Category Archives: Writing

Xerox: Real Business, Complicated

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This ad for Xerox isn’t visually appealing and the copy is filled with marketing-speak gobbledegook: Order-to-cash lifecycle, scalable solutions, measurable process efficiencies. I don’t even know what they’re selling.

What’s this ad doing in a consumer magazine like Wired? I don’t know, either.


By Marc Librescu

Charmin Ultra Strong: Enjoying the Go?

Unless you’ve been hibernating, you’ve seen the animated commercials for Charmin Ultra Strong featuring bears and their dingleberries. Are these commercials annoying? Does a bear sh*t in the woods?

To make matters worse, they’ve recently added the line “Enjoy the go!” Enjoy the go? Do they think I’m saying to myself, “Gee, I can’t wait until this afternoon when I can sit down and unwind with a nice long dump?”

Enjoy the go. Picture it — it’s Friday night. You had plans to go out on a hot date, but instead, you call her up and say, “Hey hun, I know we were supposed to go out to dinner tonight, but I think I’m just going to stay in and pinch a loaf.”

Don’t worry. She’ll understand. She knows how much fun doing a deuce is.

Here’s a parody I found on YouTube, followed by one of the actual commercials.

If you want to find out more about enjoying your go, you’ll enjoy going to Charmin’s website.

By Marc Librescu

Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise: Be Careful What You Ask

Hellmann's Mayonnaise

In this ad for their Real Mayonnaise, Hellmann’s (there really is no Hellmann’s anymore, it’s actually a company called Unilever) asks the question:

If we knew more about our food, would we eat better?”

Any reasonable person would answer “of course!” And Hellmann’s, um, Unilever, wants to you answer that way, too. End of story. Turn the page.

If you bother to stop and read the copy (which is made difficult to read by placing white type over a yellow background) you find this:

At Hellmann’s, we make our mayonnaise with real, simple ingredients like good eggs, delicious vinegar and oils rich in omega 3. So it’s definitely a step in the right direction. Lean about he Real Food Project at hellmanns.com.

When they say they use good eggs, it’s not clear whether they’re referring to the quality of the eggs or whether they’re stating that eggs are good for you. Either way, I’ll let this slide.

Strangely, they claim to use delicious vinegar. If I asked you to write a list of 10 adjectives to describe vinegar, would delicious make it onto the list? How about a list of 1,000 adjectives? I mean, who considers vinegar to be delicious? It’s acetic acid.

Can you imagine saying to your kid, “Here, Bobby, I poured you a nice cup of delicious vinegar. Drink it up!”

If you made your kid drink vinegar, social services would come to your house to take him away. The conversation would go something like this:

Social Services: We have a report that you made your son, Bobby, drink a glass of vinegar.
You: Yes, I did.
Social Services: Can you tell me why you did that?
You: Because vinegar is delicious!

The next thing you know, they’d hand you some paperwork with a hearing date and then escort little Bobby out the door where they would take him to a waiting van.

But I digress.

Mayonnaise is really just a fancy way of saying “oil and egg fat.” Here’s the nutritional information, taken from the company’s website:

A one-tablespoon serving contains 90 calories and 90 calories from fat. This is another way of saying that 100% of the calories come from fat. One tablespoon of the stuff has a whopping 10 grams of fat, which is as much fat as four chocolate chip cookies (source: Nutrition Lifestyles).

Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise also contains delicious EDTA. According to Wikipedia:

(EDTA) has been found to be both cytotoxic (emphasis mine) and weakly genotoxic in laboratory animals. Oral exposures have been noted to cause reproductive and developmental effects.

Cytotoxic means “toxic to cells.” Genotoxic is a little more complicated. According to Wikipedia:

Genotoxicity describes a deleterious action on a cell’s genetic material affecting its integrity. Genotoxic substances are known to be potentially mutagenic or carcinogenic, specifically those capable of causing genetic mutation and of contributing to the development of tumors.

In other words, EDTA is a potential cancer-casusing agent in laboratory animals.

At the bottom of the ad, in tiny print, it says that Helmann’s Real Mayonnaise contains “a small amount of EDTA to protect quality.” Small compared to what?

Is Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise healthy and good? You decide. Then ask yourself this question:

“If we knew more about our food, would we eat better?”

By Marc Librescu

Honda Insight is For Plain Volks

Honda Insight

Most cars are targeted at a specific niche market, but the folks at Honda have designed a car for the masses. This ad for the Insight proclaims: This car is for everyone! Buy one and be like everybody else!

The Insight is an inexpensive hybrid, designed to be the 21st century’s Trabant. Honda is attempting to reinvent the people’s car, a brave new car for citizens of the 21st century living in the age of the new Great Depression (at least those who still have jobs and can still afford to buy a new car). At a time when the government ignores the skyrocketing unemployment rate, and middle class people are bing forced into homelessness, it won’t be long before the Insight is the only new car that anyone will able to afford.

From Wikipedia:

Honda introduced the second-generation Insight in its home nation of Japan in February 2009, with releases in other markets expected through 2009. The new Insight went on sale in the U.S. on March 24, 2009. At $19,800 as a five-door hatchback, it is the least expensive hybrid available in the US.

“We know you’re broke,” Honda says. “This car is cheap. Look, we even put in an MP3 jack. How about that!”

This strategy has made the Insight wildly popular in Japan. In a culture that doesn’t place a high value on individuality, driving the same car as everybody else isn’t seen in the same negative light as it is in the United States.

But times change, and with them, their demands.

By Marc Librescu

EDS Keeps Those Doggies Rollin’

These are two of the funniest commercials I’ve seen in a long time.

Priceless line:

“It ain’t an easy job, but when you bring a herd into town, and you ain’t lost a-one of them, ain’t a feeling like it in the world.”

By Marc Librescu

Soyjoy Does a 180

SoyJoy

When I first posted about a Soyjoy ad back in 2008, the ad was so bad that it made me want to cry and scream and throw things around the room. The second time I posted about the product, I thought the ad looked great but was too generic (and I went off on my high-horse about possible problems from eating soy).

This ad pretty much nails it. The image merges blueberry, soy, and the yin-yang symbol. The headline, along with the image, tells the story:

Whole Soy. Real Blueberries. In Perfect Balance.

There isn’t a load of unnecessary copy for the reader to wade through. It just works.

By Marc Librescu

Johnson Automotive: We Don’t Need No Badgers

This is a series of five brilliant commercials produced for Johnson Automotive. They’re hilarious and on point. The commercials cleverly use the badger character to parody car salesmen and let the viewer know that Johnson Automotive doesn’t badger its customers.

The badger is really a puppet that’s being controlled by five operators, who were later digitally removed.

Another winner of the coveted 5 Monkey Award!




By Marc Librescu