• G. Swartwood

Um, No....

Updated: Mar 22



For years now, some ads and such have really surprised me because they are just...bad. I will ask my husband, "Do you know how much that company must have paid for that?" He nods his head, usually agreeing with me in my disapproval, and then laughs, knowing my next comment will be, "Jill and I could have made that 10x better at 1/16th the cost!"


Jill Foster was a graphic designer that I began working with 14 years ago. We would laugh about some commercials or logos that we were surprised made it past the pitch phase and then discuss what we thought could have been done differently. Unfortunately, Jill passed away. Her prizes on earth are two wonderful daughters that she loved very much.  Jill was an amazing graphic designer and a wonderful mentor to me.  She was kind to everyone and very hard working. I think of her often.


Here is the beginning of an ongoing list of ads/slogans/advertising imagery that are way off the mark...maybe she would have agreed with me on these too:


Only YOU Can Prevent Forest Fires 




Thanks to the current Federal budget (or as of today, we have none and the Federal government is shut down), there is no real funding for this important endeavor. So brave, shirt-less Smokey the Bear, really IS counting on YOU. Apparently there is no funding to give the hardest working and sexiest of all bears even a t-shirt.


Still working on making sure children don't play with matches, the Smokey the Bear Public Service Announcement Team made a video in 2010 that continues to play today. I often see it during Sponge Bob. My beef with this whole PSA is: if you show children something to do with matches while playing a cute lullaby song, you are really just DEMONSTRATING to pre-school on up HOW TO PLAY WITH MATCHES. Go ahead and make sure this commercial is aired during cartoons!  Make your own judgement and watch the video below (no sneak peek offered so you get the full effect): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FhsN7lUMZoA


Next time, PSA folks for our friend Smokey, please consult a group of pre-school and elementary school teachers. Bring them in, feed them a lovely meal, compensate them for their time, and show them your work. In addition to asking for written remarks and suggestions, look at their faces as they watch your PSA. If they look horrified and worried, right then and there, you will have your answer.


Nobody Likes to Iron...




I will admit this is a beautiful photo due to the mastery of the capture of light. However, nobody likes to iron. So this means that nobody will look at or keep your catalog because the iron is a de facto warning symbol. It's almost as bad as putting Woody Allen on your cover.


Quick fixes for this if you are obsessed with the ironing thing:


1. Keep the ironing board of torture and the shirt. Nix the iron itself. Put a glass of wine in its place. We all know we all drink when we are forced to iron our own shirts because life has handed us lemons. 


2. Amp it all up by including a man ironing his own shirt. He should be in decent shape and silhouetted. This will cause a pause as most women will be both allured and puzzled by such an image. They will likely to keep the catalog and might show their friends.


It's a new year, people, more ads will surely follow... Stay tuned!

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