UPS Is Changing Its Course

Spurred by the various wunderkinds of digital entrepreneurship, UPS is now changing its course.

Once known for their signature brown truck, the company’s new coat of brand paint looks more sleek and tries to be hip. And from what I can tell, the new marketing strategy isn’t even about shipping; it’s about being cool. Take the slogan: it went from “What can brown do for you?” to “We [heart] logistics”. Hotshot millenials don’t want to think about a clunky old truck slogging through the mud delivering their products at any speed. It’s all about a beautiful, seamless masterpiece of international commercial movement, or as Ad director Betsy Wilson described: “a ballet of infinite complexity played across skies, oceans and borders”. Yeah, ok.

Technology rules us all in some way, and what some are calling the “post adolescent CEOs” want to hear about how cutting edge their technology is, not just its quality.

The ‘selfie’ ridden millennial generation has even seeped its way into the visual of UPS’ ads. Check out and compare the 1992 images to today’s. The older one shows a decked out UPS truck, while the other shows YOU, a customer. This pretty radical rebranding also falls in line with a recently planned reach into Asia for UPS, which would make their ballet even more expansive and intricate.

A lot of companies look like they’re getting off their ‘you kids get off my lawn’ syndrome and starting to listen to the preferences of millennials. I guess the more money these whippersnappers get, the more brands will be made in their likeness.

You win, hipsters.

Howard Davidson Arlington MA


Bud Light’s Beer for Whatever Happens

Bud Light has a beer for whatever happens.

Probably fulfilling a lot of grown men’s wildest fantasies, Budweiser is going to be taking over an entire main street as an extension of their “Up for whatever” campaign. If your memory doesn’t date back to February, the centerpiece of Bud Light’s Super Bowl ad last year saw a ‘non actor’ get swept away for a night of fun and adventure that featured celebrities, llamas, and beating Arnold Schwarzenegger at table tennis. The Chicago Sun Times interviewed the actor, and he claimed that he was oblivious to the whole setup: “I didn’t know what was going on. Not the slightest clue. But I knew I just had to go with it.” Personally, this video looked like it had just about as much reality to it as Kim Kardashian’s first wedding but hey, it was entertaining nonetheless.

Getting back to Bud Light’s latest move, the entire operation sounds like it will basically turn part of a U.S. city into a kind of adult Disneyland. And part of the story is that there are very few details actually available about how the final project is gonna look in order to maintain the surprise. Ad Age is predicting that the city of choice is going to be in Colorado but don’t dismay, because there is a sliver of hope that your town will be the site of this indistinct Bud Light orgy.

For a beer that tastes like watered down bathwater, I shudder to think what an entire town’s reaction would be to their intrusion but maybe we’ll find out in a totally real commercial during the next Super Bowl. They just have to be up for whatever!


Alcohoot App Helps You Be A Smarter Drinker

Alcohoot is a new app that can test your BAC. Allegedly, the app tracks your body’s reaction to alcohol and helps you become a umm, smarter drinker.

The smart app is a smartphone-powered breathalyzer, that’s supposed to help you gauge your BAC and put a stop to further consumption before things get out of control. The $119 device, which boasts “police-grade accuracy” and plugs into your handset’s headphone jack, is available for party animals.

Drunken people don’t typically make the most responsible decisions. So that’s where Alcohoot comes to the table. You gotta see how a woman in the app’s commercial first encounters Alcohoot. If you ask me, the ad has about as much reality to it as a good old WWE match; users just can’t believe how much they’ve had to drink!

To all those with a DUI adorning their record, using the device might trigger some troubling flashbacks. A bulky mouthpiece is attached to the top of an iPhone while the tester blows into it and hopes for the best. There is something to be said for knowing when you’re over the edge but do you really want to fork over a hundred bucks to be labeled the buzz kill of the group? Plus, I have a sneaking suspicion that if Alcohoot got into the wrong hands, it could be used as a kind of competition to see which frat brother could get the most dangerous.

But according to the big wigs at Alcohoot, the gears are already in motion to distribute this breathalyzer nationwide. And if this thing is able to net the younger demo with its technology and novelty, more power to them, because that age is where the risks are.

I just have one quick question. Could there be a way for the app to prevent a user from engaging in other embarrassing things while intoxicated? Like if I blow a .10 could it block all outgoing texts? Or can this app double as a CPAP machine for sleep apnea?

But in the meantime, let’s all be irresponsible responsibly.

Howard Davidson Arlington MA


Texas Students Support Public Breastfeeding

A duo of Texas college students have created an ad that supports public breastfeeding.

Many consider breastfeeding in public pretty taboo. Well, not the boys at the University of Texas. They’ve launched a controversial ad campaign supporting the right to breastfeed in public.

When thinking of potential places to eat, a public restroom isn’t as appealing a location as some may think. Unfortunately many nursing mothers are exiled here because their public breastfeeding is ‘uncomfortable’ for others around.

Johnathan Wenske and Kris Haro, juniors at UNT, created this campaign called “when nurture calls” as a class assignment, receiving a lot of attention. They created three posters depicting women in a bathroom stall as they breastfeed with taglines like “Table for 2” and “Bon Appetit.” These ads ask the question “would you eat here?” to support bill HB1706 in Texas, which protects mothers from harassment and discrimination when they breastfeed their children in public.

Inspired by a 2011 story of a woman who was harassed in a department store for breastfeeding, the creatives decided to shoot young mothers but not as a means to shock viewers. By seeing breastfeeding from the perspective of moms forced to nurture an infant in a toilet stall, people might see that their comfort is costing another’s discomfort.

Support and criticism about these posters have been widespread with more than 2,200 Facebook comments on the campaign. While critics argue that breastfeeding in public is seen as trashy and exposes too much, supporters retort that it is a natural process and “if you have a problem with it, the problem is you’re staring.”

The Texas bill introduced by state Rep. Jessica Farrar died in last year’s legislative session but Farrar intends to reintroduce the idea in January 2015 with the help of this campaign reigniting the discussion.

Laws in 45 states and the District of Columbia give women the right to nurse in public. However, in many cases, the legislation does not include an enforcement provision that would allow the mom to take legal action against a person who harasses or discriminates against her. Go figure.

Howard Davidson, Arlington, MA


McDonald’s Happy Meal Ambassador Is Frightening

It’s been over a month since McDonald’s unveiled a new mascot named “Happy”. Well, the McDonald’s Happy Meal ambassador is still frightening.

Happy is an animated Happy Meal Box; complete with black hole eyes, a ridiculous mouth, and lanky arms, Happy is the ambassador (or shall we say most maligned mascot of the restaurant’s new healthy Happy Meals. Maybe McDonald’s is trying to scare children into eating their vegetables. I think not.

Happy’s job, according to a press release, is to “encourage kids to enjoy fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy and wholesome beverages such as water or juice.” While he appears fairly alienating, Happy has actually done well as an animated mascot in other countries. He was first introduced in 2009 to France and has since made his way through Latin America and other countries in Europe. But Happy is scaring the French fries outta kids in the USA.

Happy is the “ambassador for balanced and wholesome eating.” He is especially welcoming of the new Low Fat Strawberry Go-Gurt. Because nothing says “finish your carrot sticks” like a psychotic stare from the side of a box.

When McDonald’s introduced Happy to the USA, the internet exploded with memes and photo-shopped renditions of the new character bringing to question whether this was McDonald’s strategy all along. The mascot appears to have been built to take over the web as it continues to scare social media users. When the company introduced Ronald McDonald in 1989, he was seen as nightmare inducing as well at the time. Maybe with time, Happy will grow to steal our hearts.

I’m not lovin it.

Howard Davidson, Arlington, MA


TV Viewers Get a Taste of Craft Brew Ads

TV Viewers get to taste some new craft brew ads these days as the breweries are serving up some cool new ads.

Craft Brewers Kona and New Belgium are fired up to take on the big dogs as they experiment with TV ads in a top heavy industry.

Smaller craft beer brands have been rising in popularity due to their variety of rich flavors, compared to the watered down name brands typically stereotyped to be bought by college frat bros. When it comes to spending on ads though, major brands still dominate.

Hawaiian-born Kona Brewing Co. launched its first ever TV ad campaign called “Dear Mainland” seeking to build awareness for the brand, which is well known in Hawaii but less so in the other 39 states it is sold in. The ad encourages mainlanders to stop multitasking and worrying about their jobs to instead hang back and “single task,” drinking beer. Because that’s the best way to be productive.

New Belgium Brewing is in it’s second year of TV advertising as well but both campaigns are only regional and don’t come close to the advertising power of larger companies like Boston Beer Co. who has a 1.4% of the entire beer market which goes to show that there’s a crap ton of beers out there! If you’ve been drinking only one beer your entire life, you might want to start exploring a little more.

Boston Beer Co. spent $38 million in the media but that still didn’t stop craft brewers from selling 15.6 million barrels of beer. Perhaps it’s the quality of the craft beers that speak for themselves, allowing them to not have to worry about advertising as much.