Truth in Advertising? Really? What Are We, Oxymorons?

DrAdsforProfileWell the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

So there I was, minding my own business and reading the Sunday New York Times, when I came across this full-page ad from an outfit called – honest! – Truth in Advertising.

 

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Seriously? Truth in advertising? This has to be, like, Jimmy Fallon, right?

– David L

Dear DL,

First off, here’s the ad’s body copy for the body-copy impaired.

 

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Second off, here’s the Truth in Advertising website.

 

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And third off, here’s the Truth in Advertising Mission Statement.

 

Truth in Advertising, Inc. (TINA.org) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Madison, CT, whose mission is to be the go-to online resource dedicated to empowering consumers to protect themselves and one another against false advertising and deceptive marketing. We aim to achieve our mission through investigative journalism, education, advocacy, and the promotion of truth in advertising.

 

Thus the name, the old Doc is guessing. Anyway, the group says it’s independently funded, accepts no advertising money, and got its grubstake from “Seedlings Foundation” (actually, Seedling Foundation, established by billionaire Karen Pritzker and her billionaire-by-attraction husband Michael Vlock), which “supports programs that nourish the physical and mental health of children and families, and fosters an educated and engaged citizenship.”

Got that? Now on to the good stuff, which, of course, always involves video.

 

 

Well, maybe not exactly good. But not exactly bad either.

The TINA campaign features that web video, along with print and digital ads in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and etc.

According to Advertising Age, “[t]he group claims that in its first full year it sparked four legal actions, more than 200 ad alerts, more than 200 news articles and blog posts, reports on 232 false-advertising class actions and three petitions.”

Presumably, they’re telling the truth.

Yo.

 

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Here’s Why Fr. Roy Bourgeois Ran That Boston Globe Ad

DrAdsforProfileSo the Doc asked the other day, Who Is Fr. Roy Bourgeois and Why Did He Run an Ad in the Boston Globe?

The ad (in part):

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And etc. (including a call for people to contact Pope Francis to “request that our Catholic Church ordain women, accept LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) people as equals, and recognize gay marriage”).

As for our question, we answered the who in our original post.

And we can now answer the why, having just talked to Fr. Bourgeois on the phone. (Tip o’ the pixel to his editor, Margaret Knapke, who made the phone call happen.)

Why the Boston Globe?

“I just wanted to poke the beehive,” Fr. Bourgeois told the Doc, “and I have some friends there who wanted to contribute to a good cause.”

He has friends here because he attended seminary in Hingham and has given talks in this area numerous times.

The response has been good, Fr. Bourgeois says, and he has no intention of recanting his support for women’s ordination, even though it could return him to the priesthood.

“Asking me to do that would violate my conscience,” he says.

Fr. Bourgeois has himself contacted Pope Francis, but has yet to receive a reply. Meanwhile, he says, it’s “just a matter of time” until women (and other disenfranchised groups) are justified by the Catholic Church.

God bless him.

Yo.

 

Who Is Fr. Roy Bourgeois and Why Did He Run an Ad in the Boston Globe?

DrAdsforProfileWell the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

So I’m minding my own business reading the Boston Sunday Globe when I come across this ad on page A6. (Blurry visuals compliments of the Globe.)

 

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Really? Some Catholic priest in Columbus, GA has enough dough to buy a quarter-page ad in the Sunday (week’s most expensive) Globe? What’s the deal here, Doc?

– Cathaholic

Dear Cathaholic,

Excellent question.

First, some background.

From November, 2012 via Tom Roberts of the National Catholic Reporter:

Roy Bourgeois: They finally got him

Ah, they finally got him, as we all knew they probably would. Eventually. And with a press release it was done: Fr. Roy Bourgeois, a Maryknoll priest for 45 years, was told that the Vatican “dispenses” him “from his sacred bonds.”

And the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, caught in the culture that finds advocating for women’s ordination such a grievous and unpardonable offense, “warmly thanks” Roy “for his service to mission and all members wish him well in his personal life.”

And so it goes, as Vonnegut would say. So it goes.

Bourgeois’ case is a prime illustration of what, today, the institution can and can’t tolerate. Bourgeois’ major offense, the sin that is unforgiveable in the eyes of the church, for which penalty is removal from the order which he has served for nearly half a century and dismissal from the community, was advocating for women’s ordination.

And from a year ago, here’s the padre himself in a New York Times op-ed:

My Prayer: Let Women Be Priests

AFTER serving as a Roman Catholic priest for 40 years, I was expelled from the priesthood last November because of my public support for the ordination of women.

Catholic priests say that the call to be a priest comes from God. As a young priest, I began to ask myself and my fellow priests: “Who are we, as men, to say that our call from God is authentic, but God’s call to women is not?” Isn’t our all-powerful God, who created the cosmos, capable of empowering a woman to be a priest?

Let’s face it. The problem is not with God, but with an all-male clerical culture that views women as lesser than men. Though I am not optimistic, I pray that the newly elected Pope Francis will rethink this antiquated and unholy doctrine.

He’s also decided to pay, in the form of the Globe ad.

Why here? Why now?

The old Doc will try to find out. We didn’t find a way to contact him at his website, but we’ll track him down eventually and get back to you.

Yo.

 

What the-? National Enquirer Runs Full-Page Ad in New York Times!

DrAdsforProfileWell the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

There I was, minding my own business and reading Wednesday’s New York Times, when I came across this.

 

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So, wait a second: The National Enquirer has set up a foundation because they got a story wrong? Don’t they get all their stories wrong?

Whiskey tango foxtrot, yeah Doc?

– Elvis

Dear Elvis,

Hard to believe, isn’t it?

First off, let’s highlight the text for the tiny-type impaired.

 

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Now the back story, compliments of Reuters media critic Jack Shafer.

Supermarket tabloid gets hoodwinked by imposter!!!

The National Enquirer got its nosey-parker proboscis bloodied this month after its big Philip Seymour Hoffman “scoop” was enquirer13-260x300promptly revealed to be a hoax.

Only three days after Hoffman died, the tabloid reported that playwright David Bar Katz — the friend who discovered Hoffman’s dead body — and Hoffman were lovers. It also alleged that Katz watched Hoffman freebase cocaine the evening before his death and had repeatedly witnessed his friend’s use of heroin.

The source for the Enquirer‘s piece? Katz himself, according to the tabloid. But when Katz immediately stepped forward, denied any such interview took place, denied being Hoffman’s lover, denied having watched him do cocaine or heroin, and sued the Enquirer for $50 million, the newspaper retracted the story and apologized. It has now settled with Katz and will fund a foundation that will make annual grants of $45,000 to unproduced playwrights to honor Hoffman. The Enquirer also took out a full-page ad in today’s New York Times to state that it had been fooled by an imposter who “falsely and convincingly claimed to be Mr. Katz.”

But that’s not all.

The Times not only ran the ad on Wednesday, it also ran this front-page piece:

Truth and a Prize Emerge From Lies About Hoffman

Herding his three younger sons out the door to school on Feb. 5, David Bar Katz was stopped for a moment by his eldest, who was browsing the Internet.26about-alt-tmagSF-v2

“My 14-year-old said, ‘Dad, there’s something online about you and Phil being lovers,’ ” Mr. Katz said. “I said, ‘Phil would get a kick out of that.’ ”

Phil was Philip Seymour Hoffman, the actor and Mr. Katz’s good friend, who had been found dead three days earlier, apparently from an overdose of heroin. Mr. Katz, a playwright, was one of two people who had gone to his apartment and discovered his body.

“Things had already achieved the maximum level of surreality, and I thought this thing online was a big nothing,” Mr. Katz said.

In fact, the article, published by The National Enquirer, was the first pebble of a landslide of malignant fiction that sprawled across the web.

And came to rest in a full-page Times ad.

Yo.

 

If Barbie Is So #Unapologetic, What’s with the NYT Ad?

DrAdsforProfileWell the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

I’m a big fan of the annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition (hey – I read it for the articles), so imagine my surprise when Barbie® turned up as one of the Barbies featured in this year’s model.

Then I saw this full-page ad in the New York Times.

 

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What is this, Doc – some sorta Hall of Vanity Mirrors?

– Ken

Dear Ken,

That doesn’t capture the half of it.

This put-another-swimsuit-on-the-Barbie campaign is a masterstroke of marketing, generating media coverage from Trenton to Taipei.

Representative sample (via Yahoo! Shine):

Barbie Graces Cover of “Sports Illustrated,” Mom Wants Apology

In what can only be described as a bizarre marketing move, a bikini-clad Barbie is being featured on the wrap cover of the 2014 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, debuting this week. That’s right, unrealistic curves and all. For 50 years, the sports 470_2759313magazine has dedicated one cover a year to scantily clad ladies like Kate Upton and Brooklyn Decker, and for their 50th anniversary, they are paying tribute to a doll.

Really? Barbie on the wrap cover of what has become the “sexiest” magazine cover of the year? The unveiling of which is surrounded by as much pomp and circumstance as People’s“Sexiest Man of the Year” or Time’s “Person of the Year?” This is not only sexualizing a child’s doll, but making the ultimate unattainable body (that’s not even human) the epitome of female perfection. (Yes, I know it is the promotional wrap and not the actual cover but STILL!)

 

Seriously – angry Moms are gold to any marketer chasing the 18-49 demo, the population most coveted by advertisers.

Meanwhile, here’s what #Unapologetic gets you.

 

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And etc.

Yo.

 

Who Really Wrote “You Don’t Have to Be Jewish to Love Levy’s”?

DrAdsforProfileWell the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

One of the legendary figures in the 1960s creative revolution on Madison Avenue – Judy Protas – died last week. According to the New York Times obituary, she wrote one of the most famous taglines in advertising history.

You don’t have to be Jewish to write an ad for rye bread that has endured in public memory for more than half a century, but in Judy Protas’s case it certainly didn’t hurt.dog-protas-obit-master180

As Ms. Protas, a retired advertising executive at Doyle Dane Bernbach who died on Tuesday at 91, well knew, a campaign spent selling rye bread to Jews would be a campaign squandered in preaching to the converted.

“We had a local bread, real Jewish bread, that was sold widely in Brooklyn to Jewish people,” she told The New York Times in 1979. “What we wanted to do was enlarge its public acceptance. Since New York is so mixed ethnically, we decided to spread the good word that way.”

And thus, from Ms. Protas’s largely anonymous pen sprang a slogan — “You don’t have to be Jewish to love Levy’s Real Jewish Rye” — that has far outlived the actual campaign, which began in 1961 and ran through the 1970s.

Then the Times obit says “[the] evocative tagline is often credited to William Bernbach, a founder of DDB, or to Phyllis Robinson, the agency’s chief copywriter.”

So what gives, Doc?

Banjo

Dear Banjo,

For starters, one of those crediting the tagline to Phyllis Robinson was the Times itself, which said this in her obituary:

Ms. Robinson was paired with an art director, Bob Gage, and together they produced ads for marketers like Orbach’s department store, Polaroid ROBINSON-obit-articleInlineinstant cameras and Levy’s breads. For Levy’s Real Jewish Rye, there were colorful posters. Some showed a slice of rye disappearing, bite by bite. The headline: “New York is eating it up!”

Other posters showed New Yorkers of various ethnicities eating sandwiches. The headline, which entered the vernacular: “You don’t have to be Jewish to love Levy’s Real Jewish Rye.”

But in the Protas obit, the Times appears to settle the issue: “[P] eriod newspaper accounts and contemporary archival sources make clear that the actual writing fell to Ms. Protas, who, working quietly and out of the limelight, set down those dozen durable words.”

Sorted.

In addition, Ms. Protas wrote this classic ad for Ohrbach’s (as described by DDB Chairman Emeritus Keith Reinhard):

[T]he creative revolution Bernbach ignited did not start with the moving image. It started in print. “I found out about Joan,” was the headline for an ad for Ohrbach’s, a retail outlet that was Bill’s first client. To me, it is the single most important ad of all time.

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Why? Not just because it was the first time a retailer branded its customers instead of itself — it was suddenly chic to be cheap and this was at least fifty years before Target. It was the most important ad of all time not just because of the irresistible juxtaposition of arresting visual (a cat, with a hat and a long cigarette holder) and catty headline, not even because it was one of the first and best examples of Bernbach’s idea that every ad, like every person or product, should have a distinct personality, but because it was Bernbach’s work for Ohrbach’s that several years later attracted the U.S. importers of a pugnacious little car from Germany. Because DDB’s work for Ohrbach’s attracted Volkswagen, whose introduction of the Beetle is universally regarded as the opening volley of the creative revolution I suggest that “I Found Out about Joan” for Ohrbach’s is the ad that truly changed advertising history.

DDB changed advertising history by changing advertising’s tone of voice. As James B. Twitchell wrote in Twenty Ads That Shook the World:

Many of DDB’s clients were Jewish, and they made no attempt to disguise it. They came up from he street, not down from the hill, from NYU, not Princeton. In fact, they flaunted grit. Outré became classé,which was no mean trick in a world still riddled with anti-Semitism.

So for Orbach’s [sic], a Manhattan clothing outlet, they advertised “high fashion at low prices” with copy lifted from the catty patois of the Catskills . . .

And as a final salute to Judy Protas, there’s this from Margalit Fox’s excellent Times obit:

For Cracker Jack, Ms. Protas wrote the lyrics to the company’s long-ubiquitous TV jingle, which in full (“lip-smackin’, whip-crackin’, paddy-whackin’, knickin’-knackin’, silver-rackin’, scoundrel-whackin’, cracker-jackin’ Cracker Jack”) has the trochaic rush of a Gilbert and Sullivan patter song.

Yo.

What’s Up with the ‘Appreciative New Yorkers’ Bloomberg Brownnose Ad?

DrAdsforProfileWell the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

Say, that’s some magnificent ad on the back page of Saturday’s New York Times A-section, yeah?

In case you missed it:

 

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Is that a beautiful record of accomplishments for a man to leave behind or what, Doc?

– Mickey B

Dear Mickey B,

Yeah, whatever.

First thing – all those boldface l‘s in the ad above? They’re not there in the print version.

Not to mention the ad overall is the worst piece of typesetting this side of Shakers, Glendale.

Representative sample:

 

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Do we have a double-f problem here or what?

Regardless, let’s look at the content of the ad close-up.

 

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As for those Appreciative New Yorkers, here’s what you get at #appreciativenewyorkers on Twitter, and here’s what comes up on Facebook (i.e. nothing).

Of course, there’s always appreciativenewyorkers@gmail.com.

Which the Doc assumes consists of one Michael Bloomberg.

Until proven otherwise.

Yo.