Google announces ad-ban for sleazy bail-bonds companies

In 2016, Google banned ads for payday lenders; now it has followed up with a ban on another predatory industry: for-profit bail bondsmen, who rip off black people and poor people with deceptive financing terms that are designed to create a usurious cycle of permanent debt. (Image: Sarah Nichols/CC-BY-SA) Read the rest

On Ferrero Rocher

I always loved Ferrero Rocher because of its wonderful television ads in Britain. To immigrants in America, writes Liana Aghajanian, the foil-wrapped chocolates are a status symbol.

Growing up in Culver City, California, in an apartment complex entirely occupied by Libyan-American families -- each of whom had their very own stash of Ferrero Rocher in serving bowls -- the chocolate was something Herwees says she associated with Libyan culture, because the only places she encountered it were her house, at Libyan-American weddings, or in Libya itself.

“I had this one auntie who always pulled out a Ferrero Rocher when I was there; I always knew she had Ferrero Rocher on hand,” she says. “She became one of my favorite aunties for this. I think I associated it with decadence -- even now when I have it, it feels like a really special thing.” The strong emotional response this particular chocolate induced in immigrant families was common. Their lives were caught up in war, violence, political turbulence, and socioeconomic inequality. As their worlds changed around them, Ferrero Rocher remained a constant, an accessible bridge to the past and present that has now become a nostalgic reminder of what life growing up in America was about for children of immigrants like me.

On the infamous UK ad (embedded above):

Its appeal, however, wasn’t as universal as it seemed, and perhaps nothing encapsulated the disdain for Ferrero Rocher better than the roaring reaction to the infamous commercial known as the “Ambassador’s Party,” which aired in the UK in 1993.

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Just because Cambridge Analytica tells its customers it can sway elections, it doesn't follow that they're any good at it

Unilever founder John Wanamaker famously said, "I know that half the money I spend on advertising is wasted. My only problem is that I don’t know which half." It's an odd testament to the power of advertising, an industry whose executives are incredibly effective at selling their services to other executives, even if they can't prove they're any good at selling their customers' products to the public. Read the rest

Facebook once boasted of its ability to sway elections, now it has buried those pages

Facebook maintains a repository of success stories trumpeting the advertisers who have attained greatness by buying Facebook ads; most of these are businesses, but until recently, Facebook also trumpeted Florida Governor Rick Scott's use of Facebook ads to "boost Hispanic voter turnout in their candidate’s successful bid for a second term, resulting in a 22% increase in Hispanic support and the majority of the Cuban vote." Read the rest

Otherwise professional ad with native English voiceover uses machine-translated script

The ROICHEN EASY TRAY "helps you to stock and pull out your clothes without making a mess" and is an instant classic in the annals of weird advertising. Read the rest

AT&T's 1993 "You Will" ads, the rightest wrong things ever predicted about the internet

In 1993, AT&T ran a series of ads trumpeting the future of the internet, called "You Will." Read the rest

In-depth investigation of the Alibaba-to-Instagram pipeline for scammy crapgadgets with excellent branding

Artist Jenny Odell created the Bureau of Suspended Objects to photographically archive and researched the manufacturing origins of 200 objects found at a San Francisco city dump; last August, she prepared a special report for Oakland's Museum of Capitalism about the bizarre world of shitty "free" watches sold through Instagram influences and heavily promoted through bottom-feeding remnant ad-buys, uncovering a twilight zone of copypasted imagery and promotional materials livened with fake stories about mysterious founders and branded tales. Read the rest

South Korean law bans mobile crapware, network discrimination, deceptive native advertising, and anti-adblock

Last year, Korean rules regulating abusive practices by online services went into effect, under terms set out in the "Amended Enforcement Decree of the Telecommunications Business Act Now Effective, Specifically Classifying and Regulating Certain Prohibited Acts of Telecom Service Providers." Read the rest

Cyberpunk anime ad for Murphy's Irish Stout (UK, 1997)

Probably the best cyberpunk anime ad for stout ale in the world. [via Tim Soret] Read the rest

Complying with the new EU data protection directive requires a top-to-bottom redo of the adtech industry

Back in 2016, the EU passed the General Data Protection Regulation, a far-reaching set of rules to protect the personal information and privacy of Europeans that takes effect this coming May. Read the rest

Climate deniers beat Google and topped the page on searches for "climate change"

Google has long maintained that it must keep the workings of its search and ad-placement algorithms a secret, lest they provide a roadmap to the kinds of bad actors who'd like tweak the results and give their bad ideas (or sleazy products) pride of placement on its pages. Read the rest

Terrifying Steve Ballmer ad for Microsoft Windows 1.0

Knowing Microsoft's longtime sales chief Steve Ballmer, I thought I knew what to expect from this early ad starring him. But the sheer maniacal force of it means I've already had enough internet for the day, and it's not even 7 am. Read the rest

Is 1984's "The Jordache Look" the most 80s commercial?

Some debate surrounds "The Jordache Look," a 1984 advertisement for the iconic brand's jeans. The proposition: that it is "the most 80s advert ever." If the presence of "ever" permits adverts from beyond the 80s to still be "80s," then I'm afraid there's no beating The Ambassador's Reception, shot by classy chocolatier Ferrero Rocher for screening in post-communist Eastern European markets, but so successful it ended up on British TV.

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Alarming lawyer ad

The best personal injury lawyer ad in human history is the chroma key apocalypse of Berger & Green, but this fellow Barry Glazer gives Pittsburgh's finest a run for their money: "I'm in it for vengeance"

Here's an interview with Barry, shot by Alexander Rubin:

Barry Glazer is a Baltimore-based attorney whose provocative, uninhibited television commercials have made him a local celebrity. But what about the man behind the ads? 'Attorney at Raw' investigates the Barry Glazer that few have seen, until now.

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Mobile ad technique allows stalkers to follow you around a city for less than $1000

This month, University of Washington researchers will present Exploring ADINT: Using Ad Targeting for Surveillance on a Budget — or — How Alice Can Buy Ads to Track Bob at the Workshop on Privacy in the Electronic Society in Dallas; the paper details a novel way that stalkers and other low-level criminals can accomplish state-grade surveillance on the cheap with targeted ad-purchases. Read the rest

For $25, you can target Facebook users based on race and sexual orientation

Point created an obviously fake company with tons of alarm-raising inconsistencies, allocated it $25, and then used their budget to target Facebook users based on race and sexual orientation, a move that, depending on the ad's content, can violate US civil rights law. Read the rest

Sweary mums are scaring off Mumsnet's advertisers

Mumsnet bills itself as "the UK's most popular parenting website," and it makes substantial revenues from the ads that run alongside the sprawling, vigorous discussions among the eponymous mums (and the occasional dad). Read the rest

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