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Kit Kat & The Salvation Army: Useful interactive posters give people a break

kit kat chair

JWT for Kit Kat is on fire–but this time it’s Auckland, not Tokyo. In their latest, passersby in local parks are invited to take a break twice over–that is, break up a poster to take a break. The confectioner placed wooden posters at park entrances and in public spaces–posters that could be popped apart and assembled into the perfect bench for a (snack) break. (And it’s got to be intentional that the mode of assembly so closely parallels the way you would snap apart a Kit Kat bar–it’s too good not to be.) The poster is not only interactive–it’s useful–and it does a kindness while connecting simple pleasures with the “break” line Kit Kat’s been using for years.

kit kat

In the spirit of useful interactive posters, here’s one of my all-time favorites, from the Salvation Army, which posted blankets emblazoned with the words “Support the homeless this winter. If you’re cold or know of someone who is, please take this poster” in areas of need. Not only did these ads get the word out and even provide much-needed comfort to the homeless that began using them for warmth, but when the blankets were thus displayed, on the backs of those in need, the message became all the more starkly powerful. The absolute opposite of urban spam.

salvation army


Hey Guinness, I thought shaken-not-stirred was just for martinis


Happy St Patrick’s Day! In celebration, AdFreak brings us a cheeky-but-upstanding execution by St Pat’s staple, Guinness. In a 2007 effort by BBDO Toronto, the Irish brewers sent bars and pubs cans featuring blurry logo and type, each imprinted with a gentle reminder: “Please don’t drink and drive.” A clever, attention-getting call to responsibility in service of their “Enjoy Responsibly” campaign.

Murray Hill Inc. runs for Congress, sticks it to the man little guy
Murray Hill

Ill-gotten influence--it's our birthright!

In the wake of Citizens United v FEC, the harebrained January Supreme Court decision that gave corporations to right to make direct political campaign contributions as an extension of free speech (and in so doing insidiously and ominously granted corporations legal “personhood”), liberal-leaning political PR firm Murray Hill is running for Congress in Maryland’s 8th district.

Throwing their hat in for the state’s Republican primary, Murray Hill (Incorporated, they’re eager to add at every opportunity) is running under the slogan that “Corporations are people too!” The New York Times reports that “Campaign Manager William Klein promises an aggressive, historic campaign that ‘puts people second’ or even third.” The firm also has plans to fight for its right to vote as a citizen—it’d be a hard-won right, to be sure. (I’m tearing up at the injustice of it all. Power to you, Murray Hill; may your time come soon.)

This astute campaign may be hilariously absurd and tongue-in-cheek, but underneath it all it’s bitter—and deadly serious. The campaign deftly exposes the mockery the Court’s decision makes of the political process and an independent government, and the real dangers it ultimately exposes us to as a free people. What’s truly tragicomic is that in campaigning to be an elected legislative representative, Murray Hill still fails at being evil–if elected, they would, after all, be using more legitimate means of influencing policy than most corporations do today.

This campaign may be the best agency ad in recent memory: it amps their cred as a go-to firm for lefty causes (they have a long history representing labor unions and environmental organizations), and shows that as a PR firm, Murray Hill knows how to run riot in the PR game.

Their website is worth your time. And so is their spot-on campaign ad:

(Thanks to Rose for the tip!)

Perfume-turned-cervical cancer commercial gives women the bait and switch
March 7, 2010, 8:08 pm
Filed under: Advertising & Branding | Tags: , , ,

cervical cancer

“Maybe it’s unfair to get your attention this way, but nothing’s fair about cervical cancer,” intones a voiceover towards the end of a new TV spot by pharmaceutical company, GlaxoSmithKline. The spot begins as a run-of-the-mill designer perfume ad–sumptuous ambience, tinkling music, beautiful woman, vapid-but-pretty discovery narrative–but quickly turns jarring, as the woman finds not an exquisite fragrance but instead deadly cervical cancer in a gleaming and innoccuous bottle. Startled, she turns away, and the voiceover reveals the spot’s PSA (-esque; obviously we understand the underlying objective is to sell more vaccines) purpose, adding the damning statistic that in the US, a woman is diagnosed with cervical cancer every 47 minutes, and urging viewers to visit helppreventcervicalcancer.com for information on vaccinations, medical tests, and lifestyle changes that can help prevent and detect this insidious disease.

The cleverest and subtlest in a series of ads run in GlaxoSmithKline’s Help Prevent Cervical Cancer campaign, this spot gets women’s attention by backing into the real issue when the viewer’s guard is down. Without being melodramatic, graphic, or preachy, the approach not only gets more attention in the first place by keeping its cause marketing identity secret until the critical moment, but also ultimately delivers a more effective message by provoking a very real and unsettling feeling of unease in those whose curiosity was piqued by the prospect of the latest luxury bauble, sophisticated spritz, or material acquisition–items whose pursuit seems particularly silly when compared to the paramount importance of securing our health and wellbeing.

Who’s afraid of the big bad internet? (hint: it’s these guys)
March 4, 2010, 1:03 pm
Filed under: Advertising & Branding | Tags: , , ,

Paloma Vazquez is a frequent contributor to PSFK and her posts there are invariably fascinating. This time I stumbled upon her posterous, where I found these shrewd, Clio-winning ads by the International Society for Human Rights. The metaphor is spot-on, the wordplay is implicit, and the picture says it all: nothing is more terrifying to a dictator than free and open access to information.




Sussex Safer Roads dispenses with scare tactics, crafts gorgeous PSA
February 1, 2010, 11:38 pm
Filed under: Advertising & Branding | Tags: , ,


This spot by the Sussex Safer Roads Partnership is mesmerizing and beautiful, and shows that you can make a powerful PSA and a strong statement about safe driving without resorting to the ghoulish gore and glass-shards that seem to be the coin of the realm. Riveted by its slow motion images, anxious-entranced because we’re not yet sure of the tone (is it going to be funny? sad? scary?), we’re waiting for the twist–and the captivating commercial twists the twist to deliver an even more memorable and poignant image we can take with us onto the roads.

Watch it here:

Nike’s UNICEF interactive billboard makes each kilometer go farther

Nike Treadmill

Nike demonstrates that even in philanthropy, it stands for athletes. In an interactive billboard (by BBDO) publicizing a charity 10k run in Argentina, the athletics powerhouse invites passersby to have a run on a treadmill that logs a communal kilometer count. For each kilometer run, Nike donates a set amount to UNICEF, urging that “Training for the 10k doesn’t only help you. For each kilometer run, you will be helping UNICEF. Sign up at nikecorre.com.”

This installation is cool in that it is in both form and function an expression of generosity and community spirit: it empowers the individual personally in their pursuit of fitness and athleticism by giving them a place to train, and it also, in its very setup as a kilometer-by-kilometer sponsorship, gives them the tools to help others (with the help of those around them, of course) by logging a few km for kids in need. For a brand that has placed such an emphasis on grassroots community in the pursuit of sport, it’s an engaging execution that brings the best of the brand’s beliefs to the fore, but tastefully leverages them in service of a greater good.