Entries in Advertising (29)


Publicis, Omnicon Merge to Become World’s Biggest Ad Firm

Fuse(NEW YORK)  -- Omnicon and Publicis announced Sunday that they would be merging and creating the largest advertisng company in the world, BBC News reports.

Together, Omnicom, a U.S. firm, and Publicis, a French firm, will be worth $35.1 billion and employee more than 130,000 people. The new Publicis Omnicom Group will be listed in Paris and New York.

John Wren and Maurice Levy, chief executives of Omnicom and Publicis, respectively, will be joint CEOs of the new entity.

"The communication and marketing landscape has undergone dramatic changes in recent years including the exponential development of new media giants, the explosion of big data, blurring of the roles of all players and profound changes in consumer behavior," BBC News reports Levy having said.

"John [Wren] and I have conceived this merger to benefit our clients by bringing together the most comprehensive offering of analogue and digital services," he continued.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


‘Big Gas’ Ad Is Kmart’s Latest Promotion to Play on Words

Tim Boyle/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Kmart’s new ad is a gas. Literally.

In its new tongue-in-cheek ad “Big Gas,” the retailer promotes a special discount on gas. Throughout the spot, customers praise the “big gas” savings and “big gas” prices, but their repeated, rapid use of the phrase makes it sound as though they’re saying “big a**.”

The ad starts out with customers getting gas at the pump.

“Ugh, I hate these big gas prices,” one woman says.

Another woman chimes in: “Sounds like you could use some big gas savings.”

There’s more of this, with customers expressing excitement over Kmart’s promotion. The retailer is offering its Shop Your Way members 30 cents off every gallon of gas when they spend at least $50 dollars at Kmart.

The retailer has had previous success with this style of commercial. Last month it released “Ship My Pants,” an ad featuring wordplay mimicking a crude joke to promote free shipping for loyalty members.

Within five days of being uploaded to YouTube, that 35-second video had nearly 10 million views.

The ad starts with a man speaking with a Kmart employee:

“Ship my pants? Right here? Ship my pants, you’re kidding,” the man says.

“You can ship you pants right here,” the worker replies.

The ad then has a number of other characters proudly saying they’ve shipped their products. The spot racked up another 7 million YouTube views before making its way to cable TV.

“Big Gas” was posted on YouTube on Wednesday, and had 92,000 views as of Thursday night.

The risqué ads may be generating buzz, but they’re not helping the company’s bottom line.

Earnings reports released late Thursday show the retailer is down 4.6 percent this quarter.

“They really need to goose things up quickly,” Lisa Granatstein, managing editor at AdWeek, told ABC News.  “But it was only one month ago that the ‘ship my pants’ campaign came out, and we have to give it time.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Facebook to Increase Ad Targeting

Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Facebook is hoping to increase its advertising revenue by gathering even more information about its users.

The social media website rolled out a new tool on Wednesday that will assist advertisers in targeting users based on both online and offline spending history.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the new tool will combine Facebook's information about users' friends and what they "like" with additional information from third-party data marketers. The new data will likely include what Web pages the consumer visits, the email lists they sign up for, and what they spend their money on.

By merging their own information with data from third-party brokers, Facebook can provide advertisers with massive groups of people who are the best fit for particular advertisements.

While Facebook would not provide information on individual users, they can provide advertisers with large groups of members and data on their behavior both in and out of the social network's realm.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Jeffrey Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, has asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Facebook's ad-targeting methods.

Facebook says that is is not using location data from its users and will ensure that all information provided to its partners is anonymous. In addition, Facebook users can find out why they were targeted for specific ads, or opt out from ads from specific advertisers.

General Motors and the Neiman Marcus Group are two of the most notable companies who are reported to be increasing their advertising on Facebook, at least partially in response to the new data available to them. In the first quarter of 2013, Facebook's advertising revenue rose over 40 percent from 2012.

Sean Williams, the social media manager for Hyundai's America group, told The Wall Street Journal that he believes the new advertising tools could help companies target potential customers.

"In the past, we really just used Facebook as an engagement tool," he told the publication. "We're now thinking about turning this into an evergreen, or always-on, program."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Hurricane Sandy Sales: Good Business or Bad Taste?

Martin Poole/Digital Vision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- More than eight million people along the East Coast are without power and Internet after Hurricane Sandy swept through the region.  But those who could access their email were greeted with hurricane promotions from retail sites, hoping to capitalize on those who are home-bound.

The sales linked to human tragedy -- the storm has taken more than 50 lives in the U.S. and more than that in the Caribbean -- strike some as tasteless and crass.

Late Monday evening, American Apparel offered a “Sandy Sale” to customers who reside in states that were affected by the hurricane, including Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

“In case you’re bored during the storm, 20 percent off everything for the next 36 hours,” the ad read.

The reaction on Twitter was immediate: “Never liked American Apparel. Now I like them even less. #SandySale,” @n_rothschild wrote.

“Another tasteless marketing campaign by American Apparel. Why am I not surprised #SandySale,” @summer_luu tweeted.

Ryan Holiday, spokesperson for American Apparel, responded to ABC News in an email:

“For us, this is about us working like crazy to get and keep our stores open.  We’ve got employees who can’t work when stores are closed due to weather and the biggest Made in USA factory in the country that sits idle -- we would never try to offend anyone or capitalize on a natural disaster, this was simply an effort to mitigate some of the effects of the storm on our business.”

“Sending out this email was a separate little thing that was never intended to cause a ruckus, but just an attempt to keep our business going and keep our employees working,” Holiday continued.

Holiday also cited the American Apparel’s “Corporate Responsibility” webpage, which details the company’s commitment to disaster relief, including aid to Haiti in January 2010 and Nashville flood victims in May 2010.  

”American Apparel has a long history of putting our resources to work for disaster victims and we’re already doing that for this storm as well,” wrote Holiday.

American Apparel isn’t the only retailer offering “Hurricane Sandy Sales.”

Urban Outfitters sent out a mass email Monday morning: “This Storm Blows, But Free Shipping on All Orders Doesn’t.”  The advertisement prompts customers to enter “ALL SOGGY” at checkout and features animated cats and dogs cascading down the ad., a retail store and website based in Long Island, is featuring a hurricane sale of 20 percent off by entering the code “SANDY” at checkout.  “Every cloud has a silver lining,” says in the online ad, but in same advertisement, the retailer apologizes for any inconvenience from its office closure.

Jon Singer, the CEO and founder of, told ABC News that the reason for the sale was to prevent customers from venturing out in the storm to one of Singer22′s two retail locations in Long Island.  However, during the hurricane, the stores lost electricity and were forced to close.

“I have 35 employees that need to get paid everyday and I have got to try to generate business somehow to cover my everyday expenses,” Singer said.

Asked how he would respond if faced criticism for exploiting the hurricane, he said, “The first thing we wanted was people to be safe and shop from home.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


McDonald’s Mangles Attempt to Reach Ethnic Community in Minnesota

Keller Grayson Communications(ST. PAUL, Minnesota) -- McDonald’s likes to boast that “Nothing can do it like McDonald’s,” but that sentiment apparently failed to get through to the fast-food giant’s ad agency, which reportedly botched a billboard aimed at an Asian community in Minnesota.

The billboard is posted in an area of St. Paul, Minn., populated by members of the Hmong community, an Asian ethnic group originally from the mountainous regions of Southeast Asia.

The billboard is supposed to translate as: “Coffee gets you up, breakfast gets you going.”

Members of the local community say, however, that the sign’s Hmong “Yuavtxhawbpabraukojsawv yuavntxivzograukoj mus” wording is not how they speak.

“It sounds weird in Hmong because we don’t really talk like that,” Bruce Thao, 28, a St. Paul resident and doctoral candidate in social work, told the Pioneer Press newspaper.  “Either way, there should definitely be spaces in between those words.”

The ad also features a coffee cup with the Hmong words for “$1, large or small,” a local promo by McDonald’s to sell all drinks for $1.  Despite the bargain, the locals remain unimpressed by the targeted pitch.

“The text is also wrong, missing key breaks in the language,” Thai Lee, a local doctor, told the paper.  “As it stands right now, it doesn’t make sense at all.”

The Twin Cities of St. Paul and neighboring Minneapolis are home to the largest concentration of Hmong people in the United States, with more 64,000 residents, according to the Hmong American Partnership.

The Partnership, a Twin Cities-based social service and community development organization for the Hmong community, has not responded to a request for comment.

The billboard is the first time the Oak Brook, Ill.-based company has advertised in the Hmong language, a representative for Arnold Advertising, the global advertising firm that worked on the ad with McDonald’s, told the Pioneer Press.  Last week, the firm posted another McDonald’s Hmong-language ad on the other side of the city.

The fast-food giant has not commented on the controversy.  Both McDonald’s and Arnold Advertising did not return requests for comment.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Denver Bans Outdoor Marijuana Advertisements

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(DENVER) -- The Denver City Council is making it more difficult for medical marijuana dispensaries to advertise their product.

On Monday, the City Council voted to ban all outdoor advertisements for medical marijuana.  In addition to a ban on billboards or general advertisement devices, the City Council voted to ban medical marijuana or medical marijuana infused products anywhere in the city where the ad is visible to the public from the street, sidewalk, park or any other public place.  That includes handheld signs or fliers left on cars.

The Denver Council approved the ordinance 12-0.

Councilwoman Debbie Ortega told ABC News her decision came after she was “confounded by sign spinners advertising ‘free joints’ for an adjacent medical marijuana business.”

“This type of advertising is both disturbing and unsightly.  I became very concerned for the children in my neighborhood and throughout the Denver community,” she said.

The councilwoman said she was concerned that ads could lead people to believe anyone is eligible for a “free joint.”

“I decided that Denver has a responsibility to protect our kids from being exposed to medical marijuana advertising and from being targeted as long term customers,” Ortega told ABC News.

According to Ortega, “the legislation does have exceptions which will allow the business to advertise in newspaper ads, such as Westword and other publications.”

“The ordinance went into effect immediately and enforcement is handled by Denver’s Department of Excise and Licensing,” Amy Raaz, the policy director for Ortega, told ABC News.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Your Ad Here: Toilet Paper Features Coupons

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Ever get the urge for to read something while you’re “conducting business” in the bathroom stall? Well, a couple of brothers from Rye Brook, N.Y., have just the answer -- and it’s literally at your fingertips.

Jordan and Bryan Silverman concocted two-ply toilet paper that features coupons redeemable through their company’s website, Star Toilet Paper.  It can be done by either scanning the sheet with a cellphone or downloading the coupon from the website.

The marketing plan allows potential clients to advertise on environmentally safe paper with print made from soybean-based ink.  What’s more, venues that select Star Toilet Paper get their rolls free of charge.

At the moment, 50 advertisers are on board, including nationally known companies ranging from Ben and Jerry’s to local businesses. 

Jordan, the older of the brothers who came up with the idea while he was a student at University of Michigan, is thinking about doing the same thing with paper towels, also in the bathroom.

If the coupon idea takes off, the Silvermans would like to see their toilet paper in the lavatories of bars, movie theaters and other places where traffic is brisk.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Michael Phelps’ Leaked Louis Vuitton Ad Could Mean Olympic Trouble

CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP/GettyImages(NEW YORK) -- Swimming champion Michael Phelps might be in hot water with the International Olympic Committee after photos of him posing in a bathtub for part of a Louis Vuitton ad campaign were leaked on the Internet.

Phelps was photographed for the campaign in a bathing suit and goggles in a bathtub reportedly by photographer Annie Leibovitz. The photos were released during a time when Olympic athletes are banned from participating in marketing campaigns.

The regulation was introduced this year by the Olympic Committee and is known as Rule 40, prohibiting athletes from participating in advertising from July 18 to Aug. 15, which included periods before and after the Olympic Games.

The photo of Phelps in the bathtub next to a Louis Vuitton bag, however, popped up on the Internet in early August, appearing on The Daily Mail’s website Aug. 13.

Athletes who break Rule 40 can face sanctions, including financial penalties and disqualification from games, which can mean a loss of medals, as outlined in the Olympic Committee’s guidebook.

The U.S. International Olympic Committee and Louis Vuitton declined to comment. Representatives for Leibovitz did not immediately return calls from ABC News.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Ragú Does Something Spicy, and It’s Not Their Sauce

Unilever(NEW YORK) -- Ragú, which calls itself a once-very-conservative company, is spicing up its style with a new, provocative advertising campaign.

Its new commercials revolve around different scenarios representing the “ultimate, longest day of childhood,” a rep told ABC News.

But there is one commercial in particular that has started conversations with its edgy, more risqué material.

“To set the scene -- what’s more embarrassing as a kid than walking in on your parents doing you know what!” the press release introducing the new campaign said.

Originally posted to YouTube on Aug. 3, the all-too-familiar awkward scenario had about 1.3 million page views as of Thursday.

Ragú said it plans spots featuring other childhood moments, all with tongue-in-cheek themes showing the company’s version of what parents do to make their kids’ long days end better: By serving up a huge plate of spaghetti topped with Ragú sauce.

The “Long Day of Childhood” campaign is aimed at helping the company update its image to adapt with its audience.

“Mainstream companies realize they need to change with the times, and they are doing it one ad at a time,” the rep said.

To see other commercials in the “Long Day of Childhood” campaign, click here.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


JCPenney Raises Ire With Another Gay-Friendly Ad

JCPenney Catalog(NEW YORK) -- JCPenney last year announced that Ellen DeGeneres, who is openly gay, would be its latest spokesperson. On Mother’s Day, it featured a lesbian couple in one of its ads. And now, just in time for Father’s Day, the retail chain has issued another print ad, this one with real-life couple Todd Koch and Cooper Smith, and their two young children.

The copy reads: “What makes Dad so cool? He’s the swim coach, tent maker, best friend, bike fixer and hug giver — all rolled into one. Or two.”

Once again, the ads have raised the ire of the conservative One Million Moms, that is again accusing JC Penney of promoting “sin” in its advertisements.”

“It’s obvious that JCP would rather take sides than remain neutral in the culture war,” OMM writes. “JCP will hear from the other side, so they need to hear from us as well. Our persistence will pay off! One day we will answer for our actions or lack of them. We must remain diligent and stand up for Biblical values and truth. Scripture says multiple times that homosexuality is wrong, and God will not tolerate this sinful nature.”

OMM has launched yet another boycott of JCPenney.

In an email to ABC News, JCPenney spokesman Joseph Thomas said, “In celebration of Father’s Day, we’re proud that our June book honors men from diverse backgrounds who all share the joy of fatherhood.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio