Tag Archives: advertising

White people walk like this. Black people walk like this

earlAs a white male, I suffer a lot of indignities in my daily life. For one thing, banks and mortgage companies and auto dealerships have for years pestered me with offers of low interest loans and other enticements. I am also plagued by incredible social pressure to keep my lawn immaculate and my khakis well-pressed. Because I’m also tall, my coworkers and employers always assume I possess abilities like leadership and common sense — often moving me up the ladder into positions I am not really qualified for.


But according to Slate, it appears black people may have legitimate gripes as well. This slideshow demonstrates how, in the 1970’s, advertisers first started adding targeted groups to their general market campaigns. The idea was to create advertising collateral that complimented the general campaign, but spoke to black people in a way they would understand.

Or, more specifically, the way a bunch of white advertising executives thought black people would understand, a practice known as “puttin’ hot sauce on it.” This practice, pioneered by “vice” advertisers, became so dominant that soon black neighborhoods were covered in jive-talking ads for everything that’s bad for you:

A recent study uncovered a 1973 document that showed that “Kools made a specific effort to market on buses and subways, since blacks disproportionately rely on public transit in most major cities, in hopes that Kool would ‘cover the top 25 markets in terms of absolute Negroes.’ “

Meanwhile, the inside of every Volvo is rife with ads for mayonnaise and asparagus. And every fourth McDonald’s commercial features a sassy-talkin’ black lady. Won’t we ever come together as one?

Have Mercy! [Slate]

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This sandwich makes me think of penises

Pax Arcana

I consider myself a virile man of the American heartland. I stand astride large boulders and wipe the sweat from my brow with palms dirty from the long day’s labor. I squint my eyes in the noonday sun and hold doors for ladies. I eat ribs — bones and all.

Still, there’s something about this new Burger King ad that’s got me all twisted up inside. I can’t put my finger on why, exactly, but every time I see this advertisement, my mind drifts off and I start thinking about penises. Big ‘ol penises, to be exact.


Some might call it “subliminal advertising,” but I’ve never put much stock in fancy book learnin’ or armchair psychologizin’. To me a man should just say what he thinks and give you the straight truth. There’s right and wrong in this world, and there’s black and white. And there’s a lot of penises. And I’m hungry. For a penis.

Burger King Shuns Subtlety in Ads for ‘Super Seven Incher’ Sandwich [Gawker]

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The Red Sox can’t spell

Pax Arcana

Sox & Dawgs catches the Red Sox making alphabet soup out of one of their ads:

Or maybe they just let Papelbon do the copywriting.

The Newest Red Sox Nation Ad… [Sox & Dawgs]

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Men are exactly how you thought they were

Pax Arcana

If you thought the males of our species were nothing more than a sweaty, swirling crush of mindless testosterone and back hair, the latest science says you’re right on the money. Researchers in Belgium were able to affect the buying decisions of men simply by hinting vaguely in the general vicinity of boobies:

In the study, detailed in the Journal of Consumer Research, men alternately fondled t-shirts and bras (which were not being worn during the test). After touching the bras, men valued the future less and the present more, said lead researcher Bram Van Den Bergh of Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium. Viewing ads with women in bikinis had the same effect.

The result is that men seek immediate gratification immediately after seeing images of scantily-clad ladies. Reached for comment, the advertising industry said “No shit. Really?”

But here’s an interesting thing. The researchers say it’s not the distraction caused by all those hooters and whatnot that does it. To the contrary, men get slightly smarter and more creative after looking at bikini-clad ladies. The problem is that our “doin’ it” gratification tubes are all intertwined with our “want donuts” and “Red Sox are awesome” gratification tubes:

The researchers conclude that there is one common appetite system in the brain monitoring our desire for a host of pleasures from sweets to pretty faces, alcohol to lotto winnings. When it is stimulated by, say, a sexy picture or the smell of baked goods, we experience a general craving for anything pleasant. “Basically, you just want to be rewarded,” explained Barbara Briers, a researcher at HEC Paris School of Management. Briers, who has conducted related research, was not involved with this study.

I think all of these studies are completely bogus.

Here, I’ll prove it to you. First, look at this:

Now go buy a Pax Arcana T-shirt.

Did it work?

The Bikini Effect Makes Men Impulsive [LiveScience]

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Old Ad Wednesday

Pax Arcana

Because no single blog on the bloggernet is better than us at creating recurring blog features that we never fall through with (RIP “Pax Gastronomica,” “Tuesday Tubby Tearfest,” and “Ask Fidel”), I proudly present a new segment called Old Ad Wednesday.

In the first installment of Old Ad Wednesday, we bring you this cheerful indoctrination into the magical world of childhood diabetes — sponsored by the hilariously-named Soda Pop Board of America. We picture a bunch of old men in red striped suits and bow ties, taking breaks between board meetings to refill their root beer floats.

The text of the ad is as follows:

How soon is too soon?

Not soon enough. Laboratory tests over the last few years have proven that babies who start drinking soda during that early formative period have a much higher chance of gaining acceptance and “fitting in” during those awkward pre-teen and teen years. So, do yourself a favor. Do your child a favor. Start them on a strict regimen of sodas and other sugary carbonated beverages right now, for a lifetime of guaranteed happiness.

What’s crazy isn’t that the Soda Pop Board’s laboratories were so sophisticated. What’s crazy is that their plan worked, and the people of America gained self-esteem beyond the limits of the imagination.

The King has found himself a worthy Queen

Well done, America. Well done, Soda Pop Board.

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And so it begins

Pax Arcana

Like thousands of men my age, I renamed my fantasy football team Client 9 (nee the Jersey Turnpikes) about two minutes after the Eliot Spitzer sex scandal broke last week.

By next fall, of course, Client 9 jokes will have come and gone more often than a high-priced hooker from the Jersey shore. See what I mean?

For now, though, there is still sport to be made of the fallen crusader with the pricey doin’ it habit. Our favorite so far is this ad, found by The Scotch Blog, for the 21-year-old Portwood from The Balvenie. Rumor has it the ad was submitted — but refused — by a financial periodical of some sort.


Laugh now. Soon it will get annoying.

‘Allo Guv’nor [The Scotch Blog]


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