who deals with type concerns readability.
Unfortunately, this function is often
overemphasized at the expense of style,
individuality, and the very
effectiveness of the message itself.”
– Paul Rand
The evocative typography and energetic soundtrack are what drew us into this 30-second TV spot for the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, but I don’t know what to make of the sales pitch for the hotel/spa. There’s nothing really risqué or particularly naughty about the imagery, but the message that flashes on screen is provocative. “Mutation is progress…Wrong has more fun…Correct is a mistake…Right is a trap…Fight right…Break some eggs… Wild is laid…Misfit right in….Just the right amount of wrong.”
Created by Fallon ad agency in Minneapolis, the commercial seems to validate the promise that “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” According to Fallon’s website, “[Cosmopolitan’s] brief was ‘disruptive simplicity.’ And the desired outcome was, as always, to create something that would tickle the senses of the Curious Class and showcase the brand’s unique blend of attitude, wit and sophisticated.”
With a wide swath of North America buried in snow and ice, Wax creative agency in Calgary, Canada, adopted a different medium for outdoor advertising — frost. To promote Mucho Burrito restaurants as the place to go for sizzling hot food, Wax created a block stamp that left a message melted into ice-coated car windows. It’s eco-friendly and beats sticking soggy paper flyers under windshield wipers.
Leo Burnett ad agency made clever use of negative space to communicate Fiat’s Don’t Text and Drive message. Those who focus on the large alphabet letters often miss the silhouetted image in the negative black space. It’s a matter of perspective and where your attention is centered: On the letter “R” or the girl with a balloon? The “F” or the bus? The “N” or the dog? The subjects in the negative space are hiding in plain sight, but you have to be alert to see them.
Ottawa-based McMillan Agency got straight to the point in this direct mail piece. Recipients first read how the creative agency would help clients stand out from the crowd, and when they unfolded the sheet, they could read a lengthier discussion about the challenges facing companies today. Attention-grabbing. Succinct. Minimal production costs. Great idea.
Sometimes a literal visualization of a message is the most effective one. These billboards by creative agency Extra Credit Projects in Grand Rapid, Michigan, promote the services of Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital, an 80-bed rehab center in Grand Rapids. On the all-text billboard ads, the ailment to be treated is clear; nothing more need be said or shown to improve understanding.
As an aside, the name of the hospital itself has a fascinating origin. In 1891, a group of women in Grand Rapids sought to provide medical care for people with limited financial means by asking everyone named Mary, as well as those who knew anyone named Mary, to donate money to secure a free bed in one of the local hospitals. The so-called Mary Free Bed Guild went on to raise funds for convalescent and orthopedic centers for disabled children. In 1966, the program, expanded to care for spinal injury and stroke adult patients, was renamed Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital.
Anyone who has read an action comic book knows what a cataclysmic impact looks like. Splat! Pow! Blam! Swoosh! Clouds of dust, explosive rays, stars. Adam&Eve DDB London worked with illustrator John Rogers to demonstrate how Volkswagen’s City Emergency Brake system can avert disaster by using a comic book illustrative style and visual sound effects. It certainly beats the more realistic approach of showing blood and gore, police cars and the message “don’t let this happen to you.”
IBM’s “Smarter Planet” communication platform, developed with its long-time agency, Ogilvy & Mather, added a low-tech, but highly appreciated approach to its outdoor advertising campaign. IBM looked beyond its digital technology business and considered what would enhance the quality of life in a community. It didn’t change its marketing message, but it did alter its outdoor advertising strategy. Incorporating a simple curve in the physical shape of its billboards transformed them into street benches, rain shelters and ramps — which all goes to prove that small changes can provide smart solutions for cities.
The new Hertz ad campaign theme “Traveling at the Speed of Hertz” isn’t meant to imply that Hertz cars go faster than those of other rental companies, but to suggest that Hertz can get you in and out of their rental lot in a flash. For customers, quick, hassle-free service is really where “the rubber meets the road” when it comes to renting a car. That’s the focus of the Hertz print ad campaign by DDB New York, which introduces Hertz’s Gold Plus Rewards program. Illustrated by Christopher Grey, the print ads feature strong stylized graphics and bold solid colors and the message that customers will enjoy a carefree “lot experience.” The “Bypass Lines” poster doesn’t even show a car, just a superman-type customer soaring over a long line of waiting people.