Category Archives: print

Taco Bell Bites Back with Ad Aimed at Hungry Attorneys

Taco Bell asks attorneys for an apology. Not that they really expect to get one. After all, that would mean admitting they were wrong.

Where’s the beef” was an ad slogan for Wendy’s back in 1984. But lately it’s been a charge leveled at Taco Bell by a law firm out to pick the fast food giant’s deep pockets.

Alabama-based law firm Beasley Allen Crow Methvin Portis & Miles (now there’s a mouthful) claimed that Taco Bell’s mystery meat was comprised of only 35 percent beef, based on an unspecified test by an unnamed analyst. Taco Bell insisted their beef was 88 percent beef, 12 percent “Secret Recipe.”

Taco Bell fought back with hard-hitting ads in January that said: “Thank you for suing us. Here’s the truth about our seasoned beef…”

Obviously someone smelled a meal ticket. As USA Today reported, “With annual sales pushing $7 billion, Taco Bell ranks as the nation’s sixth-largest fast-food company, according to the 2009 findings from the research firm Technomic. Continue reading

A Toast to Guinness Advertising

Guinness produces brilliant advertising. Oh, and their stout is not too shabby either.

For creative types, beer is the Holy Grail of advertising accounts, because almost anything goes. It’s a chance to do outrageous gags with big budgets. But the problem with most beer commercials is that they usually end up being generic and formulaic. Funny set-up, add logo, insert tag line as punch line at the end. Done.

Guinness has always been different. Sure, it’s had plenty of big budget TV spots, but they’ve always been based on the brand’s “unique differentiators” (as they say in marketing-speak): the Irish heritage and the slow pour that a good stout requires. Guinness commercials wouldn’t work for any other brewer.

A Guinness Facebook post recently asked fans to list their favorite tag line from the brand. The responses were many and varied: “Brilliant.” “Good things come to those who wait.” “It’s good for you.” “Guinness for strength.” “It’s alive inside.” “My goodness, my Guinness!” Continue reading

The Truth About Santa Claus, Coke Pusher

Did Coke create the modern Santa Claus? If so, artist Haddon Sundblom was the man behind the beard. Here he models for himself as Santa Claus.

Instead of complaining about the commercialization of Christmas, let’s celebrate one of the finest and longest-running advertising campaigns centered around the season.

Did Coca-Cola Really Create the Modern Image of Santa Claus?

Technically, no. If you check Snopes, that claim is marked “false.” The myth-busting site does give Coke partial credit, however. And according to the soft-drink maker’s own website, “Coca-Cola® advertising actually helped shape this modern-day image of Santa.” Not much argument there.

Did Coke Choose the Color of Santa’s Suit?

In 1862, Civil War cartoonist Thomas Nast drew Santa Claus for Harper’s Weekly as a small elf-like Union supporter. Nast continued to draw Santa for 30 years, along the way changing the coat from tan to red. So Santa’s red suit came from Nast’s vision of St. Nick, not Coke’s corporate color.

Thomas Nast's Santa Claus for Harper's.

Winter Wasn’t Always Coke Weather

Back in the day (the Roaring ‘20s), people thought of Coca-Cola as a drink for warm weather only. To rectify that perception, the company began running ads in 1922 with the slogan “Thirst Knows No Season,” then followed up with a campaign connecting the beverage with Santa Claus to lend it some cold-weather cred.

Sundblom’s Santa

The most famous version of the man with all the toys is the one created by illustrator Haddon Sundblom. Coke credits its advertising agency for the vision: “Archie Lee, the D’Arcy Advertising Agency executive working with The Coca-Cola Company, wanted the next campaign to show a wholesome Santa as both realistic and symbolic.” So in 1931, Sundblom got the gig to develop advertising art using Santa Claus, with a twist: the images would depict the actual Santa, not a man dressed as Santa.  Continue reading

Slow Boat to San Diego with Carnival

Enjoy a romantic camping-at-sea experience onboard the Carnival Splendor.

Pop Tarts® and Spam® delivered fresh daily!

Let the spoof ads begin! After losing all power due to an engine fire, the Carnival Splendor cruise ship had to be towed back to port in San Diego, turning what started out as a four-day Mexican Riviera cruise into a seven-day float from Long Beach to San Diego. Now it’s parody time.

First one out of port (at least that I’ve seen so far) is this mock ad found via email from writer Jeff Abbit aka The Undisclosed Agency. It’s just too good not to share. Enjoy.

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Up In Smoke: Vintage Cigarette Ads

"Do You Inhale?" never worked as a pick-up line for sea captains. But Lucky Strike wants you to think "how important it is to be certain your cigarette smoke is pure and clean."

Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em

Just for kicks (’cause kicks just keep getting harder to find), let’s return to those carefree days before smoking was banned from bars and beaches and the public airwaves. Back when LS/MFT stood for “Luck Strike Means Fine Tobacco” and ABC meant “Always Buy Chesterfields.”

Hard as it is to imagine now, cigarette advertising used to be everywhere. Thirty years ago, who would’ve imagined that vintage cigarette ads would become expensive collectibles? All manner of cigarette ads used to feature a galaxy of movie and sports stars (including a future president) puffing away, enjoying pure smoking satisfaction.

A whole series could be written on Leo Burnett’s iconic Marlboro campaign alone, but for now let’s just take a few puffs and savor a sampling of tobacco campaigns of yore. Alternately poignant and pathetic, cool and comical, they’re like a window back in time. Back when smoking was KOOL. Continue reading

Taco Bell Wants More $2 Bills. Grammarians Want Accuracy!

Next time you're at Taco Bell, ask the cashier to give you change in $2 bills. See what happens.

Taco Bell sez, “Yo quiero… dos dólares.”

The fast food chain recently ran an ad in USA Today with an open letter addressed to the Federal Reserve. Taco Bell is asking the Fed to circulate more $2 bills for its new $2 meal deals: “We want to make sure there are enough $2 bills in circulation to meet the pending demand.”

Taco Bell's ad in USA Today: "Hey Fed, We’re Gonna Need A Lot More $2 Bills."

The Washington Post snarkily comments, “concerned or bored customers may also sign a petition of support on Facebook (how predictable).”

A Facebook petition can get Betty White on Saturday Night Live, but it probably won’t motivate the Federal Reserve. Is it enough to motivate you?

Be careful what you advertise.

The Wall Street Journal’s Real Time Economics columnist, Sudeep Reddy, wryly implies that Taco Bell should be careful what it wishes. Since the demand for currency circulation largely comes through transactions (not Facebook petitions), Reddy concludes, “That means people need to request more $2 bills from their banks—or, say, from a local fast food restaurant—if they want more in circulation. Perhaps Taco Bell can complicate the lives of its cashiers and store managers by forcing them to use $2 bills more often. That should put an end to this marketing campaign fairly quickly.”

Perhaps coincidentally, there’s an email urban legend about a Taco Bell customer who had trouble using a $2 bill at the restaurant. Continue reading

When Advertising Becomes Propaganda

Patriotic WWII poster "You talk of sacrifice..." While some propaganda depicts war as a romantic adventure, this one is starkly unglamorous.

Memorial Day commemorates sacrifice.

Originally called Decoration Day, it’s a day to remember the sacrifice of soldiers who died in the service of their country. It was first observed at Arlington National Cemetery on May 30, 1868 with flowers placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers.

Memorial Day might seem outside the purview of a blog like Love Hate Advertising, which tends to focus on frivolous things like ad movies, music marketing, beauty salon signage and beer commercials (love ’em or hate ’em), not meaningful issues like life and death or war. But even nations at war conduct ad campaigns. That’s when advertising morphs into propaganda.

Continue reading

Corpse Chic Fashion Ads

Does this ad make you want to buy a bag? Or find the killer?

Bag lady as fashion victim.

As a sartorially challenged male, admittedly, I’m not the target audience for these ads. But still, when my better half pointed out this ad for Louis Vuitton handbags in the latest issue of Elle, I was taken aback.

What’s wrong with this picture?

The model looks like a corpse. Perhaps the victim of a robbery or worse, with the contents of her purse scattered around. Or at best, an abused, disheveled mannequin dumped in a field, surrounded by scavenger doves. At first glance, it looked like her feet were missing, as if she were the victim of some psycho killer in an episode of “Bones”. All that’s missing is a chalk outline. Continue reading