Advertisement Failures (Part II) – Website Edition

Humor in advertising is very important. However, some elements that originally were not supposed to be funny, may come out as so, in a very wrong way.

This Part II of monthly Advertising Failures (Website Edition).

Every language has it’s own nuances and some things that can be said in one language, are not correct in other language. Foreigners can get lost in translation, as in their language a word can have completely different meaning.Very famous example of bad translation in Marketing is Pepsi’s “Come Alive!” campaign, which in China was not so well received because in Chinese “Come Alive” means “Pepsi brings ancestors from the dead”… Another, not so famous example, is of a brand RaboBank, which is a Bank. This is one of most respectable brands in Netherlands and few other countries, but this brand would never be able to expand it activities to Portugal or Spain, because of local meaning of “rabo”, at least under its own name.

Another nuance about languages is that almost in any language, words are supposed to be written separately, except for few exceptions (e.g., I am – I’m). Websites don’t offer this luxury. Some funny Failures came out of this:

Bog photo 1

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Virgin – Gérard Depardieu and Micheal Jackson Ad (from France)

Two weeks ago I went to Paris, France, to see once again this amazing city. Besides the usual photos with all the most important monument I also took photos of cool ads which I saw on the streets and in the metro.

France is a good place to advertise, as comparing to many other European countries, in France there are few legal limitation to the amount of the advertisement allowed. Specially in metro stations, advertisements can be seen everywhere.

I found this set of advertisements by Virgin Mobile, offering a monthly subscription of 10 euro a month. The title says:

“For this price I’m back” and “For this price I will come back to France”.

A ce prix-la, I'm back Virgin Virgin ad - a ce prix-la je reviens en France

The ads are great, because they are ironic and funny, because they are several variations to the same ad (so they don’t get boring as fast) and because they use dogs, one being a metaphoric representation of Michael Jackson and second of Gérard Depardieu.

As you may know Gérard Depardieu has recently emigrated to Russia, where he received Russian nationality (given to him publicly by Vladimir Putin himself) and was offered a posh house and governance rights over a specific region of Russia. This is to say that French people still may be holding some unresolved feelings towards this famous actor and simply seeing Virgin “making fun” of Depardieu makes them more positive towards the product and brand.

Advertising vs. Publicity vs. Promotions vs. Sales vs. Pattern Advertising

VersusHere is an interesting fact for you. Generally when it comes to Advertising and Publicity, people think it is the same thing. Promotions is sometimes but more rarely confused with the previous two concepts. Sales are considered the be very similar to Advertising. Pattern Advertising is an easy concept, but known by very few.

So I am here to tell you that all these concepts are similar, in a way, but also different. Lets remove the confusion:

Advertising – Also called “paid or unearned marketing”, is when a company pays for promoting itself in a non-personal way.

Publicity – Also called “earned marketing“, is when someone else, but the company, promotes the brand and/or its products (e.g., word of mouth). The company does not pay for publicity. The message can be both good and bad.

Although the Publicity is unpaid, Public Relationship department is responsible for understanding and changing the public perception about the brand and fostering goodwill.

Promotion  Related to monetary and non-monetary discounts given by companies, in order for clients to buy more products.

Sales – Different from Advertising in a way that promotion is done in a personal way.

Pattern Advertising – when it comes to advertising in different places (e.g., countries), managers have to make decision whether to standardize their marketing activities, making advertising the same in these two or more places, or to adopt them to the local needs, whereby every country has its own advertisement. Pattern advertising is somewhere between 100% standardization and 100% adaptation, whereby the “draft”, standardized version is produced and marketers adopt specific elements of the ad to their own market’s needs.

Felix Baumgartner and Red Bulls sponsorship


Corporate sponsorship for this one jump is worth 50 million euro and was predicted to cost even more. Result? Does it really worth 50M?

Lets take a better look.

First of all, there are rights for broadcast worldwide, for which RedBull may have charged (although I do not think so). Also, worldwide sales of the the actual Redbull drink will increase, due to immediate exposure to the advertisement and over time, due to powerful, new associations created in regards to the brand (i.e., fastest, most daring, breaking world records, etc.). Other sources of income are merchandise sales and other sales rights such as of technology (e.g., NASA now uses the data acquired from this jump to improve their own space activities).

Overall, worth it.

And why am I so sure? Well because annual sales of Red Bull are of 4.5 billion cans and their marketing budget was of $900 Million (2010). So, while 50 Million for one campaign is a lot comparing to a 900 Million year budget (1/18), the average daily spending should be around 2,5 Million. Still, while average person does not see RedBulls ads every day, during the day of Felix Baumgartner jump and for at least a week to come, the brand is hitting a great number of papers, TV channels, is seen all over social media, and other channels, biggest being of course chatter, aka word of mouth (which is considered to be one of the best Marketing channels).

Overall, I have to give it to RedBull. Records are being broke everyday and new discoveries are made constantly. Still, due to a cool name (“man jumps from stratosphere”) and good amount of money investment, I will expect that a lot of people will see the brand logo one or several times during the upcoming days.

– Click to increase –

(This photos I found on my own FB. Sorry for any offensive language. It is FB afterall.)

If you want more information about the jump, check also, the Red Bulls page where they show the jump footage and offer other event related information.

PR Marketing (in Pictures)

I know we  are not doing everything right…

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