Playful Math in Advertising

 Ad agencies are usually avoiding any serious math. However, some campaigns demonstrated that simple math can intrigue, stick in memory and sell. I decided to start a math ad collection. If you recollect any relevant ads - please share them.

The 1998 US Godzilla movie ad campaign has been gripping LA for months. I remember a giant lizard foot covering a whole city bus and words: "Size does matter."




Sheraton Hotels came with this surprising promotion in the September of 2011.  Youngsters win, older people can sue for age discrimination.




In 1999 Lord and Taylor department store's holiday decorated window claimed: "Great dress is worth its weight in gold or silver." And the beautiful, T-shirt style, holiday dress was there, sparkling behind the ad. The dress came in gold and silver colors, was sold for $108 and probably weighted 108 grams.



A provocative Zip Car ad:




A strange Nova Scotia toys company ad (don't try to solve it):




Israeli gift chain Grass is offering their patron customers a birthday discount equal to their age but up to 50% off.  Very smart move as elegant age women are their prime customer.


And this is an example of incorrect use of math to present a message:



Prudential ad titled "Let's get ready for a longer retirement"
The text under the picture says:
A typical American city. 400 people. And a fascinating experiment. We asked everyday people to show us the age of the oldest person they've known by placing a sticker on our chart. Living proof that we are living longer. Which means we'll all need more money to live in retirement. and so on.

While I agree that statistically we are living longer than our predecessors and we need to save more for our retirement, I doubt this experiment and the graph on the ad prove it.



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And now, the latest trend: sophisticated behind-the-scenes math algorithms are making 
billboards interactive.  We all occasionally wonder where the airplanes flying above us are heading.  The little child on this new British Airways ad will stand up, point to an airplane overhead and the ad will announce the flight number and destination.  These ads developed by Ogilvy 12 Floor agency use surveillance technology to track airplanes passing above and somehow connect to the flight database to detect flight number and its destination. 





What's awaiting us next?  Definitely personalized interactive advertising. Similar to the one featured in the movie Minority Report.  It is a synthesis of already existing technologies such as face or retina recognition, data storage and analysis, behavioral pattern prediction and computer graphics. 


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