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Category — Advertising Philosophy

Joel Bauer and the Art of the Business Card: “OMG, It even has a watermark…”

This is Joel Bauer, his card doesn’t belong in a Rolodex, it belongs on your desk. Framed. Where the picture of your daughter used to be.

This is Joel Bauer, and his business card would go directly into my trash bin. His whole argument for why it’s a great card, the fact that it’s non-traditional and oddly shaped, is the reason. The fact that it doesn’t conform to the traditional 3.5″ by 2″ size means that it won’t fit in my wallet or business card holder. That, compounded by the fact that this guy is obviously a douche and people will see that when they meet him and get his card, means that his $4 dollar cards are going, more often than not, right in the trash.

He’s right about some things though:
Paper quality is important, and so is the ink quality and color. High gloss is nice, and double-sided cards can be super fantastic, but if you can get your point across on one side, I think it always works better. Too much color and mayhem can make the card distracting. He’s right about the message too, it should tell people what you do in a meaningful way, without being confusing and overly complicated. Most importantly, the card needs contact information. Every possible way of contacting you or your business should be on that card. That means, of course, name, phone number, fax number, email, and website.

After the “read more”, we have a collection of some interesting and quality business card designs that actually do work well, as opposed to Joel’s:
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April 21, 2009   1 Comment

The Color of 2009: Whatever Pantone Says


I have somewhat of an obsession with colors and their names or designations. Whenever I can get my hands on color guides or paint sample booklets, I snatch them up. For instance, I have boxes full of those Pantone Guide strips; and having worked in the automotive industry, I have literally piles of automotive production color books with samples of all the exterior colors from various cars. I have samples from nearly every year of nearly every major make and model of car. There is something about the classification of color; I’m fascinated with the taxonomic designations and, more importantly, the aesthetic of all the sample colors lined up in neat rectangles with numbers beneath them.

Anyway… Mimosa. Mimosa is the color of the year, according to the “global authority on color”, Pantone. Read on about 2009′s color:
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February 18, 2009   1 Comment

Whopper Sacrifice: Prove Your Love For The Burger King


Burger King is all about the viral kookiness these days, and their latest advertising enterprise is actually pure genius. They’ve created the “Whopper Sacrifice,” Facebook application, which will give you a coupon for a free Whopper if you delete 10 people from your Facebook friends list.

Burger King got me interested with their Whopper Virgins ads, and initially I loved this campaign because of how it seemingly makes fun of all the Facebook obsessed freaks out there. The website says: “Now is the time to put your fair-weather Web friendships to the test. Install Whopper Sacrifice on your Facebook profile, and we’ll reward you with a free flame-broiled Whopper when you sacrifice ten of your friends.” And the app actually makes each “sacrifice” show up in your activity feed for everyone to see. It says something like “Vito sacrificed Jimmy James for a free Whopper.”

But I thought about it, and wondered what BK could possibly gain from this. And then it came to me:
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January 8, 2009   1 Comment

One Ad Agency’s Way Of Getting Clients To Pay Their Bills: Pick Whom To Fire


Brussels advertising agency So Nice sent out an email to its clients saying they need to shrink their staff, and asking the clients to choose which employee should go. The email had a link to, where each of the prospective ex-employees lists their strengths and weaknesses.

The small 10 person agency has apparently been financially squeezed by it’s clients paying their bills later and later. Co-founder of the company, Laurent Duffaut, said the email was a “scandalous and provocative way to get a reaction from our clients”. But the email has generated a ton of interest outside of just its client base. In five days, the site has had 30,000 unique visitors casting 17,500 votes.
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December 23, 2008   Comments Off

Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia Pet: The Holiday Gift From Your Weird Uncle


San Francisco-based Joseph Enterprises, the company behind the Chia Pet, will be spending almost $9 million dollars on advertising this year alone. Yet from the months of January to September of this year, they’ve only spent $5,000 dollars. This is because almost all of the advertising happens during the holiday season, and likewise, 90% of Chia sales occur during the holidays. They’re like the Jesus of the kitschy seed planter pottery world – big in December, ignored the rest of the year.

They were first introduced in 1981 and have continued to cling to the public consciousness despite being branded as just a fad product. Joseph Enterprises does a good job of keeping the public interested with new forms each year. For example, this year they have characters from the films “Madagascar” and “Kung Fu Panda” on top of their regular line of kittens and hippos and elephants.

Check out the timeline of all the different types of Chia pet:
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December 23, 2008   1 Comment

Tough Economic Times May Be Helping Craft Sales


Many holiday gift givers are trying to save money by making their own gifts this year, or buying handmade gifts from others. Scrapbooks, jewelery, homemade soap, various knitted bits, etc. As a result craft stores are seeing a boom in sales. Sales of handmade crafts on eBay climbed 34 percent; and the online craft marketplace, Etsy, has been breaking records for the past 2 months. Last month, artists sold $10.8 million of goods on the site, compared to $4.2 million in November 2007.

The big craft chains are seeing profits too. The Michaels Stores chain has been selling record numbers of craft supplies and things used to make jewelry, baked goods, scrapbooks and decorated clothing. It’s going to be a Bedazzled Christmas.
Meanwhile, during this craft boom, the nation’s overall retail sales in November fell 7.4 percent from the same time last year.
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December 23, 2008   Comments Off

How Do You Change The World?


Ok AdSavvyites, it’s time for some audience participation.

I was reading one of my favorite blogs, David Friedman’s Ideas, and he had an interesting topic: Ways to promote your political ideology. Let’s say you’re a moderately wealthy and talented individual with a strong desire to promote a certain political viewpoint. How do you go about doing it? What’s the most effective, efficient way to get it done? You want the most amount of change for the least amount of money and effort. I want to hear your ideas.

First, let’s consider some of the more common methods:
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November 29, 2008   2 Comments

The Power Of “Framing Effects” And Other Cognitive Biases


Human beings tend to think they’re rational creatures, and that they make sound decisions based on all the available facts. They think their memory is an accurate record of things that have happened to them. But the reality is that we all have a slew of cognitive biases that can alter our thinking… and even our memories.

Psychologists have names for all the different fallacies and biases that influences our thinking: cognitive dissonance, inattentional blindness, blind spot bias, better-than-average bias, introspection illusion, self-serving bias, attribution bias, representative fallacy, availability fallacy, anchoring fallacy, hindsight bias, and the one I’ll be talking about here: framing effects
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November 6, 2008   6 Comments

The Economist Uses Pizza Boxes To Encourage Students To “Get A World View”


The Economist is one of my top five favorite magazines, I read it regularly. I also live in the Philadelphia area and eat pizza quite often. So I’m excited about The Economist’s new advertising plan: they connected with over 20 pizzerias in the Greater Philadelphia area, most of them near college campuses or dorms, and supplied them with Economist-branded pizza boxes. Each box has a pie chart that connects pizza consumption with global economics and politics. They encourage people to “Get A World View”.

This kind of ambient advertising is always interesting. Publipizz, a maker of advertising pizza boxes, estimates that a box of pizza is looked at by 3 people for at least 8 minutes and results in an 80% memory retention rate. Plus, boxes with advertising on them are less expensive for pizzerias, which makes them more likely to join in.
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November 4, 2008   1 Comment

Esquire’s Battery-Powered Cover The Last Gasp Of Printed Media?

My vote for the most deluded advertiser of the month goes to Michael Maguire, the CEO of Structural Graphics for his ideas on the future of print magazines.

If you haven’t already seen it or heard about it, the October issue of Esquire is “battery-powered”. Yeah, it’s just as tacky as it sounds. It cost Esquire $250,000 dollars just to get the technology to do it and it falls completely flat. I think it may just signify the jumping of the shark for print media as a whole, or maybe not, who knows.

Michael Maguire had some pretty lofty things to say about it though, like the cover was “heralding a new era in the use of technology in magazine advertising”, and he played the futurist, saying that “there are a number of steps that we’re going to see unfolding in the years to come… like animated color video in printed media, etc”. I’m not so sure. People may cling to magazines the way we’ve clung to books, but I think it’s just as likely that some sort of product like the Amazon Kindle could become mainstream and people could buy magazines for their Kindle and download them directly. Who needs paper, anyway?

What do you think AdSavvyites? Esquire’s electro-cover, lame or not?

October 28, 2008   3 Comments