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! 😯
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.
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 .
Here's a great bag advertising a pain reliever called Panadol Extra .
Here's another bag advertising Panadol Extra, perhaps even more effectively.
These two bags definitely have a touch of class.
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.
This is a creative bag for a car dealer.
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."
This bag promotes fitness in a unique way.
This bag seeks to motivate people to help those with autism.
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 .
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.)
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