Miss Pseudo Digital

Having moved into a new flat about two weeks ago, I’m broadbandless as I wait for Virgin Media to connect up our flat. Three weeks, they said, then they’ll be able to come round and connect us up. Three weeks… even though the guy who lived there before us had Virgin broadband, phone, TV and everything else that we want.  Anyway, I digress…

It’s bizarre having no Internet at home. Of course I have my Blackberry and mobile so I can always go online via those platforms, but there’s nothing like spending a few hours having a good old mooch online on my laptop.  I got used to being super on top of the news, all of my RSS feeds and most importantly, my blog.  Now I’ve gone from being Miss Digital to Miss Pseudo Digital, I’m feeling out of the loop and have been reduced to furtive postings while I’m at work (and on the weekend, no less!)

So apologies for the infrequent posting of late – but I’ll be back in full effect in a week’s time. Watch out!


There’s A Storm A Comin’

I’ve never been more excited about a phone than I’ve been about the Blackberry Storm. I’m not a fan of the iPhone and I already have a Touch that was gifted to me. Vodafone have the phone exclusively in the UK and I now have to make a tough decision on whether or not I leave Orange or stay with them and get the Blackberry Bold (as that’s the highest Blackberry upgrade I can get with them). 



I’ve been with Orange since 2003 and I’ve become a bit of a fangirl. I spend a lot on my phone every month, through lazy international phone calls, so Orange have deemed me a premium customer. Now I can upgrade every six months, get money automatically off my bill and Orange are lenient when I forget to pay my phone bill. Being cynical, I know it’s in their interest to keep me happy, but I also genuinely like their customer service. 


But then there’s the question of the Blackberry Storm (known as the Thunder in the US) itself. What a great phone. Touchscreen, integrated messaging, global capabilities, 3.2 megapixel camera, 1GB of memory, an 8GB flash card and what looks like a really cool web browsing experience.  



And it’s only available on Vodafone in the UK.  

Some tough choices ahead for me.

I Am and You Are Too

I walked out of my hotel this morning and saw an outdoor ad that made me stop in my tracks. Usually, I have a very immediate love / hate reaction to advertising. With this ad, I wasn’t sure.

For those you who are having trouble reading it, the copy says: ‘I am Asian when I’m experiencing prejudice.  Put yourself in someone else’s shoes.’

Really interesting concept, but I’m not 100% sure about the execution – but I suppose that’s the point. It’s unexpected and provokes conversations – conversations about the grammar. Should they have used contractions to make the ad more accessible? Should they have used less obvious photo stock shots. I know it’s charity work, but don’t agencies use this as an opportunity to showcase their best work?


Seduced Into Taking Birth Control Pills?

In another one of my ‘advertising is so full-on in North America‘ posts, I need to share my gall at the seductive pharmaceutical adverts that all over TV over here. I’ve gotten really addicted to the Hills (again, don’t judge – everyone has a little bit of trash that they like), which is watched by 13-34 year old women (and gay men – hello, Eugene Levy’s son? Just saying.)  Every single ad break has Neutrogena, film, make-up and birth control commercials. Having lived in the UK for the past six years, I’ve gotten used to a certain level of advertising and things are completely different over here. 

I can’t get over the fact that pharmaceutical adverts are allowed on TV over here. It creates a cheerleading element around certain illnesses and because the creative agencies do their job so well, you get seduced into wanting whatever is being advertised. 

Take this commercial for Yasmin, a birth control. 

It has all of the sharing, talking and gossiping that women do. Basically, they’ve got the female camaraderie element bang on and Yasmin will probably see an uplift in requests from doctors & patients. Is it responsible? Well, that’s another question. 

Then there’s this advert for Cialis, the Viagra competitor. It’s an incredibly seductive piece that I imagine would work extremely well with the target audience – it’s basically an uplifting lifestyle ad with an erection medication message weaved in.  

In the UK, direct to consumer prescription drug adverts are banned but disease awareness campaigns have just been allowed.  Watch out for ads like this, which was a UK advertising first. Get ready to be seduced. 

I’ll Take A Teeth Cleaning and Steak Frites, Please

After some hard graft this morning, I decided to go have a quick lunch at a restaurant close to where I’m working at the moment. I was planning on ordering a quick sandwich and then heading off. That was until I was confronted with the menu.



As you can see, it was not just a menu, it was a food catalogue. So I started turning the pages of the food catalogue to see what I wanted to eat. Turning past the drinks section, I saw ad number one – for a gym.



I thought it was a bit weird, but kept turning the pages. Then I saw the ad number two – for a wine manufacturer.  I immediately thought – ‘Ooh maybe that’s a conflict of interest, but maybe that’s the way they do things over here’. Ad space in exchange for cheaper bulk wine deals?



But then it got weirder. I flipped over to the entrees section of the menu and saw ad number three and the weirdest one yet – and keep in mind that I was ready to order a nice portion of nachos or something equally calorific.



So it looks like the owner of the restaurant has not only asked her favourite wine company and gym to advertise, she’s also seen fit to include a personal photo endorsement of her favourite weight loss program. Bizarre.

The icing on the cake was ad number four. I’ve seen some bad media planning in my time, but this placement is really something special.