Unfortunate connotations

Unfortunate connotations

A new feature wherein Strategy readers flag noteworthy and annoying advertising.

Don’t go there

I have been waiting for the opportunity to rant about one ad that sucks turtle eggs…. It’s the ‘Lizard’ radio campaign by the health drinks company, SoBe. Yes, I realize that there’s a gecko on the bottle, and there’s nothing wrong with having a little fun in advertising. But, in proudly shouting, ‘Drain the lizard,’ (the male euphemism for urination) I just can’t shake the mental image of some dude shaking the dew off his lily. Good God, people! Urine is a terrible association for a beverage. I’m all for edgy but you lost me at ‘hello.’ Your tagline is the equivalent of a ‘Surf the Red Sea’ sign-off for Tampax.

Jeff Spriet, Wiretap, Toronto

Taking synergy

too far!

Did anyone see the recent recruitment ad by The Shoe Company that ran in the Toronto Star (Sept. 22, Careers/Classified)? It features a woman dressed in high heels, holding a diaphanous dress or negligee wide open, while a guy staring at her says, ‘Nice shoes!’ Prior to seeing the recruitment ad I saw it running in billboard format. Talk about objectifying women and passing it off in the most dubious of manners. What’s worse is that someone actually thought this ad could cross over into recruitment and not raise an eyebrow.

Is this how The Shoe Company defines a ‘friendly and fun atmosphere’? Obviously somebody needs to re-examine his judgment. Do the words ‘sexual harassment’ mean anything? And what about equality and employment equity? Are we not moving towards a barrier-free environment in the workplace? Say what you want, but this one takes synergy in advertising way too far!

Jeff Obront,

Director of business

development, Day Advertising, Toronto

Kudos to AT&T

The new television spot for Gravol (the anti motion-sickness drug) with children describing how they have thrown up, is totally unappealing. The ad makes me feel ill. I now associate Gravol with feeling sick rather than better – and I used to be a loyal Gravol user!

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I must also submit my praise for the new Rogers AT&T wireless TV ad – ‘The Power to Unite.’ This is an incredibly powerful and moving ad.

Laura-Anne Rawes,

Software marketer, Ottawa

Might be good for Gravol sales, but…

Here’s a turn-off if ever there was one! This kid peels bubble gum off the bottom of his desk and pops it in his mouth, and this is supposed to be an ad for Maple Leaf lunchmeats? Every time I look at Maple Leaf meats in the grocery store now I remember that ad and get nauseous. What were they thinking?

Carol Johnston,

Packaged goods marketer,

Mississauga, Ont

Outdoor ads that ruin nature

On the way to Collingwood, Ont, I noticed that outdoor advertising had proliferated in the middle of beautiful fields, otherwise seemingly unouched for the last century. The fast food restaurant ads were not necessarily offensive. To me, the fact that they had ruined a part of nature by sticking an ugly steel structure with an offer on top detracted from the advertisers’ brand equity significantly. They spent money to drive customers away, thereby reducing the value of their brands.

John Armstrong,

Armstrong Partnership,


Clever attention-getter

I recently saw a PSA on TV that shows the labels on packages of various types of poison each followed by the word ‘light’ or ‘mild,’ for example, Strychnine Light or Carbon Monoxide Mild. Prior to the very last package a voice comes on saying something like: ‘you wouldn’t expect to see the words ‘light’ and ‘mild’ on these types of poisons, so why have them on these…’ and then reveals a pack of cigarettes with, of course, the words ‘light’ and ‘mild’ displayed. The ad immediately got my attention because you would never see these words in association with poison, which made me curious about what was actually being promoted.

Lisa Nash, Publisher,

Playback, Toronto

To submit your picks and pans of current advertising, e-mail us at: adsthatsuck@strategymag.com or adsthatrock@strategymag.com.