Thursday, September 06, 2012

Bad Ads (1)

I'm back from my extended blog holiday, during which I took in the summer Olympics in London and a whole lot more, but somehow never felt particularly inclined to write about it all. 

Nevertheless, a new month is underway and there's a fresh edition of Qué Pasa out in various grabbable locations around town, so I thought it might be time to marvel at the quality of some of the local magazine advertising. 

Being bigger and, until recently, glossier than its nearest rival, Qué Pasa affords Guatemala's creative talent some unique opportunities in terms of high quality messaging...or so you'd think. 

So, I rather thought the name of this joint was 2x1 at first, but it turns out to be JG, JC or...something. 

A URL, Facebook page or simply adding the name of the restaurant to the address at the base might have cleared up this little doubt, but no. Perhaps name recognition is unimportant for an establishment where the USP is that it serves up different category of banal international junk cuisine every night of the week. 

Since the Luna de Miel creperie stopped selling itself with that revolting image of kids with their hands and faces smothered in chocolate, there has been a dearth of the unattractive persons stuffing their cakehole-style of advertising in Antigua. This has now been firmly addressed by El Cazador Italiano, which is actually quite a sophisticated Mediterranean-themed eating spot behind the cathedral. Not that you'd know it from this full page spread however. 'Why Not?' asks the copywriter of the kind of diner who might otherwise be wandering around our cobbled streets rolling a die outside each restaurant they come to. 

Veteran British comic Ben Elton long ago warned his peers against taking the piss out of ads that are ostensibly making fun of themselves (Ferrero Rocher etc.), and the second chunk of copy on this one might indeed be indicating to us that this particular piece of left-field creativity is some sort of elaborate in joke...the but of which has been the unfortunate owner of El Cazador. 

The trouble in the Kolibrí spread above is that the art director is way too smitten with the logo. This and white space are clearly more important to the creative in question than the images suggestive of food and ambience. The overall feel of this ad is therefore somehow corporate and lacking in personality, which the three inset photos, used differently, might have kept in check. 

Nothing much wrong with the photo and the layout here, but I am just not sure about the chef-proprietor vanity shot as a way of promoting niche cuisine to transients.  

This ad tells me that there's a nice view up top, but not what sort of food I can expect to accompany it other than the eponymous Tartines

As for the patrón, his presence here seems to say something like 'Our chef maybe a bit past his sell-by date, but our food isn't'. Or maybe, a bit more controversially, 'Our kitchen isn't run by Chapines'

The half-page ad has to stand out against at least one of its peers. 39 Azul however, has decided to opt for the counterintuitive approach and do their damnedest not to stand out. The copy fades diffidently into a miasmic ooze, leaving anyone not immediately drawn to the Café Condesa ad below none the wiser really as to whether this is a restaurant, a bar, a gallery, or perhaps even yet another spa. 

Style over content is the dominant theme over at Wokco. Sure it's the kind of grub anyone with a frying pan and a few vegetables lying around could knock up for themselves, but they won't be able to put it in a trendy orange cardboard box, will they? 

Reminds me a bit of the lema of Nikkori Sushi in Playa del Carmen: 'More than sushi, a life experience'. Unfortunately this tends to signal 'Less than sushi' to me. 

As for Gaia, nice ad, but given the demi-mondey feel of the image and the "Hooka Bar" tagline, stupid people are inevitably going to be confused. 

And this one brings to mind another establishment in Playa: the gym on 5a Avenida with POLE DANCING emblazoned above its main entrance. 

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