Geico Real Savings

Geico (big auto insurance company in the US) is an endless source of my “design fail” inspiration. Looks like they have some internal branding issues and desperately choose between “cave man” and “wet talking lizard with attitude” (ok, ok, “Geko”) approaches. Both fail, IMO.

I took this picture on the road last week and made some quick Photoshop on it:

Real savings

Real savings

Shadow: an imitation of something” (Dictionary and Thesaurus – Merriam-Webster)

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Symantec: Throw your laptop away

Symantec came up with fresh idea to advertise their Norton software outdoors:

Throw it away

Throw it away

The guy throwing away his laptop – this means to me the “speed of throwing laptop away”. Actually this is precisely my case a month ago.. (the rest is here)

Design Fail Weekend

Pepsi's branding issues

Pepsi's branding issues

I don’t care if regular “Pepsi” now branded as “Diet Coca” or even “Clorox” as long the price is “as advertised”. I do not like surprises at the register like “Oops! Your Pepsi is $8.99; $7.99 is the price for Diet Coke”.

This toy could be useful for some dads with some special fantasies:

Dad's toy

Some dads could play with it too

Not too much fail here, however I found the toy’s positioning amusing:

Nice positioning

Nice positioning

Obvious “design fail” on gene level. Instead of driving one more block and make a safe right turn, the guy (or girl?) prefers to do this:

Design Fail on gene level

Design Fail on gene level

And finally, this weekend my favorite: portable HDD drive. I am the potential customer (I am taking lots of digital photos, videos, I have huge legal music archive, I am doing tons of coding and graphics), so I could speak out.

Espresso coffee maker or HDD?

Espresso coffee maker or HDD?

So here it is: marketing idea sucks big times. It is dumb to position pretty much technical devices (HDD drive, flash memory and similar) as an everyday consumer gadget (like MP3 player, portable game console or so). The dancing in extase, iPod-plugged human silhouette works perfectly fine to advertise Apple’s mp3 players. But I cannot imagine the same silhouette dancing with HDD drive in it’s hand.
What’s really important to me, if I be shopping for external HDD right now, are it’s capacity, type (IDE, SATA, SCSI), shock resistance, if it supports FireWare as well as USB2, and if it not comes with another stupid USB cord. I really do not care about it’s color: I am not going to carry HDD on the neck strap (or pants belt) on a full-time.
When I see the box from a few feet distance for a couple of seconds (there are thousands of other goods in the store, I cannot read every box’s micro text), the composition of “Espresso” word and a coffee bean leaves me the impression that this is some kind of USB-powered coffee maker. Actually, this coffee bean and a box togeather look like a car seat. In this case model name “Espresso” makes sense: color is important in advertising car seats cover.

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I can not “Enroll Now”: I am driving

Yet another dumb application of web-like advertisement to the road ad billboards. Check this out: “Enroll Now”:

Enroll now

Enroll now

My first impression was: “damn, I can not enroll now, even if I wish to enroll. I am driving”.

I took the picture from the best visible spot of the billboard. The billboard stands in a place from which only “Enroll Now” is visible. In a matter of a second or two I could read this stupid invitation to immediate enrollement and then concentrate on the road: I do not want to be smashed by dumptrucks entering this part of the highway (680 near Benicia).

I have a better design idea for designers of this ingenious ad: “Click Here to Enroll Now!” followed by License Agreement, restriction policy, discount coupon code and Terms of Service. Yeah, and do not forget to include top management’s bios with “business smile” photos.

Guys, highway billboards are good only for well established brands and/or for very, very short texts. People who are driving 65 mph will not read your micro text even if they wish to.

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Microsoft: no Walls, just Windows

This Microsoft’s billboard stands in San Francisco downtown, right at the entrance of Bay Bridge (Hwy 80 East):

Life without Walls

Life without Walls

Actually I personally have issues with living “without walls”: I do not want my naked ass to be exposed to the entire neighborhood when I am in the shower. I like my privacy, I need my walls.

IMO, Apple definitely should respond with something like this:
Apple

The rest of the story is here

Chevron’s Advertisement: Bad Taste!

Chevron's ad

Chevron advertisement

Hello? Who’s talking? Are those (Chevron) who were selling me gasoline at $4.25/gallon just recently (San Francisco, California)? Sure we will be using less gas! Like in the old anecdote where the kid came to his alcoholic father and asks him: “Dad, I’ve heard they rise prices for liquor. Does it mean you will be drinking less?” Dad says: “No son. That means that you will be eating less“. But back to the subject.

IMO, to write something over someone’s face looks good only in case of law enforcement creativity like “FBI Wanted Fugitive. Captured”. But when it comes to civilian design this approach sucks because:

  • Human face is not an even surface like whiteboard; To write something over a non-even surface in thin light font results hard to read;
  • It looks like graffiti;
  • You kinda disrespect the person by placing advertisement over his face.

Actually I was unable to read Chevron’s message until I photographed the banner when I was driving by. Guys, for the money you sucked out from our pockets you could come up with something better than you are exposing now.

Design Fail Factor: 9 (out of 10)

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Trademark fail.

Suppose I want to find out which versions of .Net support IPv6. Type “.net ipv6” in google and…

Hmm, just what I was looking for!

Hmm, just what I was looking for!

Not very helpful result, is it? To an extent, it’s google’s fault as it seems insisting on dropping the . in .net, even if I search for “.net” (i.e. .net in quotes), but was it so hard to anticipate this problem when choosing the name for the new technology and, you know, choose something unique!

I work for a company whose name is a generic dictionary word, which looked rather nice in pre-Internet days, but these days it is certainly more preferable to have a name that isn’t a common word. And while the company I work for had its name chosen long before the Internet came around, .Net appeared in 2002!

Couldn’t they have just picked up some obscure island, too – like, I dunno, Sumatra? ASP.Sumatra – sounds kinda nice, doesn’t it?