Friday, December 02, 2005

Uncle Sam Wants Your Kids

Video games are investments of the military, and have taught most kids to shoot and kill by the time they are teenagers. The digital technology in tanks is getting closer and closer to a playstation 2 console. But it’s one thing to raise children to be soldiers and another to actually recruit them.

Xbox 360 water balloon ad

Here is a post from a few days ago. Scary things are happening down South. Judging from the number of recruitment ads for the reserves I have been hearing on the radio, seeing in FHM magazine and the movies, these drill-down tactics incorporated in the states will make their way to Canada soon enough.

Source: Advertising Age, November 28, 2005

The Pentagon's Joint Advertising, Market Research & Studies project has "finely sliced and diced its data enough to determine that the U.S. Army's prospective recruits come from households likely to listen to Spanish radio," while "the reading list at the households of U.S. Marine Corps prospects includes Car Craft, Guns and Ammo and Outdoor Life." Good U.S. Air Force prospects "listen to Nascar on the radio," while U.S. Navy enthusiasts "expect to get married within the next year." To "navigate a fragmented media environment," the Defense Department analyzed military applicants from 2000 to 2004, and identified 18 demographic groups "that provide the highest rate of prospective recruits." These include "Beltway Boomers," "Blue Chip Blues," "Young & Rustic," and "Multiculti Mosaic," as defined by Claritas, a "marketing information resources company." To reach these groups, "direct, interactive and other one-to-one marketing tactics," including email, are used; the Navy is "exploring emerging media such as cellphones and text messaging."

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Viral Advertising

Here is a great example of viral advertising. I received this email from an American friend, to give you an idea of its reach. It's another lenghty post, but it does strike the point home: Westjet is a fun, casual airline.

Canada sounds like fun
West Jet is an airline with head office situated in Calgary,Alberta.
Jet airline attendants make an effort to make the in-flight "safety
lecture" and announcements a bit more entertaining. Here are some real
examples that have been heard or reported:

On a West Jet flight (There is no assigned seating, you just sit where
want) passengers were apparently having a hard time choosing, when a
attendant announced, "People, people we're not picking out furniture
find a seat and get in it!"

On another West Jet Flight with a very "senior" flight attendant crew,
pilot said, "Ladies and gentlemen, we've reached cruising altitude and
be turning down the cabin lights. This is for your comfort and to
the appearance of your flight attendants."
On landing, the stewardess said, "Please be sure to take all of your
belongings. If you're going to leave anything, please make sure it's
something we'd like to have."
"There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but there are only 4 ways
out of
this airplane."
"Thank you for flying West Jet Express. We hope you enjoyed giving us
business as much as we enjoyed taking you for a ride."
As the plane landed and was coming to a stop at the Vancouver Airport,
lone voice came over the loudspeaker: "Whoa, big fella. WHOA!"
After a particularly rough landing during thunderstorms in Ontario, a
flight attendant on a West Jet flight announced, "Please take care when
opening the overhead compartments because, after a landing like that,
as hell everything has shifted."
From a West Jet Airlines employee: "Welcome aboard West Jet Flight 245
Calgary. To operate your seat belt, insert the metal tab into the
and pull tight. It works just like every other seat belt; and, if you
know how to operate one, you probably shouldn't be out in public
"In the event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, masks will descend
the ceiling. Stop screaming, grab the mask, and pull it over your face.
you have a small child traveling with you, secure your mask before
assisting with theirs. If you are traveling with more than one small
pick your favorite."
Weather at our destination is 50 degrees with some broken clouds, but
try to have them fixed before we arrive. Thank you, and remember,
loves you, or your money, more than West Jet Airlines."
"Your seat cushions can be used for flotation; and in the event of an
emergency water landing, please paddle to shore and take them with our
"As you exit the plane, make sure to gather all of your belongings.
Anything left behind will be distributed evenly among the flight
attendants.. Please do not leave children or spouses."
And from the pilot during his welcome message: "West Jet Airlines is
pleased to announce that we have some of the best flight attendants in
industry. Unfortunately, none of them are on this flight!"
Heard on West Jet Airlines just after a very hard landing in Edmonton:
flight attendant came on the intercom and said, "That was quite a bump,
I know what y'all are thinking. I'm here to tell you it wasn't the
airline's fault, it wasn't the pilot's fault, it wasn't the flight
attendant's fault, it was the asphalt."
Overheard on an West Jet Airlines flight into Regina, on a particularly
windy and bumpy day: During the final approach, the Captain was really
having to fight it. After an extremely hard landing, the Flight
said, "Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Regina. Please remain in your
with your seat belts fastened while the Captain taxis what's left of
airplane to the gate!"
Another flight attendant's comment on a less than perfect landing: "We
you to please remain seated as Captain Kangaroo bounces us to the
An airline pilot wrote that on this particular flight he had hammered
ship into the runway really hard. The airline had a policy which
the first officer to stand at the door while the Passengers exited,
and give them a "Thanks for flying our airline." He said that, in
light of
his bad landing, he had a hard time looking the passengers in the eye,
thinking that someone would have a smart comment. Finally everyone had
gotten off except for a little old lady walking with a cane. She said,
"Sir, do you mind if I ask you a question?"

"Why, no, Ma'am," said the pilot. "What is it?"

The little old lady said, "Did we land, or were we shot down?"
After a real crusher of a landing in Halifax, the attendant came on
"Ladies and Gentlemen, please remain in your seats until Captain Crash
the Crew have brought the aircraft to a screeching halt against the
And, once the tire smoke has cleared and the warning bells are
silenced, we
will open the door and you can pick your way through the wreckage to
Part of a flight attendant's arrival announcement: "We'd like to thank
folks for flying with us today. And, the next time you get the insane
to go blasting through the skies in a pressurized metal tube, we hope
you'll think of West Jet Airways."
Heard on a West Jet Airline flight. "Ladies and gentlemen, if you wish
smoke, the smoking section on this airplane is on the wing. If you can
light 'em, you can smoke 'em."
A plane was taking off from the Winnipeg Airport. After it reached a
comfortable cruising altitude, the captain made an announcement over
intercom, "Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. Welcome
Flight Number 293, nonstop from Winnipeg to Montreal, The weather ahead
good and, therefore, we should have a smooth and uneventful flight. Now
back and relax... OH, MY GOD!"

Silence followed, and after a few minutes, the captain came back on the
intercom and said, "Ladies and Gentlemen, I am so sorry if I scared you
earlier. While I was talking to you, the flight attendant accidentally
spilled a cup of hot coffee in my lap. You should see the front of my

A passenger in coach yelled, "That's nothing. You should see the back

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Traditional Family Values vs the Celebration of Youth

This is a long post, so I'll start it off with a fun ad. Third Arm.

Just an observation, but have you noticed how roughly half of the films and television shows that are in North America right now push traditional family values as their agenda.

A husband and wife, two and a half kids, two cars, a mortgage, suburbia, and the white picket fence.

The value system inherent is to protect your immediate family above all else, respect your neighbours, do unto others etc. The Christian ethic status quo.


Probably because there are people funding these films and television shows and newspaper articles that have enormous amounts of money invested in this concept. For various reasons:

It keeps the economy going.
It keeps the population under control.
It deters dissenters and would-be emperors.
Mostly, it keeps people shopping in a predicable way.

The primary purpose of an entertainment medium may be to attract a large audience. But once that audience is assured to producers, they will find investors seeking a return and this return is not always financial.

Ideological agendas keep the population functioning in a way that is controllable.

Now, before this all starts sounding a bit too conspiracy theory-ish, think of how shows are tailored to suit the needs of their advertisers.

My favourite thing to watch in movies is smoking. Within the first five minutes of a movie there is usually a strong divide as to whether smoking is glamourized or vilified in the film. Does this depend on the investment of tobacco companies? The same with gun control, alcohol, and the way the military is portrayed. Not to mention political points of view.

The other half of the films out there seems to revel in a system of values that celebrates youth. And this opens up a whole different slew of companies with their own agendas and products to push.

If you watch enough television you can get a sense for what side of divide the writers are on. Just a hunch, but the Simpsons has two teams, one for each.

Now, where do we tie into all this?

First off, gas and oil companies have an enormous investment in the way we currently live. They want us to drive around in cars. And they want us to use oil. The Americans make no bones about this, and admit that Kyoto would be economic suicide to the tune of $500 billion.

In Canada, we like to think that we are taking steps towards moving in a sustainable direction. But the truth is, the advertising budgets of green products and alternative fuels pale in comparison to their older, traditional counterparts. And we still need their money. So it’s kept out of the media mix. (Although the Sophisticated Briton may have something to say about this). After all, what gas or car company wants to invest in a program that discourages its sale?

So, what to do? How does one spread a sustainable idea in a world that is so divided?

Advertising? New media? Blogs? Let’s hear what you have to say.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Kyoto Strikes Back

The results are in from the UN report. Sure enough Canada is way behind in our commitment to cut CO2 emissions. We are now giving off 24.2% more emissions than in 1990, despite our promise to reduce levels by 6%. Some critics say that we are still in a more favourable position than the United States, who didn’t agree to Kyoto in the first place, yet ironically they are only 13.3% worse.

As you may recall, our special guest the Sophisticated Briton posted this information over a week ago on this very blog. So keep writing in, and we will make sure the news gets to you faster than ever before.

Along the lines of making sustainability sexy (to borrow a line from Change) here is the latest Prius ad. It takes a while to load, so be patient, but it’s worth it.

Prius Donkey ad

Monday, November 28, 2005

Small yet potent

Little shops like Creative Wonders may not seem to be much of a threat to major agencies, or even significant in the global scheme of things. However, now that the ‘world is flat’ the same resources and capabilities are available to small agencies that were previously only available to the larger conglomerates. With the advent of digital age and the Internet it is possible to make a real impact.

A shop called Pocket Hercules sent out this viral in an attempt to do just that.

Here we have Pocket Hercules vs. the Skyskraper.

Pocket Hercules

DISCLAIMER: Let it be known that Creative Wonders does not condone violence to acquire new business