Boeing/Bell Helicopters puts out a print ad and unleashes PR hell on themselves

 
 
 

Boeing/Bell Helicopters puts out a print ad and unleashes PR hell on themselves

Seattle Times shows us an ad that is amazingly un-PC - the most offensive bit is the headline: It descends from the heavens. Ironically it unleashes hell ... Consider it a gift from above.

The ad shows soldiers climbing from an Osprey helicopter onto the roof of a Mosque.

The ad is created by TM Advertising in Texas, and the ad was approved by someone at Bell to run in publications like the National Journal, where it ran this week, and earlier in the Armed Forces Journal. Mike Cox, a Bell vice president, says that the people who approved the ad didn't have the authority to do so. Still, the mistake ran twice in two different publications before it was stopped.

"We consider the ad offensive, regret its publication and apologize to those who, like us, are dismayed with its contents," said Mary Foerster, a vice president of communication's for Boeing's military side.
Adland: 

Comments

A rare but unfortunate example of unadorned truth in advertising.

If it offends CAIR, they must be doing something right. See http://pbswatch.blogspot.com

You said it vedrashko. Because, yaknow, that's how them Ospreys are going to be used.

Absolutely rubbish. Soldiers will never attack a religious monument unless there was considerable proof of 'targets' hiding within, and there was no other way to flush them out while there being an urgency to do so.

This ad is insensitive to the feelings of Islamic world and paints Islamic religious institutes as targets for violent attack.

This ad is just plain wrong and is in bad taste.

Holy crap that's bad.
If anyone wants to read the body copy (which is just as bad) it can be downloaded as a PDF from cair.com here.
I just read in Brandrepublic before coming here that TM is getting a rep for crass ads. TM Advertising is fast establishing a reputation for crass advertising. A previous ad for Bell's AH-1Z attack helicopter showed the heavily armed aircraft taking off out of a flaming background. The copy read: "We made it beautiful. Because it's the last thing that some people will ever see.".

Oh puh-leez! What's the controversy?

This ad wasn't made for the general public; it was made for people in the defense industry, who, chances are, don't take the slightest offense at seeing soldiers descending on a Mosque! (If these unscrupulous dolts DID find that sort of thing offensive, they probably wouldn't be involved in the industrial military complex in the first place.)

So what we really have here is a fine example of an ad that appeals precisely, exclusively, even, to the very specialized section of the market that it targets.

If it rubs ya the wrong way, overt your eyes, because it wasn't talking to you anyway.

the real travesty is the poor production used in assembling the ad.
even in the pdf the layers of imagery don't blend together...
If you are going to do an ad like this, for crying out loud, at least make the imagery flow smoothly together!

I am sure someone could have scrounged up a good, real, shot of special ops troops dropping from a helicopter into an urban combat situation and replaced the heli with the osprey...

AND, being as precision opperations targeting enemy in locations such as mosques ARE a current issue and topic of discuss amongst combat planning personel, this ad is entirely appropriate and well targeted, no matter how crass it may seem to those of us with finer sensibilities.

What's the ad supposed to be, a big giant euphemism? When you're advertising weapons of war, your headlines have to talk about how great it can help kill people. Otherwise, you're committing a bigger crime than not being PC.

Which is why I'd rather deliver pizzas than work on an account like this.

Oh, wait, I just got it -- they say "heavens" and then there's a mosque. That's kind of clever. And totally tasteless. I retract my previous comment.

This ad wasn't made for the general public; it was made for people in the defense industry...

So what we really have here is a fine example of an ad that appeals precisely, exclusively, even, to the very specialized section of the market that it targets.

If it rubs ya the wrong way, overt your eyes, because it wasn't talking to you anyway.

I think this comment misses the point entirely. Sure the ad wasn't intended for the general public. But did the ad agency & the Bell staff who approved it not think that placing it in a publicly viewable publication might not lead to its circulation among the general public? Once the ad is widely seen outside of its intended audience, then it doesn't matter who it was originally intended for. What matters is WHO saw it, which means a lot of irate Muslims and later politicians who told Boeing it was out of line & finally the company itself which bowed to the obvious & canned the ad.

Dumb move but certainly to be expected considering who was behind the campaign.

You think defense journals are publicly viewable publications? While I suppose a civilian might be able to get his hands on one, they're not exactly sitting out on magazine displays amongst issues of People, The Economist, and Maxim!

Let's face it: this ad ran in highly specialized, narrowly targeted pubs that were designed to reach the decision-makers with the clout to actually buy these weapons.

Just because there was a slight chance that the ad would reach civilian eyeballs doesn't mean the ad shouldn't have run... The only thing the hoopla proves is that the PC police have nothing better to do than moan about ads that speak a language and address a sensibility from which they--the PC police--are removed.

Quite frankly, these are highly impactful ads that appear to have worked (given what I've read on your blog, Richard); you can complain 'till you're blue in the face, but TM have done their job and done it well.

I'm not defending the bad taste in the ad, but you have to remember that ad folks quite often have to address large groups of politically incorrect consumers...and this ad is a fine example of this.

It ran in the National Journal, which is a policy-wonk newspaper that circulates to lots of the halls of power in Congress, the White House, etc. Also a lot of embassies, lobbyists, and other lawyerly types read it. Various large public libraries have it (New York, San Francisco, Baltimore, etc.)

Also, the ad is not very different in kind (as opposed to degree of insensitivity) from the Lockheed ad that is in today's NY Times and WashPost ("Congratulations on your 50th Raptor, America -- The future is here now. See? ... Game-changing capabilities for an unfair fight...")

It was in the National Journal, not exactly a military-only rag. Available in newsstands in airports and big cities, for sure.

The part of this ad that really bugs me is the "Mohammed's mosque" sign on the damned building - now any old building that looks like that isn't necessarily a mosque (where the hell are the minarets towers first of all?) but this one has a sign that says it is. The domed roof could have been a school, a library or anything had that sign not read "mosque" in Arabic.
Now who is that Arabic text benefiting? Not the non-Arabic reading target market of politicians and army dudes who read the pubs wher this ad ran. It can only offend those who read arabic. So why choose that building with that sign? That's my main problem with it. It's just a dumb move. Visually all they wanted to say was "Osprey in action" and a domed building is appropriate since the latest wars have been going on in areas where domed buildings are everywhere. Domed building does not always = mosque. I kinda wanna chalk that one up to "short sighted art director".

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