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When it comes to advertising, international brands like Calvin Klein and Coca-Cola know how to speak a lot of different languages.
One they have just mastered is that of the GIF, or graphics interchange format, the means by which millions of Tumblr users express themselves and create art on the five-year-old microblog.
Push It! Calvin Klein Underwear Push Postive
Former Apple exec and “rock star of retail” Ron Johnson is giving JC Penney a massive makeover. But can he beat the decline of the American mall?
Since the Feb. 1 launch of his drastic company makeover, cozy Rockwellian images have replaced the live-action catalog style of Penney’s ads. Penney’s TV spots now portray funny-looking folks with imperfect teeth reveling at backyard barbecues, auctions and other all-American gathering places. He’s trying to give wholesome families a new gathering spot: the department store.
An incredibly simple marketing decision turned a “sissy” cigarette into a blockbuster product and created one of the most indelible images in advertising history: the Marlboro Man.
In 1954, Chicago adman Leo Burnett was stuck with an impossible assignment: Take the Marlboro cigarette — a filtered English brand with 1 percent market share, a “sissy” smoke that had never caught on with its target audience of well-bred women — and make it a blockbuster product for men. Burnett, a legendary figure in his own right, got a crack team together and came up with what he later called a “dumbbell simple” idea: an American cowboy with a cigarette dangling from his lips.
Burnett, who didn’t care much for advertising research, later recalled that he had simply gathered his employees in a meeting and asked them, “What’s the most masculine image you can think of?” One of the copywriters piped right up with, “A cowboy.” And that was that.
Diamonds aren’t forever. They chip, shatter, burn and fade. But with the help of the U.S.’s oldest ad agency and a female copywriter, diamond sellers managed to convince a generation that the relatively common gem was a rite of passage, a status symbol, and an everlasting token of love.
By 1948, the ad agency decided that images of glittering gems were no longer enough. It needed a tagline. So Ayer turned to Mary Frances Gerety, a high school graduate who had been on the job four years. She was one of the agency’s few female copywriters, and that spring, she struggled to distill the symbolic meaning of the gemstone into a single sentence. As Tom Zoellner describes it in “The Heartless Stone,” his 2006 book exploring the global diamond empire, the words finally came to Gerety one night after working almost until dawn. She asked a higher power to send her a line, and before falling asleep, she scribbled a few ideas on a pad and left it on her nightstand. When she woke up and reread what she’d written, she knew she had it: “A Diamond is Forever.”
Is someone smack-talking you? Don’t worry, this short-sighted ad man in 1976 called Steve Jobs a “joker” in a letter to a potential investor. Whoops.
A shocking ad by the Milwaukee commissioner of health hopes to discourage co-sleeping in a city where nine babies have died this year in “unsafe sleep environments.”
“It does turn heads,” said city health department spokeswoman Raquel Flimanowicz. “That’s what we want. We want to grab people’s attention. It’s a call to action.”