Tag Archives: print ads

Michelob Ultra: The Fitness Beer


Ostensibly, Anheuser-Busch created this ad to announce that their Michelob Ultra is now available in the 12 oz. slim can. But they’re really implying that this light beer somehow promotes fitness.

“Drink this beer,” the ad seems to say, “and it will give you energy to jog or ride or cycle. It will keep you thin and fit. It is an energy beer.”

They can’t actually say any of that with words, because it’s not true. There’s nothing wrong with beer in moderation, but  beer doesn’t promote fitness and beer isn’t an energy drink. By implying this with images, they protect themselves against false advertising claims.


The Ritz-Carlton Spa Has an Ad That is Blah


When I scan ads for this blog, I go to great lengths to make sure the scan looks similar to the original ad. Thist frequently involves doing color and exposure corrections in Photoshop. One of the points that I wanted to make with this ad for The Ritz-Carlton Spa was that the colors were dull and that the rocks, hand, and plate in the foreground were out of focus. It may not be evident in this scan because the the colors were rendered more vibrant than the actual ad. I tried to do some corrections to make the scan match the ad, but the scan still looks better than the original.

So, we have a kind of dull-looking ad. Someone’s doing yoga on a plate, against a Japanese painting. It’s clever, but they just didn’t pull it off.

I like the headline:

Scheduling a wake-up call for your spirit.
It’s our pleasure.

In their attempt to be kind of zen, they made the headline kind of small, and it’s placement in the ad doesn’t work.

On the whole, this ad looks like one of those cheap-looking ads that you see in a local city magazine rather than a high-quality ad that you would expect to see in a national magazine. 

Vera Wang’s Museum Piece



This ad spread for Vera Wang Bouquet is wonderful. The first page features an arresting image that is reminiscent of a painting. In fact, it owes just a little to Vermeer’s Girl With a Pearl Earring.


You understand right away that this isn’t cheap perfume. Vera Wang knows that her target audience isn’t going to buy perfume “by” some pop singer. It doesn’t matter if it’s expensive—it promises romance, elegance, and sophistication. All this is done with no copy other than the name of the product.

The second page has a sample of the scent. No one is in love with these in magazines but it does give the reader the opportunity to preview the scent.

Wang has created beautiful packaging for her perfume and advertised it with an ad worthy of the product.

Your Dad Joined the Canadian Club. Now it’s Your Turn.


When I was young, anything your dad did was uncool and not to be imitated. Things are different today (I hear every mother say); this ad exhorts young people to drink Canadian Club Whisky because their fathers drank it.

There’s nothing actually wrong with this ad. It’s mystifying to me how the it’s going to help Canadian Club sell whiskey. Maybe I just don’t understand today’s youth. It’s kind of sad if this is the kind of advertising they respond to.

Damn right.

The Tassimoment of Truth


Bosch understands how to put a good ad together. This ad for their Tassimo coffee maker is pretty clear about what they’re trying to sell.

Here’s what they could have done to make the ad better:

  • Change the headline. My Tassimoment assumes that the reader is already familiar with the Tassimo  brand and she is going to make the association between the attempt at a clever headline and the product name. They’re wrong. And Tassimoment just sounds dopey.
  • Change the subheadThe Thrill of Choosing Which Way to Go, doesn’t really mean anything. Are they talking about driving to a vacation spot and choosing between the fast route and the scenic route? No, they’re saying that you can choose between different varieties of hot beverages—albeit unclearly.
  • Make it clear that this is a one-cup coffee maker. Yes, they show a single cup in a coffee machine, but the image is too small.The average reader is only going to glance at the ad. The one-cup concept should be stronger. Maybe it should have been in the headline.

Still, this ad is better than 99% of the ads out there today, which are crap.

The Future of AdMonkey


I started this blog about 6 months ago in response to what I saw was a world plagued with bad advertising—stupid concepts, lousy art direction, and awful copywriting. I thought it would be a good idea to critique these ads and have some fun in the process.

Unfortunately, the blog has been limping along with about 50 visitors per day and holding steady. Some visitors are from American universities. Some are from advertising agencies. Some are from corporations that track themselves or their competitors on the web.

There’s a smattering of international visitors from countries as varied as England, India, Netherlands, the Philippines, Australia, Korea, Romania, Germany, and Brazil, to name a few.

I recently noticed that the most popular post each day isn’t that day’s post. This means that people are finding old posts through links or search engines, reading them, and not coming back. AdMonkey doesn’t appear to have many regular readers who check it each day or every couple of days. If this is the case, it means that virtually no one will ever read this post.

I envisioned AdMonkey as a lively blog where people would leave comments and enter into discussions about advertising. For the most part, that hasn’t happened.

As you can imagine, this blog takes some time and work every day. In a down economy, I’m wondering if I shouldn’t be using the time devoted to the blog to pick up freelance copywriting work.

If you like this blog and would like to see it continue, please tell your friends or associates about it. Seeing more comments posted would help, too, but if I have to start begging people to post, I might as well just hang it up.

If readership doesn’t begin to increase, I’ll put the project on hiatus and concentrate on work that’s more productive.

Unscripted and Unpurchased


Here’s the latest entry on the celebrity fragrance bandwagon. This one is called Unscripted: Patrick Dempsey. The headline reads:

follow your passion

Let’s be clear about this: “follow your passion,” isn’t a phrase that resonates with men. Men don’t call each other on the phone and talk about passion. The word invokes romance novels and chocolate packaged in heart-shaped boxes.

The distinctly feminine headline, combined with the word AVON at the bottom of the ad all but assures that men will go out of their way to not buy this product.