Ad-proofing tips from The Ad Guy

Bruce Chambers, as Canadian radio listeners know, is The Ad Guy. After a 30-year career working as an advertising copywriter, Bruce claims he has now seen the light. And since 2003, as The Ad Guy on our national broadcaster, CBC Radio, he’s been helping listeners clue in to advertising that makes us feel inadequate, spend and borrow too much, make unhealthy choices, or act irresponsibly toward the environment.

By deconstructing current ad campaigns, exposing exaggeration, and pointing out unscrupulous techniques, he empowers listeners to say: “NO!”

And aside from his popular weekly radio features, Bruce has created an impressive yet simple list of Ad-Proofing Tips for savvy consumers so we can recognize and resist the techniques that marketers use to influence us. To help you develop critical thinking skills around advertising, here is just a sampling of my favourite ad-proofing tips from Bruce: Continue reading

Branded content: advertising dressed up in a thin disguise?

Pity the poor marketer.  As reported in Forbes earlier this year, a lot of us simply do not trust advertising.  For example, a study called ‘Does It Really Ad Up’ from Lab 42, a Chicago-based research firm, revealed:

  • 76% of respondents said ads in general were either “very exaggerated” or “somewhat exaggerated”
  • 87% think half or more cleaning ads are photoshopped
  • 96% think half or more weight loss ads are photoshopped
  • 81% feel beauty ads are exaggerated (although – alarmingly! – 77% of men believe beauty ads are “very accurate”)

And that pervasive sense of mistrust (except for those guys watching beauty ads) helps to explain why industry has jumped all over the advertising concept called “branded content”Continue reading

What makes good advertising work?

Why does this television ad for the TC bank from Taiwan work as well as it does? The TV commercial, called Dream Rangers, is based on a touching true story of five elderly Taiwanese friends. Please watch it – but fair warning: get out your hankies.

To help answer this question, let’s look at how Bob Garfield once reviewed the Top 100 Ads of the 20th Century for Advertising Age, observing that ads could qualify for this exclusive list in one of three ways:  Continue reading