Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Advertising: the dismal art

1) From page A5, more of a huge photo with a caption than an article - "Bag opportunity to ditch plastic":
A supermarket chain hopes its eco-friendly designer bags will encourage shoppers to be "fashionable and green" and ditch plastic. Designer Trelise Cooper's latest bags for Progressive Enterprises include a unisex "medieval-inspired" bag. The $4.99 bags are made from organic, recyclable jute. Money raised through sales will go towards tree planting and making Trelise Cooper a carbon neutral company. Elizabeth Higgs, manager of marketing at Progressive, said 60 per cent of shoppers are using eco-bags.
  • Is this unpaid (one would hope) advertising for Progressive Enterprises - a member of the Packaging Council - or Trelise Cooper? The answer, of course, is both.
  • What precisely is a "medieval-inspired" bag, you ask? Sadly, there is no photo available online, but I can try and describe it to you from the photo in the print edition. It appears to be 'designed' in the same sense that my singlets from the Warehouse are 'designed'; someone took a standard, blue bag and slapped some clip-art (remember that?) - in this case a "medieval-inspired" fleur-de-lis - on it. Sadly, it does not appear to be inspired by the Middle Ages in other regards: it appears notably free of plague-ridden vermin, for instance.
  • I'm unsure as to what "making Trelise Cooper [presumably the label, not the individual] a carbon neutral company" means. Haute-couture made out of fallen tree branches? Cold tea at the office? But I'm certain it's a worthy goal.

2) NEWSFLASH: Celebrity endorses product she is paid to endorse. Sorry, I've just come down with a nasty case of cultural swine cringe:

Celebrity chef Delia Smith - a champion of British cooking for more than 40 years - has frustrated her fans by telling them to eat lamb from New Zealand.

The celebrity cook, 67, has been urging British housewives and chefs on her official website to "Make it New Zealand lamb every time".

Her loyalty has been turned by an advertising deal which includes an offer for her readers of a free trip to New Zealand.

Goddamn Nanny Delia; now she's told her fans to eat New Zealand lamb - and, when I say 'she's told her fans', I mean 'some marketing person has written an ad and placed it on the website that uses her name' - they will be statutorily forced to purchase it. The scandal in the article consists of quotes from the Daily Mail - which is like asking an old man for his opinion regarding kids on his lawn - and "website reader" Lewis Palframan.

"Website reader".

If you're intrigued by this story of international... intrigue, here is an excerpt from Delia Smith's website:

When treating friends and family to luscious barbecue lamb recipes or feeding the family during the week, you need to know that the meat you’re buying and cooking is of the highest quality, reared to exacting standards. Which is why New Zealand Lamb is a great choice, whatever the occasion... [Possibly not a BNP election party, though.]

New Zealand Lamb is produced in lush pasturelands, where plentiful native grasses, fresh air and unlimited sunshine – over 2000 hours per year - all combine to give New Zealand Lamb great flavour and eating quality.
Exacting standards - like the local pork industry, no doubt. I'm not sure about the "plentiful native grasses", either - I'm no botanist, but most of the grass I see out the window in sheep paddocks looks a lot like, well, grass. And as for "unlimited sunshine"... let's just say that that doesn't sound like anywhere in New Zealand I know.


3) Re: Vegemite:
Kraft Foods: Hey, can you do all our marketing and stuff for us for free?

New Zealand Herald: Uh, sure.


  1. Did you not catch the one in the business section where it's announced that Google is giving away US$75 worth of AdWords campaigning to new clients as part of a 'stimulus package'? Complete with link to the promotion page, no less.

  2. So... more than half of Foodtown shoppers are using "eco-bags", at five bucks a pop? Does that seem even vaguely plausible to anyone?

  3. Don't become one of the reactionaries who assumes nothing good ever came out of the Middle Ages, James!

    PS Not that Trelise Cooper's bag, from the sounds of it, is one of them.

    PPS And yes, I do mean reactionary. Opposed to the surging vanguard of progress that was the Middle Ages.

  4. PS 'Company executives also trawled internet chat rooms frequented by Vegemite lovers'. The notorious underground Vegemite-porn rings I suppose?

  5. "more of a huge photo with a caption than an article"

    That would be what they call a picture caption, then. Kind of a convention of newspapers.

    "[presumably the label, not the individual]"

    Yes, given the sentence included the word 'company', it would be a brilliant presumption. Well done you.

    Stare into the abyss long enough James and it begins to stare back at you.

  6. Oh good, a "medieval-inspired" bag.

    Finally an answer to the age old question: "What shall I put my witch-burning kit in?"

  7. anon-poster: Good effort remaining both anonymous and dork.

  8. Cleverly mnamed 'anon-poster': What's less of a convention in newspapers is a picture and caption with no article attached, and which is in fact almost completely content-free. Apart from advertising, of course.

  9. The newspaper idea of a ‘picture caption’ is that the picture says it all, and only needs a small caption like the back page photos the Herald runs most days. They don’t usually even warrant a byline.

    They usually also say who or what is in the picture, hence the word ‘caption’. This isn’t a picture caption, it’s a picture with a fluff piece about designer eco bags, Trelise Cooper and Progressive Enterprises, which is basically a combination of old news and advertorial.

  10. woohoo I had my first message deleted from EtH. Is it now to be known as EEtH?

  11. Now we find out that you can buy advertising with the Weekend Herald by paying Paul Holmes' speaking fees.