December 2004 Archives

Good ads

As an avid public television watcher, it's not easy for me to identify many GOOD ads, and my first listed here is practically a public service message as much as an ad, but here it is:

HAVING A BABY CHANGES EVERYTHING.
Johnson & Johnson ad campaign

I don't often search Google for ads, but this one is detailed on J&J's Website. And I don't have a baby, and most likely never will.

J&J's baby ads are refreshing. We already know what they sell. That's what so refreshing about it. They don't even have to tell us about their products.


Now a more complex "good ad" campaign is the one for Target. The ads really make me like their advertising campaign. No ads will change what I think of Target. I go to Target regularly, but one must be selective about what one buys there.

What I think of Target is shaped by my experiences at Target, and not by the advertisements. Target=cheap merchandise. Sometimes nicely cheap, sometimes so cheap it should be destroyed. Take for instance the luggage I bought last year. The wheels did not survive the first leg of the first trip in which I used them.

Books I want to read

Here's are some books I want to take a look at:

1. Historical thinking and other unnatural acts : charting the future of teaching the past / Samuel S Wineburg/ Philadelphia : Temple University Press, 2001

The History Department at Gustavus Adolphus College is using this text for their History Seminar (there's an article on this in the Gustavus Quarterly (not available online, unfortunately). Read more about the book at the publisher's site. I want to read this in connection with my work with History Day visits to Wilson Library. I'll let you know what I think after I get my hands on it!

2. Kitchen
by Banana Yoshimoto
Author Yoshimoto, Banana, 1964-
Title Kitchen / Banan Yoshimoto ; translated from the Japanese by Megan Backus.
Edition 1st English language ed.
Published New York : Grove Press, 1993.
Description 152 p. ; 19 cm.
Other Title Kitchin. English

This one looks like a great one to read over Christmas break, and it also looks like the kind of book I'd love to be able to write. How can I say that when I haven't read it? Well, I sneaked a peek at the first few pages using Amazon's fabulous "Search Inside This Book" feature.

What are YOU thinking about reading soon?

Amusing Ads

A blooper coupon appearing in the print version of the Sunday Strib made me rethink the cost of adoption. The SciMu is offering a "FREE CHILD WITH ADULT ADMISSION". I wonder if they're giving the kids away right on the premises? And what sort of admission might result in a free child -- one of guilt, perhaps? It's not a bad idea, really. As a childless adult, if I paid admission to the Chinasaurs exhibit, I would just need the free child during the time I'm visiting the exhibit. The child could then be recyled and passed along to the next paying adult.

Gifts and Christmas

Commercialism has bitten hard this year. My friend and I were walking through the store-formerly-known-as-Dayton's recently. During our search for one of the skyways, we saw several of those little round tables they always put in the center of the traffic flow to add congestion. They're designed to entice you to buy just one more little thing. In prior years, the featured item was usually cellophane bags stuffed with dead leaves and dried up fruit slices, selling for $12.00 to make your house smell essentially as if you didn't own a cat. You couldn't walk anywhere in the store without facing hundreds of these scented bags. (how did the soc. dept. staffers get past these tables?) Okay, I confess, I bought one every year and they smell much better than my cat.

This year, however, the aisle-cloggers are featuring electronic games ranging from sixty to just under a hundred bucks. These gadgets replace paper and pencil games (crossword puzzles, for example). Who wouldn't want to fork over an obscene amount of cash for something that comes in your 25-cent daily paper? But my first reaction when I saw them was how jaded we are about Christmas. It takes more than dried leaves to stuff a stocking nowadays. You'd better ante up if you're gonna impress yer girl. Friendly tip: try getting that crossword item at Tarzhay dot com. They seem to be cheaper there. You'll have enough left to go over to Wal-Mart (ugh) and drop some green ones in the red kettle.

While we're on the Christmas-is-for-marketers topic,
Steve Lowery in the Orange County weekly points out the bizarre "trend" of expecting a Lexus for Christmas.
See my comments in Advertising & Christmas.

Advertising & Christmas

The holidays seem to bring out the worst in advertisers' instincts. How can Lexus execs show their faces at their family holiday dinners after the dumb ads in which the apparently less-than-wowed wife finds her new luxury sedan under the tree, and can only wonder, "how did you get the bow on it???"

Similar one depicts the guy kissing his wife under mistletoe-replaced-by-car-keys. So, is sex selling the car, or is the car buying the sex? Who knows or cares?

Another channel flipper catalyst is the Old Navy over-worded* parodies sung by various unexplained groups that pop up on unexpecting people (some not even shopping; one gal is at the bowling alley), singing some frenetic chattering-put- to-music - dreadful, uninteresting, overly commercialized glop about what she should buy. Who could possibly care? Let her strike out in the traditional fashion. Thankfully the song parodied is Good King Wenceslaus. And that being a bit less hackneyed than some, I had forgotten the lyrics. Google led me to rediscover them and re-learn that this one's about the Feast of St. Stephen, the first martyr and first deacon of the church.

Christmas carols are regularly hijacked for baser instincts and it makes me uncomfortable. What underlies all of these ads is a profound disregard for what the Christmas season is about.

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That said, did you know that it was Martin Luther who introduced the Christmas tree? That's an info-byte that PBS included in the German Americans documentary. Those of us of German descent have had little chance or encouragement to explore our heritage, for understandable reasons. They added a bit of flavor having J.B. Eckert appearing during the pledge drive moments during this program. J.B. recently retired from University Relations, or shall we say, "U Relate"?

He Qi

I got a chance to see the artwork of He Qi at Gustavus over the weekend. His work will be in Minneapolis this month. His work will be showing in December 2004 and January 2005 at Premier Gallery, 141 South 11th Street, Downtown Minneapolis.

Winter at Gustavus

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This page is an archive of entries from December 2004 listed from newest to oldest.

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