Vocapedia > Media
> Advertising, ads, marketing,
The Cost of Paying Attention
MARCH 7, 2015
Looking on the bright side …
A 1930s poster, produced for the London &
North Eastern Railway,
paints an idyllic picture of the North
Photograph: SSPL via Getty Images
The English and Their History by
Robert Tombs review – unfashionably upbeat
This engaging and persuasive survey of 13
resists declinism and suggests England is a
Saturday 13 December 2014
p. 28 1 December 2008
tobacco > advertising, ads UK
Racist, sexist, rude and crude:
the worst of 20th century advertising – in pictures
mass marketing USA
advertising > smartphones
New York Times > declining advertising market
internet advertising UK
Google > advertising revenue
Facebook mobile applications > mobile advertising
commercials > TV junk food ads
USA > Super Bowl commercials / ads
Christmas TV adverts
ads > YouTube USA
Internet ads USA
online ads USA
online sex ads USA
political TV ads
ad campaign UK
Abram Games UK
one of the most influential
British graphic designers
of the 20th
advertise on TV / radio
Joy of six: Things that you no longer see in TV adverts
TV junk food ads UK
zap ads /
A 1966 ad for Pillsbury featuring Mr. Perz's creation, Poppin'
Rudolph Perz, Creator of Pillsbury’s Doughboy, Dies at 89
By SAM ROBERTS NYT
APRIL 3, 2015
Rudolph Robert Perz
advertising executive who pondered
a soulless, squishy, cylindrical
of flour and water on his kitchen
table 50 years ago
and conjured up the genial
The pudgy Pillsbury mascot,
as Poppin’ Fresh,
became instantly recognized
symbol of the company’s
line of refrigerated biscuit,
and cookie dough
that popped out of a cardboard
He made his debut
in a 1965
commercial for crescent rolls.
Within three years the figure,
sporting a kerchief and toque
and always tickled
by a signature
claimed an 87 percent brand
among American consumers.
That was enough to immortalize it
in the pantheon
of other anthropomorphic hucksters,
including the Jolly Green Giant,
Tony the Tiger and Morris the Cat.
ad giant USA
Leo Greenland USA
an advertising executive
a string of evocative
of the late 20th century
and for public advocacy of truthfulness
in his profession
copy writer USA
adverts for Birds Eye fish fingers UK
Advertising Standards Authority
Only 5% of TV ads feature ethnic minorities
under-representing non-white people,
Clearcast survey finds
The online ad attack Apr 27th 2005
From The Economist print edition
The Ad*Access Project,
funded by the Duke
Endowment "Library 2000" Fund,
presents images and database information for over
7,000 advertisements printed
in U.S. and Canadian newspapers and magazines
between 1911 and 1955.
Ad*Access concentrates on five main subject areas:
Television, Transportation, Beauty and Hygiene,
and World War II, providing a
of a number of major campaigns and companies through images
preserved in one particular advertising collection available at Duke University.
The advertisements are from
J. Walter Thompson Company
Competitive Advertisements Collection
of the John W. Hartman Center for
Advertising, and Marketing
in Duke University's
Manuscript, and Special Collections Library.
Fifty Years of Coca-Cola
Highlights from the Motion Picture Archives at the Library of Congress
presents a variety of television advertisements, never-broadcast outtakes,
and experimental footage reflecting the historical development
advertising for a major commercial product.
public relations PR
public relations PR
public relations giant Burson-Marsteller
The Cost of Paying Attention
MARCH 7, 2015
The New York Times
By MATTHEW B. CRAWFORD
A FEW years ago, in a supermarket, I swiped my bank card to pay
for groceries. I watched the little screen, waiting for its prompts. During the
intervals between swiping my card, confirming the amount and entering my PIN, I
was shown advertisements. Clearly some genius had realized that a person in this
situation is a captive audience.
Attention is a resource; a person has only so much of it. And yet we’ve
auctioned off more and more of our public space to private commercial interests,
with their constant demands on us to look at the products on display or simply
absorb some bit of corporate messaging. Lately, our self-appointed disrupters
have opened up a new frontier of capitalism, complete with its own frontier
ethic: to boldly dig up and monetize every bit of private head space by
appropriating our collective attention. In the process, we’ve sacrificed silence
— the condition of not being addressed. And just as clean air makes it possible
to breathe, silence makes it possible to think.
What if we saw attention in the same way that we saw air or water, as a valuable
resource that we hold in common? Perhaps, if we could envision an “attentional
commons,” then we could figure out how to protect it.
The sad state of this commons is on display everywhere; consider the experience
of being in an airport. I have found I have to be careful when going through
airport security, because the trays that you place your items in for X-ray
screening are now papered with advertisements, and it’s very easy to miss a
lipstick-size flash memory stick against a picture of fanned-out L’Oréal
I am already in a state of low-level panic about departure times, possible gate
changes and any number of other contingencies. This fresh demand for vigilance,
lest I lose the PowerPoint slide show I will be presenting in a few hours, feels
like a straightforward conflict between me and L’Oréal.
Somehow L’Oréal has the Transportation Security Administration on its side. Who
made the decision to pimp out the security trays with these advertisements? We
travelers have no clue, so we search instead for a diagnosis of ourselves: Why
am I so angry?
Making my way through O’Hare International Airport, I am not feeling especially
receptive to the endlessly recurring message from the Lincoln Financial Group,
applied to the moving handrail on the escalator: You’re In Charge®.
Settled in at my departure gate with an hour to kill, I shift in my seat and try
to avert my gaze from the chattering of CNN, but find that the fields of view
that haven’t been claimed for commerce are getting fewer and narrower. Of
course, you can seal yourself off by putting on noise-canceling headphones,
staring at a smartphone or opening a novel. But what is lost is the public space
that is required for sociability, the kind that depends on people not being
An airport lounge once felt rich with possibilities for spontaneous encounters.
Even if we did not converse, our attention was free to alight upon one another
and linger, or not. We encountered another person, even if in silence. Such
encounters are always ambiguous, and their need for interpretation gives rise to
a train of imaginings, often erotic. This is what makes cities exciting.
The benefits of silence are off the books. They are not measured in the gross
domestic product, yet the availability of silence surely contributes to
creativity and innovation. They do not show up explicitly in social statistics
such as level of educational achievement, yet one consumes a great deal of
silence in the course of becoming educated.
If clean air and water were no longer the rule, the economic toll would be
enormous. This is easy to grasp, and that is why we have regulations to protect
these common resources. We recognize their importance and their fragility. We
also recognize that absent robust regulations, air and water will be used by
some in ways that make them unusable for others.
A notable feature of many formerly Communist countries is the apparent absence,
or impotence, of any notion of a common good. Self-serving party apparatchiks
have been replaced by (or become) quasi-free market gangsters. Many citizens of
these countries live in the environmental degradation that results when economic
development is left to such interests, with no countervailing force of
public-spiritedness. We in the liberal societies of the West find ourselves
headed toward a similar condition with regard to the resource of attention,
because we do not yet understand it to be a resource.
Or do we? Silence is now offered as a luxury good. In the business-class lounge
at Charles de Gaulle Airport, I heard only the occasional tinkling of a spoon
against china. I saw no advertisements on the walls. This silence, more than any
other feature, is what makes it feel genuinely luxurious. When you step inside
and the automatic doors whoosh shut behind you, the difference is nearly
tactile, like slipping out of haircloth into satin. Your brow unfurrows, your
neck muscles relax; after 20 minutes you no longer feel exhausted.
Outside, in the peon section, is the usual airport cacophony. Because we have
allowed our attention to be monetized, if you want yours back you’re going to
have to pay for it.
As the attentional commons is appropriated, one solution, for those who have the
means, is to leave it behind for private clubs like the business-class lounge.
Considering that it is those in the business lounge who make the decisions that
determine the character of the peon section, we may start to see these things in
a political light.
To engage in inventive thinking during those idle hours spent at an airport
requires silence. But other people’s minds, over in the peon section, can be
treated as a resource — a standing reserve of purchasing power to be steered
according to the innovative marketing schemes hatched by those enjoying silence
in the business lounge. When some people treat the minds of others as a
resource, this is not “creating wealth” — it is a transfer.
There are many causes for the increasing concentration of wealth in a shrinking
elite, but let us throw one more into the mix: the ever more aggressive
appropriations of the attentional commons that we have allowed to take place.
I think we need to sharpen the conceptually murky right to privacy by
supplementing it with a right not to be addressed. This would apply not, of
course, to those who address me face to face as individuals, but to those who
never show their faces, and treat my mind as a resource to be harvested.
The author of “Shop Class as Soulcraft” and the forthcoming book “The World
Beyond Your Head: On Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction,” from
which this article was adapted.
A version of this op-ed appears in print on March 8, 2015, on page SR5 of the
New York edition with the headline: The Cost of Paying Attention.
The Cost of Paying Attention,
MARCH 7, 2015,
Examining a Generation
Tied to Smartphones
MARCH 5, 2014
The New York Times
SO attached to their cellphones are 18- to 24-year-olds that 61 percent of
them sleep next to their devices, compared with just 22 percent of cellphone
owners over 65 who do so, according to the Pew Research Center. While that might
depress those who yearn for simpler times, such devotion delights AT&T, and now
the phone carrier is introducing a major effort that highlights how connected
young Americans are to their devices.
AT&T has hired Vice Media, the chronicler of youth culture, to produce a video
and advertising platform, the Mobile Movement. So far Vice has produced about 15
documentary videos with young people in six cities, including Los Angeles, New
York, Nashville and Austin, Tex. In the videos, which are beginning to appear on
a Tumblr page and YouTube channel, interviewees discuss their creative pursuits
and dating, sometimes answering specific questions about their connections to
their phones but more often mentioning the devices only incidentally if at all.
In one video, Harold (only first names are used) is interviewed on a Los Angeles
rooftop, where he talks about being a sock designer before telling an anecdote
about his phone.
“I was with my friends at a bar dancing and I was really drunk and I dropped my
phone into the toilet and when I fished it out, I rinsed it off with water and I
put it in a bag of rice to try to save it,” he says. “And it totally worked but
the only thing that was wrong with the phone is it would repeatedly text people
the letter ‘P’ and so I thought it was kind of ironic.”
The effort is being introduced on March 8 at the South by Southwest conference
in Austin, which AT&T is also sponsoring. At the conference, the brand also will
screen the first episode of a web series, “Upwardly Mobile,” which highlights
mobile technology advances from young developers. Another web series, “The
Network Diaries,” scripted short films that prominently feature mobile devices
and that were inspired by anecdotes from the documentary videos, will also have
its debut at SXSW.
The multifaceted effort is aimed at so-called millennials from 18 to 34, said
David Christopher, chief marketing officer at the AT&T Mobility division of
“Millennials live their lives through mobility and mobile technologies and AT&T
is at the center of that,” he said, adding that because younger consumers tend
to avoid or ignore commercials, the company hired Vice to help reach that
“We know the most important technology to this generation is their cellphone and
a great network that it runs on,” he said. “If we said that flat-footedly, it
might come across as just too overt to them, but saying it in a way that is via
them — in their own voices, in their own way of telling stories — becomes very
Online-only commercials, also by Vice, feature clips from the unscripted videos.
One that promotes AT&T Next, a service that enables consumers to get a new
smartphone every 12 or 18 months, opens with phone users apparently talking
about something else.
“My first, I was 16,” says a young woman. “I was like a freshman, probably,”
says a young man, and the thread continues with more interviewees. “I’d wanted
it for a very long time.” “And I lost it in the woods.” “It’s perfect.” Finally,
an interviewee draws the double entendres to a close with, “My phone is my
life.” The spot closes with the screen text, “Love it. Then leave it. Then love
it again. AT&T Next — a new phone every 12 months.”
Eddy Moretti, the executive creative director of Vice, said that all the
creative work had a unifying theme.
“This whole platform is driven by a very true desire to learn about what it
means to be a young person living a mobile existence in America today,” he said.
Vice started as a lifestyle magazine in Montreal in 1994 and, keeping its edge
intact, has become an online and video media concern valued at about $1.4
billion. Its newsmagazine on HBO, “Vice,” memorably arranged for the former
N.B.A. star Dennis Rodman to meet the North Korean ruler Kim Jong-un in
Pyongyang in 2013; the show’s second season begins on March 14.
For its own media properties, which include the technology website Motherboard
and the music website Noisey, the Vice audience falls primarily within the
coveted millennial segment, with 35 percent of its audience 18 to 24 and 41
percent aged 25 to 34, according to its media kit.
AT&T, which declined to reveal advertising and production costs for the effort,
spent $1.41 billion on advertising in the first nine months of 2013, making it
the second-biggest advertiser in the United States for the period, behind
Procter & Gamble, according to the Kantar Media unit of WPP.
Brian Morrissey, editor in chief of Digiday, an online publication that covers
digital marketing and media, said that when established brands like AT&T hired
established advertising agencies to create content that resonated with younger
consumers, the results could be unfortunate.
“When brands try to speak quote-unquote ‘authentically’ with millennials, it can
come across like your dad dancing at a rave,” he said. “It’s awkward.”
But he reviewed some of the new content for AT&T by Vice and said it would
strike a chord.
“Vice is able to communicate with kids in a way that they understand and like,”
Mr. Morrissey said. “Vice is basically a millennial whisperer.”
A version of this article appears in print on March 6, 2014, on page B4 of the
New York edition with the headline: Examining a Generation Tied to Smartphones.
Examining a Generation Tied to Smartphones,
Phyllis K. Robinson,
a Top Copywriter,
Dies at 89
January 21, 2011
The New York Times
By STUART ELLIOTT
In the late 1940s, it was rare to find a woman in senior management at an
advertising agency. But when Doyle Dane Bernbach opened its doors on June 1,
1949, its chief copywriter was Phyllis K. Robinson, who went on to help create
memorable campaigns for Polaroid cameras and Levy’s rye bread as DDB achieved
legendary status in the industry.
Ms. Robinson died on Dec. 31 at her home in Manhattan, her daughter, Nancy
Thompson, said. She was 89.
Ms. Robinson was recruited for Doyle Dane Bernbach by William Bernbach, for whom
she had worked at Grey Advertising, and who founded the new agency with Ned
Doyle and Maxwell Dane.
Doyle Dane Bernbach made Madison Avenue history for the way it created ads. It
was considered the first agency to assign copywriters and art directors to work
together; previously, they had completed their tasks separately.
Ms. Robinson was paired with an art director, Bob Gage, and together they
produced ads for marketers like Orbach’s department store, Polaroid instant
cameras and Levy’s breads. For Levy’s Real Jewish Rye, there were colorful
posters. Some showed a slice of rye disappearing, bite by bite. The headline:
“New York is eating it up!”
Other posters showed New Yorkers of various ethnicities eating sandwiches. The
headline, which entered the vernacular: “You don’t have to be Jewish to love
Levy’s Real Jewish Rye.”
For Polaroid, Ms. Robinson helped create a series of commercials featuring the
actors James Garner and Mariette Hartley, who behaved so naturally together that
millions of viewers mistakenly believed they were a married couple.
“It was great fun to work on, very challenging, with all sorts of new products,”
Ms. Robinson said in an interview in The New York Times in 2006 on the occasion
of a tribute to the Polaroid campaign at the Museum of Television and Radio.
She recalled working with Laurence Olivier in the 1970s to introduce the
Polaroid SX-70 camera; at the time, stars of his caliber rarely endorsed
“Olivier was a dear,” she said. She described a moment when he came to the back
of the auditorium where the spots were being filmed and asked, “How does this
“And I thought: ‘God, strike me dead. It’s not going to get better than this.’ ”
Doyle Dane Bernbach has been widely credited with helping to inspire Madison
Avenue’s so-called creative revolution in the 1960s.
The agency’s ads had a clever tone, unlike the bombast, sentimentality and
hyperbole prevalent on Madison Avenue at the time.
“Pre-DDB,” Ms. Robinson said in an interview with the trade publication Adweek
in 2000, advertising was “artificial, sleepy and sometimes pretentious and
Ms. Robinson “was involved in some of the most important campaigns of the last
century,” said Keith Reinhard, chairman emeritus of DDB Worldwide, the Omnicom
Group agency that is the successor to Doyle Dane Bernbach.
Phyllis Kenner was born in New York on Oct. 22, 1921, and graduated with a
bachelor of arts degree from Barnard College in 1942 after majoring in
sociology. During World War II, she was a statistician for the federal Public
Ms. Robinson’s first work at an ad agency came in 1946 at Bresnick & Solomont in
Boston. She joined Grey the next year and Doyle Dane Bernbach two years after
Ms. Robinson was the copy chief for the agency’s first 13 years and a mentor to
notable copywriters like Paula Green, Julian Koenig, Mary Wells Lawrence and
She resigned as copy chief when her daughter, Nancy, was born in 1962, then
worked three days a week until leaving Doyle Dane Bernbach in 1982 to start a
Ms. Robinson was married in 1944 to Richard G. Robinson, who died in 2005. She
is survived by her daughter, of Denver.
Phyllis K. Robinson, a
Top Copywriter, Dies at 89, NYT, 21.1.2011,
Internet overtakes television
to become biggest advertising
in the UK
Record £1.75bn online spend
makes UK first major economy
to spend more on web ads than TV,
Wednesday 30 September 2009
This article was first published
on guardian.co.uk at 02.16 BST
on Wednesday 30
It was last updated at 02.16 BST
on Wednesday 30 September 2009.
IAB figures show that of the total £1.75bn spent on internet advertising,
£1.05bn, or 60%, was spent on search advertising on websites including Google.
The UK has become the first major economy where advertisers spend more on
internet advertising than on television advertising, with a record £1.75bn
online spend in the first six months of the year.
The milestone marks a watershed for the embattled TV industry, the leading ad
medium in the UK for almost half a century. It has taken the internet little
more than a decade to become the biggest advertising sector in the UK.
UK advertisers spent £1.75bn on internet advertising in the six months to the
end of June, a 4.6% year-on-year increase, according to a report by the Internet
Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers. To put this in perspective, in
1998, when the IAB first measured internet advertising, just £19.4m was spent
The internet now accounts for 23.5% of all advertising money spent in the UK,
while TV ad spend accounts for 21.9% of marketing budgets.
The IAB originally predicted that internet ad spend would overtake TV at the end
of 2009; however, the crippling advertising recession accelerated this by six
months. TV advertising fell about 17% year on year in the first half, to about
£1.6bn, according to the report.
The IAB's figures show that of the total of £1.75bn spent on internet
advertising, £1.05bn, or 60%, was spent on search advertising on websites
including Google, up 6.8% year on year.
Online classified advertising grew by 10.6% year on year to £385m, about 22% of
total internet ad spend. But online display advertising, such as banners on
websites, fell by 5.2% year on year, to £316.5m. This was an 18% share of all
internet ad spend.
The ray of light within the online display ad sector was the nascent, but
rapidly growing, online video advertising sector. The IAB estimated that this
sector grew by close to 300% year on year, to almost £12m.
Thinkbox, the UK TV marketing body, has taken exception to the IAB's figures,
arguing that the internet is now mature and diverse and it is inaccurate to
collate all the figures as if it is one single medium.
"It is interesting but meaningless to sweep all the money spent on every aspect
of online marketing into one big figure and celebrate it," said Lindsey Clay,
marketing director at Thinkbox. "Online marketing spend is made up of many
things, including email, classified ads, display ads (including online TV
advertising) and, overwhelmingly, search marketing. They should be judged
Guy Phillipson, the chief executive of the IAB, reckoned that there is still
significant growth potential left in the internet ad market.
"We could absolutely see it grow to being a 30% medium [of share of ad spend],
to go past £4bn to even £5bn annually," he said. "Online display advertising has
plenty of room for growth."
Despite the seemingly inexorable rise of internet ad spend, a closer examination
of the IAB's figures show that the recession has had an impact. In the first
quarter £920m was spent on online advertising, representing 8.6% year-on-year
growth. However, in the second quarter, spend fell almost £100m to £832m,
representing only a 1.1% increase on the amount spent in the same period last
Adam Smith, futures director at WPP's combined media operation Group M, argued
that the internet's share of total UK ad spend could be close to its peak.
Smith cited factors such as the increasing share of time that users spend on
social networking websites, which have not attracted huge advertising spend, and
the increasing saturation of internet penetration in the UK as potential
limiting factors. "This day was bound to arrive, as the internet has been
attracting a huge long tail of advertisers that have not advertised before doing
completely new things," he said. "It is a memorable event. However, it is a bit
simplistic to make this comparison [and] it is always possible that internet's
share [of total UK ad spend] could go backwards if TV has a good year."
The UK is not the first country where internet ad spend has overtaken TV spend,
Denmark reached the milestone about six months ago. But it is the first major
economy to do so.
television to become biggest advertising sector in the UK,
Ads Follow Web Users,
and Get Much More Personal
July 31, 2009
The New York Times
By STEPHANIE CLIFFORD
For all the concern and uproar over online privacy, marketers and data
companies have always known much more about consumers’ offline lives, like
income, credit score, home ownership, even what car they drive and whether they
have a hunting license. Recently, some of these companies have started
connecting this mountain of information to consumers’ browsers.
The result is a sea change in the way consumers encounter the Web. Not only will
people see customized advertising, they will see different versions of Web sites
from other consumers and even receive different discount offers while shopping —
all based on information from their offline history. Two women in adjoining
offices could go to the same cosmetic site, but one might see a $300 Missoni
perfume, the other the house-brand lipstick on sale for $2.
The technology that makes the connection is nothing new — it is a tiny piece of
code called a cookie that is placed on a hard drive. But the information it
holds is. And it is all done invisibly.
“Now, you’re traveling the Internet with a cookie that indicates you’re this
type of consumer: age group X, income level, urban versus rural, presence of
children in the household,” said Trey Barrett, a product leader at Acxiom, one
of the companies offering this linking to marketers.
Advertisers and marketers say this specificity is useful, taking out the
guesswork involved in online-only profiling, and showing products to the people
most likely to be interested. Retailers including Gap and Victoria’s Secret are
using this tactic.
But consumer advocates say such unseen tracking is troubling. On the old
Internet, nobody knew you were a dog. On the new targeted Internet, they now
know what kind of dog you are, your favorite leash color, the last time you had
fleas and the date you were neutered.
“The industry’s love affair with persistent cookies has made it virtually
impossible for users to go online without being tracked and profiled,” said Marc
Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, in
an e-mail message.
While Congress has been holding hearings on online privacy lately, the sessions
have focused on online behavioral targeting. The industry has argued that no
government intervention is needed, an argument that the Federal Trade Commission
has so far accepted.
Consumers can avoid cookie-based tracking by deleting cookies from their
computers or setting their browsers not to accept cookies. But few do, and
privacy advocates say it is easy for companies to add cookies without users
For decades, data companies like Experian and Acxiom have compiled reams of
information on every American: Acxiom estimates it has 1,500 pieces of data on
every American, based on information from warranty cards, bridal and birth
registries, magazine subscriptions, public records and even dog registrations
with the American Kennel Club.
Patrick Williams, the publisher of the personal finance magazine Worth, recently
asked Acxiom to find the names and addresses of 10,000 Americans from each of 11
cities who had houses worth more than $1 million, net worth of over $2 million,
lived within a few miles of other rich people and subscribed to business
“They are the scariest data research company around — they know far too much,”
said Mr. Williams, who said he was very happy with the amount of information it
Companies like Acxiom and a competitor, Datran Media, make the connection
between online and offline data when a person registers on a Web site or clicks
through on an e-mail message from a marketer.
Datran’s cookies include 50 to 100 pieces of information. Both companies say
cookie data is anonymous and generalized. Datran and Acxiom then sell
advertising on Web sites like NBC.com, Facebook and Yahoo to companies that use
For marketers, all this data is a boon. Beltone New England, a hearing-aid
company, asked Datran to find people online who were 65 and over, owned a house,
were head of a household, made more than $35,000 a year and lived in New England
so it could show them ads. Datran also tested the same ads with a wider group of
“What was surprising was we found the majority of responders turned out to be
women 35 to 40 who had elderly parents at home,” said Perry Ebel, Beltone’s
director of marketing and business development. He said he was changing his
offline marketing to include that group.
By using real-world data online, marketers can customize messages even further —
showing different products to people with different shopping habits, whether it
is in ads, an e-mail message or in semipersonalized Web pages.
Rodale, which publishes books along with magazines like Men’s Health and
Prevention, uses Acxiom data to help determine which promotional e-mails to send
to which customers. Offers aimed at women might be accompanied by an e-mail
message offering a Father’s Day subscription to Men’s Health for him and a free
book on losing belly fat for her. Young men might get another offer — a book on
sex positions. Some marketers are using offline data more subtly — for example,
showing a budget shopper a discount offer and a regular shopper a full-price
“The people who buy less frequently and are most price-conscious may get a
better deal than someone who buys more frequently, who would buy anyway,” said
Christopher S. Marriott, global managing director of Acxiom Digital, a division
Of course, shoppers would have little reason to think their experience or their
ads are being personalized based on their home value or Volvo ownership.
“It is a little Big Brother-ish,” said Betsy Coggswell, 49, a social worker in
Fullerton, Calif., who shops online regularly. Still, she said, she wasn’t
shocked. “Every time you put out information about yourself — people have got to
understand — it’s going to be collected by somebody.”
Some online companies avoid matching online and offline profiles. In 2000,
DoubleClick abandoned plans to connect online and offline data after a huge
outcry. Google, which later acquired DoubleClick, has been conducting studies
that connect the two areas, but it does not currently collect or serve ads based
on such personal information without user permission, Sandra Heikkinen, a Google
While Acxiom, Datran and some of their partners address their use of tracking in
their privacy policies, such policies have become worthless, Mr. Rotenberg said.
“Real transparency means that the user gets access to the information, not to a
policy about the information,” he said.
Paul M. Schwartz, a law professor and privacy expert at the law school of the
University of California, Berkeley, said the unwitting participation by
consumers makes online marketing different from offline.
“Interactive media really gets into this creepy Orwellian thing, where it’s a
record of our thoughts on the way to decision-making,” he said. “We’re like the
data-input clerks now for the industry.”
Ads Follow Web Users,
and Get Much More Personal, NYT, 31.7.2009,
Seek to Channel Consumer Outrage
May 15, 2009
The New York Times
By STUART ELLIOTT
The mad men of Madison Avenue are really mad these days, creating a spate of
angry advertising campaigns that seek to channel the outrage, frustration and
fear felt by consumers hit hard by what some are calling the Great Recession.
The campaigns take an outspoken, provocative tone that is unusual for mainstream
marketing messages, which typically try to avoid aggrieved attitudes for fear of
alienating audiences. The change reflects the significant shift in sentiment as
the public reacts to the wrenching and, at times, frightening financial events
of the last year.
“We’re turning up the volume in relation to what our customers are feeling,”
said Jeffrey W. Hayzlett, chief marketing officer at the Eastman Kodak Company,
which is running ads for a new line of printers and inkjet cartridges that rant
about a “$5 billion stain” on the economy caused by “overpaying” for other
brands of inkjet printer ink.
“It’s a departure for us,” Mr. Hayzlett acknowledged, given the “touchy-feely”
image the Kodak brand has long had, but “it’s right for today’s times.”
Other brands trying to echo consumer anger include Post Shredded Wheat cereal,
which declares in new ads that “Progress is overrated” and “Innovation is not
your friend.” JetBlue Airways revels in the discomfort of chief executives
forced off corporate jets by greeting them with a sardonic “Welcome aboard.”
Miller High Life is being sold by a blue-collar character who delights in
removing the beer from hoity-toity bars, restaurants and stores that he believes
are shortchanging shoppers. And Harley-Davidson deplores “the stink of greed and
billion-dollar bankruptcies” in a campaign that carries a rallying cry defiant
enough to be unprintable in a family newspaper. “It felt like something that
needed to be said,” said Jim Nelson, chief creative officer at Carmichael Lynch
in Minneapolis, the Interpublic Group agency that creates ads for
The idea is to respond to “this climate of fear and worry and ‘What’s going to
happen?’ ” Mr. Nelson said, with a campaign that will “strike an emotional
“That unconventional, rebellious tone, that ‘I’m going to live my life no matter
what,’ is something a lot of people could relate to,” he added.
Indeed, Harley-Davidson has increased its market share since the campaign began
in May 2008, Mr. Nelson said, and there have been “thousands and thousands of
comments” praising the ads.
Kodak, Mr. Hayzlett said, is also pleased with the results of its angry ads,
which are being created by Deutsch in New York, another Interpublic Group
agency. Sales are “exceeding expectations” for printers and ink cartridges, he
The campaigns represent the intensification of a trend that began last spring,
when the economy started to show signs of stress. Harley-Davidson was among the
first marketers to try telling consumers it, too, was angry about how things
“You need to walk in the shoes of the average consumers today,” said Marc
Brownstein, president and chief executive at the Brownstein Group advertising
agency in Philadelphia. “They’re a little beat up and their wallets are lighter,
and the people they trusted stole from them.”
Marketers “have got to rebuild that trust,” said Mr. Brownstein, who blogs about
the agency business for the trade publication Advertising Age, by being
“brutally honest” in their ads.
“Candor is in,” he advised.
Post Shredded Wheat, sold by the Post Foods division of Ralcorp Holdings, tries
being candid in a campaign centered on a make-believe boss named Frank Druffel
who wonders, “Has progress taken us to a better place?” and concludes, “I’d say
it’s taken us for a ride. (Probably in a carbon-coughing oil guzzler.)” The
point is to present the brand, unchanged since 1892, as the cereal that “put the
‘no’ in innovation.”
The tone reflects a belief now widespread among “fed-up” consumers that “as the
world gets more complicated, the more trouble we get ourselves in,” said Tim
Piper, creative director at Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide in New York, the WPP
agency that creates campaigns for Post cereals.
The boss character is supposed to be “a speaker for the truth,” Mr. Piper said,
“who could say what no one else is saying.”
That tack is also being taken by JetBlue Airways in its “Welcome bigwigs”
campaign, created by JWT in New York. “Looks like the days of padded paychecks,
fancy drapes and private jets are over,” one ad declares. “But hey, there is a
bright side” — flying on JetBlue, with amenities like “comfy leather seats” that
can assuage the sting of losing private plane privileges.
The JetBlue ads “poked at the guys bringing down the economy,” said Wayne Best,
executive creative director at JWT, also owned by WPP, but were not intended to
cross into fury or mean-spiritedness.
In the words of Fiona Morrisson, director for advertising and brand at JetBlue,
“We weren’t looking for Versailles.”
“Offering a hand to the beleaguered C.E.O.’s, telling them it’s not so bad in
the real world, brought the idea to life in a tongue-in-cheek way people could
relate to,” she said.
In other words, there may be a limit to how incensed a large corporation can get
in an ad.
“People are disaffected and disillusioned,” said Marc E. Babej, president of
Reason Inc. in New York, a brand and corporate strategy consulting company, and
siding with them can help advertisers “grab a bit of attention.”
“But I would be careful as a marketer about playing with the notions of ‘We
understand you’ or ‘We’re on your side,’ ” Mr. Babej said, “because there’s some
risk of it harming you if it’s not really relevant to your product.”
Or as Mr. Brownstein of the Brownstein Group put it, “You can’t anger people
into buying your brand.”
In which category might anger be appropriate? Perhaps for one of the ground
zeroes of the economy, financial services. A campaign for the Bessemer Trust
Company, which helps the wealthy manage their money, carries this frank
headline: “Why should you believe anything we say?”
“Rarely in history have so many been so violated by so few,” the text begins.
“We understand. We’re as angry as you are, because the actions of those few have
cast a pall of doubt and suspicion over everyone even remotely related to the
The ad addresses consumers as if “they are basically frozen in place,” said
Orson Munn, chief executive at Munn Rabôt in New York, the Bessemer Trust
agency. “You have to speak with them in a way that shocks them out of being
“It’s a very fine line, because if we go too far it’ll push the brand over the
edge,” he said. “But you have to feel a little uncomfortable with advertising
for it to work.”
Angry Ads Seek to
Channel Consumer Outrage, NYT, 15.5.2009,
Google to Target
Ads Based on Online Activity
March 12, 2009
Filed at 3:15 a.m. ET
The New York Times
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Google Inc will begin to aim online ads at people
based on their Web browsing history, joining an industry trend that has raised
privacy concerns even as it makes product pitches more effective.
The new program, dubbed "interest based" advertising, is being rolled out on a
test basis across Google's network of partner websites and on its video-sharing
site YouTube, according to an announcement on Google's blog on Wednesday.
The move comes a few weeks after the Web search leader's smaller rival, Yahoo
Inc, unveiled its own advertising enhancements, which rely on an individual's
While behavioral ad techniques have been around for several years, some past
efforts have raised privacy concerns, and Google has refrained from offering
such advertising until now.
"Advertisers are under increasing pressure to be able to tie as much marketing
spend as they can to direct sales revenue," said Andrew Frank, an analyst at
market research firm Gartner.
Shares of Google rose $9.74, or 3.16 percent, to $317.91 on Nasdaq.
Until now, the types of text and display ads that Google served to Web surfers
were based solely on the content of the specific Web page being viewed by an
With behavior advertising, Google and advertisers will be able to consider an
individual's broader history of Web surfing when deciding which ads to pitch.
"If, for example, you love adventure travel and therefore visit adventure travel
sites, Google could show you more ads for activities like hiking trips to
Patagonia or African safaris," Google Vice President of Product Management Susan
Wojcicki explained on Google's blog, adding that advertisers have been asking
Google for such features for a long time.
Advertising based on consumer interest or behavior have the potential to
increase consumer response and so-called click-through rates, which translates
into higher ad revenue for the sites.
But U.S. lawmakers held hearings last year on behavioral advertising, after
concerns arose when a company called NebuAd, in a deal with cable company
Charter Communication, disclosed a pilot program to track customers.
Congressman Rick Boucher, head of the telecom subcommittee of the House of
Representative's Energy and Commerce, has said the issue will be a top priority
this year. The Virginia Democrat's office had no immediate comment on Google's
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission recently expanded its voluntary guidance on
how websites inform consumers that their data is being collected, to include
mobile and Internet companies. Regulators have warned that failure to comply
would lead to tougher regulation.
In announcing the initiative on Wednesday, Google said privacy issues were an
important consideration. "This kind of tailored advertising does raise questions
about user choice and privacy -- questions the whole online ad industry has a
responsibility to answer," Wojcicki said in the blog post.
Google said it has three key safeguards: consumers can choose to opt out of the
program; consumers can edit their profile of preferences based on online
activity; and consumers can click on a button to learn how an ad was pitched to
Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center,
said that regardless of Google's efforts to address privacy concerns, the
company's new ad program "throws up red flags" for Internet privacy.
"This is the Internet's largest search company now profiling and tracking
Internet users. That shouldn't happen," said Rotenberg. He said his organization
was evaluating "possibilities" about a potential response to Google's move, but
declined to specify what options were under consideration.
But Ari Schwartz, vice president of the Center for Democracy and Technology,
said there are positives in Google's plan, including users getting access to
their own profile.
"On balance it is a step in the right direction," said Schwartz, whose group was
consulted while Google developed its plan. But he noted that Google plans to
still rely on consumers opting out, rather than in, which most of the public
Google, the No.1 Internet search engine in the United States, generates 97
percent of its revenue from advertising. Much of that comes from text ads that
appear alongside search results.
Google acquired DoubleClick for $3.2 billion in 2008 in order to beef up its
position in the market for display ads.
Adopting behavioral ad techniques is "a logical way for Google to get better at
the display game," said Emily Riley, a senior analyst at Forrester Research.
In particular, she said, the vast size of Google's AdSense network of partner
Web sites and the company's technology could generate valuable data for
marketers and advertisers.
"In theory they should have great scale with the behaviors they're tracking,"
(Reporting by Alexei Oreskovic;
Additional reporting by Kim Dixon in
Editing by Richard Chang)
Google to Target Ads
Based on Online Activity, NYT, 12.3.2009,
a Familiar Face in Ads From the 1950s,
Dies at 91
January 25, 2009
The New York Times
By BRUCE WEBER
It was a time when information didn’t fly around the world in a nanosecond;
when images were captured on film, not computer chips; when television
commercials were performed live; when product advertising supplied newspapers
and magazines with a rich and steady lifeblood.
It was also a time when it was still possible to be a famous face without a
famous name. In fact, Jim Horne may have been asked more often than anyone else,
“Don’t I know you from somewhere?”
For about 15 years beginning in the late 1940s, Mr. Horne was ubiquitous,
perhaps the most widely seen male model in the country, appearing in hundreds of
advertisements in magazines and newspapers, on billboards and catalog covers, in
television commercials and industrial brochures. He died on Dec. 29 in
Manhattan, at 91. His wife of 45 years, Francesca Marlowe Horne, said the cause
was cancer, but added that he also had congestive heart failure.
Mr. Horne had been an actor with bit parts in Hollywood movies before moving to
New York City and establishing a second career. He had a chiseled jaw, a
distinctively rounded hairline, a seemingly permanent pompadour, a gleaming
California smile and an athlete’s physique.
It was an image that photographers and advertisers found easily adaptable to a
number of stereotypes of the day: the dashing ladies’ man, the dapper dandy, the
devoted dad, the suburban husband, the businessman commuter, the country club
sophisticate and the one Mr. Horne, an avid fisherman, preferred: the rugged
He was employed to help sell an extraordinarily eclectic range of products:
automobiles and underpants; exercise equipment and mothproofing; hair tonic and
gasoline; beer, blended whiskey and milk; pajamas, raincoats, cardigan sweaters,
Panama hats, and suits with two pairs of pants for $44.95.
He appeared in ads for Macy’s, Abraham & Straus and Alexander’s; for York, L &
M, Lucky Strike and Marlboro cigarettes (he was a Marlboro man before the
Marlboro man); for Burberry, Chrysler, Budweiser, Van Heusen, Remington, The
Saturday Evening Post and, in a stunningly glamorous print ad with the legendary
model Suzy Parker, Grand Marnier.
In the summer of 1957, when Apparel Arts, a men’s fashion magazine, decided to
create a new identity for itself after more than a quarter century, it chose Mr.
Horne for the cover of the magazine’s first issue under its new name:
Gentlemen’s Quarterly. He appeared there in a jaunty striped jacket peering
rakishly from behind a tropical plant. He was, in the lexicon of the day, a
man’s man, and in the lexicon of today, a hottie.
“Oh, was he ever!” his wife said.
James Wesley Horne Jr. was born on March 28, 1917, in Glendale, Calif. His
father was a prolific director of both silent films and talkies, best known for
his work with Laurel and Hardy, including “Big Business” and “Way Out West.” His
mother, Cleo Ridgely, was an actress and a great beauty from whom, it was
generally acknowledged, Mr. Horne inherited his looks. His twin sister, June,
grew up to marry the actor Jackie Cooper.
Mr. Horne had small, sometimes uncredited parts in about two dozen films,
including “Gunga Din” and “A Place in the Sun.” He auditioned for the part of
Joe Bonaparte, the violinist who wants to be a boxer, in the film version of
Clifford Odets’s play “Golden Boy,” but the role went instead to another unknown
actor, William Holden, who shortly thereafter became Mr. Horne’s bunkmate in
Army basic training. Mr. Horne served in Europe in World War II, becoming a
combat photographer and earning two Bronze Stars.
After returning to California, he continued to work in the movies and began
modeling as well. By the early 1950s, as televisions became more common in
American homes, advertisers seized on the new medium and began looking for
models who could act a little. It was an opportunity that wasn’t lost on Mr.
Horne, and he moved to New York City, where he was soon immersed in bookings.
This was an era of growth in advertising, especially on television, where many
commercials were broadcast live, resulting in a lot of nuttiness. Once, as Mr.
Horne performed in an ad for the hair tonic Brylcreem, his comb stuck on a
thread in his pocket. When he whipped it out to slick back his pompadour, he
accidentally flung it across the room.
Male models were something of a new breed, weirdly anonymous and perceived by
many as suspicious or threatening; once, dressed spiffily for work and passing
an hour in a bar while he waited for a photographer who was late for an
appointment, Mr. Horne was badly beaten by thugs who didn’t appreciate his taste
In general, male models also didn’t get fabulously rich; as late as 1965, Mr.
Horne’s hourly rate was $50. But the job allowed him to lead the high life,
traveling with pals like Mickey Mantle, whom he met at Toots Shor’s restaurant,
and Clark Gable, a sometime fishing companion.
Mr. Horne’s first marriage ended in divorce. He never had children and is
survived by his wife, a former model herself, who became international director
of the Barbizon School of Modeling. In 1980, under the name Francine Marlowe,
she wrote “Male Modeling: An Inside Look” (Crown).
Mr. Horne’s modeling career continued sporadically through the 1960s, especially
in print ads featuring products for “mature” men. In the mid-1960s, he became a
sales manager and spokesman for an apparel company, and he later established his
own business, manufacturing leather belts.
He learned the lesson of how evanescent celebrity could be without a famous
name. Few, if any, of his photographs still strike a familiar chord. Well, maybe
one does: a jokey shot taken in 1953 (whose rights he signed away), showing him
with a sour, headachey expression of generic woe; it has been used dozens of
times, even in the last decade, in ads for aspirin, tax services, hangover
remedies and other stress relievers. His wife said it didn’t bother him that
this was the image that survived.
“To him it was a job you did,” Mrs. Horne said. “And then you went fishing.”
Jim Horne, a Familiar
Face in Ads From the 1950s, Dies at 91, NYT, 25.1.2009,
Best and Worst Ads:
A Year the News
Eclipsed Commercial Breaks
December 29, 2008
The New York Times
By STUART ELLIOTT
Queen Elizabeth II described 1992 as “an annus horribilis” for her and the
royal family. This annus may have not been that horribilis for Madison Avenue,
but it came pretty close.
The biggest problem was that most advertising was overtaken by events as the
year wore on. The best-laid marketing plans of mice and men — or “Mad Men” with
mice — proved no match for a historic presidential race and an enormous
That cut both ways for marketers: overshadowing the best ads, but also drawing
attention away from the worst. So half the industry is ending the year cursing
its poor timing while the other half is breathing a loud sigh of relief.
Here is a recap of some high and low points of 2008.
BURGER KING After the success of the audacious “Whopper Freakout” campaign,
which began in 2007, Burger King Holdings kept the heat on its rivals in the
fast-food category, with mixed results. Stunts like selling Flame, a
meat-scented body spray for men, were viral-marketing hits; the scent and its
Web site (firemeetsdesire.com) made more news than if a vegan like Paul
McCartney had turned up in a commercial dressed as the chain’s King character.
But a campaign called “Whopper Virgins” — asking residents of places like
Greenland and Romania to take part in taste tests, which pitted the Whopper
against the Big Mac — was off-putting; the premise came off like cultural
imperialism. Agency for both: Crispin Porter & Bogusky, part of MDC Partners.
COCA-COLA A Super Bowl commercial for the Coca-Cola Classic brand sold by the
Coca-Cola Company was a warm and fuzzy winner in the spirit of Coke classics
like “Hilltop” and “Mean Joe Greene.” Over the skies of Manhattan, two breakaway
balloons from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade battle for a balloon bottle of
Coke, only to lose to that lovable loser, Charlie Brown. Agency: Wieden &
MICROSOFT After years of enduring a mocking campaign from Apple that turned the
phrase “I’m a PC” into a punch line, the Microsoft Corporation struck back with
ads that surprisingly appropriated the phrase and effectively repurposed it as a
Teaser spots that preceded the Microsoft counterattack, featuring Bill Gates and
Jerry Seinfeld as a talkative odd couple, were less successful. But they
generated almost as much publicity as if the pair had plighted their troth as an
actual couple. Agency: Crispin Porter & Bogusky.
MOTRIN Print and online ads for Motrin pain reliever, sold by a division of
Johnson & Johnson, foolishly tried to be funny by comparing babies carried by
mothers to fashion accessories. J.& J. wound up wearing tons of Pablum tossed at
it by parents offended that their efforts to bond with their babies were being
The complaints, many delivered in the form of angry “tweets” on Twitter,
eventually seemed like overkill, but they killed the campaign. Agency: Taxi.
BARACK OBAMA One reason that so few people paid attention to advertising this
year was a race for the White House filled with milestones, which ended with a
precedent-setting president-to-be. One reason for that outcome was the deft use
of media, new and traditional, by the Barack Obama campaign as well as by his
An example of an official ad that broke through was a 30-minute infomercial that
the campaign ran on seven broadcast and cable networks on Oct. 29. The
commercial, filmed like a documentary, managed to be slick and earnest at the
same time, and finished with a live flourish with Mr. Obama at a rally in
Florida. Agencies: GMMB, part of the Omnicom Group, and Murphy Putnam Media.
An example of an unofficial Obama ad that succeeded was a video clip, produced
by the musician Will.i.am, called “Yes We Can,” which was viewed on YouTube and
other video-sharing Web sites more than 20 million times.
STOVE TOP Almost 50 years after Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon demonstrated that in
Chicago, some like it hot, Kraft Foods turned on the heat there to promote its
Stove Top brand of stuffing.
Heated roofs were installed in 10 downtown bus shelters to bring to life the
Stove Top promise of a warm feeling when eating a meal with stuffing as a side
dish. The clever campaign was emblematic of what is known as experiential
marketing, which has brought sounds and smells to bus shelters in addition to
hot air. Agencies: Draft FCB, part of the Interpublic Group of Companies;
JCDecaux North America, part of JCDecaux; and MediaVest, part of the Starcom
MediaVest Group division of the Publicis Groupe.
TOYOTA A commercial to promote zero percent loans offered by Toyota Motor
featured a version of a 1983 song, “Saved by Zero,” by the Fixx. The spot seemed
innocuous enough, but incessant repetition got on America’s nerves to the point
that consumers were threatening to fix Toyota’s wagon, station or otherwise.
There were even groups formed on Facebook to urge Toyota to pull the commercial.
Still, all the publicity may have been beneficial at a time when people were
thinking more about bailing out carmakers than buying cars; a headline in The
Daily News, over an article about the Federal Reserve Board’s decision to slash
interest rates, asked, “Are We Saved by Zero?” Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi, part
VOLKSWAGEN A tongue-in-cheek campaign for the Routan minivan sold by Volkswagen
of America, part of the German automaker Volkswagen, sought to spoof the image
of minivans as mom-mobiles. A celebrity mother, Brooke Shields, was featured as
a scold who accuses expectant parents of wanting children just so they can
experience the “German engineering” of the Routan.
Like the campaign for Motrin, the Routan campaign seemed tone-deaf. Maybe
Americans consider motherhood no laughing matter. Agency: Crispin Porter &
Best and Worst Ads: A
Year the News Eclipsed Commercial Breaks,
Who Helped Create ‘Daisy Ad,’
June 17, 2008
The New York Times
By MARGALIT FOX
Tony Schwartz, a self-taught, sought-after and highly reclusive media
consultant who helped create what is generally considered to be the most famous
political ad to appear on television, died Saturday at his home in Manhattan. He
His death was announced by his daughter, Kayla Schwartz-Burridge.
“Media consultant” is barely adequate to describe Mr. Schwartz’s portfolio. In a
career of more than half a century, he was variously an art director;
advertising executive; urban folklorist who captured the cacophony of New York
streets on phonograph records; radio host; Broadway sound designer; college
professor, media theorist and author who wrote books about the persuasive power
of sound and image; and maker of commercials for products, candidates and
causes. What was more, Mr. Schwartz, who had suffered from agoraphobia since the
age of 13, accomplished most of these things entirely within his Manhattan home.
Of the thousands of television and radio advertisements on which Mr. Schwartz
worked, none is as well known, or as controversial, as one that was broadcast
exactly once: the so-called “daisy ad,” made for Lyndon B. Johnson’s
presidential campaign in 1964.
Produced by the advertising agency Doyle Dane Bernbach in collaboration with Mr.
Schwartz, the minute-long spot was broadcast on Sept. 7, 1964, during NBC’s
“Monday Night at the Movies.” It showed a little girl in a meadow (in reality a
Manhattan park), counting aloud as she plucks the petals from a daisy. Her voice
dissolves into a man’s voice counting downward, followed by the image of an
atomic blast. President Johnson’s voice is heard on the soundtrack:
“These are the stakes. To make a world in which all of God’s children can live,
or to go into the dark. We must either love each other, or we must die.” (The
president’s speech deliberately invoked a line from “September 1, 1939,” a poem
by W. H. Auden written at the outbreak of World War II.)
Though the name of Johnson’s opponent, Senator Barry M. Goldwater, was never
mentioned, Goldwater’s campaign objected strenuously to the ad. So did many
members of the public, Republicans and Democrats alike. The spot was pulled from
the air after a single commercial showing, but it had done its work: with its
dire implications about Goldwater and nuclear responsibility, the daisy ad was
generally credited with contributing to Johnson’s victory at the polls in
November. It was also credited with heralding the start of ferociously negative
political advertising in the United States.
In interviews and on his Web site, www.tonyschwartz.org, Mr. Schwartz said he
had created the daisy ad in its entirety, an account that was publicly disputed
over the years by members of the Doyle Dane Bernbach team. (The daisy ad was
modeled directly on a radio commercial for nuclear disarmament that Mr. Schwartz
had made for the United Nations in the early 1960s.) What is generally
acknowledged is that Mr. Schwartz was at least responsible for the overall audio
concept of the daisy ad — the child counting up, the man counting down, the
explosion — and for producing the soundtrack.
Over the years, Mr. Schwartz helped develop advertising campaigns for hundreds
of political candidates, most Democrats, among them Jimmy Carter and Bill
Clinton. (All of them, no matter how eminent, made the trek to Mr. Schwartz’s
home to be filmed.) He was also known for creating some of television’s
earliest, and most evocative, anti-smoking commercials, a cause on which he
worked for much of his career.
The subject of frequent articles in the news media, Mr. Schwartz was described
often as an impassioned visionary and occasionally as a skilled trafficker in
truisms with a talent for self-promotion. His work was likened frequently —
sometimes approvingly, sometimes not — to that of the media scholar Marshall
McLuhan, a mentor and close friend. (He was sometimes confused with the Tony
Schwartz who was a co-author of memoirs by Michael D. Eisner and Donald Trump.)
But detractors and admirers alike praised Mr. Schwartz for being one of the
first people to put the neglected medium of sound to effective use in television
advertising. He was widely credited, for instance, with being the first person
to use real children’s voices in the soundtracks of television commercials,
something he began doing in the late 1950s. Advertisers had long considered
young children too intractable to deliver their lines on cue; their dialogue had
traditionally been recorded by adult actresses attempting to sound like
Anthony Schwartz was born in Manhattan on Aug. 19, 1923. He was reared in New
York City and Crompond, N.Y., near Peekskill. As a youth, Tony was an ardent
ham-radio operator and also interested in visual art. At 16, he went blind for
about six months as a result of an unspecified episode of “an emotional type,”
as he told People magazine years later. His blindness strengthened his already
deep connection to the auditory world.
Mr. Schwartz earned an undergraduate degree in graphic design from the Pratt
Institute, followed by service during World War II as a civilian artist for the
Navy. Afterward, he worked as an art director at several ad agencies and later
ran his own agency, the Wexton Company, which later became Solow/Wexton.
Around this time, Mr. Schwartz also bought his first wire recorder. Slinging it
heavily over his shoulder, he began to harvest the intoxicating sounds of the
city: foghorns and folk singers; street vendors hawking their wares; a shoemaker
plying his trade; a Central Park zookeeper waxing poetic on the care and feeding
of lions; hundreds of taxi drivers; and a slew of ordinary New Yorkers, just
Mr. Schwartz also built an important archive of folk music, recording young
artists like Harry Belafonte and the Weavers performing in his home. Through his
extensive correspondence with other, far-flung audiophiles, he augmented his
collection with their recordings of music from around the globe.
During the 1950s and afterward, Mr. Schwartz produced more than dozen record
albums, most for the Folkways label. Among them were “Sounds of My City”; “1, 2,
3 and a Zing, Zing, Zing,” featuring the songs and games of New York children;
and “A Dog’s Life,” which captured the sounds in the first year in the life of a
real dog. (Many of these albums are available as CD’s from Smithsonian Folkways
Because of his agoraphobia, Mr. Schwartz confined his fieldwork to his immediate
neighborhood, on Manhattan’s West Side. One result was “New York 19” — the
number denoted the district’s old postal zone — which documented the “music” Mr.
Schwartz encountered on his walks there, from street performers to the lilting
cadences of immigrant speech to a pneumatic drill singing its achingly familiar
For 31 years, from 1945 to 1976, Mr. Schwartz was the producer and host of
“Around New York,” a radio program broadcast on WNYC. He was also a sound
designer for several Broadway plays, among them “Two for the Seesaw” (1958) and
“The Miracle Worker” (1959).
Mr. Schwartz was a shrewd observer of communication in its many forms, in
particular the persuasive marriage of word and image known as advertising. The
aim of advertising, Mr. Schwartz often said, should not be to introduce viewers
to new ideas, but rather to bring out ones that were already present, lurking
subconsciously in the mind.
“The best political commercials are Rorschach patterns,” he wrote in his book
“The Responsive Chord” (Anchor Press, 1973). “They do not tell the viewer
anything. They surface his feelings and provide a context for him to express
Mr. Schwartz also wrote “Media, the Second God,” published by Random House in
1981. He taught media studies at several universities, including Fordham,
Columbia, New York University and Harvard, using a variety of technologies —
among them two-way telephones and live satellite transmissions — to conduct his
classes from the security of his home. As he often said late in life, he had
delivered lectures to every continent but Antarctica, all without leaving the
Besides his daughter Michaela Schwartz-Burridge, who is known as Kayla, Mr.
Schwartz is survived by his wife, the former Reenah Lurie, whom he married in
1959; a son, Anton; a brother, Lasker, known as Larry; and one grandchild.
Among Mr. Schwartz’s most famous television ads is one he wrote and produced for
the American Cancer Society; it was first broadcast in 1963, a year before the
Surgeon General’s warning on the dangers of smoking was released. The ad showed
two children dressing up in adult clothes. The announcer’s voice said, simply:
“Children love to imitate their parents. Children learn by imitating their
parents. Do you smoke cigarettes?”
He later produced an evocative television ad in which Patrick Reynolds, a
grandson of the tobacco magnate R. J. Reynolds, named the members of his family
who had died of cancer, emphysema and heart disease.
Mr. Schwartz’s commercial clients included Coca-Cola (for which he created the
well-known TV ad featuring a sumptuously sweating bottle with the sound of
pouring liquid as the only audio element); American Express; Chrysler; Kodak;
and Paine Webber, among many others.
In 2007, Mr. Schwartz’s entire body of work from 1947 to 1999, including his
field recordings and the thousands of radio and television commercials he made,
was acquired by the Library of Congress.
To the end of his career, Mr. Schwartz was asked often about the daisy ad. To
the end of his career, he defended it.
“For many years, it’s been referred to as the beginning of negative
commercials,” Mr. Schwartz said in an interview with MSNBC in 2000. “There was
nothing negative about it. Frankly, I think it was the most positive commercial
Tony Schwartz, Who
Helped Create ‘Daisy Ad,’ Dies,
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