Monday, August 28, 2006

What's that funny taste?

Poor Zoe.

For a while my team and I speculated whether or not Zoe knew about the tagline before the campaign broke, and it appears she didn't. But The New Paper reported she has no problems with it.

"Zoe replied: 'The concept was by the advertising agency, and I thought it was quite novel. I'm not sure why it is so unusual. It's about tablets, and I swallow them.'

'The meaning (of the words) is not this, so there's nothing for me to mind. The campaign may be a bit direct, but I don't see anything wrong with it.'

Her husband Phillip Chionh hasn't commented on the ad, she said, because he's been busy and hasn't seen them."

Thing is, he doesn't need to say anything, the lucky guy.

I wonder which ad agency (in London) did the dirty (pun intended)?

Update: The Straits Times Life! section reported it was British ad agency Karmarama which came up with the line, and the campaign was "conceptualised for a global female audience".

"The same ad will be fronted by different people in other countries, but the tagline may vary as 'I Swallow' does not translate well in certain languages."

It's very common for overseas-produced ads to be adapted for local use. I would have been less surprised at the line if it were from an overseas-created ad which was simply poorly adapted for local use. But it's not!

This leads me to think about how as a consumer, when I see an ad, and I feel it's done in poor taste, the bad impression is placed directly on the brand -- even if I knew which agency did the work, it doesn't matter because the fact is, the client signed off on it. The client commissioned it, selected it out of a bunch of ideas, approved the artwork and then paid for the media space to run it.

Creating controversy through advertising is not a new nor surprising concept. But creating ads in poor taste, now that's being rude to me and my civilised community.

Hey Zoe, no wonder your skin so nice, hor?


Chee Huat said...

One Man's Meat is a Woman's Source of Moisturiser

This is why I love work by the British. So irreverent. And mostly witty. Now now that we've all swallowed (the ad), I'm sure there will be differing opinions as to whether the taste is good or bad. Remember FCUK?

PS: Maybe your magazine would like to do an online poll and save the advertiser some money on market research?

E J said...

I seriously think Singaporeans need to be more open to novel ideas of advertising and marketing. This is why we can never be market leaders but market followers.

chillibuddie said...

I think Zoe is a no brainer. It is truly insulting to talk about swallowing as it connocts different meanings, especially misleading for women. Not even do I think the ad is a bad idea, I think Zoe is hard-up for attention by flashing her skin so much after her popularity dipped and she starts losing her charms with her bad attitude and presentation at the Star TV awards.....Many people (men & women alike) who work around me said they hated the ad and when I asked why, since Zoe did look sexy, they thought the bad connotation and her 'over-exposure' leaves a 'bad taste in their mouths'. Hence, I am gald that many Marketing Magazine picked this up as many people have been talking about it.....

Debbie said...

As per chee huat's suggestion, why don't we do that poll right here. just let me know what you think the Imedeen ad tastes like =)

To e j: i totally agree with you on how we need to be open to new ideas. but if you're referring to this campaign being novel, i disagree. there's a big difference between being smart and witty as opposed to trying too hard and 'cheapening' both the brand and the spokesperson.

Chee Huat said...

Now Assessing: DEEP THROAT

How about the following categories for the poll:

(1) Tasteful
(2) Tasteless
(3) Tasty
(4) It's got Tasticles wo-man!

My vote: (2) Tasty

RS said...


Honest.One said...

Definitely TASTELESS...

chillibuddie said...

tasteless indeed....

Discoroach said...

If she wants perfect skin, she shouldn't be swollowing it, she should be smearing it all over herself, right?

princess vaderess said...

In my opinion, this isn't really about being open to "novel ideas of advertising and marketing" as e j puts it. this is poor execution, and blind, mindless adaptation of a foreign piece of work.

Let's take a look at London for example, where the ad was created. This sort of fun and humour is probably acceptable. But even in London, you can't put a well-known face on that ad and expect to get away with it. Unless it's Divine Brown :-D

OK, jokes aside, you can't get away with putting Liz Hurley on that ad, can you? BUT if it was any other pretty face, whose real personality or image the audience has no pre-conceived notion of, the ad could actually work as a tongue-in-cheek display of humour. Give her a cute, cheeky smile, and lots of women will be smiling with her. Right now, I bet most women in their target market are frowning at Zoe.

In any case, it would be really interesting to find out how their sales performed after the launch of this campaign, wouldn't it? How about doing a follow-up story on your magazine? I bet everyone's dying to read it.

Jaz said...


I heard it's supposed to be tasty. I forget as have not swallowed for a decade and will not turn back :) So must say this ad just brings about the taste of alfalfa sprouts on my minds' tongue.

I found the BK ad more tasty though :)