Tea Kettle Looks Like Hitler? My 2 Cents.

Many of you have seen the infamous JCPenney billboard featuring a very controversial tea kettle. After someone posted the image of the billboard (which can be seen on Interstate 405 South in LA,) there was a flood of talks about how it resembled Hitler. This has caused lots of bad press for the brand and JCPenney recently decided to pull the billboard in the hopes the that viral calamity is suppressed.

teapothitler

My two cents on this fiasco is quite simple. Although I can see the resemblance, I think this situation has boiled (pun probably intended) over into quite dramatic. I think we should cut JCPenney some slack, the brand is already struggling and this does not help its attempt at rebranding. Personally, I didn’t see the resemblance until it was pointed out and I don’t think that it was the brand’s intention. If people are up in arms about this, I think we have a bigger problem on the table. Lots of objects look like controversial things, it’s nothing new. It’s a tea kettle, get over it.  To end this on a lighter note, I have comprised a collection of tea kettles that look like other things since we all like to push for resemblances so much.

alfredteacatTeasnomanTeakrabsteamrTtea

PS: The tea kettle is SOLD OUT on the JCPenney online store. Who’s the winner here?

Agency Obsession: TBWA/Hunt/Lascaris

As I am on the journey of conducting informational interviews at advertising agencies in NYC, I wanted to start a new series on the blog to spotlight cool agencies (in the states and international.)

This week, I have been very intrigued by South African agency TBWA/Hunt/Lascaris. This agency originally caught my eye when they created an amazing video using paper art titled “We Sent Their Briefs Back.” The agency wanted to get the attention of their clients and build more creative work so the design department took a creative brief and recreated them into beautiful works of art. They definitely caught the attention of clients and eventually made me more curious about the agency’s work.

Prior to my discovery of my new obsession, TBWA/Hunt/Lascaris had already made runner up for Ad Age’s International A-list in 2010 and placed their mark on the ad world. Known for their innovative and bold work, the agency has found ways to create advertising that’ll stop you in your tracks. Their most notable campaign helped save the Zimbabwean, a newspaper that was exiled from the country. The inflation rate for the Zimbabwean dollar was at 132 billion percent so the agency made a point to print the ads on billboards made up of the country’s currency. Below, you will find the case study.

I could go on and on about their work, but I will end this post on some other favorite campaigns that they did. Enjoy!

Uniball: Swapped at Birth

To spread awareness about the importance of handwriting, this awesome ad highlighted how the type of font makes a difference.

Doom : Wall of Shoes

This simple out of home showed that using Doom Insect Spray could spare you numerous pairs of shoes.

I will definitely be keeping my eye out for more work from TBWA/Hunt/Lascaris. This agency knows how to take a simple message and make it meaningful for the audience.

 

 

Ad of the Day: Animals visit the barber

This is a delightful ad for Barber, a shaving salon in Amsterdam. The campaign is called “Tame the Beast” and features wild animals with very nicely groomed facial hair. It’s an amazing example of a wonderful execution that was backed by a solid overarching idea. I hope no animals were harmed during the making of these :)

It was done by 180 Amsterdam.

Ad of the Day: the BEST condom ad I have ever seen

This condom ad does not have anything to do with sex. My mind is blown. Durex just released a spot that featured young boys dropping water ballons on unsuspecting people below their apartment. When they run out of water balloons, they have the idea of filling up a condom to continue their fun. Watch below and see what happens next.

What I loved about this ad is how they took a point that they wanted to prove and executed it in a creative yet simple way. What is even more impressive is that it doesn’t involve any sexual humor. They took a typical concern about condoms and answered it by showing the effectiveness of the product. This was a joy to watch.

Ad of the Day: Boobs in Paris

Did you come to this post because it had the word boobs in it? That’s okay because that was my intention. Today’s Ad of the Day is brought to you by Valege, a French Lingerie brand. The reason why I picked this ad is because it takes a very different approach to selling bras. I loved that it was out-of-the-box and not your typical ad with cookie-cutter hot models. The ad starts out with one boob (animated, of course) at the airport anxiously waiting something. A plane arrives and another boob walks in. They have a ‘bouncy’ reunion and you see the boobs being smushed against another. It ends with the tagline and that wraps up this great concept.

I think we all expect ads for undergarments to be sexy with a famous model who fits the product exactly. At first, we are sort of shocked by the singular boob, but I think as the ad continues we find ourselves giggling because it’s such an outrageous visual but also harmless at the same time. This concept — like most amazing concepts — provides us with a simple concept and a divergent representation. The bra they are trying to sell is a push-up bra and the end of this ad shows the purpose of the product in a unique way. Once again, European ads never fail to impress me. What a spectacular spot for a product that is in such a cluttered category.

Enjoy.

Superbowl Ads: the Good, ..Ehh, & Ugh

It’s finally Superbowl sunday aka the biggest day in advertising. This year, I am not rooting for any team in particular since my beloved Pats did not make it to the Superbowl, which means I’ll be watching the game for the ads. This year I was very surprised to see how many ads were released at least a week before the actual game. I think overall, the commercials were great. Here’s a small list of my favorites, hated, and indifferent ads. *Disclaimer: These are all my personal (sometimes bias) opinions.

 

GOOD: Awesome executions and creative concepts made me smile

Samsung – Paul Rudd + Seth Rogen = hilarious. I also love how Samsung pokes fun at creatives and other company’s SB ads.

Mercedes – Great simple story behind this ad and it made me want to get this car.

VW – Despite getting a lot of heat for being a “racist” ad, I still love this. It stays true to the brand. Critics need to drive a VW and lighten up a little!

Sodastream  – If i could pick one ad I liked most, it would be this one. Simple concept and amazing messaging.

Axe – The brand is going to space. Enough said.

Taco Bell – Good twist on a concept that can be overdone. Old people living Mas. *PS: I am not bias or anything, but while I interned at Deutsch LA, I got to work on the prelim research/strategy of this ad! :)

 

..EHH: These are subpar. They are not impressive and are trapped in the box. 

Sketchers : This one is so basic. There is no creativity in making a man run as fast as a cheetah.

Toyota : I don’t understand why this ad is the most watched. I lost interest after the family made their 3rd wish..

Century 21 : This ad featuring a Century21 agent trying to resolve mother-in-law tension should not have even made the cut to the SB.

E*Trade : Expected. How many different ways can you put a baby on an ad as an older person? It was funny, but that was all.

 

UGH: I am embarrassed that this is on my YouTube History

Pepsi NEXT – This is Pepsi’s answer to Coke’s “The Chase” ad. I think it’s cheap and makes me have multiple eye rolls. It makes me think that Pepsi doesn’t really know how to accept the fact that they will always be the #2 soda.

 

Happy Superbowl everyone! Can’t wait to see the rest of the ads :)

American Airlines Rebranding & A Collection of Responses

As many of you know, American Airlines recently underwent an enormous rebranding campaign. New logo, new planes, new American Airlines(?) According to the FastCo Article , American Airlines aims to redefine and create a new identity for themselves as well as America. The goal was to rebrand the American Airlines image to reflect our nation as a whole, “Technology. Entertainment. Progress.”

I am a college student who flies every couple months back and forth from my university to my hometown. I’ve had the forced pleasure of flying with American Airlines a couple times in the last few years and I can say that it is my least favorite airline. Technology, entertainment, and progress? None of these words correctly describes this brand whom everyone thought was in the dumps until this ‘rebranding.’ As a brand, I don’t think that AA has any positive ‘lovemark’-like following. It is known for grumpy staff and old planes. As frequently flyer, I hope that this rebranding means something bigger for AA — something beyond slick graphics and typography. If they wanted a successful rebranding, I think it’ll take a lot more than a new eagle graphic to save the brand from another hard fall.

After reading the article, I had a chance to explore some comments in response to the rebranding and I think it sums up how I feel about this rebranding for AA. I just hope that AA understands the old saying, “Actions speak louder than words.” (Or in this case, a logo.) Below are some good comments that I saw from the article:

I don’t think the author understands what constitutes a brand.  It’s not a collection of logos and color pallets, its the experience of their customers.  What is AA doing to change what they can consistently deliver to their customers?  Disney’s brand isn’t Mickey or the magic castle, its family entertainment.

It’s a shame that rebranding is the statement first applied by new management. Perhaps addressing quality of service might be more appropriate. The attitude of many AA stewardess is appalling.  I actually look forward to my time spent on Cathay’s long-haul flights.

The graphics on the side of the plane are okay, really who cares?  We look at price, comfort and service.  As long as the colors are pleasing and the graphics aren’t offensive most people are fine.

In a vacuum, the new design is terrific and thoughtful. In reality, however, it’s ultimately worthless. Unless AA can wholly re-design the customer experience (for coach as well as first class), “technology, performance and entertainment” are meaningless. A promise made but unkept.

Will this new chapter for AA prove to be effective? Only time can tell. What do you think of their new logo?

IKEA ad shows how to successfully illustrate insight-driven strategy

This new IKEA spot created by Mother is the best thing I’ve seen this week. It is whimsical and cute. Best of all, it is spot on and gets to the point about what Ikea offers as a brand. The ad starts with a woman and man singing while trying to find each other through a maze of mess. The room magically starts to organize itself with Ikea products and the couple is reunited.

The original Campaign Magazine posted, “It is inspired by the insight that poor storage doesn’t just cause mess and clutter but also affects relationships in the home.” This simple truth and insight is wonderfully illustrated in this ad. It’s as if I could tell you the strategy behind this creative execution just by watching it. I think it’s great that this ad has touched on a human truth that we have all shared once in a while. A big mess in the house can cause unnecessary tension between the people living in the space and tear people apart. The solution to the problem is to let Ikea be the hero and bring you back into your home.

The Ikea brand is known as a leader in providing simple furniture whose main purpose is to organize small spaces (ie city apartments that us young folks live in.) A good strategy can bring the creative into a more human perspective. Ikea + Mother did a nice job with this ad. As I am getting ready to start on projects for my final semester, I will think of this as a great example of an insights-driven strategy and the significant affect it can have on a creative execution.

Original Campaign Magazine mention: http://www.campaignlive.co.uk/thework/1167206/ikea-make-room-life-mother/

Origami + a Great App = WWF Win

Today’s ad of the day is not actually an ad, but a trailer for an app which I think is executed beautifully! I love it when I see my passions collide and I think that AKQA did an amazing job creating this app for World Wildlife Foundation (WWF.) The app sends a great message about animal conservation while providing entertainment. The app itself is beautifully designed and every transition on the app is very smart and interactive. It is wonderful to see my two passions collide and executed so well! Check out the site below. Watch the video about the app and do some origami!

http://worldwildlife.org/pages/the-world-s-most-amazing-animals-in-one-app

Summary of my fall semester & A taste of agency life.

Been a while since I posted, but I had the best semester ever!

I finished an extraordinary internship at Deutsch LA (Deutschinc.com) and couldn’t be happier about how it turned out. I will definitely be following them in this last semester of school and even after graduation. What a great company to work for and it definitely has its own unique vibe! I got to meet and work with the best people in the field. I am so grateful for everything they have taught me and all of the wonderful opportunities they pushed my way.

I could write a whole book about how much fun I had at Deutsch, but I’ll keep it short and sweet! As the only planning intern, I got to work with a different client and help out with different tasks each day.I helped the planners with some of our awesome clients including: Target, HTC, Anthem/Blue Cross, VW, Playstation & new business pitches. All of the planners here were very smart and it was awesome to listen to how they think and how they worked to solve problems. Here are a couple things I learned from my time at Detusch.

1. Research is cool & insights are important. When I originally started the internship, I thought that I would have to brainstorm big strategies. I quickly learned that behind every strategy lies an immense amount of research. My high school self would have squirmed at the thought of this word, but I learned that research is always fun when it’s interesting. There were days when I would sit and read 20 or 30 articles about health insurance, but it was the most interesting thing I’d ever done because I learned so much! I realized that research is the answer to my curiosity. I often find myself jumping from article to article because at that moment in time, everything is interesting. One of the cool things about Deutsch is that they really pride themselves on research and human insights. I had a great chat with Chief Strategic Officer Jeffrey Blish (he is awesome btw,) who emphasized the importance of research and how it helps us stay culturally relevant when planning a new campaign. I was very lucky because I actually got to help with many research projects and focus groups. This experience helped me realize that good research lays the foundation for a winning strategy.

2. Be curious & open-minded. I am not exaggerating when I say that I have learned more in this semester than I did in three years of school. In between the focus groups, brainstorm sessions, and researching articles, I realized that the key to being a good planner is to be curious about the world. We must stay open-minded about everything and be willing to learn about new things. To stay up to date with the culture around us, it is imperative that we follow any world events and any interesting insights that hide in the cracks of those articles we are reading. Stepping into the shoes of a planner made me realize that we always have to be thirsty for more information and be open to everything new that comes our way. Growth happens when we are uncomfortable, so we must take our brain to unfamiliar places so it can learn how to process new information that will help us understand the world around us.

3. Work needs to be fun. I knew exactly what I was getting into when I chose this major. After having a glimpse of agency life, I know that it can be filled with late nights and stress. However, I also know that work can be fun as long as it’s something that you feel is rewarding at the end of the day. When I put the crazy schedules and lack of sleep aside, I saw that people really liked what they were doing. There is no better feeling than having that ‘aha!’ moment when everything clicks, or when the deck is finally done and you can finally sigh with relief and move onto the next project. One of the things that made my daily commute to my internship worth it was the people I got to work with. The friendly atmosphere is something I’ll always look for in a future work place. The people that I got to talk to each day always made me feel special. I was so lucky to have a good team to work under and a great co-intern friend to talk to during my coffee/lunch breaks. Everyone works really hard at Deutsch, but they also know how to have fun and let loose a little. Having a great working environment and amazing work to follow it up with makes this place awesome! It is great to see everyone work so hard and finally be able to share their work. You can really see the effort they put into it and the smile on their face when they present the work lets you know that they had fun after all.

 

I learned so many valuable lessons this semester and it was a wonderful experience I will never forget! I would like to thank everyone I got to meet and work with at this amazing place. A special thanks to my “cubemates” Anna and Fran for teaching me everything I know and making my experience truly one of a kind :).  Maybe I will be back at Deutsch one day :).