Tag Archives: print ads

The Big Deal About Equador


This ad, features a high-contrast, not very interesting photograph of a little girl looking bored standing next to a giant turtle, combined with too much copy. My guess is that this isn’t going to get people to stop what they’re doing and book a flight to Equador.

The ad is dull. It doesn’t inspire me or fire my imagination. And I sure don’t have time in my busy day to wade through all that copy.


Villa Antinori Keeps It In The Family


The people who created this ad for Villa Antinori wine are geniuses. What better way to show that the wine has been in the family for 26 generations?

Perfect. 5 monkeys!


Silk Light Soymilk Is The Real Thing


It’s hard not to like this ad for Silk Light Soymilk. Sure, the type in the headline looks wrong. Yes, the copy is almost too small to read. But this ad sure gets your attention.

What’s more, the guy in the ad and the two kids don’t look like professional models—they look like a real family. And they look like they’re having fun posing for the camera.

Even if these are professional models, the fact that they don’t appear to be professional models makes the ad seem believable. It has a certain charm, if you will, that you don’t often see in advertising today.

Campbell’s: This Ad Shoudn’t Have Worked


Sometimes an ad breaks all the rules and still works. This ad for Cambell’s Select Harvest Light is poorly designed and includes too much copy. But the image of the Progresso can with the words MADE WITH MSG made me stop and pay attention.

I didn’t know that Progresso soups contained MSG. If I was buying soup, that one bit of information would tip the scales in favor of Cambell’s. But there’s more. The ad says that Cambell’s soups also contain less sodium. And I like that (sorry, I couldn’t resist using that TV commercial phrase).

If only the design elements in the ad weren’t so unbalanced…

Publisher’s Weekly: Real Cover, Fake Cover


Fake cover


Real cover


We’ve all seen ads that are designed to look like magazine articles. These advertorials usually look like the magazine’s editorial content, often in the form of product reviews. Advertorials carry the word “advertisement” at the top of the page. The idea is to falsely imply to the reader that the product is endorsed by the magazine. I believe that advertorials are inherently deceptive.

In an apparently new development, Publisher’s Weekly gives us an ad that is disguised as an entire magazine cover. When I received this issue, I thought they were doing a special piece about the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad. When I turned the page, I saw the real cover. I went back and looked at the fake cover and indeed, there was the word “advertisement” at the top of the page.

Running an ad for a book is one thing. Blurring the lines between advertising and magazine content to the point of running phony magazine covers that are actually ads implies that Publisher’s Weekly is somehow endorsing Rich Dad, Poor Dad. Since Publisher’s Weekly covers the publishing industry, this smacks of a conflict of interest to me.

I understand that the publishing industry has fallen on hard times and magazines have to grab a buck where they can get it. Still, it’s not like this magazine is inexpensive to subscribe to. As a matter of fact, I had to end my trial subscription because I can’t afford the $180 annual subscription fee.

Maybe I’m the only one left who thinks it’s better to go down in flames with your head held high than to compromise one’s integrity for money. While Publisher’s Weekly using fake covers that are ads doesn’t signal the start of the decline of Western civilization, it’s a trick.

I don’t like tricks.

Swiss International Airlines: Marked With a Cross


Swiss International Air Lines uses the image of the Swiss flag on their planes: a white cross against a red background.

Featuring the white cross so prominently in this ad might not have been a good idea. It reminds me of other places that are marked with a cross, specifically the white crosses that mark the graves in European cemeteries where American GIs were killed in WWII, like the one in Normandy, shown below.


In what can only be called ironic, the visual relationship between this ad and European cemeteries also calls to mind Switzerland’s long-hidden complicity in helping Nazi Germany during the war.

The purpose of this ad was to sell airline seats. Instead, it  caused me to think of dead American soldiers and Nazism.

Burt’s Bees Blew It


This ad for Burt’s Bees Radiance Serum is another example of the all-too-common mistake whereby a company thinks so highly of itself that it assumes that everyone is going to stop and read all of their copy. To be fair, they probably hired an advertising agency who doesn’t know how to write a compelling ad.

Before I talk about the copy, allow me to digress and talk about the image. I know that there was once a trend toward using real-looking people rather than perfect-looking models, but the close-up shot of this toothy model with an odd-looking nose doesn’t do anything to sell the product.

I’m just saying.

Okay, so we have the headline:


What does this mean? Unfortunately, you won’t understand the headline unless you read the rest of the copy BUT NO ONE IS GOING TO READ THE COPY.

Sorry. Give me a moment to compose myself.

The ad is trying to say  that Burt’s Bees Radiance Serum is natural and that competitors use dimethicone, which is a silicone-based chemical. One of the entries in the dimethicone column says that dimethicone is “like the silicone used in caulking to seal tub & tiles.”

Wow, what a great point! But the people who designed this ad think they’re writing a brochure for a doctor’s waiting room. This is an ad—you only get one shot. Burt’s Bees blew it.

Why not show a model’s face with bathroom tile in the background? Have the model hold a tube of silicone tile sealant like she’s going to rub it on her face. Then say in the headline:


That will put the fear of God into the reader. “What have I been putting on my face?” she’s going to ask. Then she’s going to want to read more to find out. This is such a no-brainer that it practically writes itself.

Once they have the reader’s attention, they could point out why it’s a bad idea to put silicone on your face and tell how wonderful and natural Burt’s Bees Radiance Serum is.

Am I right, or am I right?