Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Advertising and Young Children

The Federal Trade Commission has established that it is an unfair or deceptive practice to portray children engaging in unsafe acts that may relate to unreasonable risk or harm (In re Uncle Ben's Inc., et al., 89 F.T.C. 831, 1975). The matter involved a commercial showing the face of a young girl coming very close to a boiling pot on the front burner of a stove.

Now, almost 40 years later, we see child safety remains an issue for the "front burner" when it comes to advertising management.

By way of perspective, the 1956 Refrigerator Safety Act stated that it is unlawful in the United States to sell household refrigerators that cannot be opened easily from the inside. The reason for this law was that refrigerators can be lethal to children.

In 1956, hundreds of children were being accidentally suffocated playing in refrigerators. Often the incidents involved two children climbing inside to play, then becoming trapped.

The law has proven effective. In 2010, the National Center for Health Statistics reported that there were 31 accidental suffocations of children aged 5 to 9. The number of accidents specifically involving refrigerators was not reported separately, but clearly there are far fewer such deaths than in the 1950s.

Nevertheless, safety issues remain when it comes to young children and refrigerators. A Google search for "refrigerator child locks" will return 873,000 results in less than a half second.

Clearly parents remain concerned, and playing inside refrigerators is not recommended for safety reasons.

  Copyright © 2014 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Advertising and Corporate Inspiration

The Coca-Cola Super Bowl commercial has sparked a great deal of public discussion. The commercial  has many admirers, and some detractors.

But, value-oriented advertising is nothing new on the American scene.

In 1956, General Electric ran an advertising campaign about the American economy. This GE magazine ad frames the ideals of the United States in an economic context.

The ad copy stated:

"We in America believe in high wages, high productivity and high purchasing power. They must occur together. One without the other defeats its own ends, but together they spell dynamic growth and progress."

In the 2014 Super Bowl, the Coca-Cola commercial celebrated the dynamic vitality of the diverse American society.  Singing America the Beautiful in their own languages, youths of diverse backgrounds express their deep dedication to the dream that is America.

Advertisers of all kinds have an interest in an America that lives up to its economic and social promise. The campaigns by GE and Coca-Cola remind us all of the the promise of America, and that progress is truly our most important product.

  Copyright © 2014 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Super Bowl Advertising Reaches New Heights

In the 1950s Dinah Shore simply invited us to "See the USA in a Chevrolet." This was an example of a classic celebrity endorsement. A famous and well regarded person spoke on behalf of a brand.

Today, during the 2014 Super Bowl, we saw this concept of celebrity endorsement rise to new heights.

In the 2014 Chrysler Super Bowl commercial Bob Dylan, the risk-taking, visionary, intellectual, folk-rock icon reminds us what our nation is. Dylan spoke about originality, conviction, accomplishment, and legacy. With a driving rock beat, he honored "the heart and soul of every man and woman working on the line."

This commercial goes so far beyond celebrity endorsement as to redefine what endorsement advertising can be.  In this commercial, Dylan not merely endorses the brand, so much as he embodies the brand. Dylan, through all his work, has shown that he has a unique and incisive capacity to see what America is and what at its best America can be.

For the third year in a row Chrysler has won the Super Bowl advertising sweepstakes. Advertising quality is a leading indicator of a company's core values, managerial strength, and prospects for the future. This is a company to watch.

  Copyright © 2014 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.