Snake on a bus!

The Copenhagen zoo wanted an effective advertising campaign without paying a fortune. The advertising firm Bates Y&R came though in spades.†

Note that this is not a drawing or a mock-up. It’s a photo of the bus on a city street. It’s a fantastic piece of work, and has the advertising awards to prove it.


† Lesley Ciarula Taylor, “Copenhagen commuters get a big, slithering surprise,” The Toronto Star. December 2, 2010.

The Force Awakens? I’ve already seen too much.

The closer we get to the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the more the Disney marketing machine cranks up, and the more fatigued I get. My second-decade self would think that I must have fallen and hit my head to utter such heresy! The truth is, we grow more discriminating as we get older and it seems that Disney is throwing a hell of a lot of ads and marketing tie-ins at the wall and hoping some of them stick. The result, as I mentioned, is Star Wars fatigue.

I felt a disturbance in the force when Disney bought Lucasfilm and the Star Wars franchise. Disney does make some good products, but their overriding skill and focus is marketing. They’re also ridiculously zealous in protecting their properties. Every time the copyright on Mickey Mouse is about to expire, their lobbyists talk to their pocketed congress people and the limits are extended.

Another more pertinent example? A reader of the Star Wars Action News Facebook page posted a photo of the Rey Star Wars figure he bought at Walmart†. Soon afterward, the photo was removed from the post. Facebook explained that a copyright claim was filed against the image. Jeremy Conrad at Star Wars Unity tweeted the photo and found himself the recipient of a DMCA notice about it. About a photo of a legally purchased figure in a post that basically says, “Look what I got!” The overreach is ridiculous in its extent.

So far, in my own television viewing and from articles about the marketing machine attached to this seventh Star Wars film, I’ve found fourteen marketing tie-ins! Among them is the particularly perplexing Kay’s jewellers Star Wars charms. They didn’t mention the Star Wars charm bracelet, but I bet it’s on the way! Many are nothing but an attempt to hitch their wagon to Star Wars, without actually offering anything but a Star Wars photo or logo on a package with the same old stuff inside, like Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, Coffee-Mate, Band-Aid bandages, and Cover Girl lipstick.

It’s marketing run amok and the more I see, the less I want to reward Disney for their getting in my face to this degree. As it stands, I’ll likely be seeing The Force Awakens in the spring when it comes to Netflix.

In the meantime, it’ll get much worse once the film is released and the toy ads start. Lovely.


The image is no doubt ©2015 Lucasfilm Ltd.

†”Lucasfilm Uses DMCA to Kill Star Wars Toy Picture” by Andy, posted on Torrentfreak, December 10, 2015

On accident

Over the years, I’ve heard many children say on accident rather than by accident. Kids haven’t learned the finer points of grammar and phrasing, so it’s but one of the many mistakes they sometimes make. This is born out by the fact that I’ve never heard any child over the age of about ten say it.

Until now. I saw a U.S. John Deere television ad in which the voice-over states:

To make sure people don’t break John Deere tractors on accident, we try to break them on purpose.

I was reading at the time and my head snapped up so quickly that I surprised myself. The only good thing I can stay about this is that I now know why kids make this mistake! Is on accident accepted usage somewhere in the U.S. or should John Deere be looking for a new ad agency before they embarrass themselves further?

The advertising deal

Ad blockers undermine a fundamental principle of media, one that goes back a hundred years: Free content in exchange for attention. The thing is, the FCC kept the ad part in check with TV, and paper costs did the same thing for magazines and newspapers. But on the web, more and more people have come to believe that the deal doesn’t work, and so they’re unilaterally abrogating it. They don’t miss the ads, and they don’t miss the snooping of their data.

Seth Godin

Go read the whole thing is his blog entry, “Ad Blockers.” He nails the reasons ad blockers are becoming more and more popular.

The bad word games?

There are always a dozen kerfuffles happening on the Internet at any time (rounding down to the nearest billion), but this one has to be one of the dullest ever. As you no doubt know, the second part of the last Hunger Games picture is coming out in November. Lionsgate released an ad to let us know we have only 100 days to wait:

Well, it didn’t take long for some to notice an unintended naughty word that came about because of the overlapping text, highlighted here in white:

Honestly? I never would have noticed. I also find it really difficult to get even mildly worked up about it because it was obviously unintended. I won’t be surprised if some people are unbelievably offended, angry, and upset, because no matter what happens, someone is always unbelievably offended, angry, and upset.


Image is probably ©2015 Lions Gate Entertainment but I’m not sure.