John Lewis unveils Christmas ad starring a dog on a trampoline

 

The retailer will employ a host of innovative social media tools to help encourage sharing and interaction as the battle for hearts and minds in the run-up to the biggest shopping period of the year becomes increasingly digital. These include a tie-up with Snapchat, which will allow UK users of the messaging app to use a Buster lens on Thursday, so they can snap portraits with comedy dog ears and nose. After that, the filter will pop up when Snapchat is used in a John Lewis store. Until Sunday 13 November, customers will be able to use special Twitter stickers that pop up when they use the hashtag #bouncebounce to personalise their photos with Buster and the other animals. Visitors to John Lewis’s Oxford Street store will be able to try a virtual reality version of the trampoline, where they can bounce alongside the animals using Oculus Rift goggles.

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These anti-terrorism posters echo Nazi propaganda

However inadvertently, the designers have used a horribly familiar antisemitic image. The impact goes far beyond these associations, serious as those are. A friend who was unaware of Nazi iconography revealingly said that she saw on the poster an “evil-looking dark-skinned man”. The image plays on people’s fears of “the other”, and creates anxiety about a suspicious “they” who may be hiding something, in the words of the poster.

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For The First Time, CoverGirl Ads Feature Woman Wearing A Hijab

 

CoverGirl is featuring a woman wearing a hijab in its advertising for the first time in the makeup line’s history. Beauty blogger Nura Afia is featured wearing the traditional Muslim head covering in an ad campaign for a new line of mascara that also includes singer Katy Perry and actress Sofia Vergara. Afia says in a statement released by CoverGirl that she never thought she would see Muslim women represented on this scale after “growing up and being insecure about wearing the hijab.”

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Who is Louise Delage? New Instagram influencer not what she seems

 

The campaign was created for Addict Aide, an organisation that seeks to raise awareness of alcoholism among young people. Stéphane Xiberras, creative director and president of BETC Paris, told AdFreak that the agency had been struck by “the difficulty of detecting the addiction of someone close to you”. The fake Instagram account aimed to show “a person people would meet every day but whom we’d never suspect of being an addict”.

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H&M’s diverse advert mirrors the real world. Shame the ad industry doesn’t

Diversity is so hot right now. Take H&M’s new television advert for its autumn/winter 2016 collection, for example, which features a range of women including: • Black women with natural hair • Women with shaved heads • A muscular woman • Action shots of women’s wobbly bits wobbling • A thin woman eating french fries without a side of guilt • Armpit hair • A septuagenarian • An ethnically ambiguous high-powered female business executive • A trans woman • Lesbians

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Tighten your safety briefing: Air New Zealand rebuked over flippant videos

Air New Zealand has been rebuked by the country’s aviation watchdog for burying life-saving messages in amongst celebrity cameos in its pre-flight safety videos. The airline is infamous for its elaborate star-studded clips in which celebrities like Richard Simmons, Bear Grylls and Betty White tell passengers how to respond in an aviation emergency. But an email published by One News on Wednesday revealed that the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) had criticised the airline for including “extraneous material” in one of its clips – and indicated that the agency had communicated similar concerns in the past. “As we have commented previously, the video diverges materially from the ‘safety message’ at times, and whilst I appreciate the need to engage the viewers, the extraneous material detracts from the scope and direction of the safety message

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How big tobacco lost its final fight for hearts, lungs and minds

 

Tobacco companies lost an appeal against government plans to force them all to use generic packaging with health warnings on the side. They said it was effectively theft of intellectual property so if nothing else, they should be compensated (their barrister even used the argument that slave owners were compensated when slavery was abolished – idiotic).

One of their key arguments, trotted out 15 years or so ago when cigarette advertising was banned, was that these things don’t have any effect on consumption. But as Jamie Doward notes in The Observer (my italics):

As a cigarette packet designer, John Digianni, explains in an interview on the tobacco industry website Tobacco Today: “A cigarette package is part of a smoker’s clothing, and when he saunters into a bar and plunks it down, he makes a statement about himself. When a user displays a badge product, this is witnessed by others, providing a living testimonial endorsement of the user on behalf of that brand and product.”

Boring old packaging, it transpires, is not so boring after all.

The court was shown what seemed to be a normal pack of Benson & Hedges cigarettes that went on sale in 2006. To open the pack, the consumer needed to slide a tray containing the cigarettes out of its side. Printed on the tray was an aphorism attributed to GK Chesterton: “I owe my success to having listened respectfully to the very best advice and then going away and doing the exact opposite.” Japan Tobacco International, owner of the Benson & Hedges brand in the UK, credited the packaging innovation with a near 47% year-on-year rise in sales.

Cigarette manufacturers acknowledge that such innovations boost sales among adults. However, they vigorously deny their products are targeted at young people. Yet the court was shown clear evidence of how even very young children can be drawn to cigarette packaging. A video made by Cancer UK, in which young children discussed the look of various packs, brought home the point forcefully. One girl, around six or seven years of age, was delighted with the pink packaging of a particular brand. “It’s actually quite pretty,” she said excitedly. A young boy described a yellow pack as “fun” and declared: “It makes you feel almost happy by looking at it.”

It is hard to see children of a similar age enthusing about the new-look packets – drab cartons adorned with gruesome images of people with smoking-related diseases.

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Gucci ad banned over ‘unhealthily thin’ model

The offending Gucci ad
The offending Gucci ad

Guccio Gucci, the parent company of the fashion brand, and the Times said that that the idea of an unhealthily thin model was to some extent a “subjective issue”. The fashion company said that the models had “slim builds” but were not depicted as “unhealthily thin”. The images were shot to make sure none of the models’ bones were visible, which would accentuate thinness, and light rather than heavy makeup was used to stop the potential accentuation of thinness in features. The ASA disagreed, saying that the ad irresponsibly showed a model with a body that was disproportionate and overly thin

I’m not sure how anyone could ‘subjectively’ arrive at the conclusion that this model looks fit and healthy. Still – job done. Their ad has now been seen everywhere that reported the story. Maybe it would be overly cynical to suggest this was the intention – shame on anyone who would suggest such a thing…

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How to write the shortest joke in the world

A deer

Quite an interesting article here on how to write short jokes, which should also be of use to writers, especially advertising copywriters.

It begins by suggesting that one of the funniest and shortest jokes is Jimmy Carr’s ‘venison’s dear, isn’t it?’.

Micro-gags like Carr’s also illustrate a central tenet of classical joke craft: for some jokes to work, the teller must remove certain details from the transmission. In the joke above, the spoken information is just four words: (1) venison’s (2) dear (3) isn’t (4) it. Everything else, everything that makes the joke a joke – “venison meat comes from deer, and is also quite expensive, so you could say that deer is dear” – is carefully omitted. This extra information is called the exformation – deliberately discarded, but semantically essential detail. Carr’s joke simply wouldn’t work if all the exformation was included with the transmitted information. But why?

By whittling away the joke to its leanest form and leaving the rest implied through exformation, Carr invites the audience to connect up the dots. Our servile brains jump at the chance to fill in the blanks – automatically and with synaptic haste – and it’s this that makes us laugh. I’m not sure that we have the philosophical or scientific tools to understand exactly why this is, but it probably comes down to an atavistic pleasure mechanism where our neural circuitry is rewarded for empathic behaviour. In other words, the laughter is your brain patting itself on the back for catching Carr’s drift. What could be more social, more communal and more team-building than reading another’s thoughts and understanding more or less what they mean? Certainly, pseudo-mindreading like this would have been evolutionarily advantageous for our ancestors waging war with elemental beasts out there on the pre-metropolitan plains.

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