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Would you like a small 12 oz beer for $4, or a large 12 oz one for $7? Your pick!

It reminds me of that old Dunkin' Donuts offer: "Free 3 muffins when you buy 3 at the regular half-dozen price!"

Except in the beer case, people were (allegedly) paying more for nothing but a different cup design.
Hockey Fans Suing Arena Over Misleading Beer Prices
By REBECCA BOONE Associated Press

A handful of Idaho hockey fans sued a Boise arena on Tuesday, saying they were duped into thinking a $7 beer contains more brew than a $4 beer. The lawsuit says CenturyLink Arena, home of the Idaho Steelheads hockey team, defrauded customers by charging $3 more for a tall, narrow cup advertised as a "large" that actually holds the same amount of beer as the shorter, wider cup described as a "small."


Categories: Advertising
Posted by Alex on Thu Mar 13, 2014
Comments (0)
The town of Bowen in Queensland, Australia is home to the world's largest mango statue. It's 33 feet tall, 26 feet wide, and weighs 7 tons. Yesterday, that mango went missing. Employees of the Bowen tourist information centre, adjacent to the statue, said they showed up for work and it was simply gone.


CCTV footage revealed a mobile crane backing up to the statue in the night and taking off with it.

Word quickly spread via social media of the missing mango.


source: Twitter


source: Facebook

However, people quickly suspected that the mango heist might be a publicity stunt since no theft report was filed with the police. And sure enough, a chicken restaurant chain, Nando's, has now owned up to the theft. It's some kind of promotion for its new mango sauce.

The mango never traveled very far. It was moved to a paddock behind the information center and covered with a tarp. Nando's claims to have further plans for it. But, in the meantime, they've posted a video showing how they managed to "steal" the mango. [link: npr.org]

Categories: Advertising
Posted by Alex on Tue Feb 25, 2014
Comments (0)
Back in 2010, Bosch refrigerators ran an unusual ad campaign to promote its VitaFresh technology which, it promised, could keep food fresh longer. They created fake plastic-wrapped cuts of dinosaur legs, mammoth steaks, and saber-tooth filets, and placed these meats in supermarkets throughout Germany. The idea was that this meat is really old, but it's still fresh.

Check out the video below to see people's reactions.





Categories: Advertising
Posted by Alex on Wed Feb 05, 2014
Comments (2)
Currently trending online is this set of pictures showing a chocolate rabbit inside a St. Nicholas wrapper. The photos are accompanied by captions such as "Santa's identity revealed" or "an unexpected plot twist":


Is this a case of a chocolate manufacturer repackaging chocolate Easter bunnies for the Christmas market? No. The images actually come from a Dutch ad campaign designed to promote awareness of Alzheimer's disease.

The original ad includes a third image showing the chocolate rabbit more fully unwrapped, revealing a message that says "Alzheimer's patients are coping with this feeling daily." Or, in the original Dutch, "Met dit gevoel hebben Alzheimerpatienten dagelijks te kampen."

The ad was created by the ad agency N=5 for the client Alzheimer Nederland. [Links: versereclame.nl, gutewerbung.net]



Categories: Advertising, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Sun Dec 22, 2013
Comments (0)
In order to show how excited they are about their new french fries, Burger King recently announced on their Facebook page that they were changing their name to Fries King. They even posted photos of some of their restaurants sporting the new name.





The name change is a joke. Although time.com notes that not all of Burger King's facebook followers realized this: "Some are genuinely confused about whether or not the name change is real and have written passionate posts decrying Burger King’s decision to turn its back on 'a well known family name.'"

It's actually not the first time Burger King has pretended to change its name. Back on April 1st, 2002 they announced they were changing their name to "Chicken King," supposedly owing to the success of their Chicken Whopper Sandwich.
Categories: Advertising
Posted by Alex on Thu Oct 03, 2013
Comments (0)
Wikipedia defines a sock puppet as "an online identity used for purposes of deception." And it looks like the fast food restaurant chain Chick-fil-A just got caught red-handed using one.

The sock puppet in question was one "Abby Farle" — whose Facebook profile picture showed her to be a teenage girl. But there were some odd things about Abby. For a start, her Facebook account was only created a day ago, and during her brief time on Facebook her sole activity appeared to be defending Chick-fil-A, vigorously supporting the company's claim that it stopped including toys from the Jim Henson Company in its kids meals because it concluded the toys were dangerous (not that the Henson Company pulled its toys in reaction to anti-gay comments by Chick-fil-A's COO, as has been widely assumed).

Then someone pointed out that Abby's profile picture actually came from the stockphoto company Shutterstock. Soon after that, her account disappeared.

Chick-fil-A insists it wasn't responsible for the Abby Farle account, and that might be true. Abby could easily have been the creation of someone in the company, or associated with it, acting alone.

Links: gizmodo, buzzfeed

Categories: Advertising, Identity/Imposters
Posted by Alex on Wed Jul 25, 2012
Comments (4)
It's hard to believe this energy-saving feature on the Samsung SA200 monitor is as revolutionary as their marketing team makes it out to be. After all, isn't it just an ON/OFF switch?

Categories: Advertising
Posted by Alex on Wed Jul 11, 2012
Comments (8)
Recently a video began circulating that appeared (despite suspiciously poor production values) to be an advertisement by Coca-Cola announcing a new "Coca-Cola-Bag." The idea was to do away with selling Coke in bottles and switch to biodegradable plastic bags made "in the unique Coca-Cola bottle shape."



The video claimed the idea came from Central America where many consumers supposedly already buy Coke in plastic bags in order to avoid paying the bottle deposit.

Gizmodo, Digital Journal, and WKMG Orlando were among those who posted about the video.

But Just-Drinks.com now says it has received confirmation from the Coca-Cola Co. that the Coke Bag is a hoax — though not one Coca-Cola was responsible for. The company says it has no idea who created the video.

Given the references to Central America, and the idea of Coke bags, I'm guessing the video may be an elaborate drug-themed joke.

Categories: Advertising, Food, Videos
Posted by Alex on Tue Jul 10, 2012
Comments (4)
On Saturday (June 9) thousands of Iranians stood outside on rooftops looking up at the moon. They were there because of a rumor spread by email, websites, and social networks promising that Pepsi was going to project its logo onto the surface of the moon. The rumor was false. Link: observers.france24.com

Some Iranians got their revenge by drinking Coke. Others created Pepsi-moon parody videos and images.




There's a bit of history to the idea of ads projected onto the moon. Back in 1999, Coca-Cola actually considered the idea of using lasers to project a Coke logo onto the moon. The idea was dreamed up by one of their marketing executives, Steve Koonin. They hired scientists to put the plan into effect, and spent quite a bit of money before abandoning the idea. The problem: It would have required incredibly powerful lasers to do it, and the FAA wouldn't allow the use of such powerful lasers because of the possibility they might interfere with aircraft.

Then, in 2008, Rolling Rock beer ran a hoax campaign claiming that they were going to project the Rolling Rock logo onto the moon during a full moon, on March 21, 2008. They promoted the idea on billboards, in TV ads, and through the website moonvertising.com (which they've since abandoned).






The NY Times ran a brief article about the hoax campaign in which they touched on whether moonvertising would be technically possible:

According to Jim Garvin, the chief scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, moonvertising is possible, if impractical for a number of reasons. While scientists have bounced lasers off the moon, they illuminated an area only about the size of a tennis court. “In order for an advertisement to be seen by people on earth,” Garvin says, “the laser light would need to cover an area about half the land size of Africa,” a challenge because the moon’s surface is dark and fairly nonreflective.

Iran itself also has a history of moon-image hoaxes. Back in November 1978, a rumor swept through Iran alleging that the face of the Ayattullah Khomeini was visible on the moon. This rumor has been analyzed in a paper by Shahla Talebi:

In late November of 1978, as millions of Iranians awaited for the return of Ayattullah Khomeini form exile, a rumor swept the country that his face could be seen in the moon. In great excitement, many gathered on the rooftops to show one another what they “saw.” Although the rumor was officially denied, it had had already acquired millions of legs, and thanks to technology, it soon reached almost every corner of the country. It had taken a life of its own. The emotional ambiance of that particular night of “seeing” was so immensely intense and the claim so unwaveringly firm that those who “could not see” said otherwise.


And let's not forget a similar rumor that spread in America a few years ago, which got thousands of people to stand outside, holding candles, and looking up at the sky. It was following 9/11. The rumor promised that a NASA satellite was going to take a photograph of the entire nation illuminated by candlelight.

Edit: I just remembered another moon rumor, one which I discuss in Electrified Sheep. Back in 1957, a rumor spread that the Soviets were going to explode a nuclear bomb on the surface of the moon on November 7, and that the flash would be visible on Earth. This date was supposedly chosen both because it was the 40th anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution and because a lunar eclipse was going to occur then, making the flash more visible. This would have been a form of 'moonvertising' on the part of the Soviets. A way for them to display their technological superiority on a canvas visible to the entire world.

There was near hysteria in America as the date approached. When the day arrived, many astronomers trained their telescopes on the moon, waiting for the flash. But it never came. The Soviets probably would have done it, if they could have, but at the time it was beyond their abilities.

There are some intriguing parallels between the 1957 Soviet Nuke rumor and the 2012 Iranian Pepsi-logo rumor. In both cases, people were projecting their fears onto the surface of the moon. In 1957 America, the challenge posed by Soviet power and the spread of communism was the great fear. For Iranians in 2012, American corporate power and global dominance is their great fear.


From the Freeport Journal-Standard, Nov 6, 1957
Categories: Advertising, Social Networking Sites
Posted by Alex on Wed Jun 13, 2012
Comments (3)

It would be cool if there really was a tunnel entrance somewhere in the world that looked like this. But this is one of those brought-to-you-by-photoshop images. The original is an image showing a billboard created in March 2007 by the Austrian ad agency Demner, Merlicek & Bergmann for the restaurant chain Oldtimer. (link: adsoftheworld.com)



What's puzzling me is whether the original image is itself photoshopped? Did this Oldtimer billboard ever exist in real life, or is the photo just a concept piece?

I can't find any pictures showing the Oldtimer billboard from a different angle. I can't find any sources that list the specific road where it was placed. Nor can I find news sources from 2007 that discuss the billboard. I also think it's strange that this was an Austrian campaign, and yet the writing is in English.

All of which make me suspect that the original image is a photoshopped concept piece. Though I'm not sure. It could be that I can't find any more info about the ad because all the info is in German.
Categories: Advertising, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Mon Apr 30, 2012
Comments (8)

An ad for a product called the "AB-hancer" appeared online back in March 2011 and quickly went viral. The text of the ad made it pretty obvious that this wasn't a real product — specifically where the text says, "Recommended by pseudo-athletes." There's also the fact that the product isn't available for purchase anywhere. Though inevitably a few people seemed to think the AB-hancer was real.

But the mystery is: Where did this ad come from? Who created it? No one seems to know.

Paul Lucas at infomercial-hell.com theorizes that the image came from an old, out-of-print "prank box." Prank boxes are gag gift boxes that look like they contain ridiculous items such as a "Pet Petter" or a "Wake & Bake Dream Griddle." The gift recipient thinks they got a really stupid gift, until they open the box and find the real gift inside.


This is a good theory. The problem is that there's no evidence an AB-hancer prank box ever existed. If it did, you'd think a picture of it would exist somewhere. So for now the origin of the AB-hancer image remains a mystery.

But although the AB-hancer may not be a real product, there apparently are real products on the market similar to it. Singapore Seen reported the existence of this strange tummy-flattening product, for sale somewhere in Asia.


And if you've got a hairy stomach, you can always create six-pack abs by taking a cue from this guy.

Categories: Advertising, Body Manipulation
Posted by Alex on Sun Apr 29, 2012
Comments (4)

At first glance, this appears to be a vintage ad by the "Soda Pop Board of America" extolling the virtues of drinking cola at an early age. It's been circulating around the internet for quite a while, during which time many sites have angrily responded to the claims made in the ad.

For instance, the Queen Anne Chiropractic Center declared that the ad demonstrates "just how wicked the Mad Men of yesteryear were." The parenting blog babble.com wrote: "We all know that, on occasion, advertisements can offer some fairly crappy advice. Back in the day, though, ads had no shame." And NaturalNews.com offered the ad as evidence that, "Soda companies, much like drug companies, have relentlessly tried to convince parents that forcing their products onto their children is a smart thing to do."

I could go on, but I'll cut to the chase: the ad isn't real. It's just a very successful vintage-ad parody created in 2002 by RJ White, who explains its full provenance on his blog Ice Cream Motor:

About seven or eight years ago, I made this fake ad, exhorting parents to give soda to their babies. It was done on a bored afternoon when J.D. Ryznar asked for someone to make that very specific thing on his livejournal. I whipped it together, posted it to the web, joke over.

THEN. A couple of years later- it started showing up online, in those weird lists that pop up every so often with a "Oh man, ads sure were strange back then, weren't they?" theme. Thing is, those ads are largely real and mine is not and very obviously so.

White links to the original livejournal post that inspired him to create the ad. His ad seems to be currently enjoying a fresh wave of popularity thanks to tumblr and pinterest which are presenting it to new audiences, many of whom (once again) seem to be accepting it at face value as a genuine vintage ad.
Categories: Advertising, Food
Posted by Alex on Thu Apr 26, 2012
Comments (11)
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