The Landslide of Terror: Living in This Present Darkness

This week I was leisurely skimming through music performances on YouTube. It was nice, one of those times when one good song leads to another good song and so on. At the time, I was looking for new country covers of classic songs. I had just finished up with an absolutely wonderful cover of Gram Parson’s "Sin City" and was moving on to the Dixie Chicks' version of Fleetwood Mac’s "Landslide" when this came out of my computer: Weren’t the firs … [Read more...]

Mixed Signals: Nigella Lawson Refuses to Airbrush Her Curves for The Taste

Did you hear about the latest celebrity photo airbrushing incident?The buzz surrounds English food writer Nigella Lawson, who is one of the hosts/judges on ABC’s new show The Taste. Promotional materials for the show include Lawson, who is wearing a form-fitting dress. And it shows the curve of her stomach.Rounded stomachs are frowned upon in Hollywood, however. Airbrushing techniques are typically used to create a more subtle curve so as to not offend the Hollywood standard.Lawson r … [Read more...]

Mixed Signals: A Sexy Celebration of Roe v. Wade?

What happens when the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) asks actor Mehcad Brooks (USA Network's Necessary Roughness, HBO's True Blood) to send "Happy 40th anniversary" sentiments to Roe v. Wade?This video happens. me, the creep-o-meter is off the charts. And I’m not alone, as outrage is building across the Internet. Interestingly enough, pushback isn’t only coming from pro-life supporters; pro-choice supporters have also voiced their dis … [Read more...]

Mixed Signals: McDonald's, Photoshop, and Why We're Lovin' It

Mixed Signals is Erin Straza’s weekly musing about marketing miscellany in advertising, branding, and messaging.Psst. Have you heard?McDonald’s is coming clean.That delicious burger you see in its ads? The one with the cheese melting and the mustard and ketchup dripping?It’s not your average McDonald’s hamburger. All the components are the same—bun, burger, condiments—but the execution of a drive-through burger is nothing compared to the rigorous assembly of a burger heading to advertisi … [Read more...]

Mixed Signals: Kraft Mac & Cheese on Generational Sin

Mixed Signals is Erin Straza’s weekly musing about marketing miscellany in advertising, branding, and messaging.Sometimes I wish I didn’t know so much about advertising strategy. It would be nice to watch TV and flip through a magazine without my advertising eyes searching for meaning behind the pitch.It ruins any enjoyment there may be from an advertisement well executed.Take for example, this spot titled “A Father’s Lesson” for Kraft Mac & Cheese. It’s part of a campaign designed to … [Read more...]

Mixed Signals: This Year's Best Super Bowl Ad

Mixed Signals is Erin Straza’s weekly musing about marketing miscellany in advertising, branding, and messaging. This week's installment is a guest post by Jason Morehead.While most people watch the Super Bowl for the football, there are many like myself who watch it for the advertisements. Super Bowl Sunday is prime advertising time, given the game's massive audience, and companies shell out millions to produce high profile ads for the event. (This year, companies spent an average of $3.5 mi … [Read more...]

Mixed Signals: Milk Campaign Title Is a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Mixed Signals is Erin Straza’s weekly musing about marketing miscellany in advertising, branding, and messaging.Humor in communication is powerful—when used correctly. In everyday conversation, we have to determine when it is appropriate to pepper our speech with sarcasm and jest. Sometimes we judge wrongly, and the timing or content of our humor is not well received.The same happens in advertising. Marketers have to determine the appropriate time and strength of its humor so it will be wel … [Read more...]

Marketing Our Families

If you're feeling somewhat cynical, you could probably argue that -- in this day and age of unceasing attempts by corporations to make their branding as ubiquitous as possible -- we are all walking billboards. As such, it shouldn't be all that surprising for people to try and make some money doing so. No doubt you've heard of individuals who have allowed themselves to be tattooed, permanently or otherwise, by corporations. And so enter the Billboard Family, a family that -- you guessed it -- has … [Read more...]

Yawn… Your Mom Hates "Dead Space 2"

Dead Space 2 -- the sequel to the acclaimed sci-fi/horror/survival game -- is here, and the PR machine is in high gear. For example, an article in the most recent issue of Wired covered the research and ingenious methods that went into making the infected humans that serve as the game's cannon fodder as disgusting as possible. But that's nothing compared to the game's latest advertising campaign, entitled "Your Mom Hates Dead Space 2".As part of the campaign, EA has released several videos … [Read more...]

The Problem With the "What The *Bleep* Church"

Perhaps you saw this photo on Facebook or Twitter: a church had hung three brightly colored banners over its front door that read "Worship", "Teaching", and "Friends". When put together they created that most (in)famous of Internet acronyms.As someone who graduated with a degree in advertising, and whose day job is at a marketing firm, I'm probably more sensitive than most to marketing -- especially marketing that may be beyond the pale, or at the very least, embarrassing and even potentially … [Read more...]