When Facebook decides to advertise …

July 7, 2018

It’s pretty funny when the second largest advertising company in the world (Google is first) feels the need to do “outdoor advertising” on posters and streetscapes, along with traditional TV ads. So it is with Facebook, which has plastered much of Australian central business districts with the following image (“Fake accounts are not our friends”):

Facebook, it must be said, is feeling more than a bit under fire, after the disastrous Cambridge Analytica affair. (This correspondent had his details swept up by CA, according to FB.) I am not the only one who has noticed this campaign. In this weekend’s Sydney Morning Herald (7 July 2018), John McDuling writes:

Facebook really wants to move on from the Cambridge Analytica scandal that shook the company to its very foundations. But its wish is unlikely to be granted…. Facebook launched an advertising blitz this week in Australia (and the US and UK) designed to promote its efforts to clean up its platform.

“Part of the reason the Cambridge Analytica scandal struck such a raw nerve was because it added to concerns Facebook is undermining the democratic process,” McDuling concludes.

Interesting that Facebook focusses on fake accounts, as it appears to be guilty of its own accusation: as part of the Facebook SKAM Austin video series, Facebook has set up 10 Instagram (owned by Facebook) profiles for key characters in this fictional series, causing confusion at least among some viewers. Read more about how this clever series unfolds “in real time” in this New Yorker article (18 June 2018) by D.T. Max.

New York imagery continues to captivate Sydney-siders

October 4, 2016

Images of New York City continue to captivate Sydney residents.  It is, without doubt, the one city in the world that is most referred to here in Sydney, except for Sydney itself (which has a bit of a thing about itself).  Paris and San Francisco come next, with London a distant fourth.

The latest manifestation of this New York fascination came a few weeks ago with the department store David Jone’s “spring look”.  They even went to New York City to shoot their models on some odd rooftop.

We’ve been here before:  in July 2014 David Jones featured New York City, as my post at that time shows.

Three samples below:

from their window:


from their magazine:

img_6468and from some outdoor advertising on Castlereagh Street, Sydney, close to Sydney CBD store:



Uber promotion crosses to the material world

August 31, 2016

There is no doubt that the digital world is changing our lives in profound ways.  Not only publishing, film and television production/distribution, newspapers and music are affected.  Accommodation – think Airbnb.  And of course now taxis and ride-sharing: think Uber.

So it comes as a shock when a digital organisation does promotion and advertising in the “material world”.  That’s just what Uber did in downtown Sydney, with a host of people handing out Uber “starter” discount cards (see below).  Perhaps there is a limit as to how much promotion can reach in the digital world?


When digital media decides that it has to go analogue

July 31, 2015

How ironic that the world’s greatest and largest digital broadcaster, YouTube, has decided to use “analogue” promotion for its “Fan Fest” here in Sydney. Search online and you will find almost nothing other than this page and a “waitlist” holding page on Ticketek.

Remember YouTube claims the following statistics. With more than one billion users, every day people are watching hundreds of millions of hours and generating billions of views: up 50% year on year. Some 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. That’s correct, every minute. Put that in perspective: that’s 432,000 hours of NEW video every day. No one can watch even a minor fraction of that, and mega-computers are needed just to keep track of it all.

With all of that digital reach and power, how come YouTube has decided to blanket Sydney bus stops with its Fan Fest posters, such as the one in Randwick (on High Street, outside of the Prince of Wales Hospital) below?

It does say something about the power of the “tangible”, and the limitations of digital advertising and social media in promotion, when YouTube (and its parent company, the all-powerful Google) has decided to utilise “outdoor advertising”. The Outdoor Advertising Association of America traces the earliest advertising to ancient Egyptian times. The modern billboard industry is widely accepted to have its start in the mid-1860s, with 1870 marking the beginning of modern outdoor advertising.

Food for thought in our digitally disruptive times.

YouTube Fanfest bus stop poster

Further proof that Australians love the USA

July 22, 2014

Just in case you need more proof that Australians love the USA …. if you are near a David Jones department store in Australia, go have a look at their new promotion, entitled “United States of Style”, featuring various iconic American brands.

At Sydney’s Market and Castlereagh Streets, David Jones has turned all of its windows into major themed USA messages.   As I have noted previously, images of the USA – particularly New York City and California – are deemed to be very powerful brands here in Australia (Apple used California; two years ago David Jones actually used New York City.)

The online advertisement appears here:


And the shop windows – David Jones “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” (yep, New York):

David Jones Brooklyn July 2014David Jones “California Dreaming”:

David Jones CA Dreaming July 2014

David Jones “All American Midwest” (definitely a new image – who ever thinks of the midwest here?):

David Jones Midwest July 2014

David Jones New York City, California and USA Lonely Planet guidebooks, along with a “Big Apple” (for NYC):

David Jones NY CA July 2014A pretty interesting representation of what Australians think about in the USA.

The odd Prius ad

November 15, 2013

The following advertisement for Toyota Prius appeared in the 12/19 August 2013 issue of The New Yorker.  Take a close look – some odd bits are included.  Are those really two tents – a blue one and a green one in the Arizona/Utah-style desert?  And take a look at the third one down? Those three-story townhouses look a whole lot like slums to me – either public housing or that sort of poor suburban medium density housing so popular in the early 1960s.  And why is there a bike in the photo?  Meaning?  Finally, the Prius is at home, safely “plugged in”.  No other houses around (in fact no people at all, in any of them).  Mystified by these photos, especially #2 and #3?  I am.

Prius ad in New Yorker 12-19Aug2013

Ad watch: one cool ad for the iPad mini

December 9, 2012

Here’s a cool ad for the iPad mini which appeared on the back cover of the November 26, 2012 edition of The New Yorker:

iPad Mini ad with New Yorker cover Nov 26 2012

And why is it so cool?  Have a look at the cover of that edition.  Look familiar?  (I suspect that The New Yorker won’t be too upset at my reprinting their cover, as they already have ….).

New Yorrker cover Nov 26 2012


Johnny Walker amazing ad

July 31, 2010

There is an amazing Johnny Walker ad – almost a year old, but I just found it – one long take of about six minutes.  It’s called “The Man Who Walked Around the World”, stars Robert Carlyle, directed by Jamie Rafn, written by Justin Moore and Mick Mahoney, and was filmed in Inverlochlarig, Perthshire, Scotland.  This is one neat bit of film-making.

Click on it below to watch: