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apparently, sex isn't the only thing that sells

with the assistance of some friends, i have dreamed up some pretty bizarre advertising campaign ideas in my time, the kind of thing that no one in their right mind would use to advertise anything. however, as i get older, i'm beginning to think that these ideas were just well ahead of their time.

this afternoon, taking the subway home, i happened upon a new campaign from the workers safety insurance board of ontario. i can only assume that the imagery is meant to target teenagers, but the ads are a peculiar mix of gory imagery (severed ears with ear phones still inserted, young man trying to use a playstation with the bloody stump of a severed arm) and singularly unfunny prose. of course, it's just possible that the advertising world has run out of ideas and finally started to take advice from people like me, who would rather get a reaction than sell anything. (if you know what i do for a living, you can feel free to giggle at that.)

so it seems that i may have a brilliant future in advertising after all. would you like to hear about the tums antacid campaign that features an aztec heart-eating ritual?

Comments

Joe said…
Well I do write ads for a living, and I think that's a terrible campaign.

If it's purpose is to make kids more work safe, trivalizing injuries by making them cartoonish and amusing seems counter-productive.

Sometimes people in the media business are too hung up on being creative, new and innovative and forget there are tried and true methods that work pretty good. Showing real people with real injuries tells people it can happen to them and they need to take precautions. Not as amusing to the critics, and it won't win any awards, but it would actually, I dunno, prevent a few workplace accidents.
My personal issue with work safety is that in most cases, its the fault of the company, who does not care about anything beyond productivity and will gladly turn a few corners to squeeze an extra buck. Most of the time, the first victim is training, because its all costs and no short-term returns.
Lack of training is particularly dangerous towards teenagers, who are perceived as cheap labor and absolutely disposable.
As in politics, our greatest failure is complete lack of basic leadership. And as for the ads, they are fine. They are rather similar to the warnings of cigarette packs, showing the results of smoking; the result of unsafe work practices is that you lose a limb. Simple message, simple equation, high impact; I believe that makes it a good ad campaign, reaching to the audience in a language they'll understand. Isn't that the point?
flora_mundi said…
there was a similar misfire i found in an anti-drunk driving ad campaign in the usa last year. it was made to be funny. many times, humour helps an ad, but in certain contexts, it weakens the message.

ironically, the wsib had an extremely effective campaign, featuring true stories that touched on causes of workplace accidents. i'm left wondering what happened.
What happened is simple: businesses don't like being pointed out when they screw up. Its so much simpler to blame it on obscure "market forces"...

as long as you're here, why not read more?

jihadvertising?

i keep seeing this ad for tictac candies:



am i the only one who finds the suicide bomber clown at the end a little unnerving? all the nice natural things like the bunny and the [extinct] woolly mammoth and the fruit get devoured by a trying-to-appear-nonthreatening-but-obviously-psychotic clown who then blows himself up. congratulations, tictac, i think this ad has landed you on about a dozen watch lists.

oh and by the way, showing me that your product will somehow cause my stomach to explode in a rainbow of wtf makes me believe that doing consuming tictacs would be a worse dietary decision than the time i ate two raw eggs and a half a bottle of hot sauce on a dare.

making faces :: hot stuff, comin' through

i don't even know what to say about the weather. the end of september saw temperatures at a scalding 36c/ 97f outside. this is especially annoying because we've had a moderate summer. most days it rained a little in the morning, the temperatures didn't creep into the 30s too often and there wasn't the normal stretch of a few weeks when it felt like we were living on the sun. now, we've receded into more normal fall weather, although it's still on the warm side for mid-october. that climate change thing is a bitch.

trying to think of something positive in the situation, it does put me in a perfect frame of mind to write about urban decay's naked heat palette. it's the latest in what appears to be an endless series of warm neutral and red eyeshadow palettes that have followed in the footsteps of anastasia's modern renaissance. [which i ultimately decided i didn't need after doing a thorough search of my considerable stash.] i do think that it'…

i agree, smedley [or, smokers totally saved our planet in 1983]

so this conversation happened [via text, so i have evidence and possibly so does the canadian government and the nsa].

dom and i were trying to settle our mutual nerves about tomorrow night's conversion screening, remembering that we've made a fine little film that people should see. which is just about exactly what dom had said when i responded thusly:

me :: i agree smedley. [pauses for a moment] did you get that here?

dom :: no?

me :: the aliens who were looking at earth and then decided it wasn't worth bothering with because people smoked even though it was bad for them?
come to think of it, that might mean that smokers prevented an alien invasion in the seventies.

dom :: what ?!?!?

me :: i've had wine and very little food. [pause] but the alien thing was real. [pause.] well, real on tv.

dom :: please eat something.

of course, i was wrong. the ad in question ran in 1983. this is the part where i would triumphantly embed the ad from youtube, except that the governmen…