorship, product placement spot or a building’s naming rights. With this education, children can protect themselves from being victims of marketing strategies and instead become smart consumers early on.

 

PBS Kids.org Don't Buy It

 

So what do you think? Are these programs like, Don’t Buy It, needed?

 

Breaking Through the Clutter Award

Home improvement commercials in recent years, have done less to inspire us to better our lives through home renovation, but have switched their strategies to prove that they have the lowest of the lowest price. Big box stores quickly switched gears to comply with the budget restrictions of Recession-conscious America and above else have promoted themselves as extremely wallet-friendly stores with everyday low prices. The home improvement stores have jumped on this bandwagon as well and much of what we have seen air on our televisions has looked a lot like this.

But Lowe’s has brought us back to the idea of why home improvement isn’t a chore, and instead an enjoyable family tradition that happens on the weekends with Dad and continues throughout our lives. Yes, we improve, but then we improve on the improved and renovate the renovated and scrap the old to bring in the new to keep up with our changing lives, growing families and new perspectives. In your home change is good, it’s exciting and it happens through out our lives. So never stop improving.

Congrats to Lowe’s for receiving this week’s Breaking Through the Clutter award for putting out a commercial that speaks to us and gives us a reason to come to the store. The commercial digs deeper than the battle of the lowest prices to play on our emotions and make us want to improve our homes for ourselves, our partners and our growing families.

Which commercial do you think is worthy of next week’s BTC Award?

Let’s Get Ethical

I write a lot about the power of advertising and how wonderful and inspirational ads can be. I know that advertisements don’t make everyone’s skirt fly up as they do mine and I agree that ads can be awful and annoying and at times I feel over-sold and fed up with all of the ad noise. I do believe there should be limits to advertisements and laws regulating where advertisements can be placed and who advertisers are able to target. I would like to start a new segment that brings forth issues and ethical dilemmas within the advertising industry that are of concern to us all.

And although these are very serious issues, I will include this video because it’s so funny and I love The Office. 🙂

Breaking Through the Clutter

This phrase is used all the time in ad agencies. Advertiserss have to “break through the clutter,” of all of the other messages out there that are working to get consumers to buy their products, donate to their cause or tune into their programs.When I say ad-crazed I mean it, we are over-saturated, over-sold, over-promoted and over-pitched. But with all of the advertising excess, there are a select few who manage to cut through all of that noise with a strategy that goes against all others.

These are the companies we remember, the ones we like and most importantly these are the companies whose products we purchase. I always give a bit of an applause to any company who is able to successfully cut through the clutter in an innovative way. Which is why each week I will recognize one campaign for successfully breaking through the clutter.

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