Friday, April 08, 2005

In a word: Impeccable

Everything that you say, and everything that you do, has an effect on other people. So why not use this in a positive way? If you genuinely tell someone that you like their work, or their clothes or their tan (at least in the summer) it rests warmly on them throughout the day, and creates a positive feeling. Just one sentence, one word, can have so much effect. The same is true for advertising. When you make people feel good about themselves, they feel good about you, your product and your brand.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Advertising vs Journalism - the old argument

Advertising has a bad rap.

It's trying to trick me. I can't trust it. End of argument.

If you want to spread awareness go to the papers! They'll set the record straight.

Ask Adbusters about that one.

These kinds of arguments are based entirely on the assumption that journalists operate on an objective ideal. But the truth is their job is to entice people into a readership whos only reason to be is to Make Money by Selling Advertising Space. The mass media is a vessel to selectively create a reality for whatever message is being bought by the highest bidder.

Advertising is like electricity, it is a vessel to move information. It makes no airs to be anything but. While journalists claim to move information objectively - they are taking paychecks from corporations with other interests - and the foundation of their 'truth' is sponsored.

It's not about what they are writing. It's about what they can write about.

Of course, it is the onus of the company to make sure its information is factual. It is the onus of the advertising to make that truth appealing, digestible and moved quickly into the minds of the consumer, and keep it there. That is the electric effect.

Journalism or Advertising - either way, the same facts are there. It is just a question of how they are served up on your plate. The meal hasn't changed, only the presentation.

The onus of an ethical agency is to only work with companies that tell the truth, and have the best interests of society in mind.

A newspaper's prosperity depends on appeasing the likes of oil companies, questionable pharmaceutical companies, right-wing war-mongering organizations and car manufacturers - when is the last time you opened a newspaper and didn't see an ad for Shell, GM, IBM or any of the most unethical companies in the world? These companies are signing journalist's and editor's paychecks - and I am sure they would applaud the way journalists innocently defend their slant on reality, and intrusion into the availability of certain information as objective and good.

Ever noticed that when there is a car accident they never describe the make of car?

Try to include it. Take a stab at milk, or cigarettes, or oil. Go for it. See it what happens in the editing room.

If you get away with it, great, you are at a small enough paper, with a low enough circulation for it to slip by. You can reach a counterculture.

But try to get it into mass circulation. Up on billboards. Front page. Full page. Full colour. Radio. TV! - or is this sounding more like advertising?

You need to pay to be heard. It's a reality we live in.

People need to spread awareness, but it is not always the best route to transmit this knowledge adequately through the earnestness of a press that is owned by their very competition,

Businesses that have a positive message to share will be safer promoting themselves through paid communication that they can control than they ever will be through an underpaid PR rep, or journalist, that rallies around the same backward companies they are up against.

Recapturing the Media

I was doing some reading yesterday about some of the products on the market that have found ways to:

1. Cut down on their CO2 emissions, waste and vehicles on the road - all in all making the world a less-polluted, more sustainable place
2. Save themselves loads of money in the process

I think this is great.

And I think that once more people become conscious that sustainaable manufacturing, transportation and design can actually save them time and money, not to mention a toll on their health - the world as a whole will be a better place overall.

For example - Natures Path cereal cut down on their box size by 10% - pulling 300 tractor trailers off the road each year, saving tons of fuel and reducing the amount of material they have to use by 76 tons a year.

Kettle Chips use solar power to make a quarter of a million bags of chips a year, they have a fleet of biodiesel vehicles that run on the same safflower and sunflower oil they use to make chips.

Did you know that they take the skins off the tomatoes you eat out of a can with bleach? This includes the spaghetti sauce on your bolognese.

There is a lot to know about the things you put into your body, and the products you use on an everyday basis.

And people should know these things.

Newspapers and the popular media cannot be relied on to have our best interests in mind. Their job is to keep their advertisers appeased.

If you have seen The Corporation you might remember the story about rBGH. This is one example. The reality is that it happens everyday, in every paper, in every article, except for the sources of hired Manufactured Dissent - which only exist to make you believe that objectivity still remains.

Adbusters has unsuccessfully tried to get 'Buy Nothing Day' on the airways. The stations refuse to sell them space.

Of course. Why would this ever be in their best interest?

A Media Carta is a nice idea - but realistically - paid communications - even paid communications masked by a product front - is the new frontier

Blackspot is way ahead of its time.

More products need to get on the bandwagon and realize that the machinations of advertising agencies exist for a reason - because they are effective.

Just think of a brand, any brand. Say it out loud.

It is time to start putting some of this expertise to use - and offering objective information to the public in an effective way.

Rogers sugar strips all of the molasses from its sugarcane, and then re-injects it to create 'raw sugar'

Trans fat cannot be processed by the human body. It is poison.

But it is in almost all of the food we eat - junk food that is.

The World Health Organization is demanding that products indicate that they have trans fats in them - but not until 2006. Even now, less than 0.5 g can slip under the radar.

Campbells soup is loaded with carcinogenic MSG

I know this from a Capers flyer - a paid piece of communications that got me reading about all of the health dangers that mass communication never adequately expresses.

It's through a medium that is fast, bright, colourful, and crafted to catch our attention that awareness can be best spread - disruptive, honest, and ethical advertising - that the true stories reach our consciousness.

It is the fastest route to the truth.

By the way, the brand you said out loud, was it Nike?

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

What does it mean to be a LOHAS business - Part Two

LOHAS consumers hold a distinctive niche, but a growing, and significant niche.

Some businesses see LOHAS as a fad to be capitalized upon, and this can be dangerous practice. It is important when planning an advertising campaign to remember that while a LOHAS consumer base may be growing, there are plenty of 'Conscious Creatives' out there who have been waiting for years for businesses to catch up with them. It is not enough to state that you have LOHAS values in mind anymore, plenty of businesses are doing that nowadays and this makes it difficult for legitimate LOHAS businesses to break through the clutter of empty rhetoric. While Conscious Creatives are known to be meticulous, serious consumers who look beyond advertising to find the holistic approach of a business, they don't always have the time. What this means for a LOHAS business is that you need to express your values clearly enough for LOHAS consumers to identify with and in a way that instils trust in the consumer.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

What does it really mean to be a LOHAS business? - Part One

When you really break it down, LOHAS isn't anything but an acronym. Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability, what does this really mean? We know LOHAS consumers represent a $227 billion US market segment, and we know that they are composed of 'Conscious Creatives' who bring new awareness to their purchasing behaviour and decisions. But you ask, does this really tell us anything? Of course it does. In Vancouver especially, we have become so progressive in our consciousness that we have begun to take it for granted, and assume that everyone thinks the same way as us! While being concerned about healthy living, environmental sustainability, and personal development seems to be second nature for us, we mustn't forget that there is still a majority out there that doesn't share these values.

LOHAS consumers hold a distinctive niche, but a growing, and significant niche.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Interesting news of the day - Year long celebrations much more fun

Danes parade fairy tale king

Denmark has kicked off a year-long celebration of fairy tale author Hans Christian Andersen with a television spectacular, helped by the magic charms of celebrities.

Saturday's event in the capital Copenhagen marked 200 years since the birth of Andersen, who created such memorable tales as The Ugly Duckling, The Emperor's New Clothes and The Little Mermaid.

The Danish Queen, Margrethe II, was joined by other European royals, plus film star Sir Roger Moore, Chilean writer Isabella Allende, Danish football star Peter Schmeichel, Irish politician John Hume and many others.

The biggest Danish cultural event ever was broadcast to millions of TV viewers worldwide.