I recently had the pleasure of staying at The Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove in Miami, Florida. Within the pages of one of the magazines in the room was this ad for The Ritz-Carlton. I love the visual suggestion of a cityscape created out of vintage and retro style product placement. It’s a strong and very masculine visual instantly recognizable as a skyline before your eye is able to deconstruct the image into it’s various parts of bottles, clocks, paperweights, flashlights and all other manner of recognizable and non-descript elements. The imagery is so powerful I kept flipping to the page with the ad just to decipher more of what made up the various forms. This was my favorite ad in the series, but not the only one that included the clever use of forms. Check out more here.
What’s the first thing you think of when you see this billboard? I thought – “huh, that’s weird. I wonder what they mean?” After all, definitions for a “foursome” range from the sexual to the game of golf, but I get the feeling this billboard is not some kinky reference or about leaving your golfing buddies alone and lifeless on the links. Thinking through the various definitions of a foursome and how it could relate to a hospital it finally dawned on me that it might relate to the anatomy of the heart. There are in fact four chambers and four valves within the heart – That’s it! Now I’m tired and my brain hurts; that was a lot of work to understand a witty billboard.
A lot of work it was, but I got it. More importantly, I remembered it. And I have a feeling that’s what BFW, the agency responsible for the campaign, wanted. I remembered not only the billboard, but also the location of the billboard just so I could stop and get a picture of it. It is no small feat to remember a single 14’ x 48’ billboard while on a 220 mile round trip drive filled with …billboards! So I guess that’s a testament to the marketing force behind the idea.
The agency reports on their blog that “The first day these two billboards appeared, they generated 474 hits on the hospital’s website (that’s huge in their market). And, according to our client, they’ve continued to generate more buzz for the hospital than any other billboards in recent years.” I have to admit, it drove me to their website and I live 50 miles south of this billboard. Whoever designed the hospital’s logo go it right, too. The “B” reinforces the name, the heart is self-explanatory, and the style, font and color choice reinforce the healthcare aesthetic. So, I guess, job well done on all accounts. …Now where did I leave that SA Node?
Pizza Hut has decided to rebrand to The Hut, add an in-house TV channel, and fight it’s junk food status. The reason for the change is partially an attempt to recapture the over 35 crowd, who does not frequent the restaurant like they did in the good, old, sticky-red-checkerboard-tablecloth-days. Pizza Hut is also trying to create “home meal replacement solutions,” and a healthier menu.
It is reported that the name change was prompted in order to connect with the mobile generation, we’ve seen this with Pepsi Co. changing Mountain Dew to Mtn DEW. We’re well on our way to the world exhibited in Mike Judge’s 2006 film, Idiocracy, where English has been dumbed-down to a almost Neanderthal level.
Many people have associated the new change with Jabba the Hutt, and the spoof Pizza the Hutt. The new logo keeps the iconic roof detail, which newer generations may not understand, as less of the Pizza Hut buildings actually carry this roofline. Personally, it reminds me of a bloated Spy vs Spy fedora.
We’ll have to see if Pizza Hut goes full force ahead with this new moniker, which is being tested throughout the country. Judging from the public outcry it might be another case study like the Tropicana debacle. If you want to see some of these comments check out echodemic.blogspot.com, and blasphemes.blogspot.com.
A special thanks to my friend, Dominique, who sent me more ads from AT&T in response to my last post. I especially like the Zimbabwe one with the cheetahs and the grass hands – the coral hands in the Jamaica ad are very nice, too.
All these ads display an almost instantly recognizable cultural feature from the destination, while keeping the graphic simple. They also reinforce the clear, concise, and memorable theme that Jorge Lázaro Díaz (www.careerjockey.org) discussed at freelance camp. The more I see from this campaign the more I like it.
Today I visited my alma mater, The Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale, for their portfolio review. The work was good as usual. The Industrial Design department had a fairly good showing of design for manufacturing, design process, rapid prototyping, etc. Graphic’s print portfolios were executed with technical skill, and Animation had a good mix of 2D & 3D work. Unfortunately I did not have time to visit every major, or look deeply through many portfolios. What I did see was presented professionally and beautifully. One of the aspects that stood out was the display of cakes that lined the entry wall to presentation room. Though not created by graduates, these fondant-decorated creations from the Advance Pastry & Display Class led by Chef Peter R. Babcock were a welcome addition to the day. Congratulations to the all of the Spring 2009 graduates!