Archive for the ‘WAWAM! What A Waste Of Advertising Money’ Category

ads that don’t communicate, need to be explained

April 5, 2015 Leave a comment

ads is a very visual medium – what you see is what you get. and what you get is what it communicates. in these ads, you need to think hard what it is trying to say to you.  what you see are these familiar objects that are being unwrapped to show chocolate.

now with that visual, one of the following is being communicated :

  • they are selling chocolates shaped as a coffee maker
  • the object, in this case the coffee maker, makes chocolatesIMG_2920
  • you will find chocolate when you  unwrap a coffee maker

that is what the visuals say.

but after some much thought and reading the text on the bottom right of the ad, it looks like what the ad is trying to say is – give yourself a treat this Easter and buy appliances in this store called Currys. i guessed that much after using google to find out what Currys is. it is a retail outlet in the U.K. that sell electronics and appliances.

we got that after reading the small texts at the bottom of the ad and AFTER using google. it does not help that the texts at the bottom of the ad were small. we think many consumers will not bother doing what i did to understand the ad. consumers will most likely just stay on the giant visuals and just say one of the above.

the idea of  giving oneself a treat this Easter is very carefully hidden in the visual. it is actually unsaid and the ad is asking you ro logic it out and find the connection between chocolates and a treat.

for us this is a WAWAM!

ad visuals that kill interest – gross out potential subscribers

January 4, 2015 Leave a comment

we saw this ad at facebook. it is an ad for an iOS app where all you do is say the foreign words and the app will translate the words into your preferred language for you to understand what they mean.

that is potentially a great idea for an app except that the app is being sold using this visual in the ad.


i don’t know about you but to me nothing in that visual is pleasing or inviting. it is gross, scary and feels very, very painful. i don’t know how many FB users will find that visual appealing or enticing for them to go to the app store to buy the app because of that visual.

one of the principles in good advertising is visuals that work hard. one way to achieve that is have an image that visualizes the benefit.

yes, okay that visual does the latter – the visual is showing the closed zippered mouth is being opened for it to be able to speak. that is what the app is supposed to do – open the mouths of a foreign language so you can understand them. a closed zippered mouth is something we will not be able to understand.

while the zippered mouth being opened is what the app does, the choice of the zipper on the mouth goes beyond the message. the visual delivers another message which we think is more compelling and more powerful – that of pain and being grossed out. we can have a tagline that says “it’s so good you will kill yourself to get it” to communicate strong desirability but having a visual to execute that thought with something like someone blowing your brains out with a gun will not do it.

this ad forgets that there are other considerations other than accurately visualizing the message. a great  ad is a combination of many components and each of these components while they should work well together, all should also help the ad sell. one of the components not working for the ad and in this case killing the ad will make the whole ad fail.

this is a WAWAM!

~~~mindscape landmark~~~
carlo arvisu



consumer data is king, consumer insight is the queen

January 3, 2015 Leave a comment

“consumer-driven-data” – that is a principle in marketing that is central in any marketing or advertising plan. it is also often used and referred to in many marketing and advertising plans and yet in reality it is hardly used and even more often very few really know what it is and how to find it. it is in many ways something of one of the most “lip service” done in marketing and advertising (“strategic” is another lip service”).

here is one article we found at the Washington Post on fashion retailer Timberland where consumer data is king and was used to renew and in many ways reinvent the brand to a successful turn-around. while consumer data is king, the consumer insight is queen.

always, it is not enough to have consumer data, what is equally important and to some degree slightly more important is to know how to understand, interpret and translate consumer data into a consumer insight that is used in marketing and advertising plans.

it is in that bridge between consumer data and consumer insight where most marketing and advertising practitioners fail at or are weak at.

How Timberland used customer data to reboot its brand

STRATHAM, N.H. — There are few shoes more recognizable than theTimberland yellow boot. You know the one: The high-top styling, the sturdy-looking nubuck leather, the rubber lug sole to protect feet from sheets of rain or piles of snow.

But the durable boot — and the rest of Timberland’s footwear and apparel line — was having trouble weathering a fast-changing retail climate.

Timberland’s revenue was basically flat from 2006 to 2012. It was losing market share in the Americas, its home turf and most crucial market. And it was barreling forward with a confusing and slapdash patchwork of marketing and product strategies.timberland

Here in the United States, it had become something of a hip-hop brand as rappers name-checked “Timbs” in countless songs. In Asia, it was thought of as a comfort brand; in Italy, it was more fashion-oriented. Still more customers perceived Timberland as gear for the rugged outdoorsman, the kind of guy who hikes in the woods for days with nothing but his backpack and his Eagle Scout skills.

“The brand had become stale in many ways, and the focus wasn’t there,” said Stewart Whitney, Timberland’s president.

In the past year, though, Timberland has staged an impressive turnaround, with salessurging 15 percent in the most recent quarter even as the broader retail industry has posted only modest growth. Its sales have improved in every global market and every product category, delivering a fatter profit margin — about 13 percent in 2014, up from 8 percent in 2011.

Timberland has revamped everything from its product design to marketing to merchandising strategies. And data science provided the fuel and the framework for each of its changes.

The company says that the cornerstone of the comeback has been a two-year customer study in which it collected data from 18,000 people across eight countries. In analyzing the trove of responses, Timberland was able to diagnose its problems and to zero in on its ideal customer — an urban dweller with a casual interest in the outdoors.

“Research wasn’t a driving factor as much in the previous 20 years,” said Jim Davey, vice president of global marketing. “It was kind of a product-driven organization.”

This data-driven approach was implemented after the family-run business was bought in 2011 by VF Corp., an $11 billion apparel company based in Greensboro, N.C., that has undertaken a similar analysis at other brands, including the North Face and Vans.

read the rest here :

what is this queen? how do we define and how do we get this queen that is consumer insight?

1. consumer data is not consumer insight – results from consumer research, be it quantitative or qualitative is NOT yet consumer insight, they are just raw data on consumer information, attitudes or preferences. these are just raw data that needs to put into some kind of a mental machine that will churn own consumer insight. many confuse “consumer data” and “consumer insight” as one and the same as when they certainly are not.

for consumer data to become consumer insight, you need to put a few of them together, connect them into a sensible whole and get them to jump out of a trampoline. consumer insight is something that needs to leap out of something, a composite of many points where eventually what comes out is very different from what came in.

2. your experiences or observations, those of the advertising and marketing executives, from the client or from the ad agency is NOT consumer insight nor is it the penultimate consumer data – okay, fine what you or your client think may be part of consumer data and consumer insight, it is not in no way the whole thing or even the core of what consumer data and consumer insight is. a person or even several people’s points of view, experiences or observations are of course valid but they may not be what most of the consumers think and feel. they may or may not be the prevailing and most dominant among the target market. the real and maybe the painful truth is that we, those of us in marketing and advertising are NOT the target market or target audience. our views and experiences are at best anecdotal and taking them as THE consumer data and consumer insight is like playing russian roulette.

3. once the right consumer insight is discovered, it becomes magic where everything makes sense, it gains power on its own and everything flows – that is how powerful consumer insights are. once you find it, your marketing and advertising plan will flow very smoothly from start to finish. you will see that ideas, concepts and strategies build on each other, on to like a strong pyramid. that is how consumer insights are used – they become the core of what you do,

it is possible to have several consumer insights and several may be used in a marketing and advertising plan but there will be a very clear order of things where the weight of one is the shadow of the rest.

we have been witness to just how powerful a consumer insight is. finding it defines the success of a brand. do not use it as lip service, take it seriously, its discovery will make you.


~~~mindscape landmark~~~
carlo arvisu


neastea’s layers upon layers of leap of logic TV ad that fails – “say yes”

October 28, 2014 Leave a comment

we think the intent of this ad is to be cute and amusing, then after that to be memorable to build a brand image for nestea. but on the road to achieving those goals, we stopped way ahead of it – we didn’t understand the TV ad.

we did not get the ad after seeing the ad once for the first time. it took us a few more times watching it to understand what was going on in the ad.

ads that you don’t get on the first time you watch it are weak ads. good ads work even after seeing it only once. that didn’t happen for us on this ad. and even after seeing the ad several times more and being able to finally get what the ad is all about, we still didn’t get the ad.

there was too much leap of logic in the ad. layers and upon layers of them.

what we didn’t understand was why did  the male lead who was making the presentation break into song on top the table after the boss who was seated at the end of the table saw a picture of his daughter with the male lead on the screen?

we got it that the male lead mistakenly showed a picture of himself and a girl on the screen who turned out to be the daughter of the big boss.

why did the male lead break out into a “say yes” song? and even the people around the conference table also broke out into song?

nestea a tea drink positioned here as having the ability to cool things off in “hot situations” apparently led the male lead to sing.

forcing ourselves to understand the tv ad, we think the story in the ad was that to save himself from the embarrassment of   accidentally showing a picture of himself and the daughter of the big boss, the male lead led him to propose marriage.

yes, propose marriage not to the big boss who was a male but to the daughter of the big boss who was in the picture with him. but the daughter was not in the conference room, just the dad and his office mates. since the girl was not in the room, to whom was he proposing marriage to? the song had the lyrics “say yes” which we are thinking it meant “say yes to my marriage proposal”. marriage proposal to whom? the dad? nope. to the daughter. but she is not in the room.

the above explains why we did not get the TV ad. the ad has layers and layers of leap of logic.  the ad is asking the audience to accept too many things and not only that, to make their own conclusions not only once but many times about the story in the ad.

TV ads are usually just 30 seconds. it is such a short time that effective  ads are those that deliver the story of the ad, the message in a memorable way and finally to impress or capture the audience in just 30 seconds. this ad fails right at the very first stage of the process.

we are wondering if this ad was tested. we think this ad will fail miserably on understandability and recall. it will probably come at par or score close to likeability but its over-all score will be bad.

the likeability score will be its best score because of the song. while the production value of the song is poor, it’s obvious the male lead was not singing the song, the melody is interesting enough to make it okay on likeability,

we also think the ad was made because of the song. we are guessing the creatives and the client liked the song a lot, and when they fell in love with the song, they somehow convinced themselves it is a good ad.

and then propose marriage just to save yourself from embarassment of showing a picture with the girl? come on! they were not even naked in the picture!


it is not a good ad. it is a WAWAM! (what a waste of ad money)


~~mindscape landmark ~~
carlo arvisu

bench’s Naked Truth crosses the line to brand destruction from brand building

September 25, 2014 Leave a comment

bench is a local clothes brand that sell a complete wardrobe that cater mostly to the young. they have very good clothes at affordable prices for the pinoy teen. it is also known to have one of the most engaging outdoor advertising, mostly on EDSA with giant billboards of local and sometimes international celebrities.

they have this annual fashion show. well we are calling it a fashion show for lack of another term , where underwear is modeled by  local celebrities and models. the idea for the event we suppose was picked up from the popular Victoria’s Secret annual fashion show that feature super models in really sexy and skimpy underwear with all types of wings making them out as beautiful and sexy angels.

the bench fashion show started very close to the Victoria’s Secret concept – local celebrities modeling bench underwear also with wings. that has evolved over the years and this year it is called “The Naked Truth” .

we do not know how much of Bench’s sales are from their underwear lines but we are guessing they do  not command the majority of their sales. in fact, we think its very little, maybe less than 10%? but that is not the point. Bench does not hold an annual underwear fashion show to promote the line to generate sales but to get buzz, to get publicity for the brand. the prospect of seeing celebrities in underwear has a certain appeal to consumers, at least that is what we think Bench thinks.

they are no longer angels and we struggle to find where is the fashion in them and even where the underwear has gone. surely the pictures are showing that the there was a clear attempt to not show underwear.

these two pictures from the “fashion chow” got the most attention at social media and for all the wrong reasons. there was outrage and sharp hatred for these pictures. the first picture of the left shows coco martin on stage with a leash and at the end of the leash is a female model on all fours just like a dog. this is exactly what we do not want our men and specially our women to be – master and salve relationship with the women being treated like a dog.

the other is another actor, jake cuenca wearing something we cant figure out what it is or what it is called. we do not think it has a name except its obscene and horrendous.

we are wondering – are these brand images that Bench wants to have? and are these brand imaged appropriate for the youth, the market segment that comprice the bulk of Bench consumers? Bench may have achieved their goal of getting attention but we are wondering they think the kind of attention they are getting from the event is worth it. these things whether they like it or not will affect its brand image.

with these pictures, Bench now took for itself a brand image of poor taste, crass and vulgarity – adjectives that a fashion brand will not want for itself, s;pecially poor taste. good taste is certainly one of the top brand attributes any fashion brand would want.

victoria’s secret’s annual fashion show of supermodel angels in underwear are hardly criticized for such things. the supermodels in their show do wear very skimpy underwear but they never cross the line to vulgarity. victoria’s secret is a brand that sells mostly underwear, hence the underwear fashion show they hold every year is a direct match to what the brand is all about. bench on the other sell the complete wardrobe and holding an underwear fashion show does not make sense as they probably sell much more jeans and t-shirts than underwear. the sales of underwear in Bench stores being so minuscule and a fashion show supposedly featuring them and taking the brand image to the gutter makes no sense to us.

marketing efforts, even fashion shows, are supposed to do something positive to the brand, to be able to contribute to brand building. this fashion show  did a lot more destruction and deterioration than building anything.




“strategic thinking” according to Calvin of Calvin & Hobbes

September 25, 2014 Leave a comment

good strategic thinking is all about using what you have – the market, the competition, consumer insights (psychographics)  and your objectives and  putting all those together and funnel them into a coherent action that gets you what you want. it is not at all random but it is placing all the elements, sometime a few often numerous into a certain sequence that leads to getting your goals achieved.

that is essentially what Calvin did,

when use of a celebrity in TV ad fails – the new security bank’s TV ad with Megan Young

March 26, 2014 Comments off

use of celebrities in ads is a huge trend in the philippines, it has been for decades years now.  almost all the ads you see in TV, print, billboards and hear on radio use a celebrity. use of a celebrity in advertising is the go-to ad concept for most if not all the advertising agencies in the phiippines. we do not know how that happened or if that was instigated by ad agencies in general or clients in general. that is an interesting question but it is for another article in the future.

for now, we are interested in this particular celebrity TV ad by security bank using megan young.

megan young won the Miss World beauty title in 2013. she has brought so much glory to the country for this win
specially when it has been a long time when the country has won a major international beauty contest title.

beautiful women and men have been big choices for philippine advertising agencies specially if they have gained celebrity status. the usual choices are TV and movie stars and big sports heroes like manny pacquiao but beauty queens specially someone like young who has won a major international beauty contest classifies her a celebrity endorser.

security bank is a medium sized bank in the country. it has a good reputation among institutional or business bank clients but not as popular and in fact has very little mass consumer clientele like the top 3 major banks. you would know very few among your friends and relatives who bank with security bank.

security bank is not a big advertiser among the banks. it makes sense that it is not since its clientele, specially among mass consumers is not that much but it has been known to try to get into attract mass consumer clientele from time to time in spurts and in very limited efforts in the past.

this advertising with megan young represents a giant marketing effort for security bank. it has been many, many years since it had released any kind of advertising and in this magnitude. it has been airing heavily in the past weeks.

in marketing this megan young TV campaign represent what is called a brand relaunch where the bank re-positions itself and puts across a “new bank”, a new security bank.

based on the TV ad, security ad wants consumers to “switch to the new security bank, you deserve better“, the tagline of the ad. the “new security bank” offers the following new services : “priority queuing”, “exclusive privileges” and a “relationship manager” with all that intending to give clients better, more efficient, faster and personalized banking services. the ad shows young going into the bank and talks to the camera about her “new relationship” and she breezes through the bank services and gets attended to by a handsome relationship manager who wears a suit, no less.

well, that part of the handsome relationship manager in a suit is for certain an over promise and the roominess and good ambiance of the security bank branch featured in the TV, we do not think there is one single branch of security bank that has that kind of employee and branch design. but let’s pretend that is not an issue in this ad for the moment.

the ad also shows megan young being served coffee by the relationship manager. another over-promise that we should pretend we did not see in the ad and something we should not expect in an actual security bank branch.

the issue we have on this TV ad is much more than the over-promises of what a security bank branch looks like and what happens to customers inside the bank, what we are making a point on is the choice of the talent in the ad, the celebrity endorser and what the promises of what a new security bank is all about.

first a side bar – technically, security bank as a whole has not been changed. it’s not really a “new security bank” but its a just new product that security bank offers to well-off clients. this “new relationship” or the “new security bank” that is being talked about in the ad will be given to a select number of clients – those who have a minimum P100,000 deposit in the bank, not to all clients of the bank. because it is offered only to a select few of its clients, it is just one product in the bank. do not expect to get the kind of servicing in a security bank if you are an ordinary bank client.

this new product of security bank  is being pitched to young bank clients, the yuppies given the use of young who is herself young (pun unintended) and the ad uses references to “relationships that are not complicated” a modern-day reference to social media (facebook) that young adults are familiar with and most likely very few older adults know about.

from there the question comes up on the defined target market of the ad – young yuppies as we would think very few of them can afford to have a remaining balance of  P100,000 in their bank accounts. they can afford to buy an iPhone worth P30,0000+ but hardly will you find people at that age bracket having that large amount of cash in their bank accounts.

now back to megan young.

the point of this “new security bank” but actually the new security bank product is that it promises to give its bank clients “special treatment”, something that clients of other banks and other security bank clients will not or do not get. what it is saying is that bank clients get the regular treatment of having to line up, no privileges and no relationship manager tending to your personal needs (including coffee being served). it is saying many bank clients get the regular treatment, not the special one.

and that is where the choice of megan young as talent in this tv ad shows a disconnect.

megan young IS A VERY POPULAR CELEBRITY. everyone knows her. for being a celebrity and this kind of beauty with an international beauty title, she WILL get special treatment from any bank or in fact any establishment like restaurants, department stores and malls even if she does not do anything, ask for it or have P100,000 with her to open a bank account with. getting special treatment, even the priority ones is part and parcel of the benefits one gets in being a celebrity and being an international beauty titlist.

we are willing to bet that if she enters any branch of any bank, the branch manager will most likely stand up from her desk and attend to her. she is that recognizable and that is what we do for celebrities.

using her in this ad then destroys the whole concept of the “new security bank”. if the bank used a regular person, a non-celebrity in the ad and the ad proceeds to show this regular person gets special treatment in security bank, then the ad works and delivers the message very well.

the point of relationship products like this is that one gets “special treatment” even if you are an ordinary person but has P100,000 minimum deposit. a regular person gets special treatment, that is the idea.

in this ad and with the new security bank product, the choice of a celebrity endorser destroyed the very idea of the new product. it’s a WAWAM!


 ~~~ mindscape landmark ~~~
carlo arvisu









Caltex Techron’s message cleans the wrong way

January 3, 2014 Leave a comment

photo (5)


this is a poster appearing in Caltex gas stations. to say the least, the message it is trying to communicate is anywhere from confused to non communication of the intended message.

we are guessing that this is the message they intended to communicate with the poster – Tachron has been reformulated to include an ingredient that cleans the engine as the car runs. we do not know the exact science of it but we are guessing they included a cleaning agent additive to the formula of Techron.

that could be an interesting proposition for car owners – a clean engine means it will run better and more importantly the car will be very efficient in burning the fuel which enables the car owner to save on gas consumption plus a better maintained engine.

but the poster is not communicating that. with the suds emanating from the car and even bigger bubbles on the trees and roadside, the poster seem to be saying the car is cleaning the environment, not the engine. the car or Techron cleaning the environment? that is a crazy idea and totally unbelievable.

or… maybe that is what Techron does – it cleans the environment and not the engine of the car as we had understood it. whatever real benefit the new Techron has, cleaning the engine or the environment, the poster fails in clearly communicating what it was meant to say.

it’s a WAWAM!


~~~ mindscape landmark ~~~
carlo arvisu


la salle and UST’s teng brothers very gay pic – topless shows a brand character failure

October 5, 2013 1 comment


we saw this picture of the teng brothers jeron and jeric posted at  twitter by sportscaster TJ Manotoc (@tjmanotoc) that accompanied an article posted at the  PhilStar website (Philippine Star), Lifestyle section. my initial reaction was – omg, what is the point of that picture? then i tweeted (@wawam) this :

teng brothers pic tweet

source of pic and the article here :

we thought there are so many things wrong with that picture:

it is a very gay picture of the Teng brothers. we have never seen a much more gay picture of two basketball players in philippine sports. while we have not seen all the  pictures of US basketball players, of those that we have seen on the internet and in sports magazines, this is the first time we have seen a picture of this sort even in feature articles like the one posted at philippine star. and even in sports magazines and in sports pages of philippine newspapers.

what of the picture are we talking about? well two men who are topless, showing lots of manly muscles, hands held  together in an “embrace” that way, with their bodies so close to each other. plus the bottoms not being shown makes you wonder if they were completely naked. although i have to admit, maybe the last point is taking it too far.

basketball players are always shown in their uniforms and if not in uniforms with clothes on, tops and bottoms included. seeing them topless and in this way is unheard of, also unseen. basketball is a sport of skill and mental prowess, it is not about muscles or brawn. in fact the shorts that basketball players now are very long (started by michael jordan) showing very little leg muscles. even the tops that basketball players wear show very little muscles. showing shirtless basketball players is a shock and very much way off.

a follower of ours in twitter, @econcepcion asked “where are the school colors?”. that is a very good point. basketball and most specially college basketball in the philippines and UAAP is all about the team colors – green is for la salle and yellow for UST. we see that all the time during the games. in fact it is the colors that people wear to watch the games that separate and identify the audience as to what school one supports.

shirtless means the teng brothers are not showing the school colors.

the article is published at the “lifestyle” section of the Philippine Star, not at the sports section. so that also makes you wonder what this picture and article is all about. reading the article though is about what happens to the brothers during and after the game, its about sports.

from a communications standpoint, this picture is very much off strategy and off-brand character in several levels. it is a very confused set of communication material where the visuals do not match with the content of the article,  most certainly the sports of basketball and most specially the basketball skills and talents of the teng brothers.

just like in advertising, pictures even in newspaper articles also tell a lot of the story that you read. this topless pic of the teng brothers  is way off and does not contribute to the story being told in the article. there is no way one can actually rationalize or defend that that picture should accompany the article.

we saw a picture from that is actually a perfect fit to this Philippine Star article. it is a picture of the teng brothers entangled in court during the first game with each of the teng brothers not allowing the other any room or advantage. we saw that play out on tv during the game and those few seconds on the court were totally intense but  it felt like it almost went on forever as each one fought the other for space and positioning. it was really beautiful basketball skills.

you appreciate the intensity and professionalism of the brothers even though they had their school colors on and not topless.


from what we know, writers and specially editors labor at choosing the pictures that accompany articles. they know that pictures that accompany articles does play an important role n the appreciation of the article. on this philippine star article, nothing of that sort happened.

aside from accompanying the article with a very gay picture of the teng brothers, this picture is way off strategy, way off brand character and does not make sense at all. it’s a WAWAM!

iReader ads meant to sell ebooks but also sells books

August 1, 2013 Leave a comment

i saw these ads at Flipboard and at first glance and without reading the copy (text) yet, just seeing the visuals, i thought wow this is a great ad for books.

i thought, yes that is what happens when you read a good book – the story that it tells in words come alive to you in 3D, like a diorama or (my favorite) pop up books. when stories are written very well, they take flesh and you see the action in described in the book, not just imagine it.


i clicked the picture of the ad to read the text and i was surprised – the ad was actually selling ebooks and not books. and the visuals that were coming out in diorama farm depicts the killing of trees to produce the book you are reading.

it had the line –  “iReader. every book is a tragedy for trees. read ebooks“. 

now talk about miscommunication!

the whole experience talks about what they say about ads – the visuals communicate the message. this one had a very powerful visual and it very immediately communicated the message to me. the only problem was i picked up the wrong message. not only was it the wrong message, it was the exact opposite of the intended message. the ad wanted readers to stop using books because books kill trees and use ebooks instead.

but to me, i saw the adventure and beauty of reading books. it’s a real dilemma – use a highly creative execution to communicate something that could be misunderstood and have the exact opposite of the intended objective of the ad.

miscommunication aside,  we still think this is a great ad! at least on the execution side. but it fails on the strategy side. and on that basis this makes it a WAWAM!

~~ mindscape landmark ~~



Ford Focus direct mail effort – impressive spending but unimpressive mailer material that fails

November 8, 2012 2 comments

i got a surprising knock at my house from LBC – they delivered an odd sized package to me. quickly, i made a mental audit – am i expecting a package or document from anyone? the quick answer was – none. bells in my mind  rang!  oh, is this a surprise from someone? 

i opened the pack and i found a mailer from Ford on their new car, the Focus. i checked the envelope and yes it was addressed to me and it had my address. i wondered if it was sent to “occupant” or if it was sent to my house by mistake. no such mistake.

i was impressed with the direct mailing effort of Ford!

it was impressive as this was the first direct mail i got through LBC and this was addressed specifically to me. sending direct mail through LBC is a very expensive proposition. LBC cost alone is a killer of advertising budgets.

the other thing that is equally impressive was that it was  specifically for me. i was surprised they got my name and address. coming from marketing and advertising myself, i have for many years not given out my name, address and even cell phone number to almost anyone or any organization that i thought can  turn my personal information into data in a direct mail effort.

the most i do is sign my name when asked by any organization, including the schools of my children, retail outlets, stores or any other organization. when an address is required, all i put is the city name, not the complete address. for telephone or cell phone numbers, i would usually put some random number and very far from my real cell phone number.

this ford focus mailer was very targeted, having the ability to reach potential buyers. a targeted direct mail effort is very difficult for many direct mail agencies to pull off. this means this direct mail agency has a very good data base.

although i was impressed with the direct mail effort, i was not at all impressed with the mailer material they sent out.

front page & letter

the main weakness of the mailer is that it is just a re-layout of their print ads and a restating of the key elements of their TV ad. not saying the mailer should have a different advertising strategy and ad components from the TV and print ad, as  they should have the same but they should have changed the execution and implementation of the elements.

the mailer does not look like a mailer, it looks like a print ad but printed in glossy paper and folded. except for the letter that came with it, the mailer had nothing in it from a design and content standpoint that will get the recipient to take action or even just enjoy the mailer.

aside from coming up with a new design appropriate for a mailer, it should have some elements that exploit the mailer format medium. it could have been more interactive or leading where the recipient will want to read, interact with or manipulate  the mailer because it is interesting or creative.

the Focus has a few features that are unique in the market and potentially very attractive to potential car buyers. while these were mentioned in the mailer, it was not exploited in a way that is creative and compelling.

the mailer as an advertising medium is self contained and has the target audience practically as captive, designing the mailer to exploit the great features of the car and the characteristics of the medium would have served Ford very well.

inside pages

another key weakness of this mailer is that it does not include some kind of an incentive for the recipient to take action – for the recipient to go to the Ford showroom and look at the car or as the letter suggests to test drive the car.

the end objective of this mailer is not just to generate awareness on the features of the car, it is to get the target audience to go to the showroom to look and test drive the car. the weak design of the mailer fails in achieving this key objective.

the mailer may succeed in informing the target audience of the features of the car but it may be failing in getting them to take action.

lacking this incentive and the weakness of the design and concept makes this mailer a WAWAM! What A Waste Of Advertising Money!


we will be going to a Ford showroom to complete the experience and effort of this mailer. will post a write-up here.


~~~ mindscape landmark ~~~
carrlo arvisu


bayo’s anti-filipino ad – advertising creativity gone horribly wrong with twisted logic

June 7, 2012 6 comments

we join the multitude of netizens condemning the bayo ad as anti-filipino. we join them as a filipino and as a marketing/advertising practitioner.

from the advertising and marketing standpoints, it  is very unfortunate since bayo is one of the country’s local fashion shops who is doing well in the market with many outlets in almost all the major shopping malls in the country. there is nothing worst that any one brand can do in advertising  than being anti-filipino for a filipino clothing line whose market are filipinos.

for us, there is no question on the meaning of this copy : “Call it biased, but the mixing and matching of different nationalists with Filipino blood is almost a sure formula for someone beautiful and world class.”

filipinos with mixed blood are “beautiful and world class” while unsaid, the implication is clear that those with pure filipino blood are less beautiful and not world class.

there is no mistaking the meaning of that line. the whole intent of the line is to put “mixing” as a better or even superior option to the “pure” kind. of course they refer primarily to clothing choices but the reference to mixed races is clear. the use of an australian-filipino celebrity as model for the ad makes that crystal clear as well.

how can a filipino advertising agency and a filipino clothing company make such awful statements?

before that, let’s  first go to a lesson in advertising 101 courtesy of the bayo spokesperson quoted by

The words are badly put but the intention there was never to offend. Who would want to offend anybody?” said a Bayo representative who requested not to be named.

“At the end of the day, we’re all just trying to say that Bayo is all about mixing and matching things. That’s how we relate it to mixed races. It’s sad that something positive…na-twist nang konti,” she told Rappler. The representative, however, admitted that the ad “was really open to misunderstanding.

in fact the bayo spokesperson need to learn more than one advertising 101 lessons:

  1. do not release ads with words that are “badly put”. ads are supposed to make people feel good about the product being advertised. words used in ads are supposed to put the brand always in a good light. being put in a good light is definitely a necessity before desirability and purchase action  kicks in.  words in ads are as important as the pictures in them.
  2. what you see is what you get“- that is one of the first things you learn when you take an advertising job for the first time after college. the audience absorbs what you put out in the ad, both in visuals and copy (words or text). visuals and copy contain your message/s. what you write and show in your ad is what the audience gets, not intentions, even good intentions as the bayo spokesperson was trying to say in his/her attempt to make a lame excuse for the ad. intentions are always invisible to the audience. so making a point of it when asked by media about a failed ad shows a very poor understanding of the communication and advertising philosophy and its dynamics. rather than say this, the spokesperson whould have just apologized for the error. we think this bayo spokesperson has done slightly worst than the ad agency that did the ad for bayo.
  3. release ads only if you are 100% sure it will build business – never, ever  release an ad that is “open to misunderstanding” , even the with the slightest chance of “misunderstanding”.  clients advertise because it wants to generate business. generating business through advertising demands brand building which includes brand image that leads to brand desirability which in turn leads to brand purchase. the ideal is to have advertising that generates all those positive points, the next best thing is “target market neutral” where they are not affected by the ad and  neither are they repulsed by it. the worst of course is when the target market is repulsed by your ad. we have done this many times in our career in advertising – we junk ads that have in them even a single element that has even a slight chance of being interpreted as negative. the fact that an ad element has the chance of being interpreted as negative is like putting a tiny grenade in your handbag. it may be a small grenade but if something happens in your handbag, it can still explode. small negative elements in ads can be made bigger as your consumers talk about it and others who may have missed it are now made aware of it.

we think the “mixed race’ campaign idea in the ad has been brought about by  the heightened national attention given to other “mixed race” celebrities that we have been recently admiring like the azkals soccer team, Robin Lim the winner of the CNN Heores, miami heat coach erik spoelstra and most recently just weeks ago, american idol runner up jessica sanchez just to name a few. the phenomenon of the celebrities with filipino blood being admired by the country is really a recent development, having started  something like  just in the past 4 to 5 years ago. the bayo ad wanted to ride on this bandwagon.

that is fine except that they used the idea of “mixed race” in a very wrong way. they wanted to create the analogy of mixed clothing is as good as mixed race. the mistake was that they put the idea of “mixed” on the superior level calling it “beautiful and world class”. the inclusion of  “world class’  plays up to the point i raised about the azkals, spoelstra, lim and sanchez who are all seen as world class.

it is twisted logic at its best. it takes the proposition from the backdoor, rather than a straight up communication of the message. it is an ad that is too intelligent. it asks the audience to go through a complicated thinking process to appreciate the message. “intelligent ads” are very tricky and prone to misinterpretation.  these types of ads are very easy for the audience not to get what it means and or as it is in this case, to be misunderstood by them.

the creative team who wrote this ad cannot deny it – they were writing advertising with the intent of positioning the brand on a superiority platform. a superiority positioning is ALWAYS what creative writers aim for when they write advertising. superiority more often than not sells brands. consumers will hardly deny a brand that they think is superior over others.

that by itself is benign. a superiority positioning is the best kind of advertising. the problem is they referenced that brand superiority positioning with race – filipino  mixed with other races versus pure filipino.  that we think is more than insulting.

whenever we look at an advertising campaign, we always look for two things – what it says  about the brand and if there are things in the ads that can generate negatives. having a hundred positives in an ad is turned worthless with even just one negative. that is the nature of advertising.

whenever we look at advertising research, we always look at the negatives and consider them in the decision making. in fact there are even advertising  research tools that purposely look for negatives in ads.

advertising that works are those that are simple and easy to understand. having complicated ads not only result to poor communication, it can bring negatives to the brand as is the case in this bayo ad.

bottom line, it is a WAWAM – What A Waste Of Advertising Money.

~~~ mindscape landmark ~~~
carlo arvisu


[VIRAL] Bayo’s ‘What’s your mix’ campaign earns ire of netizens


MANILA, Philippines – Filipinos on social media are reacting to a recently-launched campaign by local clothing brand Bayo.

The campaign, which caries the tagline, “What’s your mix?” features Filipino models of mixed descent accompanied by text that “breaks down” their genealogy.

The campaign in itself has been mildly controversial on social media, but one particular ad is being branded by netizens as “racist” and offensive.

The ad features Fil-Aussie Jasmine Curtis-Smith, and is accompanied by copy explaining the “What’s your mix?” concept.

“This is just all about MIXING and MATCHING. Nationalities, moods, personalities and of course your fashion pieces,” the copy reads.

“Call it biased, but the mixing and matching of different nationalists with Filipino blood is almost a sure formula for someone beautiful and world class.”

The ad was never released on any of the brand’s social media accounts, a Bayo representative told Rappler; it was uploaded on their official website to explain the rationale behind the campaign.

One user, however, supposedly took a screen shot of the ad — that’s when it went viral.


Users on the thread cried foul over the ad’s implication that Filipinos of mixed descent are superior to others, while others said that reactions to the ad were exaggerated, adding that they didn’t see anything offensive in it.

“The words are badly put but the intention there was never to offend. Who would want to offend anybody?” said a Bayo representative who requested not to be named.

“At the end of the day, we’re all just trying to say that Bayo is all about mixing and matching things. That’s how we relate it to mixed races. It’s sad that something positive…na-twist nang konti,” she told Rappler. The representative, however, admitted that the ad “was really open to misunderstanding.”

Read more…

ad review: “Pangmadaliang Sarap, Pangmatagalang Hirap” has 2 fatal errors

October 14, 2011 1 comment

in our ad review, the above ad suffers from two fatal errors -positioning RH as anti-sex and the bigger fatal  error, as anti-children. we think that error was brought about by a lack or no strategy and consumer insight.

rerad about it here:

babes in orange mini dress arrested at world cup 2010

June 17, 2010 Leave a comment

it’s official – doing ambush marketing can get you arrested at the world cup 2010. read more here:

the lesson from the screw-up on the Zucker Experiment at NBC – do not screw-up with the audience

January 15, 2010 Leave a comment

the screw-up at NBC on “The Tonight Show that involved jay leno and conan o’brien is getting unscrewed. or at least that is what NBC is hoping it is trying to do.

we think it is such an  amazing story that it could have very well been written for a drama series aired on tv and could have won them awards and a top rating. not even reality shows could top the way this story started, evolved, twisted and got screwed-up. 

there is a nasty question that is left after reading the whole story – how can one of the country’s top tv networks, ran by highly paid executives with all those smarts, salaries and bonuses screw up so badly?

when you get some answers to that question, one more question pops up that takes you back to where you started – NBC’s bread and butter rest in a very large part to satisfying the audience, why did they suck at reading the minds and preferences of their audience?  sure, they have writers, producers and stars that pull in the ratings and ad revenues but all that is worth nothing if they are not masters of the mind of  the audience.

this all started when the venerable tv station launched the Zucker Experiment launched by NBC chief Jeff Zucker who decided months ago to move jay leno into an earlier time slot, the 10 pm slot which is prime time. the thinking was the tv station will save a lot of production money by removing all the drama shows occupying that prime time slot. apparently the production cost of a talk show like jay leno’s is  much cheaper  than  that of drama shows.

together with this move, conan o’brien was moved to take over the tonight show that jay leno was going to vacate. at the time of the move, the tonight show with jay leno was a top rater during the time slot.

after a few month’s of the Zucker Experiment, network affiliates complained on the side-effects of the experiment – they were losing revenue due to a loss of audience. NBC has said jay leno from a show quality standpoint was doing well but the dynamics of the change and the available choices from competitive tv sations for the audience, jay leno at an earlier time slot was not getting it done.

NBC Chief Jeff Zucker

the result of the Zucker Experiment is one lesson every brand manager knows – DO NOT BE A SUCKER TO CONSUMERS.  every brand manager learns this lesson very early in his/her career – screw up the product (formula or packaging) and you lose your consumers. more importantly, when you screw the product, change its formula or packaging based on a desire to reduce product cost (to improve profits), you can be asking for a loss of market share.

every product manager knows the product or the formula is most important to the success of a brand. a reduction in cost is a most dangerous thing to do as that usually involves a change in quality and product performance which can result to a loss in market share.

and yet this is exactly what the Zucker Experiment did. it is an experiment that made the audience  as suckers. NBC seemed to have ignored the consumers and focused too much on costs and profits.

what they committed is an epic fail in marketing 101 – screw with a number 1 brand, the tonight show was number 1 with jay leno in it by changing it’s  formula by putting in conan o’brien in the formula all based on an intent to cut on costs and increase profits, all done with the audience not being considered in the mix.

NBC simply  failed at applying what they are supposed to know best – being the master of the audience (consumer). clearly,  the Zucker Experiment sucked and henceforth, we think a new phrase will be added to the launguage used in the  tv industry  – “Don’t be such a zucker!”

lorelei fajardo, presidential spokesman quits or fired?

December 19, 2009 2 comments
WAWAM! after hours post on lorelei fajardo

WAWAM! after hours' post on lorelei fajardo

we have written about lorelei fajardo, one of our favorite spokespersons of president arroyo in this blog  last december 1 (read here: Memo To: Gloria Macapagal Arroyo – fire Lorelei Fajardo, the Maguindanao Massacre aftermath).

we just read a news article saying she has quit being the presidential spokesman of president arroyo. (read article here:

we do not know if arroyo or anyone in malacanang reads this blog, but we think getting fajardo fired, err to accept her resignation, according to this news article a “career choice” is the right thing to do.

it is this statement of hers which is the basis of our recommendation to president arroyo that t fajardo be fired from her job:

I don’t think the President’s friendship with the Ampatuans will be severed,” Lorelei Fajardo, her deputy spokesperson, told reporters Thursday in Filipino. “Just because they’re in this situation doesn’t mean we will turn our backs on them.”

fajardo made that statement  november 26, we wrote the piece on december 1, fajardo got fired, err she made the career move  decenber 17. wow, that took a long time from the time she made the unfortunate declaration of how arroyo views loyalty to friends.

this statement of fajardo has stuck in the mids of media people. i have read quite a number of articles written on the maguindanao massacre where many foreign media uses that statement as lead in to the kind of treatment the ampatuans are getting within the philippine judicial system. it really is a very unfortunate statement.

this firing err resignation of fajardo as presidential spokesman of arroyo has been carried by the major newspapers as well and  it is quite interesting that each article included the fajardo’s statement on arroyo’s special friendship with the ampatuans. it looks like that statement of fajardo has made a lasting impression on the media outlets.

for myself i will be using that statement as a top example on “what not to do when you are presidential spokesman” when i do lectures or talks on PR or communication. now we are wondering what are the qualifications to get hired as spokespersons in malacanang?

just a note to end this peice – todate malacanang has not retracted the statement made by fajardo.

bro. eddie villanueva, presidentiable – big time surge in polls and why he should fire his communication team

August 25, 2009 47 comments

noteworthy is the big time surge for bro. eddie villanueva who  after just 4 days of being included in the bro. eddie villanuevapoll now has 6% of the votes putting him at 6th place behind 5th placer roxas who has 7%.

this is the first time we have seen such a magnificent surge in the 2010 Presidentiables Poll. we did not see this kind of surge for newcomers like perlas, teodoro, panlilio nor madrigal.

read here: big time surge for bro. eddie villanueva in 2010 Presidentiables Blog Poll

communicating the wrong message or being inconsistent in the messages is a most serious incompetence in communication. we appreciate your effort at articulating your philosophies or platform, we think that is what all candidates should do, but your communication team has done you harm.

bro. eddie, we think these are major infractions that should lead you to fire your communication team. get rid of them now when you are at the very start of your campaign, they might make more major errors in the future, the time when you need them the most.

read in full here: Memo To: Bro. Eddie Villanueva – get rid of your Communication Team, they failed you

paris hilton spreads her legs, bends to show her butt – believe it or not it’s an ad for a burger!

April 18, 2009 2 comments

no, that wasn’t a joke. and i got pictures to prove it.

that’s paris hilton in a tv ad. and the ad got me confused. is it a WAWAM! or does it have ADS Sindrome?

find out here and to enjoy the paris hilton’s scenic views here:












mar roxas takes anger management therapy, shows it in his latetst ad, “padyakitos” tv ad but pedals to advertising mediocrity

April 10, 2009 Leave a comment

mar roxas takes anger management therapy and shows it in his latest tv ad, “padyakitos”  but this ad has so many failed components that it has pedaled roxas into advertising mediocrity.

this ad was developed to address 3 key factors important to mar roxas.  each of these components are legitimate and we agree they should be addressed. what went wrong was the way they addressed those points in the padyakitos tv ad. its biggest error – the ad is not at all strategic and way too executional.

read about it here:

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