Saturday, December 11, 2010

Viral Vending

The latest work for the Mini Cooper in Canada is a manufacturer's dream.  It teaches everyone the product line.  

What a concept!

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People on the street below can text to the outdoor projection to select the Mini model they want to see.  

In a return message, this interactive display invites them to a Mini site where they can become FaceBook fans.

This is a wonderful demonstration of creativity in advertising.  The idea leverages the intrinsic charm of the brand into an engaging activity that informs prospective customers about the product line and invites them into the brand community to take the first step to ownership.

Copyright © 2010 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Award Winning Tradition

Last week, Hovis Bread - a leading British brand - won the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising Grand Prix for a commercial said to have increased sales by 14 percent, earning payback of $5 for every $1 spent and generating $145 million in additional profit.

The commercial was introduced in 2008 to celebrate the 122nd anniversary of the company. Named "Go on Boy," the spot is 122 seconds long.  Shot in Liverpool with 750 extras, the commercial depicts British history while evoking the heritage of the brand.

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This grand prix for effectiveness was not the first recognition for the commercial.  In December of 2009, it was voted "Ad of the Decade" by a newspaper sponsored competition.

Now, it seems Hovis has a tradition for advertising quality. The following commercial, dating from 1973, was voted Britain's favorite commercial of all time.

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Called "Boy on Bike," this commercial was directed by Ridley Scott. It was filmed on Gold Hill in Shaftesbury, Dorset.

It is an exceptional combination of cinematography and writing that delivers on a clear strategic premise (unique selling proposition).

Rosser Reeves, famous writer of Wonder Bread advertising and articulator of the Unique Selling Proposition concept, likely would have admired Scott's commercial.

For more on the Psychology of Advertising, please see Advertising and the Arc of History.

Copyright © 2010 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Brand Insistence


The Arab Dairy Products Company is based in the Heliopolis district of Cairo, Egypt. 

Their corporate website speaks of the natural taste of cheese from master cheese makers who combine the “handed-down, age-old cheese-making tradition with the best of modern technology, preserving the original taste while complying with stringent hygiene controls.”

Panda is their brand name for a line of mozzarella cheese products. It comes in grated form, cheese blocks, and Insalata Caprese – combining mozzarella, tomato, basil and olive oil.

The taste is said to be “delightfully fresh.”

So is their advertising.  Here’s a series of spots in their current campaign.

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This campaign is both strategically smart and creatively brilliant. Many thanks go to Marv Waldman for letting me know about this advertising.

Copyright © 2010 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Get in the Game

This intersection of smartphone apps, advergames and promotional give-aways takes audience involvement to a new level.

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This Mini Stockholm smartphone app places "advergames" in hands of the audience and invites them into a real world brand experience.

The advertising agency behind this viral, Jung von Matt Stockholm, promises to deliver "ideas with momentum."

Copyright © 2010 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Sesame Street Turns to Online Spice

Sesame Street went viral on Friday. 

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Parodies of popular video ideas can be productive ways to hitchhike on the success of others.  In this parody of the the highly successful Old Spice commercial that also went viral, Sesame Street shows strategic and creative smarts.

Of course the audience is parents, not children.  The video reminds them of the joyful experience that is Sesame Street and points vividly to its qualities as a teacher of children. It also teaches us that Sesame Street is online.

This viral commercial is "Spot ON."

Copyright © 2010 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, September 17, 2010

That's Some Strong Creativity

One's "book" or portfolio is everything for a creative person.  For beginners, it is particularly important to demonstrate your promise.

One approach is to break free from existing brands and create your own product in an environment free from expectations or convention.

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This "commercial" is a demonstration of directing talent by the model maker, sculptor and animatronic designer John Nolan.  Hence the brand name for the cheese.

Were this a commercial for a real brand of cheese, one might leave out the middle song. Yet, as a demonstration piece, we really see John Nolan's gift for vivid creative expression and his animatronic talent.   

Despite the middle scene, the work leaves you wanting the brand.  That's some strong cheddar!

Good work on the package design, too.

You can learn more about Nolan and his work at John Nolan Films.

Many thanks go to Marv Waldman - creative genius - for showing me this work.

Copyright © 2010 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Brand Personality

The successful BMW Mini Cooper shows people will forgo larger cars and pay well for smaller cars that possess desirable capabilities communicated with appropriate imagery.

Here's the latest Mini Cooper commercial, showing the car is both in tune with the times and a pleasurable experience.

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The work was done by BSUR in Amsterdam.

Copyright © 2010 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Audience Augmentation of Brand Value

Strategically, advertising should be premised on a clear idea of the competitive frame and exactly what information is needed to advise consumers on how the choice is to be made.

When you are confident of the strategic considerations, then you are ready to tell the story emphatically and surprisingly quickly.

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Admirable work, but this is really not a "commercial." It was not created, produced and placed by the featured brand. Rather, it is user generated media content created by Bill Day and posted on YouTube.

The work demonstrates how, in today's media environment, unanticipated voices in the marketplace can augment brand value and demonstrate the principles of effective strategic communication.

Those familiar with the original 1984 Macintosh commercial will see irony in the twist.  For those not familiar with that commercial, it is nevertheless the human metaphor of the lone voice standing up to suppression that gives communicative power to the piece.  In his re-use of the old commercial, the maker demonstrates some key principles.

Copyright © 2010 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Maxwell Goes "Wheeee" to the Market

Could switching to Geico really save you 15 percent or more on car insurance?

Who knows? 

To answer the question, a recent Geico commercial turns to the classic “this little piggy” nursery game parents use to entertain the youngest children.

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Just as this little piggy entertains children, this commercial captivates its adult audience. 

The commercial also employs a genre from everyday adult conversation.  Questions about the outcomes of actions or events are often given improbable answers as a means of humorously saying “you can count on it.”

We may accept the implied answer or we may have curious disbelief, so like charmed children we happily call Geico to find out for sure.

Maxwell the pig makes it home, his commercial owns the market.

Copyright © 2010 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Verizon Commercial Makes Ultimate Promise

The ultimate promise is personal empowerment. You can do anything and succeed.

This Verizon commercial speaks to youthful users of its wireless services with a commercial that both challenges and promises.

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The challenge is to turn from everyday conversation to high purposes. The youthful voices acknowledge that their ideas will influence others to the extent they are wise, worthy and flawless.

The promise is to ensure that the most powerful transmitter is you. Verizon's commercial states, "Air has no prejudice, it does not carry the opinions of a man faster than those of a woman, it does not filter out an idea because I am 16 and not 30. Air is unaware if I am black or white, and wouldn't care if it knew."

This admirable commercial is more than a promise to youthful wireless customers. Ultimately, this is a commitment to the importance of always open access in connection with wireless communication.

Copyright © 2010 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Strategic Power of the Theory of Trying

The “Theory of Trying” is a useful psychological approach for thinking about advertising. Many of our daily actions are about repetitive attempts to improve our lives. Dieting, exercise, athletic skill, mental acuity… these are but a few areas where it seems we try and try again.

The Theory of Trying includes such factors as our attitudes toward success, attitudes toward failure, attitudes toward the very act of trying itself, knowledge about the specific actions needed for success, and abilities to measure success.

The more carefully we “break down” the process of trying, the greater is our ability to think strategically about campaigns that can help improve our odds of success.

Now, one reason we don’t conserve enough electricity day-to-day is that we don’t have immediate feedback about our success. Sure we get a monthly power bill. But how much better can we be if we can see the immediate energy consumption consequences of what we do?

The latest work from npower, one of Europe’s leading energy companies, employs the storytelling charm of Wallace and Gromit, but the power in the commercial comes from the Theory of Trying.

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In this commercial, Wallace and Gromit introduce us to the “smart power meter,” that can help us avoid “The Revenge of the Killer Watts.”

Attitude Toward the Ad is certainly at work here, but the power of this commercial comes from clever naming of the consequences of failure, “Killer Watts,” and showing us how to measure our success.

For more perspective on psychological theory and the development of persuasive arguments in advertising, please see Strategic Power of the Theory of Planned Behavior.

Copyright © 2010 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Verizon "Rules" with New Commercial

The high ground for the telephone (telecommunications) business has from the earliest days been the concept of “universal service.” This means connecting everyone wherever they are, regardless of congestion or remoteness.

Since the breakup of the AT&T monopoly in 1984, one of the independent companies created at that time has remained truest to the core value of “universal service.”

Verizon's recent commercial, called “Stage,” transforms the corporate strategic concept “universal service” into a statement of the customers’ personal empowerment.

The commercial is remarkable because it demonstrates effective use of the concept of USP (unique selling proposition). USP claims move the marketplace only to the extent they relate to real consumer concerns.

In this commercial, Verizon tells a story recognizing that your connection is your lifeline. It must be "universal" in the fullest sense, everywhere and every time, without a doubt.

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Verizon has put the “you” in USP. The commercial is a powerful example of the effective alignment of corporate strategy, communication strategy, and creative execution.

The line “rule the air,” the check mark use of the Verizon logo, the building music and imagery, and the immediacy of the voice… there is not a false moment in this commercial.

This work is brilliant.

BTW, all my students know I highly recommend reading the book Reality in Advertising by Rosser Reeves.  Rosser Reeves was the original articulator of the USP concept. His book was written in 1960, but remains one of the most useful books ever written on advertising thinking.

Copyright © 2010 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Understanding "Sustainable Social Action"™

In yesterday’s post I wrote about the fundamentals for understanding the changing relationship between everyday communication and commercial speech.

The concept of “social currency” is at the center when it comes to understanding how people act. What we choose to do is basically “all about me” and then it really isn’t.

The overarching driver in human action is how we act to support the welfare of others. On one level this could be said to be altruistic behavior, and on another it can be seen as self-interested action taken to maintain our social standing. This is the basis of dynamic and sustainable social action.

For a more complete understanding of my typology of human goals, placed in a data-driven analysis of the views of the youth population in the United States read “Why do youth enlist? Identification of Underlying Themes” in Armed Forces & Society, 2006. This article explains the reasoning leading to my "Theory of Sustainable Social Action."™


Much of the content of today’s commercial speech assumes people choose products on the basis of an “all about me” outlook. That’s the fundamental mistake that has led many businesses down the path to price-based competitive ruin.

My typology and theory are essential to understanding effective strategic communication. They are foundational for thinking strategically about core values and communication strategy for brands, organizations, social causes and political campaigns.


Copyright © 2010 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Transformative Impact of Social Network Services

For the public, the motivation to use social network services such as FaceBook fundamentally comes down to “seeking and sharing.” It is all about social currency and our participation in real or aspirational social groupings so as to maintain and advance our standing. This is a fundamental human need, a driver that makes social life possible.

For advertisers, FaceBook and other social network services present the opportunity to move beyond the long-standing practice of viewing “the media” as the primary "attention structures" in which to purchase time and space. Now, sellers of products and services can place their information directly in the midst of the everyday cultural conversation where social life takes place.

This transformation in the social location of commercial speech also involves time acceleration. In the Internet Age, the traditional concept of rumor (or news) spreads at the speed of light, and we call the fastest of them “virals.”

The concept of location is changing, too. Once, traditional banners could be thought of as billboards placed in strategic locations on the information super highway. Now what matters is the real-time, real-life location of individual members of the public. Anything connected to us electronically can respond to us based on where we are at the moment.

So, commercial speech not only takes place more naturalistically in the midst of everyday conversation, it can now know where we are and therefore speak with even greater relevance to our momentary interests.

The medium is no longer just the message. Importantly, in this world, "messages create the media."


Copyright © 2010 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Advertising that Sticks

3M Post-it Notes have been around for 30 years. The success of this product is a testament to smart product development and highly efficient promotional programs.

The latest Post-It advertising places the second-most attention getting factor in advertising (a charming dog) in the midst of an arresting depiction of the product's advantages.

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This 15-second commercial is attention-getting, likable, and makes a point that will stick with us.

By the way, what is the first-most attention-getting factor in advertising? A charming child, of course.

The first commercial in this most recent Post-it Super Sticky Notes campaign featured a child reaching for the note. Clearly, they are working their way down the advertising attention ladder.

Smart, very smart.

Copyright © 2010 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Nike Scores with Soccer Commercial

The latest Nike commercial about soccer is more than meets the eye.

Of course it has wonderful visualization, music and editing. Of course it features the biggest stars in the sport. Of course it shows the performance value of Nike.

Its depth comes from a complex celebration of sports and human spirit. Each athlete's actions explode across the universe to ignite responses from passionate fans. What is new is that adulation is viewed with amusement by the athletes.

In this commercial, sweat, stamina and super human effort stand aside for the exaggerated self-depreciating visions of the athletes.

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From an advertising theory perspective, this commercial demonstrates the concept of "attitude toward the ad."

We like the athletic action, and the athletes' humorous visions give a human perspective to our adulation.

As a result, we appreciate the advertising and we like Nike.

Copyright © 2010 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Cadbury is "In Da Mix!"

The ante is up in advertising. Ideas have to become part of the cultural conversation. Advertising has to go viral.

But often the quest for "viralness" can kiss the product goodbye.

The product should always be the hero -- the center of attention.

So the reach of a viral should be discounted by the extent to which it suboptimizes the product story to borrow attention by other means.

Cadbury's latest work shows how to keep the product story up front. It uses the metaphor of the "Turntable Mixologist" (a club DJ) with his "wheels of steel" to remind us of the unique mix of chocolate and milk.

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This commercial may not reach the audience levels of some of the more stunt-like virals, yet its product message is clear.

It is a lesson in persuasive mixology, contemporary culture blended with the product story.

The work was done by Fallon in London.

Copyright © 2010 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Why People Like Advertising

People all over the world enjoy advertising. In the past year, people from 70 countries have been reading my comments on the psychology of advertising.

Several of my posts have focused on the concept “attitude toward the ad.” Under this theory, the likability of a commercial as an enjoyable experience in itself can produce a positive effect on attitudes toward the brand or sponsor.

But, there is a broader point about advertising’s personal connection with people. Audience members give their attention to advertising. Their continuing interest is encouraged, indeed rewarded, by advertising that delivers an enjoyable experience.

This is why so many people like advertising as an institution in and of itself, quite beyond the attitudinal benefits for individual advertisers.


A recent commercial from India demonstrates this effect of enjoyable advertising as a reward to the audience.

The commercial is a mini-movie, billed in a teaser print campaign as “India’s official entry to Cannes.” In less than a minute and a half, it tells the life story of a Gujarati girl whose life (and afterlife) is changed by the strength of the adhesive used to apply a fake moustache.

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This commercial shows why people like advertising. It is an extraordinary production, telling a charming story while reminding viewers of the sponsor’s significance.

This work was done in Mumbai by Ogilvy & Mather, India. The client, Pidilite Industries, presented the commercial as a celebration of the 50th anniversary of their Fevicol brand of adhesives.

For more perspective on psychological theory and the development of persuasive advertising, please see Strategic Power of the Theory of Planned Behavior.

Copyright © 2010 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Super Sunday Advertising Theory

There is a conventional “learning theory of advertising.” In this view, the message content informs audience beliefs which then resolve in positive attitudes toward the advertised brand.


But, Super Sundays involve an alternative theory, known as “attitude toward the ad.” In this view, the message content is designed to be enjoyable at high levels. These feelings of enjoyment can resolve themselves in positive attitudes toward the brand. There may even be a “halo effect” on beliefs about the benefits of the brand itself.


The Snickers “Betty White” commercial won out over all the rest in the USA Today Ad Meter ratings of Super Sunday commercials.

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The spot is highly entertaining, thereby enacting “attitude toward the ad.” This commercial also conveys a strong message about the benefits of the product, thereby showing the “learning” model of advertising. It is an admirable piece of advertising.

Interestingly, the psychologist Harlow Gale first suggested these alternative theories in 1900 with a concept he called “attractive ad.” You can read more about Gale's work in the article by John Eighmey and Sela Sar, "Harlow Gale and the Origins of the Psychology of Advertising," Journal of Advertising, (December), 2007.

Copyright © 2010 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Super Sunday Advertising Prep

It's Super Sunday. About 40 advertisers will soon vie for your attention in between the football plays.

After the game (maybe even during), I'll post highlights comments on the Psychology of Advertising.

And, here's the link to the Ad Meter where USA Today will post the results of its viewer panel and provide copies of the commercials so you can see them again.

Copyright © 2010 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Super Sunday Advertising Humor

Super Sunday is just ahead. The teams come and go, but advertising is always there to keep us entertained.

We like to be entertained, and fortunately fun is a good formula for persuasive communication. Humor is the most popular approach in television advertising, nowhere more evident than on Super Sunday.

To help you sort it all out this Sunday, here is Eighmey’s Typology of Humor in Advertising. The approach I call “Slap Shtick” is typically the most often used, but watch for the four others, too.

1. Slap Shtick: Stupid People Tricks


Last year, Doritos topped the USA Today popularity poll for Super Sunday commercials with a spot showing what happens when people take the power of a crystal ball into their own hands.

2. Ripping Off the Arts: Parody Can Pay


GE employed the Scarecrow from Oz to playfully envision the need for a smart power grid

3. Altered States: Rules of Everyday Life Need Not Apply


Coca-Cola told the story of a youth who finds friendship in a world of strange personas.

4. Exaggerated Claims: Hyper Hyperbole


Pedigree encouraged adoption of dogs by showing pet owners who had made highly inappropriate choices.

5. Strained Expectations: Take a Genre and Bend It


Hulu hired a movie star to turn a conventional celebrity testimonial into a monster movie.

So there you are. Have fun watching commercials this Sunday, and keep my typology on hand to score them.

For more on the Psychology of Advertising, please see Advertising and the Arc of History.

Copyright © 2010 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Welcome to the Psychology of Advertising

I began this blog on the Psychology of Advertising a year ago. The objective remains to provide observations about current events and point out helpful sources for thinking about advertising.

The blog is meant for anyone interested in advertising. People everywhere like to study advertising. In the past year, thousands of people in almost 70 countries have read one or more of the 75 postings.

The spring semester begins next Tuesday. I will again be teaching a graduate course called Psychology of Advertising. This course has a long tradition at the University of Minnesota. I will also be teaching 60 wonderful undergraduate students in a course that introduces them to account planning.

In the 1890s , Harlow Gale, a faculty member in the Philosophy Department, taught a seminar he called Psychology of Advertising. Today, Gale is acknowledged as the first person to conduct scientific studies of the effects of advertising.

So this Minnesota tradition continues next week. And, I am looking forward to posting observations here on this blog. Many postings will correspond with discussions that are taking place in class, but the postings will also be offered with the understanding there are many readers around the world.

Welcome to Psychology of Advertising.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Distracted Driving and Advertising

Outdoor advertising is often placed to get the attention of drivers, but in a helpful manner. It is there pointing the way to a motel at the end of a long day on the highway, or it tells us the furniture store we seek is just around the corner, or the fastest way to the fast food.

The best outdoor advertising is designed to be read and understood almost instantly, while your eyes are still looking out the windshield.

Now, distracting our attention from outdoor advertising and our driving responsibilities, comes the latest designed-in distractions inside the car. Earlier posts on Psychology of Advertising have addressed the issues of cell phone use while driving and the designed-in distractions of the latest information and entertainment systems built into many automobiles. Advertising by cell phone providers and automobile manufacturers has routinely promoted these products and features, seemingly without recognition of the risks while driving.

Here's the latest on the evolving public discussion. It's a link to the January 1, 2010 New York Times article Bills to Curb Distracted Driving Gain Momentum.

Copyright © 2010 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.