Tag Archives: Advertising

Don’t Worry Be Healthy: 1,3,7-Trimethylxanthine – Part III: Red Bull

-Marissa Tomko

If you follow “Don’t Worry, Be Healthy,” you’re probably well aware of the fact that I love caffeine. After all, you know what they say, you should write about what you know!

So far, I’ve talked about the way caffeine works and given a little bit of background on coffee. But what’s next you ask? Here’s a hint: it gives you wings.

If you’re not a college student, have never taken a long drive, or have never been into a 7-11, then maybe there’s a chance that my hint means nothing to you. But as for the rest of you, you know what I’m talking about—Red Bull.

I have been a fan of this beverage since I was a freshman, and in the past two and a half years, I’ve heard it all: “They’re full of sugar,” “You drink too much caffeine,” and “Did you know you don’t need that much taurine in your diet?” I am fully aware of all of these things, and my guess is that you are too. I could write about how energy drinks are bad for you, and list the negative health effects you may or may not experience when drinking them. But what I find to be more interesting is why we still drink them, despite what we know about them. It all comes down to one thing: killer advertising.

In my opinion, Red Bull has one of the most effective advertising campaigns out there. It doesn’t sell a drink; it sells a lifestyle. The brand appeals to the adventuring, extremist, free-spirited athlete in all of us. The Red Bull website has next to nothing to do with that skinny silver can that I love to drink from; it’s full of sports videos, action photography, and the latest remixes. Red Bull’s Twitter profile is slightly more geared toward the actual beverage, but its main purpose is still to sell a persona. The bio on the social media site reads: “Red Bull is the only Energy Drink that #GivesYouWings. Likes: F1, racing, skate, surf, snow, moto, BMX, MTB, X Games, wake, music, art, culture, gaming. Fun.” The feed is full of inspiring thoughts, crazy videos, and has snow-covered mountains as a background picture—that right there sold me!

I know, I know—you think I’m a sucker for advertising. And maybe I am. But this campaign does more than sell a product. It taps into the person inside of us that we love the most: the fun-loving, dancing, carefree one that we wish we could be all the time. Even though drinking a Red Bull doesn’t make that come true when we’re studying or driving home on the interstate, it is sure to remind us that that person is still there, and that the possibilities are endless.

If You Buy Me, I Will Change Your Life

-Emily Fraysse

‘If you buy me, I will change your life.’

If products could talk, that’s probably what they’d be saying. At least, that’s what the producing companies want you to think.

Over the past decade, there has been a gradual shift in the way advertising is produced and promoted. The content pushed onto the television we watch, the magazines and newspapers we read, and the websites we look at are chock-full of advertisements backed by companies that want to generate not only awareness of a brand, but promote it in a positive way that makes the viewer feel like they must have it to be a part of the campaign.

Nowadays, advertisers incorporate one more thing: emotion. They want you to feel connected with it. And how do they do that? They start a cultural movement.

Producers want you to feel like once you’ve bought their product, you are considered cool. They want you to feel like you’re in the know. They want you to feel like you’re a part of something bigger than yourself. They want you to feel like you’re making an impact on the world. And, if done right, this method works.

Take the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty that launched in 2004. According to the Dove website, they wanted to create a global conversation about redefining the term “beauty.” They did not feature the typical stick-thin models in their advertising, but instead showed women whose appearances were outside the stereotypical norms of beauty (i.e. they had curves and real bodies that were not Photoshopped.)

The media put an undying amount of positive attention and press on the brand, which not only publicized the campaign, but also promoted other products and product lines from the same company.

Dove’s goal was simple; to help women, especially the younger generations, feel comfortable in their bodies regardless of the shape, size, or weight. With the help of social media, women openly talked beauty issues, bringing thousands of people to Dove’s website.

And the outcome? It was clean, thought out, and flawless. According to Quora.com, the company raked in over $1 billion, surpassing the company’s expectations significantly.

Levi’s “Go Forth” campaign launched in 2011 had a similar approach by promoting the brand in a way that is up-to-date, cool, and has an emotional connection to the viewers. Wrought with brilliant design, tone, and spirit, it swept through the various media platforms promoting the good ol’ American pioneering. With Walt Whitman and Charles Bukowski’s words smeared all over the advertisements, the romantic ideals of the campaign had a pretty precise target demographic: younger teenagers, primarily hipsters.


Unfortunately, it did not make as big of an impact as they had hoped. Women’s and Men’s jean sales went down remarkably. Even if marketing to a demographic that is struggling in a horrible economy to get a stable income wasn’t the smartest idea, the romanticized, hippie commercials were a visual treat.

This seemingly wide river full of trendy campaigns may seem nice to slip into for a “cool” dip. With alluring advertisements, it is easy to get sucked in. Swimming with the wide-spread media coverage can get pretty comfortable pretty quickly. While we may, as Nike’s campaign says, “Just Do It,” make sure there are enough seat belts before you hop onto the bandwagon because often times when we’re wrong, we’re dead wrong.

The Dorky Charm Of Middle Age, By Chase Sapphire

-Jacob O’Gara

At its basic level, advertising is about branding youth, in whatever form it may take, and peddling it for mass consumption. Companies pay advertising departments and agencies millions of dollars to capture that fleeting thing called youth, or to recapture it. Ads geared to consumers who are actually young or youthful (two different things, I suppose) are fairly straightforward in their sentiments: buy our product and keep doing what you’re doing. Other ads, like the ones for Ameriprise featuring the late Dennis Hopper or any Viagra television spot, are all about telling the targeted audience (old people) that they still “got it,” and that they should, in a way, ignore the fact that they’re geriatrics and keep reliving the life they had in 1965.

Between those two advertising worldviews emerges the Chase Sapphire ad campaign, a campaign that tells Baby Boomers to be complacent about their collective status as middle-agers, and to enjoy it. According to Chase Sapphire, middle age is the new thirty, and it’s the perfect time to take advantage of those Chase membership benefit points (that one would likely accrue after decades of owning a Chase card of course).

As far as I know, the Chase Sapphire ad campaign is being spearheaded by two TV spots, which play out as follows: In the first, a middle-aged couple ventures into the pool area of a tropical resort looking for a bit of R&R—but the pool is a scene of chaos; a bunch of damn teenagers are running rampant, blasting their hip-hop and generally disrupting the serenity that the couple was eager to enjoy. Thankfully, a quick phone call and the use of some Chase points off of the bemused couple’s Chase Sapphire card saves a vacation from catastrophe.

In the second ad, a couple is recounting to another couple how Chase Sapphire made their vacation: Because of the points on their Chase Sapphire card, the couple managed to fly first-class to their vacation destination—and on the flight, they met Chevy Chase. The big reveal at the end of the ad is that both couples are having a meal at Chevy Chase’s mansion. 

Now, I don’t have anything at all against Chevy Chase—I think he’s rather funny in Community, which is the best sitcom on television, and his cameo in Hot Tub Time Machine was humorous—but it’s obvious that the inclusion of him in this ad is meant to pull at the nostalgia strings of its aging viewers, who fondly recall Chevy Chase’s sublime parody of the stumbling Gerald Ford on SNL.

Despite my conspicuous (and hopefully, patented) sardonic approach to these advertisements, I don’t have a problem with them; in fact, if anything, I hope Chase Sapphire and other brands make more ads of this sort. They encourage the Baby Boom generation to accept the fact that they’re aging (you can go on vacation where you want to and you can meet Chevy Chase along the way!) and to let go of their childish fantasy of staying young. Winston Churchill once defined a fanatic as “someone who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.” When it comes to youth and youthfulness, the Baby Boomers are guilty of fanaticism on both counts. It’s time for them to act their age.

So to all aging Boomers out there: drop the Rogaine, put the Viagra back in the medicine cabinet, think twice before buying that youth-granting motorcycle, and embrace the old fogey you’re becoming. Middle age is a fun and hip place to be. Let Chase Sapphire take you there.