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9 Unique Ambient Advertisements

As I researched a recent article on innovative outdoor advertising, I came across quite a few examples of ads placed in unique settings. These communications, meant to surprise consumers by making their brands stand out, are referred to as "ambient" advertising by some, and "guerilla" advertising by others. Whatever the name, they brought a smile to my face, so I thought I would share them here.

1. Big Pilot Watches

I've always found the best way to tell if I like a watch is to try it on. So these Big Pilot watches printed on German bus straps might have been a very effective way to get me in a buying mood. Then again, maybe they would only remind me of how late I was.

2. Mr. Clean

MrClean

I've seen a few of these crosswalk ads, but this is my favorite. You know those stripes are always pretty filthy, so seeing one really bright line is sure to get your attention. At least that's what Proctor & Gamble was hoping when they polished one stripe on German crosswalks, and decorated them with a Mr. Clean logo. Now let's just hope no one was mesmerized enough to forget about the oncoming traffic.

3. School of Visual Arts

sva

You're a visual arts school, and you want potential students to get in touch with their inner Picasso. Why not remind them that great ideas can happen anywhere? New York's School of Visual Arts encouraged people to write down their thoughts by printing lined paper on everyday objects like restaurant napkins, sugar packets, and even toilet paper. Inspired concept plus clean design equals effective advertising.

4. Toronto Comedy Film Festival

pie-face
Who doesn't love watching someone get a pie in the face? Next to slipping on a banana peel, it's probably the most classic physical comedy move there is. So these revolving door decals promoting Toronto's comedy film festival were sure to get Canadians in a slapstick mood. Just imagine seeing your boss coming through that entrance.

5. Cancer Patients Aid Association

smoker-funeral

If you were smoking in a designated smoking area and you saw this ceiling poster, depicting a funeral going on above your grave, do you think you might put out the butt? These morbid reminders, created by the Everest Brand Solutions agency of Mumbai, were meant to do just that. Then again, if you're so desperate for a smoke that you can't wait until you get outside, you might need more than a clever poster.

6. Purell

mag-germs

This one hits pretty close to home. I'm a bit of a clean freak, and I probably hit the Purell bottle a dozen times a day. You may think that's excessive. Then again, you haven't seen the crowd I hang with. Anyway, if I were in my doctor's office leafing through magazines and I saw a sticker on the cover that read "Gently sneezed on since October 2002," I might just insist on an anti-bacterial shower right there.

7. Iams

dogs

Saatchi & Saatchi of Sydney gave out frisbees resembling barbell weights to promote how dogs can gain strength by eating Iams dog food. Can't you just imagine dozens of dogs in a park playing catch with barbell weights?

8. Human Trafficking Awareness Partnership

HumanTraffic

You're looking for a nice sirloin or rib eye, and you jump back as you see a naked woman staring at you. That's the reaction Luxembourg ad agency Mikado Publicis was looking for when they printed images of women inside food packaging and placed them in the meat sections of local super markets. The campaign was meant to drive awareness of human trafficking, with copy that reads, "If you pay a prostitute, you're financing human trading..." That would get a shopper's attention.

9. Spiderman III

spiderman-urinal

And this gets my personal first prize for funniest ambient effort. When I walk into a public restroom looking for a vacant urinal, my eyes usually don't drift ten feet up the wall. This Spiderman III ad is hysterical, and it might have made me want to see the flick in theaters instead of waiting until the DVD came out. And it also proves that no space is off limits in the world of guerilla advertising.

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Food
Former NECCO CEO Has a Plan to Save the Company

It’s been a month of ups and downs for fans of candy company NECCO and its iconic sugary Wafers. In March, The Boston Globe reported the company is in desperate need of a buyer and that CEO Michael McGee notified the state of Massachusetts that most of their employees—around 395 of them—would likely face layoffs if a suitor isn't found by May.

That news caused a bit of a panic among candy lovers, who stormed CandyStore.com to hoard packs and packs of NECCO Wafers, should the company go under. In the weeks since the news about NECCO’s uncertain fate hit, sales of the company's products went up by 82 percent, with the Wafers alone increasing by 150 percent.

Seeing the reaction and knowing there is still plenty of space in the market for the venerable NECCO Wafers, the company’s former CEO, Al Gulachenski, reached out to CandyStore.com to lay out his plan to save the brand—most notably the Wafers and Sweethearts products.

The most important part of the plan is the money he’ll need to raise. Gulachenski is set to raise $5 to $10 million privately, and he’s creating a GoFundMe campaign for $20 million more to get his plan into motion. Once the funding is secure, the company will move to a new factory in Massachusetts that allows them to retain key executives and as many other employees as they can.

“I can promise you that if you donate you will own a piece of NECCO as I will issue shares to everyone that contributes money,” Gulachenski wrote on the GoFundMe page. “This company has been in our back yard for 170 years and it's time we own it.”

Gulachenski also elaborated that, as of now, there is another buyer interested in NECCO, but that buyer “is planning to liquidate the company, fire all the employees and close the doors of NECCO forever!”

So far, Gulachenski has raised only $565 of the $20 million needed. “I know it seems like a long way to go but I do expect some institutions to jump on board and get us most of the way there,” Gulachenski wrote in a GoFundMe update. “It is also likely we can get most of the company if we get to half of our goal.”

There is still a bit of a sour taste for candy fans to swallow, even if NECCO does get saved. According to Gulachenski, the Wafers and the Sweethearts may be the only products that the reorganized NECCO continues with. This could leave lovers of the company's other candies, like Clark Bars and Sky Bars, out in the cold.

“The sugar component Necco Wafer and Sweetheart is certainly the most nostalgic and recognizable brand, more than the chocolate,” Gulachenski told The Boston Globe. “It’s all going to depend how they decide to sell the company and liquidate.”

While you can still order the Wafers in bulk from Candystore.com, the site itself even says it has no idea when or if shipments will stop coming, especially as NECCO's future remains uncertain.

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Food
Are Restaurants Undercooking Your Steak on Purpose?
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iStock

Many steak lovers have had the dissatisfying experience of sitting down at a steakhouse, ordering their cut prepared their favorite way, and slicing into their meat only to find it's a shade redder than it's supposed to be. Some undercooked cuts can be chalked up to a mistake on the kitchen's part, but according to the New York Post, some cooks know exactly what they're doing when they take your steak off the grill too early.

Based on anecdotal observations from the Post, high-end steakhouses around New York City are serving steaks that were ordered medium-rare (130°F to 135°F) at a rare temperature (120°F to 125°F) so often that it's become a trend. At first this seems like an issue restaurants would want to avoid: A meal that's not prepared to the customer's liking has a higher chance of being sent back, costing chefs precious time. But the extra minute or two they spend firing a rare steak to medium-rare may pay off in the long run. An undercooked steak can be salvaged, unlike an overcooked steak, which needs to be thrown out and replaced with a whole new cut of beef if the diner is unhappy with it.

At a pricey steakhouse where steaks range from $50 to $150, tossing out premium, dry-aged cuts every night can do some real damage to a restaurant's bottom line. Undercooking steaks on purpose may be inconvenient for both the diners and the cooks, but it can act as a kind of insurance against picky guests.

So what does that mean for carnivores who want to enjoy their steak the way they want it as soon as it hits the table? Do as meat industry insiders do when they're eating out and try gaming the system. If you want your steak cooked medium-rare, the temperature most experts agree maximizes flavor and moisture, ask for medium-rare-plus instead. That way the cook will know to cook it a little longer than they normally would, which will hopefully produce a steak that's pink and juicy rather than blue and bloody.

[h/t New York Post]

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