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

Social media: a fad or a revolution?

Watch this short (4:26) and compelling little video called Is Social Media a Fad – or the Biggest Shift Since the Industrial Revolution?, for the answer to our title question today. It’s from the brainiacs at the U.K.-based group redIT.

Think that, by fast-forwarding through those TV commercials, you can avoid the advertising onslaught?  You’ll think again after seeing how marketers are tracking you down through social media.

Big thanks to Stephanie Holland at She-Conomy for this heads up.

See also:

What marketers should know about pitching to Baby Boomers

As a Boomer, I’m not much of a consumer, really, even though I spent most of my professional life working in corporate PR and marketing. But even when I worked for Mercedes-Benz, I preferred to drive around in a 13-year old lime-green Volkswagen that my Benz bosses made fun of.

I was keen on Reduce-Reuse-Recycle long before these trends became trendy. I don’t shop at malls. Ditto for those hideous Big Box stores. Instead, I like to visit auctions, yard sales, farmers’ markets, consignment shops and my local family-run hardware store. I believe it takes a certain skill to sniff out a truly fantastic bargain. And my shopping motto has always been:

“Any dummy can pay full price retail!”

Yet we Boomers comprise roughly one-quarter of the North American population and have some $3 trillion in buying power, although less than 5% of all advertising dollars are targeted to adults 45-64, according to The Nielsen Company. That’s why I was keen to check out this industry advice to marketers from the Advertising Age White Paper called 50 And Up: What’s Next?  Continue reading

Four myths about marketing to 50+ women

Women aged 50+ feel largely invisible to the marketing world, says Carol Orsborn. She believes that the majority of advertisers out there still have a hard time getting their heads around the fact that we make up the largest single demographic in our population, and we also happen to have  the most discretionary income and influence over other consumer segments. Dr. Orsborn is co-author of the book Vibrant Nation: What Women 50+ Know, Do, Think & Buy.

She recently addressed a new batch of bust-worthy myths about marketing to our age group:  Continue reading