It’s a Yaris! It’s a car.

This is one commercial from Toyota’s latest ad campaign for the Toyota Yaris. There’s no substantial information here about the car itself, but I find it inexplicably hilarious–as I do with the rest of the campaign–and thus, infinitely more memorable than the typical car ad that just spouts off a random reel of numbers and facts. Solid work, Toyota advertising team.

Just thought I’d share this for a laugh! Check out their other commercials from this campaign if you have a minute to kill.

Cheers,

Michelle

Big Ads Are Watching You

People spend more time than ever on the Internet. Therefore, advertisements must also be more present than ever on the Internet. They must follow where the audiences go. More specifically, in the name of efficiency, ads should be targeted towards specific audiences.

For the most part, it works. It doesn’t make much sense to put an ad for Viagra on the Disney Channel, or on he flip side, an ad for a Barbie on ESPN. Advertisers have been doing this type of targeting for ages, and generally both the advertisers and the audiences have benefited: the companies are more likely to sell their product to an interested audience, and the audience can hear about products and services that they actually care about.

Now, however, as more and more of us cultivate very real, very active online identities, we release more and more information about ourselves and our preferences into the network. And increasingly, we find that companies like Google and Facebook are using that information to further target an ad to each of us individually. This is a whole different ballgame from a Barbie ad on the Disney Channel. That is marketing to a broad demographic. This is using your personal information to create ads for you that are scarily specific and tailored to the picture of you that these Internet giants have pieced together from your activities online.

How far is too far? Personally, I think that we’ve already reached that point. Usually this information is implicitly rather than explicitly given: rather than Google knowing that you like baseball because you wrote it in a comment on a blog for example–that is, you knowingly released that information to the public–they know because you search for it often in their search engine. Google’s databases must hold millions of secrets and bits of private information unwittingly given and surreptitiously collected. Facebook’s information page for advertisers boasts that they can “choose your audiences by location, age, and interests,” among other details that you meant to share with your friends, not corporations.

Progress seems to necessitate an ever increasingly open digital world, but how much of our privacy should we be willing to give up?

What do you think?

[For a very interesting recent article about racial profiling in Google ads, read this piece by Nathan Newman in The Huffington Post]

–Michelle Chan

Go Big or Go Home

The goal of any ad is to capture the attention of its audience; if it fails to do this, it has failed all together. However, in the the modern age where flashing lights and sounds constantly buzzing by the ear are the norm, people are inured to the traditional attention-grabbing techniques that advertisers might want to use. So, ads must adapt: today, that means that they must make use of the new medium–i.e., the internet–or they must use the old mediums in a new, interesting way.

This particular Dutch ad campaign for a job placement company is of the latter camp. They caught my eye because of their creative use of existing, previously ignored spaces. Their ads depict people working in exaggerated drudgery. For example, one ad on the side of a coffee vending machine seemingly shows the inner workings of the machine: a woman laboriously making coffee for the unsuspecting, uncaring consumer. At the bottom, in Dutch, reads “Life’s too short for the wrong job.”

Similar ads were posted on the sides of other common machines: ice cream machines, cigarette dispensers, jukeboxes, ATMs. The hyperbole is acknowledged; however, rather than allow the ridiculous to overshadow the message that the company wants to convey, it draws attention to real world dead-end jobs and spurs the audience to consider what the company has to offer.

The ads had enough shock value to generate wide interest, and ultimately the creators of the ads had in their grasp the holy grail, of sorts, of advertising–the consumers themselves were disseminating images of the ads online and telling their friends, family, and various audiences (even now, I continue the chain). The campaign had gone viral. Thus, having made use of both old and new mediums, the success of this campaign reflects the new standards necessary for modern advertising in a media-saturated world.

Michelle Chan