Tuesday, May 9, 2017

KFC reminds moms that it's their job to cook. On #MothersDay


The idea is pretty cute: Kentucky Fried Chicken publishes a romance novella starring Colonel Sanders as a mysterious Victorian sailor.




It's funny stuff by Wieden + Kennedy. But there's a problem here, and it has to do with what "moms" are expected to do when it's not Mother's Day.

Let's hear it directly from the mouth of George Felix, director of advertising for KFC U.S.:

"...this Mother's Day, the bucket of chicken I get for my wife will come with a side of steamy romance novella. Dinner is taken care of and she'll have the time to escape her busy schedule."

Dinner's taken care of? That's great! Mom gets the night off from cooking for her family. Because that's what moms are expected to do, right?

I get that advertising isn't supposed to push social progress, but rather sell stuff. And KFC has been selling fried chicken as a "break for mom" since the beginning.



You get the idea.

Nonetheless, the dusty old ideas about family division of labour seem to work for the KFC brand, who claim a 40% jump in sales on Mother's Day.

Moral of the story? More men and children need to learn how to cook.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

One terrifying circumcision ad (f. Wolverine)



As shared on Twitter by @AccordionGuy. Origin unknown.

From the Philippines, where foreskins are apparently as disposable as copyright laws.

I really have nothing else to say, except thanks to @MikeGormanHFX for the tip (so to speak).




Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Pop go the world's problems



So, here's that Pepsi Max ad that made lots of people angry.

Why? Because it seems to imply that the problems of police violence, especially against people of colour, can be solved by a member of the Jenner/Kardashian clan with a cold beverage:






What a different time we live in than 46 years ago, when Coca-Cola quite successfully co-opted the hippie zeitgeist at its very end:


What's different?

Imagine if Coke's iconic "Hilltop"ad,  instead of showing a bunch of people singing on a hill (like in The Sound Of Music) instead showed them facing down armed National Guardsmen (like at Kent State in 1970):


Instead of killing four students and wounding nine, in this Coke ad in an alternative 1971, the Ohio National Guardsmen are stopped by a cold beverage. How would the friends and families of the dead and wounded students have felt about the trivialization of their tragedy?

That, I understand, is how many racialized people feel about this week's Pepsi ad in the context of Black Lives Matter.


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Jewellery billboard thinks stoning women is funny



My colleague Katie sent me this abomination of a billboard, via Fast Company, with a simple comment: "ugh."

Spicer Greene Jewelers has already taken a beating/earned hordes of free media for this, so at the risk of helping them sell more rings to people without souls, I'll just add the following:

Death by stoning is still practised in several countries, such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Mauritania, Nigeria, whether legally or illegally. Women are frequently sentenced to stoning for offences against puritanical sexuality laws and customs.

Here's an infographic by the Thompson Reuters Foundation, to help this sink in:



But hey, let's make light of violence against women to sell jewellery to men.


Thursday, January 12, 2017

President Shill? Trump as Brand Influencer


I took a little break from blogging, and look what happens. The United States elects a man who knows nothing but self promotion, and profiting off the backs of others, to their highest office.

Trump is not yet in office, but is using his very big soap box to manipulate stock prices as a bully tactic to tell aerospace companies and automakers where to put their factories. (Although the corporations themselves say it's a coincidence.)

How is this a matter for "The Ethical Adman"? Look above. The PEOTUS is literally telling his followers to buy certain brands, as if he is a paid shill. Is this also "unpresidented"?

Welcome to the United States of America in the reality television era, where someone like Kylie Jenner can make up to $300,000 per post as a paid "brand influencer" on Instagram. Trump is part of this world — a world television viewers and social media users created — and he seems to think it's his job as future leader of the "free world" to punish and reward brands depending on whether they support him politically or not.

The most worrisome part of this phenomenon is Trump's open hostility towards certain media outlets. He used his first press conference since the election to call BuzzFeed a "failing pile of garbage" and CNN a "fake news site" from a position of ultimate power.

And that's not all:


Advertising, entertainment, politics, and the personal vendettas of a singularly unqualified president-elect: it's all one big stinking mess in 2017.

UPDATE: JC tells me that LL Bean has already stated it doesn't want Trump's endorsement.