Stunning Classic Space Photography: Project Apollo Archive

The Project Apollo Archive is a re-presentation, by Kipp Teague, of the public domain NASA Apollo mission photography as it was originally provided in its raw form by the Johnson Space Centre. Hosted on Flickr, it lets you go through the rolls of film as they were shot, letting you see the full range of stunning images, but also them see as shot in sequence, which is just as fascinating.

You can see it here.

Advertising Doesn't Have To Deceive The Customer

There are rules to make sure that advertising is truthful. If you make a fake claim or say something untrue in your advertising, more than likely it will, quite rightly, be banned.

You can't say this car will go 200 miles per hour, if it can't. And you can't say this chocolate bar is good for you, if it isn't. This is a good thing I think we can all agree.

So let's put that to one side for minute. What I'm concerned with is the other kind of deception employed every day in the advertising all around us.

That deception is lack of truth, lack of honesty.

Advertisers and agencies are obsessed with not talking about the thing that is the subject of the advertising.

And that's in spite of the impressive history of advertising that is based on the truth of products, for example, the original Beetle campaign, 90's Guinness advertising, the original Avis campaign (and the Hertz campaign that went up against it) just off the top of my head. Great advertising.

Clearly there is great potential in starting with the product and the reality of it, and how people use it, choose it, what their relationship with it is.

But too much contemporary advertising chooses to ignore the truth, and build entire approaches on avoiding it..

Why talk about you product when you can use your advertising for some unrelated social crusade - deception.

Why talk about the product when you can just do some ads with dancing animals, singing babies or a combination of both, in the hope it will make people like you. Deception.

Advertising has become an exercise in avoiding the subject. If were a person it would be a bad politician on Question Time.

Like many current politicians, agencies and marketers seem more concerned about the facile, about a thin facade of image, rather than anything of substance.

So little advertising out there in the real world seems to have anything of substance, truth or relevance to say.

Agencies have jumped on the revelation that humans make largely emotional decisions, and they have largely decided that that gives them licence to make advertising devoid of any point or truth.

They are confusing cause and effect. Just because you put an emotional story or message in your ad does not mean the consumer will feel emotional about you or your product. And it does not follow from that that when making an instinctive decision, the customer will choose you.

What this research tells us is that people tend to make instinctive decisions - they don't process competing facts in every decision. But that doesn't mean that facts or rational points play no part in leading up to that instinctive decision.

For example, someone may want a Mercedes over an Audi because of some hard to define feeling about the message of success or status that it might convey about them to others. But that notion has been built up over years of input, not just through advertising, but everything in life. The people they've seen driving a Mercedes, films, TV, friends. Why do the people who influence what you think about a Mercedes, drive a Mercedes? Why did they choose a Mercedes in the first place? What has, over the years, contributed to Mercedes having attained this status in the minds of many people?

Ad people and marketers are not asking the right questions.

They are just pushing emotional messages and emotional decisions together, because they both have the word emotion in them.

In their current approaches, ad agency people and clients are largely conflating three things that are in all probability not related here; an emerging understanding of human decision-making, their own desire to make advertising that feels more 'clever' and less salesy, and a mistaken notion that people's purchase behaviour is based on attitudes towards brands.

This is the current confusion of cause and effect. It's right old mess, to put it mildly.

And it's leading to more and more of this facile, and in many ways, deceitful, advertising.

But, the thing that people in the business always seem to forget is that people are smarter than you think.

They know when they're being patronised. They know when a brand is being disingenuous. They know when a brand is being facile and avoiding saying anything of substance. They know when an ad makes no sense, and has no point.

People are smart.

If advertising people and marketers were a bit smarter themselves, they might remember that advertising based on truth is pretty powerful stuff.

You Be The Judge #4: Volkswagen 'Apology' Ad

So it's time for the next You Be The Judge, and it's a hot topic. By the way, thanks for all your thoughts, contributions and opinions on these so far, it's been great finding out what other people think about stuff rather than just blathering on about our own opinion. So please keep them coming.

This time it's the VW 'Apology' print ad that ran over the weekend. I've put 'apology' in quotes not to be snarky, but because it's not really an apology is it? And I understand that might not be the point of this ad, the ad does state it is more about action than words.

How does it compare to how Tesco infamously mishandled their crisis a while back with a poorly thought-through 'rousing' apology ad?

These things are hard to get right, but get them right and I think you can go a long way to help yourself out of a sticky situation. And I think a huge part of getting it right involves telling the absolute truth without embellishment or excuse. If you have the balls to go with the absolute truth, and admitting where you went wrong, I think that can be very powerful.

It's a bit like customer service, you don't really notice customer service until something goes wrong, but if something goes wrong with a product or service, and customer service come through in a great way, you can sometimes end up feeling more positively towards the company than before the thing went wrong in the first place.

Lastly, I can't let another of these go by without repeating my point about brands and agencies just not getting the potential of print advertising, and misusing as a medium. When their backs are up against the wall, they write succinct and simple copy-based ads, because they know people will read them and they can get a point across powerfully – but when they're not in crisis, they go to back to making bland, pretty wallpaper nonsense again. 

Anyway, here it is if you haven't seen it. Click on the image to enlarge...

Previous You Be The Judge posts...
You Be The Judge #3: New Johnnie Walker Campaign
You Be The Judge #2: Labour Party Candidate Videos
You Be The Judge #1: airbnb

Buy This Book

We had the pleasure of meeting up with Bob Ad Contrarian Hoffman for a cheeky beer last night. So this seems like as good a time as any to remind you (if you haven't already) to get yourself a copy of his latest book Marketers Are From Mars, Consumers Are From New Jersey. If you work in advertising or marketing, it's essential reading really, as it is a glaring reminder to not get caught up in the deluded bubble of the industry and expect behaviour and attitudes that simply don't exist out in the real world. And it's funny. Do yourself a favour, buy it here.

Gasper & Son.

It's the weekend. Ease yourself into it with this interesting doco about the art of neon sign making.

Reid Miles

Get your eyeballs all lubed up this fine morning with the classic album artwork of Reid Miles. 
Sixty years on, and his work still looks fresh. Genuine talent.

Head over to Retinart for more images.

Socmus Virtual Museum

Get your juices flowing this morning with some tasty graphic design work from 70s Bulgaria - courtesy of Socmus virtual museum.

Channel 4 Rebrand By DBLG/Squa & 4Creative

The Channel 4 rebrand was launched this week. Our good mate Steve Qua (Squa) has been beavering away on this for months. The project was a collaboration between Steve and Grant Gilbert at DBLG who were originally invited in by Channel 4 to pitch an idea for the rebrand. Their concept was rather than ditch the current 4 logo, to go back to its original form, and use the blocks that it is made from to create interesting visuals and films, and as a jumping-off point for other directors and creatives to work from.

“The new identity covers the on air design system, all moving parts of the Television channel. The Channel 4 logo is a very famous one in the UK. So messing with it or changing it didn't feel right, they wanted to find out how many different ways they could present it on air. The OSP and opticals aren't just promos with a logo tacked on the end, they are the channel they're the bits that tell you when your favourite show is on, and the bits that tell you its an ad break so you can go have a cup of tea. These elements that play out dozens of times every day are now free to be playful, surprising, dynamic and ever changing.”

The guys brought in Neville Brody to design unique fonts to reflect the new direction. Channel 4's in-house agency 4 Creative worked with director Jonathan Glazer to create striking film idents, which feature the blocks existing in nature (from 45" in below)...

It's a strong body of work all round. Hats off to Steve and Grant for pitching a brave, left-field concept for such a big and high profile project, and to them and all of the team at DBLG and 4 Creative for making it happen, and of course hats off to Channel 4 themselves for going with such a brave idea. Good to see brave work out there.