Make America Clean Again

The folks at Procter & Gamble have announced a new look for Mr. Clean. The new iconic brand character will be African American. After 59 years the time has come to give the original a break. I have to admit that the way things have been going in the United States recently, when I first heard about a new look for Mr. Clean I did fear he may look like this:

clean

Talk about a repurpose! Will yellow hair become trendy? Will we say in four years “Remember how yellow his hair was when elected and now it is so very grey.”

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

Is Norfolk Southern Ad Racist?

keepingthelightson

If you read this blog with any regularity you will be familiar with my advertising hobbyhorse that I like to take out of the stable and ride from time to time. My gripe today is with the Norfolk Southern railway ad that plays on many main and cable networks. I am as pasty white complected as they come, but this ad strikes me as racist. Let me explain.

So the white guy did all the important things while the black guy just maintains things as they are until, one assumes, the white guy gets back to work the next day.

In the ad, titled Just another day, two NS employees are chatting as they change shifts at the end of the day. A white guy who is going off duty, and a black guy who is about to start his shift have a friendly talk. The black guy asks the white guy how his day was. The white guy then tells him the important things he contributed to by seeing that the train ran smoothly including delivering cars and electronics, stocking grocery shelves, and providing food for the nation. The white guy then asks his black colleague what he will be doing during his shift and he replies “Nothing much, just keeping the lights on”.

So the white guy did all the important things while the black guy just maintains things as they are until, one assumes, the white guy gets back to work the next day. Couldn’t the black guy have done the important stuff? He gets to have a nice easy shift, maybe he’ll have a nap or two, then the white guy can do all those meaningful things again. Maybe I’m just too sensitive.  

 

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

Is Volkswagen Ad With Willie Nelson Driving a Good Idea?

willievw

I seem to be riding an advertising hobby-horse lately, must be watching too much television. My gripe today is with a Volkswagen Passat ad that has been getting a lot of play recently.

Is it such a good idea to show an automobile being driven by an octogenarian who is a strong proponent of the regular recreational use of marijuana? Really.

The soundtrack is Willie Nelson‘s On the Road Again, a very appropriate song for a car ad. While the ad takes a whimsical approach, two aspects featured display anything but whimsy.

The first questionable element is when we see the father-figure driving the car with mom in the passenger seat and a daughter in the back. For some reason dad almost smacks into the car stopped in front of them. Thankfully the VW stops itself before ramming into the other car. During dad’s zone-out, mom has been applying lipstick while looking in the mirror on the back of the sun visor. The sudden, perhaps life-saving stop activated by the VW’s safety package causes mom to jolt and smear lipstick all over her cheek. Messy, but far better than a whack in the chops with a deployed  airbag. This is presented with much mirth as the kid in the back seat finds it hilarious, and even mom and dad have a chuckle. The fact that dad’s asinine driving could have resulted in injury or death is just laughed off.

Messy, but far better than a whack in the chops with a deployed  airbag.

The other potentially dangerous aspect of the ad is a cameo appearance at the end by Willie Nelson himself. To close the spot we see a yellow convertible VW beetle pull out and pass (correctly on the left mind you) the featured Passat. There is a guitar in the back seat and the car is driven by Nelson. Is it such a good idea to show an automobile being driven by an octogenarian who is a strong proponent of the regular recreational use of marijuana? A guy who in fact often sings a song he penned called Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die. Really? I love On the Road Again, but I’d prefer it if he would stick to being a passenger on his bus!

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

 

Dumbing Down in Advertising and Politics

I like to observe and analyze advertising. Currently there is an ad running on TV for a website called Thumbtack.com. The site provides a listing of various contractors and, I assume, comments from those who have used their services.

In the ad a couple is sitting on a front porch discussing how they used the site to find a roofer. (Not roofie  the date-rape drug, but a company that will fix your roof.) The husband talks about the work required on the roof and admits he does not have a clue about how to find someone to do it. The wife sums it up by saying where are you going to find a roofer? Huh?

thumbtack
Thumbtack.com ad featuring roofer seeking couple

Finding a cure for cancer has proven to be difficult. A needle in a haystack is going to pose a challenge. Even the search for an honest man gave Diogenes of Sinope a hard time. But a roofer? Someone who can slop some tar on your roof, or nail down some shingles. This is not the quest for the Holy Grail nor a search for the fountain of youth. Here’s a crazy idea, go to Google, type “roofers”+”your city” and voila! up pop hundreds of potential contractors. This is not rocket science. Even those who are technically challenged can always resort to the good old fashioned Yellow Pages. Here’s a hint, check under R.

Interestingly when I look up the offending ad I find an edited version in which the same happy couple discuss engaging a qualified professional but the roofer segment seems to have been chopped, Hmmmmmm.

But I must admit that a more annoying ad is for Flonase in which they explain to us clearly and concisely, as if we were idiots, that “six is greater than one”. Well, I would never have grasped that advanced mathematical concept without their help.

6 > 1 ... no shit.
6 > 1 … no shit.

The dumbing down of society is widespread, perhaps nowhere more so than in advertising. A good ad that respects the intelligence of the target audience is a rarity these days. Sadly this assumption of stupidity is presently the driving force behind Republican candidate Donald Trump’s campaign. Even scarier is that it is working!

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

“The World Needs More Canada” is a Great Slogan For 150th Birthday in 2017

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau and Bono. 'You say it loud, and that is why I am here, and that is why I am your friend and a friend of Canada's,' Bono said. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)
Canadian PM Justin Trudeau and Bono. ‘You say it loud, and that is why I am here, and that is why I am your friend and a friend of Canada’s,’ Bono said. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)

 

Mr. Trudeau please cancel any contracts with advertising agencies that may involve the writing of a catchy phrase to be used next year for our 150th birthday; we have our slogan.

There have been some great advertising slogans over the years. “I ❤️ New York”, said I love New York, not I heart New York, is one of the first to pop into my mind. “It’s the real thing, Coke” was another, taking a shot at competitor cola Pepsi. It was popular until it was hijacked by the cocaine-snorting drug subculture. As simple as these phases seem in retrospect, I imagine big bucks were spent on them.

Recently we Canadians were given perhaps the ideal patriotic slogan when President Barack Obama stated “The world needs more Canada”. Bingo! There’s your slogan. Mr. Trudeau please cancel any contracts with advertising agencies that may involve the writing of a catchy phrase to be used next year for our 150th birthday; we have our slogan. And who better to unveil our new slogan than the first Black president of the United States?

This past weekend our new moniker was reiterated when U2 front-man Bono uttered it at the Global Fund Conference in Montreal.

Perhaps it is a reflection of our Canadian culture that these words have not been festooned on T-shirts, ball caps and bumper stickers. In the days of Trudeau pere no time was wasted printing merchandise with his Fuddle-Duddle  comment emblazoned on it.   Or could it be that President Obama has let the cat out of the bag too soon?

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

Hey Office Depot, Chillax! It’s Only July

OfficeMax

This morning while sipping my coffee and watching CNN’s coverage of the Republican National Convention I was moved for perhaps the first time in my life to make a political statement.  It has nothing to do with the GOP, nor Donald or Melania Trump, not even a potential wall along Mexico’s border with the USA. Nope, my gripe is with Office Depot/Office Max.

Mid-July is no time for school preparation, it is a time for camps, baseball, swimming pools and relaxing.

Let me stress that today is July 20th. We are not even into the dog days of summer, yet Office Depot/Office Max want us to ‘Gear up for school’. Get real.

I suggest we boycott Office Depot until they remove this thinly veiled ‘back to school’ campaign. Mid-July is no time for school preparation, it is a time for camps, baseball, swimming pools and relaxing. No wonder North Americans tend to not use up their allotted amount of vacation.

While I have given up my quest to have schools return to the old schedule, starting on the Tuesday after Labour Day, this mid-July attempt to have students, parents  and teachers gear up for class is at best offensive, and at worst dangerous.

As kids say, chillax, there is a whole ten months of school coming up, so let’s not rush things. Office Depot should issue a mea culpa advertisement, apologizing for running the spots a month early. Oops, we screwed up. Until they acknowledge the angst they are potentially causing by suggesting July is an appropriate time to begin getting ready for school, a boycott seems in order. I’d organize it, but I’m chilling.

DCS_Grad_2 DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

The Plight of the Bumblebee

Nope, that’s not a typo in the headline. Bees are suffering. So much so that cereal giant General Mills Canada has altered the image on their Honey Nut Cheerios box. Gone is Buzz the bee mascot. The reason for the change is to illustrate the current lack of bees.

For many reasons, including pesticides, honey bee colonies started to disappear around 2006. General Mills launched the #bringbackthebees campaign in an effort to plant millions of wildflower seeds that will hopefully bring the honey bee population back.

If I was skeptical by nature I’d mention how important honey is to their product; that this is just a self-preservation tactic. But I’m not skeptical. In fact I think the whole #bringbackthebees is the bee’s knees. And I look forward to the return of Buzz.

DCS_Grad_2 DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+