Saturday, March 07, 2009


"Whenever I go abroad," writes Bentos, in a comment on the last thread, "all the billboard ads seem to simply be a picture of woman smiling next to the product. All of 'em. Not being able to read the copy probably emphasises the similarity. Then you come back to Britain and notice the exact same thing!"

What do we think about this type of ad? Well, obviously, we think they're shit.

But. I remember one time I went on holiday to Cornwall. It was raining, we were staying in a shitty B&B and feeling miserable. Just then, a L'Oreal ad came on the TV. It was so glamorous, so exciting... presented such an image of perfection... it made me want to buy. And I don't normally even use eyelash-thickening products.

Does sheer glamour sell? I fear it does, doesn't it. I like to think that Scarlett Johansson + Idea would sell more product than Scarlett Johansson + giant packshot, but maybe I'm just living in an ivory tower of idea-obsession, and don't understand the world of fashion advertising...


Unknown said...

i used to sell candy at the club when i was a kid. then i sold cds for a rock band when i was a teenager. i sold mobile phones before college. then i got a job at an agency. haven´t sold anything since.

scarlett is hot. don´t know about l´oreal.

Anonymous said...

I've got mates who work on global fashion type brands.

It's a fucking odd world.

They say things like "I've got a great idea — yellow".

I nod my head and smile.

Anonymous said...

Scarlett Johansson + giant clamshot would sell soap to a Frenchman.

Chris Gough said...

Celebrity + Advertising + Idea = a big bag of shite PR plan.

Celebrity + Advertising - Idea = vaguely noticed ad without millions spent on PR cock.


Although Mr T seems to be working for Snickers. So I'm wrong. Maybe.

Anonymous said...

Who in their right mind would say no to whatever Scarlett wants you to do? Come on Simon, let us see your Scarlett Johansson altar...

Anonymous said...

Sex sells.

I remember when i was 14 ish and i saw an ad for a football computer game that basically featured two semi-naked girls wearing only football shirts. I bought the game.

I played it once then took it back because the game was so shit, then promised myself never to buy anything inspired by a hard-on.

Still, sex sells.

john p woods said...

Sex and glamour sells in fashion. Any chance you posting up your best 3 t-shirts, with maybe you in them, Scamp?

Clint Harding said...

I have always wondered this; if an ad is purely based on beautiful visuals is there no idea there, is it just a style? And does this make the ad rubbish because it doesn’t have a big enough idea behind it. It seems in the ad world we are driven by an idea, but in some occasions just something that looks good is that not ok? Consumers relate to an idea in an advert, and with something that is just visually stimulating I believe the consumer will like it because it looks cool. But I guess it still all need to be relevant, like why use yellow instead of pink, because yellow is the new pink??

Kirsten said...

This L'Oreal ad is aimed squarely at me and yet Scarlett the Harlot bothers me. A lot. I have seen 'He's Just Not That Into You' and she plays a completely unlikeable character...a cushiony, husband stealing yoga fact, I don't think I've liked her in anything. It's men who like her. I certainly don't and no "Veronica Lake style, hair over one eye" mug shot is going to convince me otherwise.

]-[appy Thought said...

I remember the first few ads on the "tis the season to be gorgeous" campaign for Boots. The increadable styling, the whole over-the-top-ness of it all, the music, the models. The whole thing was so amazing that I completely forgave it for having a paper thin plot. Something I now refer to as "the Watchmen effect".

Bentos said...

Mens magazine covers: sexy pictures of women. Womens magazine covers: sexy pictures of women.

80% of all ads ever (possibly): picture of a woman smiling next to the product.

Sometimes I think companies like L'Oreal get together to brainstorm a new product like 'Right, what little female insecurity have we still to exploit? Come on, there must be something'

Anonymous said...

Perfume ads are a funny one. They are utterly pointless fantasy in most cases, but this is born out of need. What you are selling with perfume is a name, possibly more so than the majority of other products. There's nothing that's interestingly unique from one brand of perfume to the other, so you have to create something that is.

Basically it all comes down to aspiration. And whether it is right or wrong, it does sell, because the majority of people need to aspire to something.

john p woods said...

Beautiful people

Backing track

Desaturated colour

PATRICK LO said...

Idea is overrated among creatives when it comes to actually selling a product not entering awards. If shite ads can't sell, the market will reflect it, they would have been stopped being made long time ago.

Anonymous said...

As a passionate supporter of ideas in advertising, it pains me to admit that there are times that they just aren't needed or, even worse, just get in the way.

When you have a product that is highly desired by the target, why bother with an idea? Look at the iPhone advertising - just a picture of the phone and the release date. Simple and effective.

The same is true in beauty. New beauty products are intensely desired because the industry is built on the strange dynamic of relentless hope and constant disappointment. People buy the new product because THIS time it might work (and it never does).

The CEO of L'Oreal stated once that the creative people in his business are product development. All he wants marketers and agencies to do is clearly communicate the product message they have created.

So, ultimately, if you are looking for an idea in beauty advertising, look at the product. It's hiding in there.

Vigorsol Insider said...

Advertising was once described as Tits 'n Tinsel'.

Probably about right

Dan said...

Is fair to say that glamour/celebrity ad's normally suck.. partly because it makes people lazy and they don't think they need a real idea to sell something.

Slight tangent... Scamp, what's your opinion of the new Adidas
House Party ad?..

it's arguably 'celebrity advertising' and is selling lifestyle/glamour of sorts?

Anonymous said...

Esquire has about ten dps's before any editorial appears.

You can decide which fashion brand is right for you depending on what you buy into:

Are you:

a) A cool young dude who kills old fat blokes and sits with his shoe on their face (Diesel)

b) A cheeky chappy from an establishment background who loves to get up to pranks like bicycling through a stately home (can't remember, branding can't have been very good)

c) A smug old bloke with a smuggins for a son who smugs his way through life with too much money for his own good (Patek Philippe)

Take your pick.

I did notice that Fred & Farid managed to have one such dps (Wrangler I think) branded with their names down the side. Those guys know the power of building their own brand.

I expect to see 'A Scamp Production' alongside the Scamp logo on the next Levis 6 sheet.

MacBore Matt said...

I look at that ad and think 'Mmm, Scarlett is a nice young filly' (even though I know she's been under the retoucher's knife) and forget who paid her millions to endorse their product. Maybe I'd end up paying to see that new film she's in (as a blonde). I wouldn't remember the brand that paid her millions to feature in their identikit ads.
But what would I know? I'm not a woman... just a pervy old man.

Anonymous said...

After working on many brands like L'oreal it seems all the marketing department cares about is making sure the skin tone is the right colour.
They are so tightly controlled by mandates set by head office, I don't think there is any room for an idea. We put forward some ideas, only to have them shot down due to 'lack of time' to have them approved by the big wigs in NY.

Mister Gash said...

But I'm not certain that this ad DOESN'T have an idea. Albeit a slim one. I don't know much about the product (except it's meant to make your hair go blonde). And I don't know much about La Johansson (other than she's not a natural blonde).

If the product claim is - the stuff in this tub will transform your dull, mousey locks into shimmering cascades of blonde gorgeousness then I guess you could argue it's an 'idea' to show some renowned brunette looking credibly blonde. Clearly the collar & cuffs don't match. But that's the point isn't it?

Alright - 'slim' is being generous...

golublog said...

Pure glamour bores me. But I'm not the type to buy expensive products anyway.

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