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The Power of Advertising

If I had any doubts concerning the power of advertising, they all vanished this past week as a result of something I participated in on campus last Tuesday. At our university we have a special day once every four years called Gold Rush Daze. Classes are suspended and the students and faculty enjoy fun activities the whole day.

I helped serve "breakfast in bed" in one of the men's dorms that morning, but my main participation in the day's festivities was in the program called Faculty Body that the faculty put on in the evening. Several weeks prior to Gold Rush Daze, my office mate Phil and I worked up four "Bo-Jonic" commercials, knock-offs of some Sonic ads that appear on TV. We spent an afternoon with several people from BJ HomeSat taping the ads in the parking lot of an apartment complex.

In anticipation of the evening, not having seen the finished products, Phil and I were fearful that our ads would totally bomb, making us the laughing stock of the campus. However the ads went over far better than we ever imagined they would! Here's a shot of me eating a tater-tot I'd bummed off of Phil, not knowing he had licked it before handing it to me! 😯

picture of me eating a tot

The folks at HomeSat did a fantastic job with the taping and editing, even adding the SLAP sound effect and the words in red. The ads looked so authentic! Here's a picture of the tail end of that ad.

picture of frozen frame

Several people told us that, after seeing our Bo-Jonic ads, Sonic and tater-tots were on their minds so much that they went to the Sonic closest to the campus on their way home. However when they got there, they were turned away – the folks at Sonic were so overwhelmed with people coming from BJ that they couldn't take and fill any more orders. The next-closest Sonic to campus was a little less busy, but bustling with BJ people nonetheless.

Even though our commercial spots were not for Sonic, per se, the suggestion alone was sufficient to induce people to head over to Sonic anyway. A while back I did a blog post on effective advertising. Since then, I have come across some other shopping bags that are quite creative, some advertising products and some promoting social causes.

If I saw this bag, I know that I would instantly crave some Nutella.

picture of Nutella bag

Here's a great bag advertising a pain reliever called Panadol Extra.

picture of Panadol bag

Here's another bag advertising Panadol Extra, perhaps even more effectively.

picture of Panadol bag

These two bags definitely have a touch of class.

picture of upscale bag

It appears that the side of the bag with the hands is mostly transparent, creating the illusion that a person is holding the book that's inside the bag.

picture of bookstore bag

This is a creative bag for a car dealer.

picture of steering wheel bag

Here's a bag from a Belgian animal rights organization GAIA (Global Action in the Interest of Animals) protesting the cruelty of making and eating foie gras. The bag says, "Folter deze gans. En spaar de echte: eet geen Foie Gras." = "Torture this goose. And spare the real ones: don’t eat foie gras."

picture of gooseneck bag

This bag promotes fitness in a unique way.

picture of fitness bag

This bag seeks to motivate people to help those with autism.

picture of autism bag

The Red Cross is always eager to have people donate blood. I'm afraid it would take more than this bag to move me to give blood.

picture of blood donor bag

Although it's cute, if the bag below is advertising something, it's so cryptic that I can't figure it out. Can anyone help me on this? (added Friday morning, March 20, 2009 - Since posting this, I have learned from a commenter and by e-mail that the woman on the bag below is Yulia Tymoshenko, the Prime Minister of Ukraine. She's iconic in Europe for her braids.)

picture of bag with braids

People have told Phil and me that they can't see us without thinking of Sonic or tater-tots, or they can't drive by Sonic without thinking of us – a testimonial to the effectiveness of branding in commercials. Do you think that advertising is effective on you or your family? Could you give us an example?


"The worst that this world can dish out to you is just an opportunity to serve God in a way you hadn't even thought of." - Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=

"I saw a subliminal advertising executive, but only for a second." - Steven Wright

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21 Comments on “The Power of Advertising”

  1. #1 jodi
    on Mar 18th, 2009 at 10:14 pm

    job well done on the Sonic commercials and I thought that the menu board complete with the credit card swipe was especially cool. ;-).

  2. #2 Rob
    on Mar 18th, 2009 at 10:27 pm

    @Jodi – Was the menu board your handiwork? If so, thanks! It was amazing!!!

  3. #3 Barbara H.
    on Mar 18th, 2009 at 10:31 pm

    We got to attend the Faculty Body and loved it. Those commercials were great — how funny that they sent so many for a visit to Sonic!

    Unfortunately there is not a Sonic close to our house. That’s probably a good thing, though, as I’d be tempted to stop every day for a root beer with their munchy ice.

    We usually mute commercials, but the ones for fast food often tempt us — though not quite enough to leave the house in the evening to indulge.

  4. #4 Josh Jensen
    on Mar 18th, 2009 at 11:06 pm

    Any chance that any of the Bo-Jonic spots will show up here? (I’m guessing not, knowing BJ’s policy about Faculty Body …) Wish I could have been there.

  5. #5 Sara
    on Mar 18th, 2009 at 11:09 pm

    Mr. Loach, is there any way you can post the commercials you and Mr. Adams did??? Between the two of you, I’m sure they were too funny πŸ™‚ Would love to see them!

  6. #6 Deb
    on Mar 18th, 2009 at 11:12 pm

    Hi Rob ~ I’m wondering if your commercial is on YouTube so you could link to it on your blog – I’d love to see it. Amazing how everyone went straight to Sonic!

    Here’s an example of the power of advertising or at least the power of suggestion. My sister told me about the beautifully colored pansies in front of BJ this spring and how she never would have thought to put the orange/white/yellow/blue pansies together. BJ’s large spread really made a colorful impact. That conversation was yesterday. Today I went out and bought orange/white/yellow/blue pansies. Is that effective advertising or am I just very impressionable? πŸ™‚

  7. #7 Rob
    on Mar 19th, 2009 at 5:59 am

    @Barbara – I’m glad you were able to attend. It was a fun evening. What’s weird is that I can the number of times I’ve been to Sonic on one hand. There’s not one super-close to us, and I don’t do fast food much at all.

    @Josh, Sara, and Deb – I’ve looked on YouTube and cannot find them. If they appear and you find them, let me know. Even if I had copies myself, I would not post them on my blog … as you said, Josh. But if they are “out there” somewhere and I can link to them, I will do so in this post and with a mention in a future post.

    @Deb – The pansy story is a good example of the power of suggestion. There have been times when I’ve decided to do something, not knowing why “I thought of it.” Then later it has dawned on me that it had been a suggestion that resurfaced in my mind.

  8. #8 Sherry
    on Mar 19th, 2009 at 7:40 am

    M. Loach, I absolutely loved your commercials. Having had both you and Herr Adams as teachers, it made them even more memorable. Somehow, I envision your office conversations being quite similar to those commercials… You all are the funniest! πŸ™‚ Thanks for making us laugh! It was so well done! πŸ™‚

  9. #9 Rob
    on Mar 19th, 2009 at 7:44 am

    @Sherry – I’m sure you saw humor in those ads just by knowing us both as teachers. Although there was a bit of hamming it up, we were mainly just being ourselves. πŸ˜€

  10. #10 Nancy
    on Mar 19th, 2009 at 8:47 am

    Rob, I think the braided pigtail bag is self-explanatory. This is an American Library Association bag hyping National Pippi Longstocking week. I’m a little surprised this escaped you, sharp as you are.

  11. #11 Nikku
    on Mar 19th, 2009 at 9:25 am

    As for the last bag with the braided woman, a co-worker has pointed out to me that her name is Yulia Tymoshenko, the prime minister of Ukraine. Her braided hair is an iconic thing over in Europe.

  12. #12 Rob
    on Mar 19th, 2009 at 10:44 am

    @Nancy – I share your amazement that that idea eluded me. I was surprised that you “upbraided” me, so to speak.

    @Nikku – Thank you very much for clearing that up!

  13. #13 b.j.
    on Mar 19th, 2009 at 11:32 am

    I guess I feel the loss of never having been to BJU even more now! haha

    I wish you could post the commercials. This is, after all, a commercial for your commercial, and it’s giving me quite a hankering to see the commercial you commercialled for. πŸ™‚

  14. #14 ethan
    on Mar 19th, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    i wish i had been there to see the commercials. i’ll have to hunt through youtube.

  15. #15 Rob
    on Mar 19th, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    @b.j. – I wish they could be posted too, but who knows what people would do with them if they got a hold of them?! There are elements out there that love to twist and pervert anything good about BJU. Sad, isn’t it?

    @ethan – I don’t know if you can find them on YouTube. People were not supposed to use cameras or cell phones during the Faculty Body program. If they did use them and have pirated copies of the various routines, they may eventually make their way onto YouTube. Other than that, I don’t know that you’ll be able to find them.

  16. #16 Michael
    on Mar 19th, 2009 at 2:42 pm

    So, when are the Sonic kickbacks coming your way?

    Nutella is awesome stuff, by the way.

    The first advertising thing that comes to mind is back a few years ago before my wife and I were married. We had been over to some people’s house for dinner and had not gotten as much food as we had planned. So, it was getting late and we were getting hungry. So, we jumped in the car and drove to a nearby McDonald’s. As we pulled in to the parking lot, we looked up and saw their scrolling marquee just as the words “2 Apple Pies for $1.00” popped up. Guess what we purchased when we got inside?

  17. #17 Ann
    on Mar 20th, 2009 at 12:47 am

    The braided woman on the bag can’t be Pippi Longstocking. Pippi was a kid not an adult female. More importantly, she had flaming red hair. The ALA wouldn’t make that kind of mistake.

    As for who she might be, I have no clue.

    I had never heard of Sonic before. I checked their site and there are two here in Charlotte (NC), but they are each 15 miles away.

  18. #18 Dave
    on Mar 20th, 2009 at 1:58 am

    You should try to get those commercials uploaded to YouTube! You never know, Sonic might get you to do a few commercials for them!

  19. #19 Rob
    on Mar 20th, 2009 at 5:52 am

    @Michael – I’m not holding my breath while waiting for kickbacks from Sonic! As for Nutella, I agree completely. We first had it in France, and WOW! When it started to become available in the USA, we were excited. However the price makes it a luxury we rarely indulge. Thanks for the apple pie story from Mickey D’s – a great example of the power of suggestion.

    @Ann – Nancy was just kidding. She’s a former librarian with an amazing sense of humor and an author of children’s books. Knowing her, I LOL’d when I read her comment. When I replied to her comment I came up with the obligatory pun about her “upbraiding” me. πŸ™‚

    @Dave – I’m sorry you didn’t get to see the commercials that night. It has been really surprising to learn how many people came from in town for the Faculty Body and saw them and how many people currently BJ-related (town students and F/S) who didn’t come that night and regret it. We’d love to do commercials for Sonic, but their guys might get kinda miffed if we tried to replace them.

  20. #20 Barbara H.
    on Mar 22nd, 2009 at 9:50 pm

    I wonder if they could be put on the BJU web site? I just saw some pictures and videos on there today. What there was of Gold Rush Daze seemed to be just the games and breakfast in bed, nothing about faculty body (I was at BJ for the very first Gold Rush daze, and I don’t think they did breakfast in bed then! At least I don’t remember it.)

    I did see on Facebook someone had started a group for buttons from Gold Rush Daze with things like “Spot a tot.” The buttons are at http://www.wiiiju.com – I just sent you an invitation to the group.

    You know, they really should make DVDs of the faculty body and sell them. I bet a lot of people would buy them as a souvenir, and if I wasn’t able to attend I’d sure buy one to see what happened.

  21. #21 Rob
    on Mar 23rd, 2009 at 5:40 am

    @Barbara – You should check with someone in the Communications office at BJ. I think they would be the ones who could act on such a request. As to the breakfast in bed, I’ve helped serve it each time they’ve asked. I don’t remember a Gold Rush Daze without doing it, but I can’t really say for sure. I’m just a participator at heart, so if asked to do once-in-a-while stuff like that, I generally say yes.

    I was given several buttons on Friday, one of which was Phil and me on a Spot a tot button. I have also visited the group on Facebook. What a hoot! This thing has taken on a life of its own! πŸ˜€