A compilation of random and interesting things, musings, musics, videos, and more. Brought to you by a UChicago student with a penchant for procrastination.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Altoids: Curious Advertising

When I was in New York City last month (and walking pretty much everywhere for four days straight) my camera and I happened upon a couple of instances of clever, but seemingly unassuming Altoids advertising.

Careful, It's a trap.

Sure it wasn't some new fangled viral marketing or anything, but the minimal approach to the ads - a nice clean design paired with a witty phrase - was enough for me to get out my camera and take a photo. There was something about the subtle way Altoids managed to sneak a bit of humor or radomness in, without making it something absurd or over the top, that really appealed to me.

Well, after being pulled in by this minimalistic but effective approach to their posted adverts I really was 'curious' to learn more (har har). Apparently after making an appearance on Valentine's day (with a jab at sentimentality) this follow up series of street advertisements was meant to further awareness of the new "curiously chocolate" Altoids. Chocolate you say? Well, after seeing the success of their usual peppermint, cinnamon, and ginger flavors what natural progression was left but to dip them in dark chocolate!

(image originally posted on candyaddict.com)

While my initial reaction to this news was of ... well, puzzlement. I do have to confess that other combinations which I had previously been skeptical of - chocolate covered pretzels, for instance - have fast become some of my favorite food hybrids. So, curious combination aside, it seems Altoids genuinely has something special on its hands. While I'm yet to pick up a box of these choco-mints, others have taken the liberty of reviewing the different flavors, which apparently are pretty good!

Plus it seems Altoids not only has this clever series of paper ads, but also a number of quirky commercials that play with the notion of consumer's initial surprise at seeing this hybrid. Truly, if you couldn't think of anything more bizarre than chocolate covered mints these commercials provide some close alternatives.

Banana-Hands Allen

Half-Deer Edwards

Produced Biscuit filmworks under Leo Burnett-Chicago and directed by Tim Godsall, the series of four commercials definitely continue the vein of weird, yet humorous ads that have come to define the Altoids brand. The two spots I posted above were definitely the ones I enjoyed the most, but if you want to see them all there's also Blow-Hole Bob and the Australian Double-Back - but I'll leave these up to your discretion.

While I'm not sure that these commercials can top my love of the ad-sense portrayed by the Skittles brand, the similar vein of quirky humor and that mix of surreality with the sense of mundane definitely brings them to the top of my list.

Now I just need to get my hands on some of these buggers -- why in the world must the deer men hoard them so? If you've tried these already let me know where I can find them, and what flavor you'd recommend. Otherwise, let me know which Altoids spot you enjoyed the most!

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