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On Friday, February 3, 2017, I wrote about the Anheuser-Busch virtue signalling advert for Superbowl LI.
Another advert on immigration came from 84 Lumber, a family-owned chain of building materials supplies.
Incidentally, the company is so named because the headquarters is in Eighty Four, Pennsylvania. It is unclear how the town Smithville, near Pittsburgh, was renamed in 1884.
84 Lumber’s advert was about a mother and daughter who make the perilous trip from Central America to the US/Mexico border only to see a huge wall.
In an attempt to make President Donald Trump the villain of the piece, the company’s executives forget that Democrats have acknowledged that the immigration system has been broken for decades. Socio-political commentator Mark Dice has a helpful — and short — video which intersperses 84’s advert with speeches from President Bill Clinton, Senator Chuck Schumer, then-Senator Barack Obama, Michelle Obama and candidate Hillary Clinton — all of whom say something must be done to fix immigration:
Another short video — subtitled — describes how dangerous immigration from Latin America is for those who undertake the journey. It starts with statistics from counties along the border in Texas and Arizona. Altogether, they see hundreds of corpses of men, women and children who were unsuccessful in crossing the border. The cost of gathering these bodies and trying to find family members to identify them eats up a substantial amount of the local budgets intended to maintain services for legal residents living in those counties. Bottom line: border towns spend a lot of money dealing with the fallout from illegal immigration, thereby depriving Americans and legal immigrants from obtaining the services they have paid for in tax.
The video also mentions the very real problem of people trafficking. Criminals involved in drugs have found that moving into prostitution by using illegal immigrants is more profitable: a person can be sold again and again, thereby offering an indefinite supply of income.
Readers should be aware that Maggie Hardy Magerko, president and owner of 84 Lumber — as well as being daughter of the founder — has been in the Forbes 400 list of wealthiest Americans for years. She lives in a quiet, rural community, several hundreds of miles away from the ravages and realities of border towns.
Companies should stop virtue signalling.
The Anheuser-Busch commercial for the Superbowl this year, scheduled to air on February 5, has kicked up a storm and is viewed by a number of Americans as pro-immigration advertising.
It comes a week after President Donald Trump initiated a 90-day immigration ban on seven countries which have majority Muslim populations. These selected countries lack the means for sufficient background checks on their own citizens. (More about this in a future post.)
See if you think this is political commentary:
I have two problems with it. First, by the time Adolphus Busch arrived in the United States in 1857, Germans had been emigrating there for a century, at least. They were well established in society. Secondly, it was unclear to me that the final scene was the famous ‘when Anheuser met Busch’ moment. I thought he was a random guy in a bar until I saw a YouTube from Mark Dice explaining it in the first minute or so:
Budweiser, owned by InBev — a Belgian corporation — denies it is commenting on Trump policy or an anti-immigration climate.
However, I cannot help but wonder if Adolphus Busch would have wanted to be portrayed in that way. Most immigrants wanted to assimilate straightaway. They were not going to dwell on the voyage over, their processing time at Ellis Island or their early years getting established. Everything was about becoming an American.
If you doubt this, then, please be aware that his Wikipedia entry states (emphases mine):
His wealthy family ran a wholesale business of winery and brewery supplies. Busch and his brothers all received quality educations, and he graduated from the notable Collegiate Institute of Belgium in Brussels.
Another German immigrant came to America in the 19th century. His name was Friedrich Trump, pictured at left (courtesy of Wikipedia). He was a Lutheran and came from Kallstadt in Bavaria. He managed to make a fortune within three years. He went everywhere, from New York to the Yukon. Nary a complaint. Even the most recent Channel 4 documentary by anti-Trump Matt Frei on his grandson — shown in late January 2017 — painted Friedrich as a clever, enterprising businessman. That makes me think Adolphus Busch was of the same entrepreneurial mindset.
You didn’t go to the US as a victim then, that’s for sure.
Incidentally, Friedrich returned to Kallstadt after three years only to go through a series of legal hurdles regarding his German nationality! He found out it had been revoked, possibly because he went to the US around the time he was to do his military service. So, back to America he went and the rest is history. According to Matt Frei’s documentary, Friedrich quietly enjoyed his life a lot but died in the Influenza Epidemic of 1918. His widow, Elizabeth — also from Kallstadt — set up a real estate company for her middle son Fred, the president’s father. It was called Elizabeth Trump & Son. Fred was still a minor at the time, even though he was precocious enough to follow in his father’s footsteps and get small houses built.
I recommend that we need to watch these adverts with a gimlet eye and research the immigrant mindset of the 19th and early 20th centuries, very much oriented to assimilating into American society — as future Americans.
2013 marked the 60th annual Cannes Lions advertising festival.
I wrote a bit about the Lions last week. I also hadn’t realised until this year that The Guardian is an official Cannes Lions representative.
At the Palais des Festivals where the week-long conference is held, there was an exhibition celebrating 60 years of advertising. Many iconic adverts from the West were on display from print and television media. It was open to the public, so SpouseMouse and I took a trip down memory lane.
In the room next to the exhibition was another large area which The Guardian had reserved for an opening night welcome party for the Lions. They also held smaller dos at other venues in Cannes; we happened to be at some of the same places.
Our hotel, not surprisingly, had a large number of delegates. All 12,000 stayed in or around the city, sometimes in rented accommodation. You will be lucky to find a taxi on your own during that time. When we checked out of our hotel, the woman at the desk said she wasn’t sure how long we would have to wait because none were available. In the event, we no sooner walked out and one was there; we were able to share with someone else who was on his way to the airport.
Also in the hotel were copies of the Cannes Lions daily journal. I picked up a copy. Whilst most of it listed the hundreds of firms and people listed as finalists for the year’s best advertising, the first few pages were devoted to the global advertising strategy for the future.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is a big part of this. Nearly every article mentioned it. Their challenge is called Cannes Chimera, and registration for the 2013 one is now open. In this new video, Mrs Gates explains how important advertising is in urging the West to improve the Third World, e.g. vaccines and contraceptives:
This video shows soundbites from past Cannes Lions festival guest speakers — among them, Bill Clinton, Al Gore and Bob Geldof — discussing the role that advertising can play in nudging the West into improving equality and fairness (read ‘wealth redistribution’) in other parts of the world:
One of the Cannes Lions daily journal articles featured a quote from someone who is working with young advertising talent straight out of university. He said:
We want young people to say, ‘Hey, isn’t the world a wonderful place? Let’s change it.’
If it is wonderful, then, surely, there is no need for the almighty Change.
Whilst studying the adverts on display at the Palais des Festivals exhibition, I noticed that the adverts from 2008 — principally Obama’s first campaign but other subjects — began to get heavier in tone and content. Whereas earlier advertising spoke to people of all ages and backgrounds, the new work is often quite gloomy and ‘worthy’ (not a compliment in British English). The only exception on display was a clever, interactive award-winning Super Bowl piece featuring polar bears; one could even go online to play a little game with them as well as watch their adverts, which were quite funny.
Therefore, with the Gates Foundation, The Guardian and other left-leaning change merchants involved, our advertising will look dramatically different than it has done previously. More new media will be used and the messages will be presented in a ‘nudging’ manner and with a social message. All the more reason to skip the ads between programming segments on television.
Bill Clinton said in the video above that he hopes the Cannes Lions will change the face of advertising for the next 20 to 30 years. That’s a heck of a long time. It’s one generation in traditional terms, but, if we look at our colleagues and neighbours who are ten years older or younger than we, there are subtle differences between ourselves and them. If you’re 55 you may be a bon viveur and a libertarian. If you’re 40, you might be preoccupied with wearing sunscreen and ensuring personal safety. If you’re 65, you think it’s cool to vote Labour and rent an allotment.
I had a peek at some of the 2013 winners, which will be available only until August 1. My blood pressure soared with the few I looked at (Metamorphosis and The Ant Rally), with the exception of Channel 4’s lead-in for the 2012 Paralympics — ‘Meet the Superhumans’. I am pleased that won the Grand Prix in its category, Film Craft.
Which reminds me of the article I read in the Cannes Lions journal about the Paralympics. Dan Brooke, Channel 4’s marketing director, said he was proud of the event and the station’s coverage of it. I was reading along thinking, ‘Hear, hear!’ The next sentence said he was happy that Britain was finally becoming a less prejudiced country because of the Paralympics. What a sad — and false — indictment of his nation and his people.
To those who watched it, the Paralympics represented a new facet of unexpected — and yes, superhuman — ability. Nearly everyone SpouseMouse and I know embraced it — warmly. No prejudice involved, Mr Brooke.
Advertising — stay away from it. Probably for the rest of your life.
It’s moving leftward, no matter where you live.