Tag Archives: marketing

Don’t Believe The Sales Pitches: No “Losing 15 pounds in 15 minutes” is NOT possible

Run on over to RunHaven.com where I wrote a story about how important it is to put down the latte and back away from the fitness magazines splattered with sales pitches making it seem possible to get a six pack in six minutes. Hint: it’s not.

So kick the miracle drugs and workout plans right in the gonads and instead try these steps instead! 

Got Insurance? Ads and the Miley Effect

Over a week ago I stumbled upon these insurance ads targeting “millennials.”  And it took me about that long to tame my frustration, disgust and anger to put my thoughts into digestible sentence for consumption. (yum)
The most aggressive ad features a photo of a titillated young woman standing beside a pleased-looking man and holding a packet of birth-control pills. The text reads, “Let’s get physical. OMG, he’s hot! Let’s hope he’s as easy to get as this birth control. My health insurance covers the pill, which means all I have to worry about is getting him between the covers. I got insurance. Now you can too. Thanks Obamacare!” Beneath their photo is the caption, “Susie & Nate Hot to Trot.” Grrrreattt. insurance1

This is the follow up to the original brosurance ads in the Got Insurance? campaign spearheaded by two Colorado non-profits, ProgressNow Colorado and Colorado Consumer Health Initiative. Both aim to encourage young people to enroll in the state’s new heath care exchange, part of the Affordable Care Act.
Though I would have loved to be at that meeting table when someone was like “hey, I’ve got an idea that is so ridiculous it might just work.”

I just find it appalling that no one had the moral compass or integrity to sit there and come up with educational pieces targeting millennials.

You know we have brains and opinions. And well in my opinion the millennial generation is one of the most progressive generations our culture has seen in a long time.
For example, if they were addimat in using the Hey Girl/Ryan Gosling imagery they could have had the copy on the ad read: Hey Girl! …GO GET INSURANCE SO YOU WON’T DIE UNDER A MOUNTAIN OF DEBT WHEN YOU GET SICK! insurance1Ryan(literally).

What’s even crazier is this ridiculous and sexist (yea I said it) ads are working  because they’re drawing attention based on the shock and awe factor, or the Miley Effect. Miley is a talented singer, but her shock and awe tactics (twerkin, wrecking ballin whilst only sporting boots while riding said wrecking ball) tend to overshadow that talent, but somehow keeps her relevant and in the news. This is similar to these ads; (go with me here) there’s a buzz circulating around in news and interwebz about how ridiculous and “oh I can’t believe they…”  keeping them newsworthy, in all the wrong ways because news outlets tend to make a hard left from the real (I hope) reason the ads were created: yo, young people get insurance to protect yourself!

What are your thoughts on these insurance ads? What would your ads say targeting young people to enroll in insurance?! Let me know in the comments!

Moral Panic Mode: Marketers


In television commercials, marketers put their best skills to use: making sure the kids rule.   The characters, whether animated or not, are often young, thus making them really relatable to the target consumer, kids. Duh. Because no kid wants a parent telling them what to do, amiright?

Though I hate to admit it, marketers are smart because they realize that children are the primary consumers because of their direct buying power or the “I want it now forever always” and indirect buying power through their parents or “Please can I have it now forever always.”  Kids are drowning in brands; the most popular are toys, cereal, fast food, candies or sugary snacks.  The marketers’ task is to create a commercial that establishes an audience, sells a product and embeds values to children in hopes of creating a “cradle to grave” brand loyalty (Jennings, 2007). And somewhere in between the cradle and the grave we become zombies who succumb to this very formulaic (and successful) approach to marketing.

Marketing 101:  Baby Whispering 101: Marketers use different production techniques when selling products, knowing full well children cannot decipher between reality and fantasy until about the age of six (Chandler and Griffiths, 2000). However, different tactics are used to appeal to boys and girls and usually marketers bring in back up in the form of psychologists to determine how young boys and girls brains function. The most obvious tactic: voiceover.  Eighty percent are male because they appeal to both genders when used in a mixed target audience (Chandler and Griffiths, 2000). Therefore female voiceovers are only used for girl-based commercials. Because sciences of psychology and brains.

Marketers can format commercials to create underlying messages while simultaneously selling a product to children. Sneaky, Sneaky. Social standing is a main message that is portrayed through kids’ commercials.
Are in you in? or Are you out?
The commercials define not only who they are as a person through their own eyes, but also the eyes of their peers. Kid culture, though accelerated, has been focused around what is “cool,” or socially acceptable. Ok, yes, “cool” is a dated word, but necessary in this context. “Cool” is anything that the marketers deem as a must-have for social survival. But that One Direction album, “MOMMM I NEEEDDD ITTTT, IT COMES OUT TODAY AND I NEED ITTTT!!!”
And purchasing the must-haves leads to happy and fulfilled lives. Some messages are more direct than others. So essentially that One Direction album will make me the happiest ever, well until the next boy pop band comes along. Although, maybe there’s a point that I’m just now realizing. It could be a boy band thing, or a music thing in general, but at the age of 25 I’m going to be going to a Backstreet Boys concert this weekend, which will make me the happiest and satisfy my craving for nostalgia. Could a musical group be a brand? Absolutely, and apparently one that has been a must-have in my musical library since the Discman was invented. Now for claiming BSB has made my life fulfilled, would be a little ambitious, but then again Sunday I’ll probably have that frame of mind of life being fulfilled at that very moment. Maybe, I want it that way, and I don’t have to tell you why? (see what I did there?)
Ok, Ok but for commercial examples there’s Sketcher’s Pretty Tall Shoes which labeled the message of beauty. The product was branded with the words “pretty” and “tall,” telling the consumer what is beautiful. Pretty could’ve had a double meaning, as in they’re pretty tall in height in addition to the beauty standard. Hidden messaging, is all around.
Sketcher’s just keeps winning in the ridiculous shoe department with their recent Daddy’$ Money shoes, which essentially is the same thing as Pretty Tall shoes with the hidden wedge, just geared toward teenagers, and with the $ sign you would think they’d be sponsored by Ke$ha (Now who’s the genius marketer, ha).

It doesn’t matter if the product is food, clothing, or toys, children are trained by this “hypercommercialized” marketing wave to be vulnerable and give in to the messages. It’s time to snap out of zombie mode, people! We need to educate our kids and ourselves to the reality that kid culture has morphed into one of the largest consumer cultures allowing  advertisers and marketers to run rampant!

What ridiculous ads have you seen for kids lately? Share them in the comments. (extra brownie points (yum), gold stars and confetti for YouTube videos links!)

A&F-ing It Up!

Sure Abercrombie and Fitch has faced scrutiny for its racy advertisements and parent backlash of the NSFS (not safe for school) tees. However, I still shopped there when I was a teen—around age 14. All of “those” surfer chic with a touch of prep-in-its-step brands were all the rage in high school. Its true! If you wore those brands or any “in brand” (see: PacSun) then you were stylish and on trend… and I guess “cool.”


I grew out of these brands, literally, when I was a freshman in college. I knew it was time to abandon the brands when all I could find was the occasional sweater in a size large which, if I remember correctly equated to about a size small in most department stores. These popular brands no longer carried the sizes for my curves—curves, which by the way I was happy to have! ::twerks::

Then there was the hellish shopping experience. Between all the tweens geeking out at all the crude tees, the overly polluted stench in the air (aint no body needs to wear that much cologne), the heat, and the necessity to BYOHeadLamp to see what-the-what they were even selling. I was over shopping there and apparently so was A&F’s Jackassery of a CEO, Mike Jeffries, who is making headlines this week due to a Business Insider story  about how they don’t want XL females shopping at their stores because they aren’t “cool” or “beautiful.”

Enter stage right: My get fired up pissed off WRITE-IN-ALL-CAPS-ABOUT-HOW-ABSURD-THIS- (gary busey doppelganger) MAN-IS Thoughts. GAH, LOUD NOISES. But first a statement from the CEO who has the gonads to actually run a company based on these bullying principles.

“In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids,” he told the site. “Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely. Those companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny. But then you become totally vanilla. You don’t alienate anybody, but you don’t excite anybody, either,” Jeffries told Salon in an interview in 2006.

Want to know why Jeffries’ crazypants are on a bit too tight for today’s standards?, thought you might, click to continue reading

Drowning in Brands, Quick Toss The Kids LifeSavers!

In today’s society we are infiltrated with brands through advertisements that play Houdini mind tricks on us, which at some point (probably right away) form our opinions of what clothing we wear, food we eat, toys we buy, etc. But if you’re a kid/teenager, you are drowning in it and don’t have a chance to come up for air! Someone toss the kids Life Savers (see what I did there?)

drowninginbrandsOn average an American teenager spends 31 hours a week watching TV, 17 hours listening to music, and 10 hours online. (LoveSocial with MissRepresentation.org) And well marketers are no dummies, they hit those groups full-force straight in the ‘noggin.

In college I watched a documentary called Consuming Kids. You should watch it, highly fascinating and scary all at the same time! AH. 
My knowledge of this documentary resurfaced when Anna Lappe a concerned mother and food mythbuster honed in on the food industry in particular and the obsession that kids develop.

“The food industry says themselves that they spend $2 billion every year in marketing directly to children and teenagers,” said Lappe in her TEDxTalk. “When you think about it in the context that diet related illnesses among young people are on the rise, and we think about this omnipresent marketing I think it isn’t an exaggeration that is has become down right dangerous.”

Yep, Lappe knows what’s up. When I (hopefully) become a parent I can only shield my children so much because, like the Lappe and Consuming Kids noted, commercialization is burying children under a pile of consumer messages. It’s inevitable they will receive that commercial stimulus in schools, day care, or at slumber parties, EV.ERY.WHERE. It’s not ideal to guard children from social situations because that doesn’t help children develop either. It’s clear that parenting in the 21st Century is more difficult than ever!

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