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Smile of the Week: Wells Fargo — Learning Sign Language

posted by Nell Minow

In this ad from Wells Fargo, a couple learns sign language to welcome their new daughter.

Dove’s New Campaign: #Choosebeautiful

posted by Nell Minow

Google’s YouTube Kids is Saturated with Stealth Ads

posted by Nell Minow

In February of this year, Google launched the YouTube Kids app, specially designed for “little thumbs” to get kids hooked on devices and videos as soon as they can hold an iPhone. They assured parents that the app was completely […]

Snickers Wins the Super Bowl!

posted by Nell Minow

The real competition at the Super Bowl is for the commercials, right? This Snickers ad is a hoot.

Super Bowl Commercials 2015: Highlights and Previews

posted by Nell Minow

Which one are you looking forward to?

Before They Were Stars: Television Commercials With Brad Pitt, Keanu Reeves, and More

posted by Nell Minow

Phil Hall has a delightful collection of “before they were stars” television ads featuring Brad Pitt, Keanu Reeves, James Dean, Morgan Freeman, Matt LeBlanc, Steve Carell, and more. Here’s one I love that he left out, with pre-“Laverne and Shirley” […]

This Girl Can

posted by Nell Minow

I love this ad! What an invigorating, empowering, life-affirming video.  Thank you Sports England.

Smile of the Week: The Year’s First Babies

posted by Nell Minow

The world’s youngest citizens, the first babies of 2015, star in this new ad from Fisher-Price.

Model With Down Syndrome in Target Ad

posted by Nell Minow

Bravo Target! An adorable 2-year-old from Minnesota named Izzy Bradley is featured in this ad for Target. She has Down Syndrome. Thanks very much to Target for understanding — and spreading the message — that all kinds of beauty are […]

Smile of the Week: A Boy and a Penguin

posted by Nell Minow

This reminds me a little of the depiction of a child’s world in The Complete Calvin and Hobbes and Barnaby. Many thanks to Slate for this and the others on its list of the year’s best ads.

Popcorn Update….Maybe

posted by Nell Minow

Remember when I explained how movie theater lobbyists created a loophole in the rules requiring places that serve food to let you know the calories and fat content of your purchases? I don’t think it’s likely to happen, but it’s […]

What Does it Mean to “Throw Like a Girl?”

posted by Nell Minow

Always brought in Lauren Greenfield, is an award-winning American artist, and documentary photographer and filmmaker, to create their #likeagirl videos. What do we think of when we hear “throw like a girl,” “run like a girl,” or “fight like a girl?” […]

Dove Loves Dads

posted by Nell Minow

Lupita Nyong’o Joins the Cast of the New “Star Wars”

posted by Nell Minow

Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o and “Game of Thrones” star Gwendoline Christie have been added to the cast of the new “Star Wars” film. Very exciting news!

The “Airplane” Guys Are Back With Ads Touting Their Home State of Wisconsin: Go Cheeseheads!

posted by Nell Minow

My friend Robert Elisberg always has a delightful selection of treats on his blog, almost always items I never see anywhere else.  I loved his post about a new series of ads for Travel Wisconsin from the zany guys who made […]

A Dramatic Commercial for TNT

posted by Nell Minow

I love this commercial for TNT!

For St. Patrick’s Day — This Great Guinness Commercial Has a Dog Shepherding Men to the Pub

posted by Nell Minow

Honey Maid Graham Crackers and Beta Brands Decide to Put Real People in Ads

posted by Nell Minow

Many thanks to Jezebel for highlighting these great new ads.  Honey Grahams emphasize their wholesomeness with an ad that pays tribute to a range of happy, loving families. And Betabrand has women with PhDs modeling its line of “smart fashions.”  This […]

The Best Super Bowl Ad of 2014 Was…

posted by Nell Minow

Surprise guest appearances?  Check!  Funny?  Check!  Self-deprecating?  Check!  Making a key point about the brand?  Check!!  (And that’s the one most of these ads overlook.)  Well played, Radio Shack.  And looking good, 80’s icons!

Bud’s Aww-Inducing Super Bowl Commercial: Puppy Love

posted by Nell Minow

Jaguar Super Bowl Ad Explains Why the Best Bad Guys are British

posted by Nell Minow

I Liked the Cute Older Couple in the Swiffer Commercials But I LOVE This New Couple

posted by Nell Minow

The 90-year-old lovebirds Morty and Lee are adorable, but this new couple, the Rukavinas, is even more heartwarming.  Zack Rukavina is from South Dakota.  He lost part of his arm to cancer.  If he looks familiar, you may have seen […]

P&G Thanks the Moms Who Raised the Kids Who Are Going to Sochi

posted by Nell Minow

The Present NOT to Buy Your Children Next Christmas

posted by Nell Minow

Dreamworks is teaming up with Fuhu, the maker of tablets  for children to create the first tablet in which the content provider controls what the user sees.  In other words, it’s more like a television.  While Amazon sensibly makes sure […]

Kevin Bacon Tells You How to Give Two Gifts With One Purchase

posted by Nell Minow

Kevin Bacon’s adorable parody commercial has a lot of heart — and a great idea.   You can support local businesses and your own favorite charities.  Shift Your Shopping For Good involves hundreds of local, independent businesses, including dozens with […]

Goldieblox Rocks! Hurray for Girls Who Think and Build

posted by Nell Minow

Hurray for Goldieblox for knowing that girls want to think and invent and problem solve and that they don’t always want everything to be pink and princessy!  The company was created by Debbie Sterling, a female engineer from Stanford University.  I […]

Brave Girl Ads Send a Message

posted by Nell Minow

It is great to see girls and their families and teachers talking back to corporations who fail to understand their courage, strength, curiosity, and range of interests.

What 2013 Movies Are Most Viral on Social Media?

posted by Nell Minow

We’re used to measuring movie success by box office.  But it’s intriguing to look at the data on social media.  Before you click — which movie of 2013 so far do you think has had the most viral impact?

Smile of the Week: Giving

posted by Nell Minow

This one is a smile-through-tears of the week.  Just lovely.

Chipotle’s New Ad Has a Haunting Beauty

posted by Nell Minow

This beautiful animated film promoting Chipotle’s new game features Fiona Apple singing a haunting version of the “Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” song, “Pure Imagination.”  So, a song that once paid tribute to a candy factory is now being used […]

Smile of the Week: Guinness Ad

posted by Nell Minow

Most beer commercials are about male bonding by watching sports or ogling pretty girls.  But this Guinness ad is about real men and real friendships.

Yes, A Gum Commercial Made Me Cry

posted by Nell Minow

Hijacking the Tooth Fairy

posted by Nell Minow

The tooth fairy is one of childhood’s most treasured myths, a lovely tribute to a bittersweet rite of passage that allows each family to crate their own traditions.  (Our tooth fairy left a book.)  There’s an awful movie with The […]

Google’s Mother’s Day Tribute

posted by Nell Minow

Aw.

Dove Teaches Women an Important Lesson About Beauty

posted by Nell Minow

Iconic Movie Posters

posted by Nell Minow

Trailers are so accessible these days that we sometimes overlook the power of a really great movie poster.  I like this list of the greatest movie posters of all time because it is a great reminder of some iconic images and […]

Offensive Reference to the Pope Added to “Last Exorcism” Movie Ads

posted by Nell Minow

“The Last Exorcism, Part 2″ looks pretty bad.  It’s a “cold open” (not shown to critics in time for reviews), which is always a bad sign.  But its recent amendment to add a reference to appear to tie the resignation […]

The Best Super Bowl Ad: Landslide and the Clydedales

posted by Nell Minow

It may not sell any beer, but it was as touching as the farmer ad.  

Family-Unfriendly Super Bowl Ads

posted by Nell Minow

Families who want to enjoy the Super Bowl together might want to turn off the television during the ads.  The commercials now get almost as much press as the game itself.  But Common Sense Media reports that this year’s ads […]

Preview Super Bowl Ads on Hulu

posted by Nell Minow

For those who wait patiently for the football to be over so they can see the ads, there is Hulu, which has previews of the ads for Super Bowl XLV online already.  

Model Cameron Russell on What She Really Looks Like

posted by Nell Minow

Cameron Russell admits she won “a genetic lottery”: she’s tall, pretty and an underwear model. But don’t judge her by her looks. In this fearless talk, she takes a wry look at the industry that had her looking highly seductive […]

Big Bird Halloween Costumes — The Good, The Bad, and The Very, Very Yellow

posted by Nell Minow

Mitt Romney’s comment about cutting funding for PBS at the first Presidential debate has made Big Bird one of the most popular costumes for Halloween this year.  But that’s not all good news.  The Children’s Television Workshop, producers of “Sesame […]

No, Your Baby Can’t Read

posted by Nell Minow

Did you see those commercials for a product that would help you teach your baby to read?  Well, I hope it does not come as too much of a surprise to find out that it was a fraud. The Federal […]

Interview: Julie Steiner of Percy 3D

posted by Nell Minow

Percy 3D lets you “put yourself in the picture.  And I spoke to founder and president Julie Steiner about what it is and how it does that. What is Percy 3D? We take either existing video or new video that […]

I Miss Illustrated Movie Posters

posted by Nell Minow

Illustration expert Leif Peng has a gorgeous blog post about Howard Terpning, the illustrator who created many iconic movie posters, from “Gone With the Wind” to “Doctor Zhivago,” “Cleopatra,” and “The Sound of Music.”  Today movie posters almost always feature […]

The FTC Helps Kids Understand Advertising

posted by Nell Minow

The Federal Trade Commission has an excellent website to help kids be smarter consumers.  It’s always a challenge to teach children to identify and challenge the bombardment of advertising messages they get every day.  You Are Here’s West Terrace explains targeted […]

FTC’s New Rules on Web Advertising to Kids

posted by Nell Minow

The Federal Trade Commission is proposing new rules to better protect kids online, closing loopholes that still permit companies to gather personal information about kids despite a 1998 law that was supposed to prevent it.  According to the Wall Street […]

Spider-Man Licorice and Other Weird Marketing Gimmicks

posted by Nell Minow

Thanks to my friend and fellow critic Cynthia Fuchs for leading me to this list of marketing tie-ins for “The Amazing Spider-Man.”  It’s funny that the Pez dispenser was the first reveal of the movie’s villain.  I am not surprised by […]

Disney to Restrict Advertising of Junk Food

posted by Nell Minow

The New York Times reports that: The Walt Disney Company, in an effort to address concerns about entertainment’s role in childhood obesity, plans to announce on Tuesday that all products advertised on its child-focused television channels, radio stations and Web sites […]

What They Changed in the “Five Year Engagement Trailer” and Why

posted by Nell Minow

It is not unusual for trailers to have slightly different takes than the final version of the movie or even to include moments that do not actually appear in the movie at all.  Trailers are prepared before the movie is […]

Smile of the Week: A Tribute to Moms for Olympics 2012

posted by Nell Minow

Many thanks to my brother-in-law, Rob, a great dad, for sharing this tribute to moms.

Mad Men-era Ads in Newsweek

posted by Nell Minow

Newsweek salutes the long-awaited return of “Mad Men” with a special issue this week, including examples of real and unabashedly sexist ads that ran in the magazine back in the 1960’s.  These are what the real Mad Men of the […]

GEICO’s New Mean Girls Ad

posted by Nell Minow

This really made me laugh.  

Marketing Legos to Boys and Girls

posted by Nell Minow

Thanks to my friends at the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood for pointing me to this look at the different way Legos are marketed to boys and girls.  I love the way the website lets you make your own mash-up. […]

Complaints about “The Lorax” from Lou Dobbs and the CCFC

posted by Nell Minow

Dr. Seuss wrote The Lorax in 1971, around the time of the first Earth Day and the creation (by Republican President Richard Nixon) of the Environmental Protection Agency.  It is the story of the “Once-ler” who chanced upon a place filled […]

Jerry Seinfeld’s Super Bowl Ad for Acura

posted by Nell Minow

Ferris Bueller Returns in a Super Bowl Ad

posted by Nell Minow

The most talked-about Super Bowl ad of the year has to be Matthew Broderick’s reprise of his most famous character, Ferris Bueller, in a Honda commercial.  How many references to the movie can you spot?

Avoid the ‘Nagging Nine’ and Over-Advertised Toys

posted by Nell Minow

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood has released their annual list of the toys that most outrageously over-advertise to children.  These are the products that clutter the channels most watched by children and the CCFC recommends parents not reward their […]

Lowe’s Public Relations Mess over “All-American Muslim”

posted by Nell Minow

“All-American Muslim” is a TLC reality show about five Muslim families in Dearborn, Michigan.  According to TLC, “Each episode offers an intimate look at the customs and celebrations, misconceptions and conflicts these families face outside and within their own community.” […]

Becoming Santa: Tonight on OWN

posted by Nell Minow

Hank Stuever has an excellent piece in today’s Washington Post that addresses an issue that has really been bugging me.  But first, he recommends a documentary premiering tonight on Oprah’s OWN station called “Becoming Santa.”  It is the story of […]

Classic Commercial: Jim Henson for American Express

posted by Nell Minow

The late Jim Henson, founder of The Muppets, made this adorable commercial as a part of the American Express “Do You Know Me?” series of ads from the early 1980’s.

Tide Commercial Gets It Wrong About Moms, Daughters, and Gender Roles

posted by Nell Minow

I try to maintain a sense of humor about ads, but I really do not like the new series of commercials for Tide with people explaining how they get their clothes dirty.  I know they are intended to be funny […]

USA Today on New Techniques in Marketing to Kids

posted by Nell Minow

USA Today has an important article on new technologies for marketing to kids. With the use of new, kid-enchanting technologies, are savvy marketers gaining the upper hand on parents? Are toy marketers such as Ganz, food marketers such as McDonald’s […]

HIMYM Billboard Hijacked by New Ads

posted by Nell Minow

I really like “How I Met Your Mother,” and am delighted that older episodes are running in syndication.  But it is jarring to see that background shots have been updated to insert new advertising material.  NPR’s Monkey See blog reports […]

Lady Gaga for Chrome: Smile of the Week

posted by Nell Minow

Lady Gaga loves her fans and they love her.  An ad for a browser brought tears to my eyes.  

You and Your Friends in the ‘Bridesmaids’ Trailer

posted by Nell Minow

Do you want to appear in the trailer for “Bridesmaids?”  Upload photos of you and your friends or celebrities from your computer or Facebook to make your own version of the “Bridesmaids” trailer and see what you’d look like getting […]

Scholastic is Selling Coal Power — to Children

posted by Nell Minow

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood reports that esteemed publisher Scholastic is sending out “teaching materials” to schools that amounts to a commercial for coal power.  The coal industry, through the American Coal Foundation, has hired Scholastic to produce The […]

Ralph Lauren Pretends His Catalog is a Book For Kids

posted by Nell Minow

Renée Loth writes in the Boston Globe this weekend about Ralph Lauren’s new “book” for children — really a thinly disguised catalog.  They’re calling it “The first ever shoppable children’s storybook.’’ “The RL Gang: A Magically Magnificent School Adventure’’ is […]

How Movie Trailers Trick Us — Alan Zilberman

posted by Nell Minow

My friend and fellow critic Alan Zilberman has a great blog post on how trailers trick us. He uses examples like “Battle: Los Angeles” to illustrate the way that trailers “use clever obfuscation to make our imaginations work against us.” […]

Darth Vader Loves Volkswagen

posted by Nell Minow

I love this commercial! Thanks to my friend Sammie Young for sharing this with me.

Worst Commercial of the Month

posted by Nell Minow

Does anyone think it makes sense to have a commercial with a child telling you which SUV is cool? The only thing the Toyota Highlander ad makes me want to do is call child protective services to kidnap that kid […]

Say No to Informercials Masquerading as Programs for Kids

posted by Nell Minow

The FCC has issued a call for public comment on the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood’s petition that the upcoming Nicktoons children’s television show Zevo-3 violates the public interest. It is the first children’s show to feature commercial spokescharacters; the […]

Don’t Trust the Toy Lady

posted by Nell Minow

The LA Times reports that back to school reports on a number of national and local newscasts have included commentary from “a young mother and ‘toy expert’ named Elizabeth Werner,” described as “perky and positive-plus” in her demonstration of seven […]

Offlining — Right Idea, but What About the Message?

posted by Nell Minow

I love the idea of “offlining,” asking families to take a pledge of device-free time to focus on real-life communication. More than 10,000 people have signed their pledge to have at least 10 device-free dinners between now and Thanksgiving. I […]

Target Spoils ‘Free to Be’

posted by Nell Minow

I’m glad to see I am not the only one who is sorry to see Target use the classic “Free to Be You and Me” song in its ads. The song from The New Seekers is a special memory for […]

Marketing ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ and Missing the Point

posted by Nell Minow

Elizabeth Gilbert’s journey to Italy, India, and Indonesia became a wildly popular book, endorsed by Oprah and beloved by book clubs. This week, the movie starring Julia Roberts opens in theaters, and fans will be able to see the story […]

More Happy Meal Toys for Kids Promoting PG-13 Movies

posted by Nell Minow

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood is asking McDonald’s to stop giving children Marvel comics toys that promote violent PG-13 movies. The fast food giant’s latest giveaway for preschool boys features eight Marvel comic action figures, including The Human Torch, […]

How Did Old Spice Get So Cool?

posted by Nell Minow

How do you advertise a scent on television? And how do you make a product that was around in your grandfather’s era and has no connection to a celebrity or fashion label seem cool? You do it with charm, wit, […]

The Other Toy Story

posted by Nell Minow

It’s a shame that a movie about the enduring pleasures of imagination and re-purposing and recycling treasured toys is also one long infomercial for more than 300 new products specifically tied to “Toy Story 3.” Susan Linn of the Center […]

Shrek Sells Out

posted by Nell Minow

I loved the new Shrek Forever After movie. But I was very sorry to see that the lovable big green ogre is not just living happily ever after over in Far Far Away. He is all over the mall selling […]

Teach Kids About Advertising

posted by Nell Minow

The Federal Trade Commission has a terrific new online game for kids that will teach them to understand the difference between someone trying to tell them something and someone trying to sell them something. It’s called Admongo. The FTC’s message […]

What’s the Worst Toy of the Year?

posted by Nell Minow

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood has announced its nominees for the TOADY award (Toys Oppressive And Destructive to Young Children). Anyone can vote to select the worst from candidates that include a Halo toy for children promoting a violent […]

Why Are You Seeing That Trailer Before This Movie?

posted by Nell Minow

I often hear complaints from movie-goers who think that the trailers run before the movies they bought tickets to see are inappropriate. This has become even more important now that the MPAA has made the rules about content in trailers […]

Microsoft Withdraws Sexting Video

posted by Nell Minow

Good work from Common Sense Media, whose complaint led to Microsoft’s decision to pull an promotional video that seemed to endorse “sexting.” An ad for Microsoft’s new KIN smartphones showed a guy reaching the phone up inside his t-shirt to […]

Guess that Voiceover!

posted by Nell Minow

TV.com has a quiz to see if you can identify celebrity voices in commercials. And if you have not taken the one I posted earlier from Slate, give that a try, too. Whose voice is that? » Quiz Question Maker

Super Bowl Ads — Watch Online

posted by Nell Minow

So, what did you think of the Super Bowl ads? Missed any? Want to watch them again? Check out Hulu’s AdZone where you can vote thumbs up or down on any of today’s ads. I liked this one. Here’s a […]

The Battle Over Super Bowl Ads

posted by Nell Minow

On February 7, the Saints will take on the Colts in Super Bowl XLIV. And the ads are as high-profile as the game. Companies and groups must pay CBS more than $2 million in addition to the cost of producing […]

Can You Guess the Celebrity Voice?

posted by Nell Minow

Slate has a great collection of ads with celebrity voiceovers. How many can you identify?

Teaching Kids Critical Thinking Skills — With Holiday Ads

posted by Nell Minow

Ellen Besen has written a worthwhile article about how to use the avalanche of holiday season advertising to give children some important lessons in media literacy and critical thinking. Many thanks to Ms. Besen for permission to reprint it here. […]

MPAA to Revise Rules

posted by Nell Minow

Following my phone meeting with Joan Graves and Marilyn Gordon of the MPAA and the FTC’s report (citing my article) criticizing the motion picture industry, the MPAA has informed me that it will be making some changes to its rules […]

Is Target the New Scrooge?

posted by Nell Minow

Is anyone as bothered by the Target Christmas commercials as I am? They have a series of commercials reflecting tighter economic times by emphasizing their low prices. Great, I’m on board with that. But these commercials would be sour and […]

‘Couples Retreat’ Poster Omits Black Stars

posted by Nell Minow

I thought there was nothing that the awful movie “Couples Retreat” could do to be more offensive. I was wrong. According to the Huffington Post, the blockbuster comedy has eliminated one of its four couples in its non-US posters. It […]

What does ‘Syfy’ mean?

posted by Nell Minow

Forrest J. Ackerman is credited with coining the term “sci-fi” at UCLA in 1954. It is the perfect way to describe the wide range of astonishing, imaginative, mind-expanding works of fiction that are grounded in some element of science, often […]

PTC Opposes Raunchy Ads from Burger King, Hardees, and Carls Jr.

posted by Nell Minow

From the Parents Television Council: The Parents Television Council condemned Burger King, Carl’s Jr., and Hardee’s for a rash of new advertisements that are taking sexual innuendo to the next level. PTC slammed the companies for their gross irresponsibility and […]

More Marketing of PG-13 Movies to Little Kids

posted by Nell Minow

My friend Liz Perle has a wonderful piece at Common Sense Media about the latest efforts to market PG-13 movies to young children. The first Transformers movie, which was rated PG-13 but lent its brand to Happy Meal toys aimed […]

Jessica Alba ‘Enhanced’ for Campari

posted by Nell Minow

What kind of lunatic would try to improve on Jessica Alba? Apparently the folks at Campari felt that the beautifully curvy star was just a little too curvy and they retouched her photo to make her look slimmer. It is […]

Ads on Tests

posted by Nell Minow

A teacher whose budget would no longer cover the expense of printing out his math tests has resorted to selling ad space on calculus quizzes and exams. Rancho Bernardo teacher Tom Farber says that his budget for print-outs is $300 […]

When Television Changed Politics: Stevenson/Eisenhower

posted by Nell Minow

NPR has a great series about political firsts, including the first woman candidate for President (Victoria Woodhull, who ran in 1872, 48 years before women got the vote) and the impact of television on political campaigns in 1952, when Adlai […]

Previous Posts

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posted 3:55:33pm Sep. 02, 2015 | read full post »

In Theaters For One Night Only: How to Change the World
How to ...

posted 3:54:25pm Sep. 02, 2015 | read full post »

A Walk in the Woods
It isn't getting to that point where you most often see your friends at funerals. It isn't feeling stale because instead of promoting a new ...

posted 5:50:12pm Sep. 01, 2015 | read full post »

AJ Hakari, Mack Bates, Betty Jo Tucker and I Talk About the Fall Movies 2015
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posted 5:09:27pm Sep. 01, 2015 | read full post »

Opening This Month: September 2015
Happy September! Fall is when we see fewer sequels, superheroes and shootouts, more dramas based on real stories or best-selling books. Here's what we have to look forward to this month: September 2 A Walk in the Woods Bill Bryson's book ...

posted 3:24:52pm Sep. 01, 2015 | read full post »

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