Monday, December 8, 2014

Advertising Is Education

If advertising can be said to be education, here is a commercial with many lessons.


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The most admirable advertising teaches us first to feel, then to think, perchance to buy.

In this commercial from Hong Kong's prestige watch maker Solvil et Titus, we learn the significance of gift-like acts. Indeed, depicting the gift via the abstraction of an ink drawing gives genuine depth to the message.

In this love story about Audrey and Tom, we learn that messages can transcend class. Audrey departs with parents in a luxury car, while Tom remains in the care of a local policemen who rides a bicycle. Perhaps the kindly policeman is the boy's father, or perhaps he arrived at the behest of the store owner. We don't know.

With repeated viewings, we learn to appreciate the power of nuanced messages. This message can be likened to "rich media" with its many layers of meaning as we notice further details that enrich the story.

There are indeed many lessons to learn from this commercial. Remember them forever.

Copyright © 2014 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Living Up To Advertising

Advertising is serious business. Better advertising is based on the core values of the company. These values can serve as the basis for enduring relationships with customers.

This 1971 classic Schlitz beer commercial shows how the brand stood behind the values of hard work, family and friendship. Archetypical stories reminded consumers to make the most of their lives.

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Unfortunately, the brand lost its status as the number one beer in America.

In the kinds of cost-cutting moves that have become commonplace throughout industry, the company behind the brand failed to deliver on its core values. A series of product modifications designed to reduce materials costs and struggles with labor to reduce manufacturing costs took the "gusto" out of the brand. One might even say the company management took the "gutso" out of the brand.

By the end of the 1970s consumers came to recognize that Schlitz beer no longer lived up to the brand promise so admirably communicated by the advertising. This is an important lesson from a generation ago that remains strikingly significant today.

  Copyright © 2014 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Adventageous Advertising

The challenge of making a holiday commercial is to meld a message with an emotional or heartwarming story line.

Indeed, brands often try to out-do each other and their past-years' work attempting to wrap an emotional punch around a selling package.

Here, Samsung takes a light-hearted approach to charm us with the fun of the season.

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The commercial succeeds as a personal story featuring actors Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard who are really married to each other.

It is a product line commercial and the advantages of Samsung technology are easily and clearly demonstrated throughout. As a window on their lives, it is also a celebrity endorsement commercial.

Copyright © 2014 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Big Game Advertising

Pepsi has just released a video hyping its sponsorship of the 2015 "big game" halftime show.

Katie Perry is to be the featured performer. In Pepsi's video, Katie takes us on a tour of possible creative directions for her show. Glitter, unicorns, dancers, drummers, kittens... all are possibilities she considers and rejects.


Advertising sales for the 2015 "big game" appear to be running behind the usual curve. The rate for a single 30-second commercial is $4.5 million. This is 12 percent more than the 2014 rate.

Given these costs, Pepsi is smart to begin promoting its halftime show now, two months and a week before the game.

Indeed, fewer "big game" advertisers are waiting to debut their commercials on game day. They see earlier engagement as a way to maximize the return on their investment.

With increasing commercial costs, rising public concern about violence, and the challenges of creating content that will satisfy audience expectations, there may be something to that jumping shark visual after all.

Copyright © 2014 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Advertising's Role As Truth in Modern Media

The journalism world is all abuzz about a widely viewed viral video purporting to show a Syrian boy rescuing a younger girl from gunfire. The video is dramatic. Indeed, at least one YouTube source is showing almost 4 million views as of today.

Unfortunately, a number of major world-wide news organizations have featured the video as though it were real. That they rushed to show this video without verification is a powerful statement on the current status of journalism.

This video is not real.

It is a fake video made and posted by, of all organizations, the Norwegian Film Institute. Here is a photo of the production crew. They produced the video on the island nation of Malta, on the set of the movie Gladiator. The photo shows the boy actor (blue shirt) alongside the young actress he was presumed to rescue.


This unfortunate scenario is revealing about the status of truth in the mass media.

Advertising is the only form of mass communication that must be truthful by law.

There is only one media source that must withstand the legal test of truthful claims. It is advertising.

  Copyright © 2014 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved. 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

A Tale of Two

Airline advertising is destination advertising. The goal of this service is delivery, to a new time and place, to promise and possibility. Hopefully, to pleasure and success.

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Here we see British Airways calling our attention to two of the most wonderful destinations in the world. The commercial artfully presents the similarities and differences, welcoming the audience to step into each scene.

Political advertising is often a tale of two alternatives. Would that this genre of advertising could become as intelligent and respectful of the audience as this admirable airline commercial.

 Copyright © 2014 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Gift Of Advertising

The reward theory of communication is based on the idea that audience members are to be acknowledged for their time and effort.

Message reception takes time, a fleeting portion of seconds to minutes to sometimes even more. Comprehension, realization and retention also call for effortful attention. For their efforts, audience members are owed a return, an enjoyable and informational experience.

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This John Lewis commercial is notable for its depth and complexity. The boy matures before our eyes. The commercial celebrates youth and imagination. Gifts are seen as more than items, they are gestures representing deeper thought.

John Lewis holiday advertising is known for its storytelling.  My students will also recognize the work as demonstrating the reward theory of communication, attitude toward the ad, and the cognitive theory of emotions.

Copyright © 2014 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.