National / International News

When commercials 'Keep it real': The rise of realistic advertising

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-02-07 17:23

There I was just watching TV when out of nowhere, he appeared: The guy with one arm selling Swiffer dusters. When I first saw him, I didn’t know that his name was Zack Rukavina. Or that he’d lost his arm to cancer. Or that I was watching him interact with his real family while he spoke about all the ways Swiffer helps him help out around the house.

All I knew was that the commercial I was watching was compelling in a way I hadn’t experienced as a TV viewer before.

Had I seen a person with a disability in a mainstream commercial before? Most likely. Certainly war veterans, paralympians and the elderly have been cast to push products from sneakers to remote alarm systems.

But, what struck me about the Swiffer ad was that his disability wasn’t the highlight of the commercial. It was certainly what got my attention, but by the end of that 30-second spot, I was remembering more about how Zack poked fun at his wife for being a terrible housekeeper and the way his two adorable children seemed to vie for his attention in every scene. The commercial didn’t provoke pity, embarrassment or portray its leading man as any kind of superhero. The Rukavinas are a totally normal family and that’s what Swiffer was successful at conveying. That and if you must dust, don’t skimp on the brand name.

Diversity in commercial advertising still has a long way to go in reflecting the appearances and experiences of America’s various populations. However the Swiffer ad and others seem to be stepping into reality TV territory – more inclusive casting choices, less pretending that we all look, sound and behave alike in our homes and communities. The much buzzed-about Cheerios ad featuring an interracial family is another example of this, as is this advertisement starring a 62-year-old underwear model in American Apparel.

So, after all these years of using overtly sexy, impossibly flawless images to push products, what do companies have to gain by keeping it real now? And how does that affect the consumer experience?

Maybe the mad men are finally figuring out what many of us have known all along.

“Well, it’s about time that Madison Avenue and advertisers are really embracing the reality of what America is today,” says Ann Christine Diaz, Creativity Editor at AdAge. “It’s no longer the case that the all-American family is a Ralph Lauren ad. You know, if you look at the changing demographics and the changing population of America, or at least of the major metropolitan cities, families are growing more and more diverse so I think it’s only a smart move for advertisers to embrace that reality.”

Diaz also says your Tweets and Tumblr posts have played a very influential role in advertisers taking less traditional approaches to attract audiences.

“With the rise of the voice of the consumer empowered by social media, advertisers are having to be more real, get more real because there are so many people now who can keep them in check about what their messages are,” she says.

For companies, something major can be achieved with inclusive advertising.

“There’s so many products out there so the more goodwill that you foster with consumers, the more you show them that you represent something beyond just the sell, that’s going to engender some brand loyalty among people,” Diaz says. “They’re going to turn to the brand that they like, the brand that they would be friends with, basically.”

Will I buy more Swiffer dusters in the future? I don’t know. The truth is, I hate to clean just about as much as Mrs. Rukavina. But if I do buy a Swiffer, I’ll probably think of that commercial and feel pretty darn good about it.

Have you noticed commercials “keeping it real?” Does it have an effect on you as a consumer? Join the conversation with a comment below or Tweet us @LiveMoney.

Are typewriters the answer to snooping?

BBC - Fri, 2014-02-07 17:14
Some diplomats have reverted to typewriters to evade electronic snooping - but they too have their weaknesses, says security correspondent Gordon Corera.

The rise of drug overdoses in the US

BBC - Fri, 2014-02-07 17:14
Philip Seymour Hoffman has become the latest celebrity to die from a drugs overdose, which is a growing problem in the US.

'I didn't let bowel disease beat me'

BBC - Fri, 2014-02-07 17:13
Former rugby star Lewis Moody on his struggle with colitis

Lord Lichfield's portraits on show

BBC - Fri, 2014-02-07 17:08
Lord Lichfield's royal and celebrity portraits go on show

@LiveMoney: Do women tweet their own horn at work?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-02-07 17:04

Just like advertisers, we too know the power of social media.

So, we invited Marketplace Money producer and social media maven (his words, not ours) Raghu Manavalan from behind his keyboard into the studio today to give us a rundown of what's getting traction on Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, AOL chatrooms and more.

We asked our female listeners to tell us if they felt comfortable promoting themselves at work, after our story last week, "Why women don't roar at work."

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I toot my horn at work -- but not enough. Why women don't roar at work http://t.co/g8o1mK11fP @LiveMoney @workingmother @sallythornton

— Meghan Boots (@bootsatherbest) February 4, 2014

@LiveMoney Never or rarely. I'm probably penalized for NOT tooting my own horn.

— Sarah Fuelleman (@SarahFuelleman) January 28, 2014

@LiveMoney I worked in journalism, now PR. We live on awards competitions.

— tracy harris (@tracefh) January 28, 2014

And yes, with Valentine's Day around the corner, we're curious about how you plan to live money on that day. Hit us up on Twitter or Facebook about your frugal gift ideas or what love & money questions you have!

This week's best of @LiveMoney

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-02-07 17:04

Just like advertisers, we too know the power of social media.

So, we invited Marketplace Money producer and social media maven (his words, not ours) Raghu Manavalan from behind his keyboard into the studio today to give us a rundown of what's getting traction on Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, AOL chatrooms and more.

We asked our female listeners to tell us if they felt comfortable promoting themselves at work, after our story last week, "Why women don't roar at work."

var _polldaddy = [] || _polldaddy; _polldaddy.push( { type: "iframe", auto: "1", domain: "marketplaceapm.polldaddy.com/s/", id: "why-dont-you-self-promote-at-work", placeholder: "pd_1391829215" } ); (function(d,c,j){if(!document.getElementById(j)){var pd=d.createElement(c),s;pd.id=j;pd.src=('https:'==document.location.protocol)?'https://polldaddy.com/survey.js':'http://i0.poll.fm/survey.js';s=document.getElementsByTagName(c)[0];s.parentNode.insertBefore(pd,s);}}(document,'script','pd-embed'));

I toot my horn at work -- but not enough. Why women don't roar at work http://t.co/g8o1mK11fP @LiveMoney @workingmother @sallythornton

— Meghan Boots (@bootsatherbest) February 4, 2014

@LiveMoney Never or rarely. I'm probably penalized for NOT tooting my own horn.

— Sarah Fuelleman (@SarahFuelleman) January 28, 2014

@LiveMoney I worked in journalism, now PR. We live on awards competitions.

— tracy harris (@tracefh) January 28, 2014

And yes, with Valentine's Day around the corner, we're curious about how you plan to live money on that day. Hit us up on Twitter or Facebook about your frugal gift ideas or what love & money questions you have!

Trenton's Mayor Mack Found Guilty Of Bribery, Fraud Charges

NPR News - Fri, 2014-02-07 17:02

A federal jury has found Mayor Tony F. Mack of Trenton, N.J., guilty of six charges ranging from extortion and bribery to fraud. Mack's brother was also convicted of some charges in the case, which involved plans for a parking garage.

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Tale of two incomes: If you have less money than your friends...

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-02-07 16:54

A friend calls and says "hey, let's go try that new restaurant on Fletcher Street," you hear, "let's go to that new ultra-expensive new restaurant on Fletcher Street."

You want to go, but you look at your bank account and know you shouldn't.

We've all been there, having to make hard decisions when our friends have more money than we do.

So how is a social butterfly like yourself to cope? Fortunately, we have a guide, Samantha Sharf of Forbes explains her guide to having less money than your friends.

"We like to believe that friendship and finance have nothing to do with each other. But in reality, unmitigated economic differences can cause awkwardness in the best of circumstances, and resentment in the worst."

What to do if you have less money than your friends

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-02-07 16:54

A friend calls and says "hey, let's go try that new restaurant on Fletcher Street," you hear, "let's go to that new ultra-expensive new restaurant on Fletcher Street."

You want to go, but you look at your bank account and know you shouldn't.

We've all been there, having to make hard decisions when our friends have more money than we do.

So how is a social butterfly like yourself to cope? Fortunately, we have a guide, Samantha Sharf of Forbes explains her guide to having less money than your friends.

"We like to believe that friendship and finance have nothing to do with each other. But in reality, unmitigated economic differences can cause awkwardness in the best of circumstances, and resentment in the worst."

Black buying power hits $1.1 trillion. What does it mean?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-02-07 16:30

Think about the price-tag of $1.1 trillion dollars.

If we were talking about countries, that would be the 16th biggest economy in the world, but it's not a country, it's the combined buying power of a group of people who are part of this country: African-Americans.

A recent study by the Nielsen Company predicts that African-American buying power will hit that $1.1 trillion number next year. "The black population is young, hip and highly influential. We are growing 64 percent faster than the general market," says Cheryl Pearson McNeil, a Vice President at Nielsen.

Companies spend $75 billion a year on advertising, but only three percent of that is in Black publications, and casting Black actors, and on Black TV and radio stations. Pearson-McNeil says, if you ignore this demographic, as many big companies have done, you do so at your own peril.

"If you want to market to those groups, then you should know what particular group buys your stuff," says Noel King, reporter for Marketplace's Wealth and Poverty desk. "Blacks tend to spend more on electronics, utilities, groceries, footwear. They spend a lot less on new cars, alcohol, entertainment, health care, and pensions."

Dr. Jared Ball, a professor at Morgan State University, has done some research into Black buying power, but says that $1.1 trillion doesn't mean everything is great for the Black community. "This phrase, 'buying power,' is used as a glossy euphemism for Black poverty for being the fault of Black spending habits, as opposed to a pre-determined need in our economic model. A lot of people pick up this phrase and hear these large numbers, and assume Black America is stronger than Black America actually is."

Kosovo students clash with police

BBC - Fri, 2014-02-07 16:24
Police in the Kosovan capital Pristina use tear gas to disperse hundreds of mostly student protesters in the country's main public university.

Composing music with your thoughts

BBC - Fri, 2014-02-07 16:14
Headset that helps you compose with your thoughts

Skiers warned of terrain trap risk

BBC - Fri, 2014-02-07 16:12
Skiers, climbers and walkers are being warned to be aware of a danger created by huge amounts of snow and high winds.

Women 'fare worse after strokes'

BBC - Fri, 2014-02-07 16:00
Women have a poorer quality of life after a stroke than men, especially if they are older, a study has found.

Fresh protest over legal aid cuts

BBC - Fri, 2014-02-07 16:00
Barristers, solicitors and law students are set to meet at a protest to voice their opposition to proposed cuts to legal aid.

In pictures: Bosnia protests

BBC - Fri, 2014-02-07 15:53
Anti-government protests enter their third day

US man back in N Korea labour camp

BBC - Fri, 2014-02-07 15:41
Kenneth Bae, an American convicted in North Korea of trying to overthrow the state, has been moved back to a labour camp, the US says.

VIDEO: Spectacular opening to Sochi games

BBC - Fri, 2014-02-07 15:12
The 22nd Winter Olympics are officially underway after an opening ceremony in the Russian resort of Sochi.

VIDEO: 50 years since Beatlemania hit US

BBC - Fri, 2014-02-07 15:03
It's 50 years since The Beatles first arrived in the US for a TV appearance that would change their careers.

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