Friday, August 29, 2008

Beat Usain Bolt At His Own Game

Puma has launched a nice site in celebration of their biggest star in the form of Usain Bolt.

The site features the latest Puma Olympics apparel, as well as an interesting advergame allowing the user to race against the fastest man in the world.

It's a simple but amusing advergame, very nicely designed, and nicely integrated video spots and definitely worth checking out. Click here to see if you measure up.

Louis Vuitton's Olympic Guides

With thousands of foreigners visiting Beijing for the Olympics earlier this month year, Louis Vuitton, the French luxury fashion brand entered the mobile space with a unique location-based audio guide, available in six languages, to three major cities, Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

The narratives were provided for by three local actresses and directs visitors by mobile phones in real time through the cities.

The service costs 17 USD for each city in one of the six languages, English, French, Cantonese, Chinese, Korean and Japanese. I can't help wondering whether a free download of the guides would have helped the brand get their name out there a bit more - considering that the type of visitors in Beijing are probably the ones who would fall squarely into LV's target market?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Proof That Money Doesn't Always Buy Happiness

The World Values Survey, which has compiled data from 350,000 people in 97 countries since 1981, this year again found Danes to be the world's happiest nation, with Zimbabweans unsurprisingly again as the most miserable. The US, with the highest material wealth in the world, only came in 16th on the list.

The aim of the survey is to measure "subjective well-being" through qualitative measure of peoples' happiness and life satisfaction. It uses two basic questions, which have never changed: "How would you rate your happiness?" and "How satisfied are you with your life these days?"

This year's results were interesting for analysts as the findings were said to have defied conventional wisdom on the subject of happiness. Factors such as freedom of choice and social acceptance are the most powerful forces behind national moods. Monetary wealth, whilst important, doesn't tell the whole story, according to University of Michigan political scientist Ronald Inglehar, who headed up the study.

In poorer countries, happiness can be linked to solidarity among tight-knit communities, religious conviction, and patriotism, which probably explains the happiness of some relatively poor Latin American countries.

South Africans appear to not be very happy at all. We're ranked outside the top 100...

Via: BusinessWeek, Synergetics

Virtual Harley-Davidson Experience

This week marks the 105th anniversary celebration of Harley-Davidson.

Based in Milwaukee, the town has come together and is hosting a 4 day celebration with the focal point being the recently opened Harley-Davidson museum designed by Pentagram, aimed at offering a contemporary view of Harley's long-standing heritage. The museum is said to have 145 of the most iconic Harleys on display.

Unfortunately, I fear most of us back in South Africa won't be able to experience this in person. The next best thing is a virtual tour of the museum which you can access by clicking here.

Via: Pentagram, PSFK

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Minority Report - Set In 2008?

I still remember watching Minority Report, not so many years ago and thinking to myself that the retinal scanning technology was fantastic. At the time, I thought technology like that belong firmly in the realms of science fiction as well as way in the distant future. Seems I was very wrong.

There have been reports that YCD Multimedia is going to be releasing digital signs that use facial recognition to custom tailor advertising on the fly.

The signage will be equipped with cameras that will scan shopper’s faces and determine their age, sex and ethnicity, based on facial features such as the size and shape of the nose, eyes, cheekbones and jaw line.

Once the system figures out who you are, it will serve up an ad for something it thinks you may want.

Initially, I suspect that the ads will only be demographically driven. But I'm sure it won't be long before databases are drawn up with truly tailored advertising the next logical step. Seems like the future is here.


Monday, August 25, 2008

Forget Facebook For Marketing, Try Facecard

Teens are, to many marketers, the perfect target market. With comparatively quite a bit of disposable income, an insatiable need for the latest and coolest, as well as the ability for quick word of mouth marketing, it's little wonder that so many marketers try to court them.

Unfortunately, this group is probably even more media savvy than the media strategists who try and reach them. Raised with constant connectivity through cellphones, internet and emial, these techno-addicts will ignore anything that they deem irrelevant.

Edo Interactive, a Nashville-based firm that deals with Web 2.0 technology, is trying to change all of this. After spending a year studying young consumers, they developed Facecard, a prepaid credit card aimed squarely at millennials and the businesses that court them.

Launching imminently in the US, Edo's application works somewhat like Facebook with a financial twist. Applicants need to create profiles on, after which they will receive a card in the mail that allows them to borrow, lend, or give away money to their peers electronically.

For a fee, marketers can also send them "prewards," small denominations of instant store credit, based on their age, location, and personal interests.

Olympics Podium For Brands

With the Olympic games now officially over in Beijing, we can now turn our full attention to the real competition on how all the endorsement brands fared.

Whilst much has been written regarding the multi-million dollar Olympics sponsorships from brands like Adidas and Nike, the two giants didn't seem to have gathered the amount of attention they'd initially hoped for. Smaller competitors such as Speedo and Puma managed to achieve greater surges in awareness and buzz by backing a smaller group of athletes who just happened to dominate the games and much of the conversation surrounding them.

Speedo scored the games' biggest coup, thanks to the amazing performance courtesy of swimmer Michael Phelps, whose eight gold medals dominated headlines of the games worldwide.

Phelps' success, along with a medal haul that saw Speedo-suited swimmers win nearly 90% of the swimming medals at the games, led to a 128% boost in global online chatter about the brand, according to a study conducted by Zeta Interactive.

Another record breaker and headline maker was found in Jamaican sprinter Usaian Bolt. His success sent interest in Puma soaring, as online chatter about the brand was boosted by 64% during the games. Nike and Adidas saw relatively modest surges of 18% and 17% apiece, despite dramatically outspending Speedo and Puma and sending a whole host of high-profile athletes to Beijing.

According to Advertising Age:

"While the results of the events can provide a boost to sales in their immediate aftermath, the official status of Nike (via the many Olympic teams it sponsors) and Adidas likely helped both marketers make sizable gains in the crucial Chinese market in the months leading up to the games, so their efforts were hardly squandered."

Whilst the sudden burst in interest in brands like Puma and Speedo certainly won't harm the brands, will their flavour-of-the-month endorsement strategies not backfire the next time around, if they happen to pick the wrong athletes to endorse?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Some Marketers ARE Listening To Consumers

A Youtube user, who calls himself Levinator 25, posted a video on YouTube a while ago highlighting, highlighting a glitch in the EA Games Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 game which allows players to hit shots while standing on water hazards.

The commentator joked about how the Tiger Woods character was able to pull off the "Jesus Shot" by sinking a shot whilst playing off water. The following is EA Games response.

Although the response clip from EA Games takes a bit of time to get their point across, it's still a great example of how marketers are able to respond and react to consumer input in a constructive and fun way. The clip has been viewed over 260,000 times on YouTube so far.

Via: Brand Republic

Individually Tailored Messaging Almost Here

Tailoring messages for individual consumers has always been the holy grail for marketers. Now it seems like the pipe dream is slowly but surely coming into fruition.

The Wall Street Journal has an interesting article regarding marketers' experimention with a new type of in-store and point-of-purchase ad based on consumer identity and behavior.

Procter & Gamble is testing a system that uses radio-frequency identification to play ads on a digital screen based on what products a consumer has picked up. When a consumer picks out a shampoo for a particular type of hair, for instance, the screen recommends the most appropriate conditioner or other hair products.

Dunkin' Donuts is trying out a system that displays food ads to customers ordering just coffee. The system allows customers ordering their morning coffee to see ads at the cash register promoting the chain's hash browns or breakfast sandwiches. At the pick-up counter, customers see ads prompting them to return for a coffee break in the afternoon and try an oven-toasted pizza.Many of the in-store targeted-advertising efforts are still in the early stages of development. Marketing executives say that much research still needs to be done to evaluate the best types of ads to display and the way consumers respond to messages. Skeptics of technology fear that the proliferation of screens makes it more likely that they will be ignored.

A little scary as a consumer perhaps, but undoubtedly really exciting times for marketers.

Stella PSP

Stella Artois in Australia has found a novel media channel, thanks to the proliferation of Wi-Fi down under.

The premium beer is now promoting the drink via PSP. All of Stella’s major films, press campaigns, and presentations on the brand’s history were installed on PSP's and distributed as a trade presenter, used for updating and training retailers. The PSP's wifi capabilities also enables changes to be made quickly, keeping the information current.

The PSPs were delivered in hand-stitched black velvet drawstring bags and re-branded with Stella Artois logos. Looks very slick and premium, in keeping with the brand.

Nokia Promotes N-Gage With FIFA

EA Sports' perennial top-seller is its FIFA franchised game. Based on real teams and realistic looking players, it's easy to see why the game has many addicted. The annoying bit, however, is that the game gets updated with the latest off-season transfers and improved game play every year around this time, prompting fans to keep up and buy the new version.

Previously, EA Games has waited a year or two before re-releasing an older version of the game in their attempt to further cash in on each version. The interesting development for last year's version, FIFA 08, is the recently announced tie-in with Nokia which sees the mobile brand give away 120,000 FIFA 08 licences as an added incentive to promote its N-Gage mobile gaming service to UK-based owners of the device.

In support of the giveaway,
Nokia has launched a series of virals videos, showing addicted gamers in semi-embarrassing situations. Rather entertaining and certainly worth a watch as a Friday wind-down.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

See Your Designer Boots On Arsenal vs Man U Match Day

For all of you who enjoy fast paced soccer with plenty of passion and skills thrown into the mix, you'd know that one of the games guaranteed to deliver are the derby games between Arsenal and Manchester United.

Nike, who happens to be the sponsor for both teams, have decided to make use of the first derby game to garner some more fan involvement and self promotion.

Using the Nike ID application, where users have always been able to customise their own Nike shoes, Nike now lets fans have the opportunity to design boots for 3 players from each team.
The top 10 fan-generated designs as per popular vote gets put forward to the players themselves, who ultimately choose their favourite design and wears that particular pair on derby match day.

An interesting element for fans in their bids to to gather the most votes is through the integration of social networks into the marketing mix. Designers can embed a widget onto their Facebook profiles asking all of their friends to vote for them.

The site is slickly designed and will surely interest a number of football fans worldwide. To design your own boots or at least check out the amazingly detailed flash site, please click
here. A wonderfully simple idea that's well executed, it's a little example of why Nike is such a powerful brand.

PS: Below is the one of a kind "George Chen" edition. Bidding starts at $200.

BMW 2015 Concept

The third year students at the at the Istituto Europeo di Design School of Turin had the ultimate opportunity to showcase their talent with an amazing brief from BMW.

The thesis brief was "Designing the BMW of 2015, interpreting the language evolution and the trademark essence, in view of the company’s future perspectives", with the 8 finalists having their designs built to 1:4 scale models and displayed until the end of September 2008.

The initial phase of the project required the students to concentrate on the philosophy behind their proposed exterior design. The participants were asked to find inspiration by looking both into natural elements like the sun, the sea, the wind or the earth and in forms of expression such as music, painting or arts in general.

During the second phase of the project, designers had to use the project essence and formal language individuated in the previous stage to develop both the interior and exterior of an actual car. The model had to be able to fit in with a hypothetical life style in the year 2015.

Throughout the internal stages of project development, a BMW Commission including Thomas Plath, Director Model Techniques and Process Management, and Anders Warming, BMW Exterior Design Director, under the supervision of Chris Bangle, Chief of Design for BMW Group, were present to oversee and guide the participants.

Some really amazing work resulted from the collaboration and it’d be great if one of these concepts were kept in mind for future production.

Via: Carbody Design

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Live Positively With Coca-Cola

The Coca-Cola Company has produced sustainable T-shirts for approximately 15 000 athletes, coaches and other officials participating in the Olympic Games in Beijing, as well as for 7 000 athletes and coaches that would take part in Paralympic Games in September.

The aim of the project is to illustrate the idea of the “sustainable fashion” and to urge people to collectively up their efforts to save the planet and its resources – the same way as they become a single whole when dreaming about sporting victories during the Olympics.

These T-shirts are made from a blend of cotton and recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET), the material widely used for plastic beverage bottles. Wal-Mart have also released a similar line earlier this year.

Via: BrandWeek

Brand Looks After Pregnant Ladies

Here’s some more organic goodness.. this time from a French company who has developed a new line of food products for pregnant women.

Luna consists of eight products made with organic ingredients, all aimed at ensuring women get the nutrients they need for a healthy pregnancy.

There are surprisingly few brands that target pregnant women with similar product lines, apart from nutrition bars, and considering how much so many pregnant ladies are willing to sacrifice to ensure that their babies develop healthily, it seems like a pretty captive audience to me. Could it be that it's a segment that marketers have previously never considered?

Via: Luna

Organic Fast Food

Los Angeles has opened the first all-organic fast food restaurant.

Oburger is as organic as humanly possible. All of the food and condiments are 100% organic. Healthy grass fed beef and turkey burgers are featured, along with a slew of other organic options - including vegan shakes and healthy sodas.

The store has gone one step further by making use of non-toxic cleaning supplies, as well as all the packaging being recyclable, compostable or easily biodegradable.The building materials are healthy as well - the paint is lead-free and the wall paneling is made of reclaimed wood.

Via: Tree Hugger

Monday, August 18, 2008

Truth About Smart

Smart Cars have been around for a while now, and have garnered their fair share of attention and won over many fans since its inception. However, despite the brand's innovative and clever communications in the past, doubts still remain regarding the vehicle's safety and practicality.

In their latest attempt to change perceptions about the brand, as well as showcasing the latest guise of the Smart ForTwo, the UK arm for the brand has recently launched a new, highly interactive and lighthearted microsite, aimed at educating the users in all thing Smart.

The site, called Truth About Smart, truly encapsulates the essence of the brand and presents the information in a highly digestible and fun way. It's definitely worth checking out!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Who Are These People?!

According to the result of a recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, only 49% of internet users made use of a search engine on a daily basis. How do these people get by?

Email was the most popular use of the internet with checking news and weather coming in third and fourth.

There's also an interesting relationship unveiled through the study between the level of education, as well as other social factors such as wealth, and search engine use. Apparently two thirds of all university graduates who use the internet every day use a search engine, in comparison with 32 per cent who ended their education after high school.

Of those who earn more than $75,000 a year, 62 per cent search the web every day, whereas only 36 per cent of those who earn less than $30,000 do.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Ready For The Air Car

It seems a car set to run on nothing but air (almost) will be available in the very near future. Could this be part of the solution to slow down global warming and set the standards for motoring design in the future?

According to the trend-spotters PSFK, there's a company named Zero Pollution Motors who will be releasing compressed air powered cars in United States by 2010. Designed by France’s MDI, the vehicle is 100% emmision free when running on air-only mode.

Allegedly, $2 worth of air is all it takes to fill the tank, and the car gets 106 petrol equivalent mpg. Top speed when running on air is 35mph, but a small fuel boost (gasoline, propane, ethanol or bio fuels) ramps it up to 90mph.

The compact cars can seat 6 people and has room for luggage, and is set to sell for around US$18000.


Monday, August 11, 2008

How To Make Money Off Free iPhone Games

Illusion Labs was started a year ago by Carl Loodberg and Andreas Alptun, who had worked together at another Swedish company called TAT, designing software for companies including Samsung and Nvidia.

The first game they developed has become one of the most popular pieces of software for the iPhone. The game is called Labyrinth, a digital update to the old wooden box on which you maneuver a small silver ball through a maze while avoiding cut-out holes the ball could plunge into. The game, which is available for free from Apple's iTunes, is being downloaded 80,000 times a day to date.

Illusion Labs has now designed a game called iPint for Carling beer, with the London-based ad agency Beattie McGuiness Bungay. In iPint, an iPhone user tilts her phone to guide a beer down a bar through a variety of obstacles and into a waiting hand. Once the beer arrives at its destination, the screen changes into a pint glass with Carling's logo on it. It then fills up with a virtual beer, which disappears when the phone is tilted to simulate drinking from a glass.

Whilst no detail has been released on how much the company was paid for the development of this application, it does open up an exciting new channel and offers insights into other innovative ways for software developers to monetise their skills in a fun and meaningful way.

Via: BusinessWeek

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Strategy Is More Than About Looking Cool

At JWT's 40th Birthday celebrations for the discipline of Planning, Jon Steel - who has been referred to as the God Father of Account Planning in the US (even though he's British) - provided some of his insights and opinions regarding the discipline of planning.

It's more than about looking cool and hanging out with creatives...

Facebook To The Rescue Of Thousands of Africans

There are countless Facebook groups calling for positive change in the world. From fights against poverty and HIV/Aids, "click here to feed a hungry child" schemes to anti-animal cruelty leagues, i often wondered whether I was wasting time by paying too much attention to these groups. After all, are there any corporate brands who have the financial muscle to make these positive changes even listening?

Evidently, some are.

Coca-Cola executives recently responded to a Facebook-based call for humanitarian action, and showed a new opportunity for dialogue between consumers and corporations.

Incensed by the irony that remote African communities had limitless access to bottles of Coca-Cola, but no infrastructure to get medicines to sick children, innovator Simon Berry decided to speak up and ask Coca-Cola to dedicate a fraction of its distribution network to carry medicines for simple, widespread and life-threatening ailments like diarrhea. At first, Berry's ideas fell on deaf ears; after all he was the only recruit in a one-man army.

Now, a modest Facebook publicity campaign has catapulted Berry's message into the Coca-Cola boardroom. Salvatore Gabola, global head of stakeholder relations for the beverage giant, took notice of the social networking momentum and has invited Berry to Coca-Cola's European headquarters to discuss his idea.

By pleasing these typically marketing-wary Facebook users, Coca-Cola stands to gain enormously as a brand, as well as altering perceptions of the brand in the eyes of a tough market segment.

Via: World Changing

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Crowdsourced Sneaker Design

A new business based in Portland USA is attempting to build a new sneaker brand, based on the creativity and crowd participation.

The brand, called Ryz, lets users submit graphic designs for a high-top sneaker model. Members vote for their favourite designs, and the sneakers that get the most votes are taken into production. Designers receive a one-time payment of USD 1,000 plus one dollar for each pair sold. Shoes are priced at USD 90, and are produced in limited runs.

The company's founder, Rob Langstaff, has plenty of industry experience—before starting Ryz, he ran Adidas' operations in North America and Japan. As quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle, Langstaff believes Ryz will generate revenues of USD 40 million by 2012.

Via: Springwise

2008 Jay Chiat Planning Awards

The winners of the 2008 Jay Chiat Planning Awards was announced last week at the American Association of Advertising Agencies Planning Conference in Miami. The awards celebrate the best thinking in the industry by evaluating papers on the creativity and execution of agency plans from the last year, and every year, the Jay Chiat Planning Awards judges evaluate well over 100 case studies, submitted by agencies big and small from every corner of the globe.

International recognition of the Jay Chiat Planning Awards also seems to be growing, two years after the judging was opened up to international submissions. This year submissions were received from agencies in the U.K., France, India, China, Latin America, Australia and Japan. Four of the international entries made it to the shortlist of nominees: eBay, France; DeBeers, India; Barnardo's, U.K.; Work Safety Insurance Board, Canada.

The judging mechanics are as follows:
  • The first-round judging is conducted by planning directors from agencies in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Boston. Each judge is asked to read 20 or so papers and nominate those that they believe are exemplary. The judging criteria instruct judges to choose "Papers that fill you with envy. Papers that both humiliate and inspire. Papers that are a showcase for what is possible in planning." The output of these judging sessions is a shortlist of planning case studies. Adweek says that within planning circles, getting on this list alone is a career-building accolade.
  • The second round of judging involves the broader advertising community. The 22 shortlisted papers are given to industry thought leaders including creative directors, agency heads, clients, planners and the press. This group decides which papers will be awarded gold, silver and bronze. This is where the important discussion of "what makes a great idea" comes to the fore. All of the submissions were agreed to be good, solid case studies that any agency would be proud of, but this group of industry leaders insisted that an award winner has to break new ground.
While the planning community seemed to focus on the thinking and the consumer insight, the broader advertising community focused more on the work. Brilliant strategic thinking loses its value when it does not impact the work and lead to creative output that our industry can be proud of.

The judges commented that many of the international papers rose to the top because they presented engaging narratives of innovative and original thinking, rather than linear marketing cases following a more traditional planning formula focused on consumer insight alone.

Via: Adweek

Move Over Prius!

An interesting and award-winning three-wheeler, created by a Swiss company called Cree is set to take the fight for sustainability to the next level.
The car seats two in an agile body that is 90% recyclable, has a maximum speed of 85 kilometers per hour, and touts an emission-free 15 kilowatt electric motor that charges fully in just 6 hours. The design also allows for the conversion of kinetic energy from braking, rolling to a stop and going downhill into power for the engine.

The vehicle is set for a limited release of 500 cars in September 2008, with 5000 units targeted for 2009.

No other information was provided on the vehicle's safety features but its green credentials should make it a hit in countries where drivers are law-abiding and slightly more polite than South African drivers.

Via: Inhabitat, PSFK

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Amazing Brief = Amazing Results

Nike's division 6.0 Extreme Sports Group's first assignment to Hub Strategy led to the creation of an action-sports urban assault vehicle, converted from a 1959 amphibious tank-like truck. The vehicle has proven popular and will now visit various US cities over the next several months.

The brief for the project was, in fact, "Holy Crap!" - defined by the client as creating a presence impossible to ignore and aimed at creating a camera-phone viral response.

The vehicle features include a skate ramp, wakeboard tower, surf racks, skateboard rails and BMX racks - as well as creature comforts such as a barbeque, sleep-in camper shell, a waterproof CD player, radio and remote control iPod. Nike declined to disclose the total spend on the assignment.

It's amazing how an innovative brief from a client who's willing to take calculated risks can lead to such an unforgettable piece of communication.

Via: Adweek

Chemical Brothers' Album Launch With Google Earth

The British group Chemical Brothers have challenged fans to produce a short film or photography based on the theme 'Midnight Madness' that will become part of a music video to accompany the single of the same name.

Joining forces with Google and the search-giant's Google Earth application for this user-generated content promotion for their "best of" album, the winning participants wull have their work edited by producers Nexus, as well as having their entry made into a music video and premiered on The Chemical Brothers website and YouTube as an exclusive in the same week 'Midnight Madness' is released, August 18. Entrants will upload their work onto Google Earth via The Chemical Brothers' website, where they can tag its exact location.

The work can be submitted as a film that is anywhere from 2 to 20 seconds long, which is inspired by the midnight theme and related to a specific point of origin.

Given that not all of their fans will be budding filmmakers, The Chemical Brothers are also allowing fans to tag and then launch their favourite track from their location on Google Earth.

This will enable anyone using Google Earth to click on a location and discover which Chemical Brothers' track a fan has chosen as their favourite.

Via: BrandRepublic

Novel Ford Microsite

Ford Brazil has launched an amazing microsite in support of the launch for the all-new Ford KA.

The site allows you to upload your photo and explore the car as a choice of three insects - small enough to explore all the little details the car has to offer.

It's a fresh approach to motor microsites with a new look at the idea of travel and exploration. The site is also beautifully illustrated with a rather novel horizontal navigation. Check it out for yourselves by clicking here.

Monday, August 4, 2008

DHL - Live Tracking

To advertise the 24 hour online tracking service as offered by DHL in Beijing - just in time for the Olympics - the international courier giant has installed an assembly of mouse cursor pictures on vehicles throughout the DHL fleet.

Ogilvy Beijing was the agency responsible for this piece of creativity.

Via: Notcot, Comunicadores

Research: Technology Makes Me Feel Dumb

Isn't technology supposed to make our lives easier? Clearly not according to a new UK survey result.

PSFK, reporting on the findings, said that "frustration over gadgets failing and being too confusing has IT rage ranking higher than road rage amongst survey participants."

Some other interesting stats are:
  • Three quarters of people have hurled a gadget in a fit of rage(73%) and the same number have admitted to swearing (75%) or losing their temper with their computer….
  • 81% of respondents say they wish technology was easier to understand and more than half (52%) found connecting devices more confusing than mortgages.
  • A stressed out 1 in 10 people say they’ve turned to alcohol to cope with technology meltdown, while a fifth of people admitted to simply turning off the gadget that has gone wrong and hoping it will fix itself.
  • 66% of people feel more angry when they lose their internet connection than when their football team loses an important match ( 6%)

via: Pocket Lint, PSFK

Friday, August 1, 2008

Research: Thin Models Make Women Feel Bad, But They Like It"

A study by business professors at Villanova University and the College of New Jersey - inspired by Dove's "Campaign for Real Beauty" - shows that ads featuring thin models made women feel worse about themselves, but better about the brands featured.

Apparently, seeing thin models also made college-age women far more likely to turn down cookies offered as thanks for their participation in the study, or to opt for a reduced-fat version. (Women who had just seen thin models were nearly four times more likely to say no to Oreos than women who hadn't, and 42% more likely to opt for reduced-fat cookies if they did indulge.)
  • Women in a sample of 194 college students aged 18-24 expressed more negative feelings about their sexual attractiveness, weight and physical condition after seeing thin models than before.
  • So-called high self-monitoring women, or those more concerned about what others think of their appearance, were the most negatively affected by seeing the thin models in the study.
A written report on results is still in the works but initial findings are that despite the negative effect on their body image, women still preferred ads showing thin models and said they were more likely to buy products featured in those ads than in ones showing "regular-size models".

"The really interesting result we're seeing across multiple studies is that these thin models make women feel bad, but they like it," said Jeremy Kees, a business professor at Villanova. "They have higher evaluation of the brands. With the more regular-size models, they don't feel bad. Their body image doesn't change. But in terms of evaluations of the brands, those are actually lower."

Mr. Kees acknowledged the findings create something of a quandary for marketers, who might have a positive effect on young women's self-esteem by showing more typical women in ads, but suffer in the marketplace as a result.

Via: AdAge