Last week the PR/marketing firm Edelman threw a party to show off their new San Francisco digs, which are on the twenty-seventh floor of the fancy skyscraper at 525 Market Street. Hence the hashtag #LifeOn27. I asked about the strategic value of this soiree at the entrance, and the door girls (who were employees) said it was a recruiting thing.
I was invited by a Promoted Tweet (Twitter’s ad unit). I would post a screenshot but I couldn’t find it again — maybe @EdelmanSF deleted the post? Or do Promoted Tweets expire and disappear? Anyway, the RSVP website was hosted on — I am not kidding — www.MarketStreetMustacheRide.com, which now redirects to www.SFEdelmanStudioTour.com. I did not witness any mustache rides, but I can’t promise they didn’t happen.
There were three kinds of open bar: alcoholic, taco, and donut. I asked the guy slinging cocktails if he thought the party was as crazy as I did, and he was like, “This is NOTHING.” Apparently many companies are terrible at marshalling resources.
‘Cause look — it’s not hard to hire people. You throw an ad up on Craigslist and applicants start emailing you right away. I guess Edelman wanted to poach other companies’ employees, who wouldn’t be trawling job listings? Maybe this makes sense, but to me it seemed overly decadent. I’m not sure a superior class of candidates decides to attend a party because the Twitter ad mentioned free booze.
Here are the snapshots I took while Alex and I wandered around:
If you can explain the business utility of this event to me, please get in touch.
Success comes easily to purveyors of mini marshmallows! Apparently. I mean, the ad says so. To modern eyes, this gelatinous dessert is a little off-putting, but it must have looked alright in the May, 1983 issue of Canadian Living.
In 2008, students designed Wikipedia posters as an assignment for an art-direction class taught by Holly Shields at Texas State University. Flickr user mikeedesign explains how the posters were meant to mitigate the perceived unreliability of Wikipedia: “Our concept was to present an everyday person as an ‘expert’ on a specific subject in order to show that whether the information comes from a university professor or from an avid gamer, it is still reliable. […] We felt this approach humanizes the experience of Wikipedia.”
I love these posters. They depict the rabbit-hole glory of exploring obscure entries about a topic you find fascinating. However, your mileage may vary — for instance, my dad dislikes the TSU designs. To him, scribbled thought-trees look like a disorganized tangle of information, not something he would ever want to read.
Much as I personally enjoy them, the posters fail when it comes to People-Optimized Marketing. The text is certainly not readable at a glance. And although the sight may provoke your brain to twitch — “What the heck am I looking at?” — the posters won’t arouse emotion unless you already adore Wikipedia. It would also help to have the models smile. Cancer patients and veterans don’t have to be grim! People in tough circumstances can still feel joyful about their hobbies.
“Nuclear tea. Advertising for 2175.” The visual design of this ad for “NucT” is compelling. When you look closely, the underlying sci-fi concept jumps out.
A post-apocalypse marketer inquires, “Are you ready for long nuclear winter? This tea has been harvested on the wastelands of the ruined Moscow, in the swamps of burnt Dalhi, and in the caves of the former Washington DC by specially trained zombie.” The product is “High-calorie, nuclear tea with small amounts of chromium-6 and radioactive weapons-grade plutonium.” (All errors in the original text.) Yup, sounds like an A+ nutritional choice.
In the caption the artist explains that after “the Global Nuclear War […] it will be fast restoration of the most common institutions including businesses”. He’s pitching an alternate version of Mad Max combined with the steampunk 80 Days universe. His prediction is based on twentieth-century history — the artist notes that post-World War One, the economy accelerated “in terms of medicine, science and art.”
I just think that sci-fi advertising is cool. World-building = my favorite. (Not as an activity — I don’t have the creative chops. Yet.) I love stories that fill out all the peripheral details of an altiverse. That was part of what made the Harry Potter books awesome.
Ads can be very weird. I’m having trouble deciding whether this one is good:
At least I’m talking about the ad — that’s a positive sign, right? And I’m not the only one. When I took this screenshot, four thousand people had commented on the picture.
What I find confusing is that the humorously nonsensical caption doesn’t quite relate to the picture. There’s a tenuous woodsy/camping connection, but I don’t get the story. Is the yeti grumpy because he tried to sip on a campfire? But now he’s soothed by a s’mores-flavored Frappuccino?
If you can explain this ad, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. Or heck, just email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.