Thursday, November 12, 2009

Visual Violations

I did not get this Fosters ad until someone explained it to me. I did not get the connection between the picture and the narrative. Alcohol advertising is directed to young men and the Addiction Letter (1994, p 3) says such advertising has an implicit and “dangerous promise”, that sex is an outcome to drinking.

The cantilevered breasts are an attempt at such an appeal, I guess. However, Sullivan says (2008, p. 55) that boobs are now a visual cliche in beer advertisements.

The idea here is that they provide shade to keep the beer cold. There is a risk, though, that young men seeing this ad could care less about Fosters, warm or cold, and take away the two attractive models from the ad.

At a brand level, IBM's Linux brand extension is a puzzle. Its Graffiti ads, for example, make no sense to me either. They are inconsistent with the entirety of IBM's umbrella brand that negotiates a meaning of stability, reliability and trustworthiness. Things you would want when entrusting them with corporate information systems. Instead, for the Linux brand extension, this is an ad campaign centered around a socially irresponsible act.

IBM actually defaced public properties in the campaign and they were prosecuted by Chicago and San Francisco (see Computer Weekly) . Shepard (2006, p. 3) advises that visual cues and brand dimensions should be consistent with the enterprise message architecture of a company. I view the IBM dimensions as trust, reliability, and stability. They are not a trendy clothing line where guerilla marketing might work.

For successful management of visual imagery and narrative, I present for your consideration Coca Cola. Coke communicates vitality and refreshment and always has an appeal to modernity. Coke is also part of my life. With its campaigns throughout history, The Pause that Refreshes, The Real Thing, and Max Headroom, Coke positions itself as something that fits into my lifestyle. It’s a cultural touchstone. To me Coke communicates style and energy.

Red is, after all, the color of vitality (McCarthy, 2005, p. 3)

Addiction Letter (March 1994) `Dangerous promises' campaign successfully fights sexy alcohol ads. Retrieved on November 9, 2009 from EBSCOHOST.

McCarthy, Jared (2005). Logos: What Makes Them Work. Retrieved on November 9, 2009 from WVU IMC 625 Week 3 Readings.

Salter, C., (2001). Trendsetter. Fastcompany. readings. Retrieved, November 6, 2009 from WVU IMC 625 Week 3 Readings.

Sullivan, L. (2008). Hey, Whipple, squeeze this: A guide to creating great advertising. (3rd Ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

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