Shame Has No Place in Marketing

vitaminwate The Coca-Cola Corporation peddles its “Vitamin Water” brand of sugar-water as a vehicle for harvesting dollars from the long-standing (and largely business-implanted) public over-estimation of what vitamins are and what they do for human health and performance. A decent society would ban this pointless, cynical landfill fodder, and fine Coca-Cola for planning and promulgating it.

Something milder than that has happened in Britain, according to Advertising Age. There, the Advertising Standards Authority (an unthinkable institutional possibility here in the USA, of course) has told Coke it can’t run its normal ads for Vitamin Water, due to their blatant, exploitative falsity (which, of course, is the same thing as the brand’s very purpose and plan).

The news there, though, is more about the shameless, laughable lies Coke presented in its losing attempt at self-defense. As reported by Ad Age:

One poster was headlined “More muscles than brussels.” The complaints challenged the implication that the drink’s health benefits made it equivalent to eating brussels sprouts — a popular U.K. winter vegetable. Coca-Cola claimed that the phrase was instead a reference to former action-movie star Jean Claude Van Damme, who is commonly labeled the “Muscles from Brussels,” referring to his origins in the Belgian city.

Another ad claimed, “Keep perky when you’re feeling murky.” It jokingly advised consumers that if you drink Glaceau Vitaminwater you won’t have to waste your sick days on real illness, and can use them instead “to just, erm, not go in.” Coca-Cola insisted that the “perky” claim was about mood rather than health, and that it did not imply that the drink could prevent illness.

The ASA also received complaints that the ads promoted the range of drinks as healthy, when in fact they contain high levels of sugar. Coca-Cola’s defense was that the products are clearly labeled, and that 7.5 grams of sugar in 100 milliliters is not a “high sugar” content. However, the ASA upheld the complaints because the sugar contained in one Glaceau Vitaminwater represents 26% of an adult’s recommended daily sugar allowance.

It would make an excellent project to study the course of other corporate defenses to ASA charges. These speak volumes about the depth of dishonesty and contempt at the very heart of big business marketing.

“Corporate Social Responsibility”: Another Hoax

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In case you ever wondered what the real, insider definition is:

Corporate social responsibility is a hybrid PR/branding program that attempts to convert compliance into goodwill.

CSR attempts to align corporate needs (profits, revenue, growth) with social needs (people, community, planet).  In the end, CSR is a compulsory exercise designed to limit liability, boost morale and add to the branding story of the company.

From the obnoxious corporate cheerleader Tim Sanders, Advertising Age, September 17, 2009.

Not Joking: The Face of the “New” GM

Fresh off its public bailout, the General Motors Corporation is about to launch a massive marketing campaign titled “May the Best Car Win.” The intent of the campaign is to show prospective buyers how new and different the post-bailout GM will be. The spokesperson “face” of this coming blitzkrieg? I shit you not:

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ROFLMAO

Script: “They tell me the young whipper-snappers are none too happy with our latest batch of horseless carriages…Well, by gum, this’ll learn ’em…”

“Behavioral Guarantees”

eyes According to Advertising Age for August 26, 2009, we’ve entered the age in which media conglomerates are selling air time to corporate advertisers via “behavioral guarantees.”

In the words of marketing research firm TRA, it’s:

Finally true accountability for TV! TRA, a media and marketing research company, has America’s largest second by second national live and time shifted TV database of 1.5 million households and the largest ever single-source database of 370,000 households that matches TV ad viewing to actual purchases of the product being advertised.

Basically, what TRA does is track what individual households watch on TV and what they then buy in stores, with an eye on the households’ exposure to specific ads. TRA then reports its findings to the broadcasters, who promise the corporate sponsors specific sales results from the ads they pay to air. If the promised buying behavior does not materialize, the ad-placing corporation gets a “make-good,” usually more advertising time for free.

And as always, this new market-totalitarian capacity is but the beginning:

‘This is where the future needs to be,’ said Donna Speciale, [media-time broker] MediaVest’s chief investment officer. ‘Our ultimate goal is to figure out how to better reach consumers and get our inventory much more targeted, not just buy the typical demographic breakout. That’s where all the testing in these different areas is heading, to get much more granular research.’

We’re #1!

flush Hey, kids! Guess what nation-state is home to the world’s highest cellular phone bills — by far the highest?

Hint: It’s corporate capitalism’s strongest stronghold, the land where brainwashed drones attend meetings to yell at people about the glories of the world’s most expensive and defective and profitable medical insurance scheme, rather than about the craven, bait-and-switch perpetuation of that scheme…

On Friday, the OECD will publish a report detailing the reality that, comparing similar packages and uses across borders, the USA is almost 5 times more expensive than Finland, and a full 25% more expensive than runner-up Spain. I will obtain the new report Friday and report on the details. Those are virtually certain to show that the American way of deregulation and private ownership equals naked theft in yet another boilerplate modern industry…

Until then, here’s a teaser.

The Axe Fraud Spreads

As the world hurtles toward its Mad Max future, what are our wonderful corporate capitalist behavior manipulators spending their time researching?

Can you get males to start thinking more about their looks than they currently do?

landfillAs part of this valiant soap-selling endeavor, we are about to witness the expansion of the Unilever corporation’s efforts to foist its shameful Axe line of products on teenage boys with the preposterous promise that smelling of Axe will get you laid.

The Procter & Gamble conglomerate is now taking this pathetic fraud to the next older age group with the new “pheromone-infused” Dial for Men Magnetic Attraction Enhancing Body Wash.

And people wonder how American culture gets so moronified…