Thursday, February 03, 2011

What do you call a hyperbole wrapped in a hyperbole

On the culture blog VHCLE, Michael Benson writes that he's upset with advertising and advertisers who use hyperbole to promote their wares:

It seems the people who play more fast and loose with language than any other spectrum of society are those people called ‘advertisers.’ We don’t tend to pay much attention to advertisements, but they surround us. Some studies say as many as 3,000 ads a day bombard our senses.

...whoa, Michael, what studies? I realize that the article is an opinion / editorial and you are not bound to publish your sources but it sounds to me that you just wrapped a hyperbole around a hyperbole. What would you call that?

Taco Bell would probably call that delicious!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Round-up on the use of the 3000 ad statistic

This post is a round-up of recent mentions of the fact that an average person is exposed to 3000 advertisements each day. At what point do ideas or memes become so engrained in our society that they become truth? As the old joke goes, 67.2% of all statistics are made up.

*****

Hannah writes that advertising creates negative self-image by portraying unrealistic images of women. She supports her argument with the 3000 ad statistic:

One statistic that really caught my attention was that the average person is exposed to over 3000 ads everyday!


The Manila Bulletin Publishing Corporation quotes industry analyst, Jaime Enrique Y. Gonzalez who says advertisers need to consider putting thier ads in video games because:

People see 3000 ads a day on the average but they screen out everything. The traditional advertising market is crowded and expensive.


Corey uses the stat in an online sermon about how we need to stop worshiping at the church of consumerism and return to God and faith:

The average person is exposed to approximately 3000 ads everyday through a variety of media. Everyday we are bombarded with slick advertising telling us what we lack and what we need to fulfill our lives and make life more comfortable...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

What if the world was all a logo and the people merely corporate mascots?

That’s the question posed in Logorama, a new, animated short film from H5 based on the theory that we see 3,000 advertisements each day. In this world, every person, object, or thing is a logo or a corporate representation. To quote from the press materials:
Logorama is 17 minutes of Hollywood blockbuster action, rife with car chases, natural disasters, and hostage-taking, but created entirely out of real world logotypes and brand characters. In it, you'll see the Michelin Man, the Haribo kid, Bob's Big Boy, Mr. Pringle and Ronald McDonald, but in some very unfamiliar roles playing the classic movie archetypes of good guys, bad guys and foils.”

An interview with Logorama film-makers Francois Alaux, Herve Crecy and Ludovic Houpain at Cannes in May 2009 explain some of the background behind this provocative piece. For example, they created the story of the film without logos and then during the “casting process” added in the logos or icons that best represented the characters they wished to develop. In their words, they wanted the audience to plunge into a fictional story that’s anchored in reality by logos and trademarks.

Logorama won the Oscar for best animated short in 2010!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Calvin Coolidge curbs billboard advertising

I was struck by a recent story about Calvin Coolidge, the 30th president of the United States who was said to have, among other things, curbed outdoor advertising.

Turns out this was part of his legacy while Governor of Massachusetts (1918-1920). While he was a Republican, “he supported a cost of living pay for public employees, limited the workweek for women and children to forty-eight hours, placed limits on outdoor advertising, and set up a state budgetary process -- all typical progressive measures.”



In an ironic twist, the outdoor advertising industry named a study after Coolidge. In 1965 C.E. HOOPER for Rollins Advertising Company conducted the Calvin Coolidge study in San Antonio to measure the effects of outdoor advertising. The study measured exposure to and effectiveness of billboards that stated "Calvin Coolidge Was The 30th President". A before an after telephone survey was conducted with 600 respondents who were asked two questions:

> Who was the 30th president? (test question)
> Who was the vice president under Eisenhower? (control question)

Correct answers to the test question were 28.3% after the advertising run up from 4.5% before. Correct answers to the control question remained at the same level, 67.8% before and 65.8% after. (The answer is Nixon btw.)

The Calvin Coolidge study has subsequently reproduced many with similar effect.

While Coolidge may have been cool on outdoor advertising, and cool in general, he was one of the first national politicians to make extensive use of radio and film media. He gave a record 529 press conferences; his inauguration was the first presidential inauguration broadcast on radio; he was the first President whose address to Congress was broadcast on radio; and was the first President to appear in a sound film.

I’d be curious if anyone knows why Coolidge tried to curb outdoor advertising and what effect this had on the industry. Drop a comment if you know.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Advertising is visual pollution

In a blow to the argument that consumers see more than 3,000 advertisements each day, Sao Paulo, Brazil, issued a ban on all outdoor advertising including billboards, outdoor video screens, blimps, shop-window signs, logos, and posters. As part of a wider initiative to curb garbage and pollution the advertising ban intends to eliminate what Sao Paulo's mayor, Gilberto Kassab, calls "visual pollution".

While many readers would agree that some ads are in bad taste, I have a hard time imagining standing in Times Square and looking around at buildings stripped of their flashing lights, neon and video screens. While the local advertising agencies have launched legal actions, it appears that many applaud the move.

This is the first time that a non-communist city has imposed such a rule… and enforced it with vigor. Apparently the law has been so successful that more than 15,000 billboards now stand empty.

If you want to see more, Tony de Marco has posted a video stream on Flickr. The story was broken on National Public Radio and covered by a number of online publications.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Temporal nature of advertising

I recently purchased a game called Adverteasing at a local thrift store. The game was made in 1988 by now defunct Canada Games Company under license from Rischer Enterprises. The game, very similar in game play to Trivial Pursuit, is completely focused on advertising slogans. It has 3,000 questions and is an amazing cultural artifact.

While I’m able to guess at the companies behind a few of the slogans, it is amazing how many companies are no longer in business. For those that are still in business, almost none of the slogans are used today. Here are a couple of examples, see if you can guess the answers (see the hint at the bottom of this post):

“It’s worth the trip”
  • Miami Beach
  • Cunard Lines
  • Dunkin’ Donuts
  • Delta Airlines

“Our strengths are legendary*”

  • US Steel
  • Navistar
  • Samsonite
  • Atlas Van Lines

“Washes clothes without rubbing”

  • Fab
  • Vivid
  • Lively Polly Dry Soap
  • Drive

“Does she…or doesn’t she?”

  • Pond’s
  • Lavoris
  • Clairol
  • Lady Speed Stick

“The Ultimate Driving Machine*”

  • Jaguar
  • Mercedes-Benz
  • BMW
  • Lotus

“The greatest show on earth*”

  • Ice capades
  • Circus of the Stars
  • Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey Circus
  • Circus Circus

“Correct your skin faults”

  • Pond’s
  • Clean & Clear
  • Dioxogen Cream (1937)
  • Clearasil

*Those marked with an asterisk are still used in promotional copy today.

Trivia solving hint: always choose answer "c or #3" in a multiple choice quiz.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Engagement key in TV Advertising

Exposure to 3,000 advertisements each day does not guarantee that the average person saw the ad or was engaged with the advertising.

Copernicus Marketing writes in its monthly newsletter that in the space of television advertising:

“…the vehicle influences effectiveness at least as much as the commercial itself.”
When I started in technology advertising, the model was simple: buy the lowest cost per thousand (CPM) and watch the product fly off the shelves. Advertising space for consumer software was dominated by Ziff Davis’ PC Magazine, IDG’s PC World. If you owned a computer, or wanted to own a computer you read these magazines.

The overall spend on television advertising by companies in the USA is about $50-70 billion. With that much at stake, CPM is only one criterion for selection. Copernicus goes on to say:

“The best measure of involvement included a mix of…three types of indicators and confirmed that viewers highly involved in a program are far more likely to recall the advertising.”
The indicators they cite are:
  1. Behavioral – size of room, distractions, number of people, previous view experience
  2. Attitudinal – enjoyment, reflection of personal beliefs and values
  3. Summary – rating of show, comparison to previous shows

The full article is available online:
http://www.copernicusmarketing.com/about/mzine/monthlyeds/jun07.html