The Only Fashion Show You’ll Find in Prime Time

So many events are merely PR stunts in disguise. And while we’re on the down swing from award season, one of winter’s most scantily clad, yet mainstream events pops up, the Victoria Secret Fashion show. This year was no different. Over thirty six-foot beauties graced the runway in Swavorski-encrusted bras and panties representing themes from under-the-sea to superheros and the antebellum era. It’s amazing the ways you can dress up a thong.

The entire show was more of a beauty pageant than a runway show. Each of the women displayed her personality through her runway walk, the famous Vicki S kiss blow and behind the scenes footage that showed the model’s true selves. They showed the models during interviews and showing off pictures of their childhood including their “awkward” stages, which of course didn’t exist.

These moments changed the tone of the show. It wasn’t about showing off their bodies, but about showing off their personalities. They are a brand and although un-commonly gorgeous with figures not found in nature, they represent every woman. They were sexy, fierce and above all adorable. The feeling I came away with was fun.

That is the power of branding. Victoria Secret has always promoted itself as a lingerie store that made its customers feel comfortable. It’s not creepy to find a man wandering around inside, for a twelve year-old its common place and for a forty-something it doesn’t raise a question. The Vicki S Fashion Show tops off that message, by creating a sense of inclusion. With this behind the scenes view we feel like we know the Angels. We know in order feel as fierce, sexy and confident as they do we need that Vicki S special something. I mean, what woman doesn’t want to be an Angel?


Events are Advertisements Too

There are several events out there that were originally created as a publicity stunt to garner attention for some organization or industry. Some have been padded with so much tradition and grandieur that we have forgotten that they are just one big advertisement. One of the most famous being the Academy Awards, one enormously-publicized 3-hour celebration of the motion picture industry that has becoming a jumping off point for everyone from high-fashion designers to vodkas to audio equipment.

The ensuing spin-offs and replicas have had their own successes and failures. The MTV Video Music Awards, Soul Train Awards and the Latin Grammys, just to name a few were created not as a way to recognize and honor the year’s greats, but to promote their own name. Let us not forget that now, Grammy isn’t a person, but actually the Grammy Association that has its own goals, services and products to promote.

Samsung Exposes Apple Cult

Samsung’s new campaign shows Apple’s branding to Think Different. has ironically created a cult of blind followers.

Remember this ad?… well perhaps not as it’s circa 1983. At this point Apple’s branding was revolutionary as companies such as IBM and Microsoft dominated the personal computer space. Apple was different and innovative and called consumers not to be submissive to marketplace trends, but turn away from these ideas and think for themselves. The commercial, loosely-based on George Orwell’s novel Nighteen Eighty-Four that comments on a futuristic dystopian society, the commercial shows the human race reduced to a  crowd marching drones lead by the evil one, arguably IBM. Then like a beam of light a rescuer comes to set humans free and give them back their individuality.

Ironically, Apple has now become the IBM and created a group of conforming consumers who purchase anything Apple. They pay more, waiting in long lines to use and show off what they believe to be the best of the best. In 2011, Motorolla was first to reprise this ironic theme on the 25th anniversary of the famed Apple ad.

Samsung has done it again, pointing out that Apple has really become a behemoth and there are other, arguably better options available. It directly attacks the Apple brand, its product characteristics by stripping away the perception that they inspire creativity, individuality and innovation. It reduces all of us Apple users to into an army of marching minions.



Samsung commercial


Insurance commercials, in recent years have entered a tighter rat race than even the wireless carriers. Through that race have emerged a cast of characters with followings that even the advertisers didn’t predict.

Although there are several past and present- the Aflac duck, the Geico money stack  and the Geico cavemen who were so popular they earned their own TV spin-off- there are two characters that are so popular and recognizable that they are celebrities in their own right.


Allstate Mayhem

These Mayhem commercials are without a doubt hilarious. Dean Winters can personify anything from a deer in your headlights to an emotionally-unstable teenage girl with ease in a manner keeps us entertained but focused on the “mayhem.” It is what these personifications do to your car or property, which is important. The scare factor creates a sting in the back of your mind that makes you doubt whether your car is covered if a tree falls on it. Do I have enough coverage? Did I go with the right insurance company? Why did I name my own price?

The agency could have used this same concept, but rotated out the mayhem. They could have used an actual raccoon, a real satellite dish or a supermodel out jogging. But they didn’t, with minimal costuming and often none, Mayhem is able to transform into your blind spot, a snow storm or a quarter back. Mayhem is the consistency in the message. In a disheveled black suit, a bruised face and a single white bandage, we know the eminent, destructive power of his presence. He is the villain, the evil doer from which Allstate must provide protection.

At which point enters the second Allstate character, the white knight. Looking directly into the screen with calm reassurance and deep booming voice, Dennis Haysbert tells us that we will be in good hands with Allstate. He is the knowledgeable protector with information about how to get the best coverage while still staying on budget. He defends us from the unpredictable mayhem that threatens our cars and property.

The choice of actors wasn’t just because the two were the best to audition. Instead the good and evil elements of their characters has been well-established through their acting resume. Dean Winters has played the bad guy in his roles in “30 Rock,” “Oz,” and “Rescue Me.” While Dennis Haysbert has represented the trustworthy, respectable, authority with roles like the U.S. president in “24,” and the Sergeant Major in “The Unit.” Having preconceived ideas about these characters is a wonderful thing because consumers will transfer their opinions about these actors into their Allstate roles. Who thought sponsors could be typecast?

The two work flawlessly together as good and bad. Although they are never seen together in the same commercial, their relationship is clear. The Mayhem spots never end on a destructive note, but are saved with Dennis Haysbert voiceover that tells us how we can protect ourselves when mayhem comes to call.

Allstate guy
Allstate mayhem

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