What’s Up with the Two Blank NYT Ad Pages?

DrAdsforProfileWell the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

So I read this on MediaPost’s Out to Launch and, yeah, I was intrigued.

“If you have a physical copy of [Wednesday’s] New York Times close by, take a look at section A, the main news portion of the Screen Shot 2013-10-24 at 12.48.48 AMpaper. Notice anything strange? Like two consecutive blank pages? Intentionally done, the pages are part of a 20th Century Fox ad campaign to promote its upcoming film The Book Thief.”

(Wait – isn’t it 21st Century Fox now? Not to get technical about it.)

Anyway, whaddaya think, Doc?

Good stuff?

Or empty-headed?

– Out to Lunch

Dear Lunch:

First off, here’s the two-page ad from Wednesday’s Times (via Poynter, because the Times Replica edition doesn’t seem to have it, although the Doc’s home-delivery edition did).



Second off, here’s wordsarelife.com.

This is a classic news ad – designed more to get media coverage than to function as advertising.

And it worked.


What’s Up with ‘The Kims’ Ad For MailOnline?

DrAdsforProfileWell the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

So I was reading Ad Age the other day and I came across this MailOnline.com ad:




And here’s the Times Square billboard, via In-A-Gist:




Kim Kardashian is hot!  And Kim Jong-Un was named Sexiest Man Alive last year.

You think maybe they’ll get married?

– Kim Jong Uh-huh!


Dear Uh-huh:


What’s Up with the Hispanics Across America ‘Bad Selig’ NYT Ad?

DrAdsforProfileWell the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

So I was watching the St. Louis Cardinals beat the stuffing out of the Los Angeles Dodgers last night.


At which point I started reading Friday’s New York Times sports section.

At which point I saw this full-page ad from Hispanics Across America.

Screen Shot 2013-10-19 at 12.40.18 AM


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“A disgrace to the game, to the players and our children?”


And then there’s this: “That’s why we are fighting for justice for Alex Rodriguez.”

Are you kidding? Alex Rodriguez? That cancer not only on the Yankees but on all of baseball?

Apparently they aren’t.

Your prescription for a response, Doc?

– Your Bud


Dear Actually Not My Bud,

First of all, you’ve read the disclaimer at the top, right?

Second of all, Go Redbirds!


What’s Up with SEIU’s NYT Ad?

DrAdsforProfileWell the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

I was reading the New York Times during my union-sanctioned mental health break when I came across this full-page ad.


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After reading that, I developed a severe case of SEI-(FL)U.

Any remedies in your medical bag?



Dear SueU:

You read the disclaimer up top, right?

Anyway, here’s some background from the Healthcare Education Project website that promotes the SEIU (Service Employees International Union) campaign:

The Healthcare Education Project is a community-based advocacy organization committed to improving healthcare in New York State through education, grassroots organizing and coalition-building. Our mission is to protect and expand access to quality, affordable healthcare for all New Yorkers. Our efforts focus on building partnerships with individuals, local healthcare providers, and civic and religious leaders in neighborhoods across New York State.

You can also read about the successes they claim and get answers to FAQ.

What you can’t read is news coverage of this SEIU effort because there doesn’t seem to be any.

Which is why they bought the ad in the first place.


What’s Up with the VMR Electronic Cigarettes Ad?

DrAdsforProfileWell the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

Full disclosure: I’m a smoker, which in today’s society means I am 1) morally deficient, and 2) an endless source of revenue for any and all state expenses.

(Not-So-Fun Fact to know and tell: In 2007, state excise taxes on tobacco rose by $3 billion. State excise taxes on alcohol that year rose by $3 million.)


In Monday’s New York Times, there was this full-page ad.


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So here’s my question.

What’s the deal with e-cigs? Safe nicotine harbor, or no?

– Vaporized


Dear Vaporized,

First off, check out the old Doc’s recent appearance on NPR’s Here & Now.

Then check out VMR Products LLC (which spent a six-figure bundle on the Times ad).

Then check out VaporTruth (the VMR e-cig mouthpiece).


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Then decide for yourself.

What’s Up with the Starbucks Shutdown Ad?

DrAdsforProfileWell the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

I was enjoying a latte at the Coolidge Corner Starbucks and reading the New York Times yesterday when I came across this ad:

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You can imagine my surprise – why is a coffee chain jumping into the chain-gang affairs of Congress? Shouldn’t Starbucks just concentrate on getting my order right?

– Foaming in Beantown

Dear Foaming:

Depends. The more complicated your order is, the less sympathy I have for you.

As for the shutdown ad, the jury’s still out on exactly what the hell Starbucks is doing. An Associated Press report (via the Boston Globe) noted this:

The move is unusual for a company like Starbucks Corp. While big brands generally steer clear of politics to avoid alienating customers, Starbucks and its outspoken chief executive, Howard Schultz, have run toward the spotlight by trying to gain a voice in national political issues.2013-10-10T191143Z_1759122890_TM4E9AA11ZK01_RTRMADP_3_STARBUCKS-SHUTDOWN

But because the company’s efforts are generally nonpartisan and unlikely to cause controversy, marketing and corporate image experts say they burnish Starbucks’ reputation as a socially conscious company.

‘‘It’s always risky when brands mix politics and business,’’ said Allen Adamson, managing director of the New York-based branding firm Landor Associates. ‘‘But the benefit for Starbucks likely outweighs the risk.’’

Not according to The Daily Beast’s Daniel Gross, though.

The Starbucks Shutdown Petition Is Baloney

For the record, I love Starbucks. I’ve got a Starbucks card in my wallet. I regularly wow bystanders by brandishing the Starbucks mobile payment app on my iPhone. At home, I start the day by scooping out a couple of heaping tablespoons of Starbucks espresso roast into my Breville machine.1381508632454.cached

But I was a bit dismayed by this morning’s news that Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is spearheading a  nonpartisan drive to jolt Washington into action. On the company’s home page there’s a plea to “our leaders in Washington, D.C.” to come together to  reopen the government, pay our debts, and “pass a bipartisan and comprehensive long-term budget deal by the end of the year.”

That isn’t doppio. It’s dopey-yo.

Whatever that means. But here’s Gross’s point, doppio or not:

Why is this annoying? Look, it isn’t D.C. leaders who have shut down the government and refuse to open it. It isn’t Washington that is blithely threatening not to meet our collective financial obligations. And it isn’t D.C. leaders who are refusing to enter negotiations about a longer-term budget deal. Rather, it’s Republicans behind all three.

So, presumably, all the barista-beholden should be steaming about the GOP, not the Democrats.

Time for a coffee break, yeah?



What’s Up with the NYC Girls Project?

DrAdsforProfileWell the Doc opened the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

Did you see this story in the New York Times yesterday?

City Unveils a Campaign to Improve Girls’ Self-Esteem

The fashion industry and Madison Avenue are not anathema to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in the same way that soda companies and big tobacco are. But they are, in a sense, the impetus for City Hall’s latest public health campaign.GIRLS-02-articleInline

Mr. Bloomberg is taking on the popular, unattainable notions of beauty promoted by professional image-makers with a campaign that tells girls that they are beautiful the way they are.

Mainly through bus and subway ads, the campaign aims to reach girls from about 7 to 12 years old, who are at risk of negative body images that can lead to eating disorders, drinking, acting out sexually, suicide and bullying. But unlike Mr. Bloomberg’s ads to combat teenage pregnancy, smoking and soda-drinking, which are often ugly, revolting or sad, these ads are uniformly upbeat and positive.

Whaddaya think, Doc – good idea?

– Bloom(berg) Off the Rose

Dear Bloom(berg),

First off, the Doc has never lacked for self-esteem, so he’s the ideal person to address this issue.

The $330,000 NYC Girls Project describes itself as “[a] public education campaign geared toward girls ages 7-12 appearing on buses, subways, and phone kiosks and featuring a diverse group of girls performing activities like reading, playing sports, and drawing with the words: “I’m a girl. I’m smart, a leader, adventurous, friendly, funny. I’m beautiful the way I am.”

Yes you are. (See PSA here.)

It reminds the Doc of Nike’s classic 1995 damage-control If You Let Me Play spot.


There are some NYC Girls Project spoilsports, though.

From Slate:

This initiative gets so many things right. But to pick a nit, what’s with the slogan? As Kat Stoeffel at the Cut notes, “There’s something slightly contradictory about the NYC Girls Project message—‘Don’t worry about how you look. You look beautiful!’ ” Isn’t the point of the program to encourage girls to disassociate their sense of worth from their physical appearance? Why couldn’t the slogan simply be, “I’m Awesome the Way I Am?”

From Time:

The NYC Girl’s Project may have employed all the right tactics, but the long-term effectiveness of self-esteem programs is still in question. In a study published in 2013 on an Internet-based promotion of positive body image, young girls in the study reported a decrease in body dissatisfaction: they compared their bodies less to others and were more satisfied with their own appearance than girls who hadn’t seen the promotion. However, the positive effects had dissipated during a followup interview three months later.

Even so, it’s worth trying, yeah?