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
Posted in Advertising - General, food, Marketing, print
Tagged ads, advertising, apology, beef, fast food, lawsuit, marketing, meat, newspaper, print, Taco Bell
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.
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
Posted in Advertising - General, beverage, Branding, Marketing, print, vintage
Tagged ads, advertising, art, branding, Christmas, classic, Coca-Cola, Coke, Haddon Sundblom, holiday, illustration, print, Sandblom, seasonal, Snopes, vintage, winter
Axe stakes its claim as "Canada's #1 Men's Deodorant" with a billboard that reads: "For men who'd rather be with a woman than on a horse."
Competition! Old Spice has been on the receiving end of a few potshots lately, which is to be expected after being on a roll (or on a horse) for a while.
To start with, the company’s shirtless spokesman, Isaiah Mustafa, went moonlighting away from his regular gig as The Man Your Man Could Smell Like for Old Spice. He did basically the same shtick for someone else, but on the other side of the world and without all the props. Maybe he just needed a break from the bathroom. He went all the way to Australia to disrobe for… Continue reading
Posted in Advertising - General, Branding, Marketing, Outdoor, television, video
Tagged ads, advertising, Axe, billboards, commercials, Grover, Isaiah Mustafa, marketing, Microsoft, Old Spice, Sesame Street
Starbucks hops on the "simple" bandwagon with "real food." Were they faking it before?
Less than a week after writing about how Simple-Minded Marketing Works, I stopped in at a Starbucks and couldn’t help noticing the screaming all-caps headline on a previously blank napkin.
The coffeehouse that recently brought you free wi-fi, but selectively discourages loitering (not every store has a sign posted), has hopped on the simplified ingredients bandwagon. Now Starbucks is offering “real food” that’s “simply delicious.” This raises some questions: Was it all artificial and fake before? Continue reading
Exercising Freedom of Choice with Devo at Hollywood Park, July 1, 2010.
I saw Devo in concert for $7, thanks to a Facebook ad.
Everyone loves to have freedom of choice, not to mention a good deal. So when I found out I could see Devo live for $7—no, that’s not a typo—instead the usual $70+ fee that most concerts charge these days for tickets (plus service charge, convenience fee, etc., etc.), I was all over it. It became a family outing. And best of all, kids were free.
Funny anecdote: When trying to look up the band online before attending the show, my teenage daughter had to ask, “How do you spell ‘Devo’?” Continue reading
Posted in Advertising - General, Internet, Marketing, music
Tagged ads, advertising, Casale, devo, devolution, Facebook, Foursquare, Hollywood Park, Josh Freese, merchandise, Mothersbaugh
"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
Posted in Advertising - General, Marketing, print, television, vintage
Tagged ads, advertising, Benson & Hedges, Beverly Hillbillies, Chesterfield, cigarettes, commercials, Flinstones, John Wayne, Lucky Strike, Marlboro, Newport, politically incorrect, retro, Ronald Reagan, smoking, tv, vintage, Winston, Yul Brynner
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
Posted in Advertising - General, grammar, Marketing, print, writing
Tagged ads, advertising, Chihuahua, Goodby Silverstein, Got Milk, grammar, print, Taco Bell, vigilante grammarian, writing
Are you a Super Woman?
Alicia Keys is Hiring.
That’s the headline of a full-page advertisement in today’s local paper. It’s an ad for a different kind of job that didn’t exist until just a few years ago: The pop diva is looking for a full-time blogger.
Less than one week remains to apply. According to the ad, “Alicia is looking for a head blogger to help spread her voice beyond music on IAAS.com, the new destination for super women everywhere.”
“IAAS” is short for “I Am A Super Woman.” But unfortunately, as the LA Times Ministry of Gossip notes, the complete initials were already taken by another group of party people. (No word on whether they’re hiring.)
I looked over the necessary skills and qualifications listed at Alicia’s Monster.com page. Then I looked again. Continue reading