Monday, October 20, 2014

This commercial is a scream

and I hate it.


Monday, February 10, 2014

Super Bowl Adstravaganza™ 2014

Last year, I put a lot of effort into summarizing the commercials I viewed during the Super Bowl, yet after the game, I was not inspired enough by what I saw to finish the piece and publish it in my blog.

Let’s see if this year’s entries fire my imagination and motivate me enough to share my observations and personal opinions.

As always, I have avoided prejudicing myself by not reading about or viewing the leaked commercials prior to the game. This was NOT easy. I subscribe to advertising publications and have a number of social media accounts.

So here we go. I’m commenting on commercials that aired between the opening kickoff and the final gun.

Once again, Anheuser-Busch scores the first commercial. It was Bud Light in 2012 and Budweiser Black Crown in 2013 and Bud Light once again in 2014. This year, we’re treated to the story of an unsuspecting Ian, who is asked if he is up for whatever. Who isn’t? So he’s taken on a limo ride with some Bachelorettes, rides an elevator with Don Cheadle and a llama named Lilly and plays “tiny tennis” against Arnold Schwarzenegger. It’s a wild adventure for Ian - told over three commercials dispersed throughout the Super Bowl airing - that climaxes with him defeating The Terminator. But wait! The room walls collapse and Ian is onstage with OneRepublic in concert! Not that’s big.

A common technique deployed in many Super Bowl commercials this year was action thriller shrouded in mystery. A narrator tells a story as fast-paced action unfolds. The product isn’t revealed until the final ten seconds.

The first of these was a “scenimatic” 90-second automobile ad, but which manufacturer and model? Ghibli, by Maserati? Have I ever seen a Maserati commercial before? None come to mind. Yes Maserati, you did walk out of the shadows and strike, but I suspect you’ll be back in the shadows, out of sight and mind rather quickly.

M&M’s followed suit. I lost interest by the time the yellow peanut M&M was revealed in the trunk of his captor’s car.

I positively adored the Doritos time machine commercial.

The Chevy Silverado commercials didn’t impress me one iota. They’re well done, but nothing different from what they’ve produced previously. Boring.

TurboTax – are you kidding me? You are advertising to the biggest male viewership on the planet and you’re trying to convince them that the Super Bowl isn’t relevant to them? That these disenfranchised men who had the day stolen by an undeclared sports holiday should take it back by going online and doing their taxes? hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!

Ellen Degeneres is cute, but the Beats family plan commercial did not delivery a fairy tale ending.

The new Bono release Invisible was anything but in the highly-stylized commercial. Very satisfying. Apple’s iTunes scored big.

Dad has a sixth sense for everything but the distraction of a pretty girl, apparently. Thank heavens for automatic emergency brakes, from Hyundai. I love it.

The Cheerios commercial won me over and it had nothing to do with the modern family message it espouses. It’s just flat out cute.

My favorite commercial? Radio Shack. The company has finally accepted the need to modernize its brand, stores and image. I loved how the characters from the 80s ransacked the store and took everything back with them. The 80s was a crazy decade, one that’s to be remembered, but definitely left behind, Loverboy. Welcome to 2014 Radio Shack. I hope it’s not too late.

Gwen just quit her job in front of a hundred ten million people. Yes you did, Gwen. More power to you. How fortunate for you that GoDaddy gave you priceless advertising exposure to help launch your new business, Puppets by Gwen. You’re even featured on the GoDaddy home page. Somehow, I don’t think the rest of us will get the same treatment from GoDaddy. Yes, I’m envious, and yes, I love the commercial. (I hated the GoDaddy Body Builders/spray tan commercial, though, so it balances out.)

The T-Mobile “no contract” commercials starring Tim Tebow were fantastic and quite humorous. Tebow proved he’s more than just a talented actor who wants to play NFL quarterback; he is quite versatile as an obstetrician (nice audibles…way to deliver), Sasquatch hunter (excellent selfie), world ambassador (way to put Iceland on notice) and astronaut. All of that in one 30-second commercial. The second 30-second commercial might be even better:

Contracts may be limiting, but Tim Tebow’s acting potential appears to open up another career path for him. It might be wise to get a contract, though, Tim.

Let’s see, what other commercials caught my fancy:

All of the above were quite riveting and memorable.

Chrysler (and Detroit) scored big again with Bob Dylan pitching for the car manufacturer and the beleaguered city.

So let Germany brew your beer.

Let Switzerland make your watch.

Let Asia assemble your phone.

We will build your car.


And now for my list of forgettable commercials (all of the Chevy Silverado installments head the list and were mentioned earlier in the post):

It’s not that they’re poorly conceived or executed, they just pale in comparison.

Well that about covers it. I’m sure I missed a commercial or two, but this post is already too long (and polluted with too many links, right?). Do you agree with my favorites? Do you vehemently disagree with the commercials I dissed? Tell me about it.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Simple and sincere shines

We’re wrapping up another year and the Best TV Commercials of 2013 is the blog topic du jour. It’s prompted me to publish this post on four ads I found particularly enjoyable.

Let’s begin with Citi ThankYou Preferred Card.There are so many things right about this commercial. The concept is authentic and the script is flawless. The superlative talent deliver a wonderful performance and ace it with their priceless facial expressions. The commercial is simply delightful and I chuckle every time I see it.

Go ahead, rack up points on me–please!

Did you know that Old MacDonald was a really bad speller? This commercial cracks me up every time. How do you spell advertising success? G-e-i-c-o-e-i-e-i-o.

I’m probably one of the few who don’t really care for the AT&T “It’s Not Complicated” campaign. Yes, the kids are precious, but it took about three installments in the series for the concept to lose its verve. Recent commercials barely make sense and do little to enhance the brand. Somehow, an idea that seemed so simple, isn’t.

That said, everyone’s favorite in the campaign is endearing. It wins on cuteness and honesty alone. I wonder if the direct camera shots of the girl were completed in the first take.

Yes, that is adorable.

Shaquille O’Neal, better known by most as Shaq, surprises as a very gifted and talented pitchman. I’ve always known he was a character with an engaging and fun personality, but I didn’t expect him to parlay his likeability to a stint as a product spokesperson. Bravo, Buick for recognizing the big man as a pitchman. Hail Shaq!

Wow! He’s so much more than I expected as a product pitchman.

What do you think of my selections. What do they have in common? Do you have a top four? Do they include any of my favorites? Why do you like them?

Monday, December 30, 2013

Discover it doesn’t ring true

We treat you like you treat you.

Now that’s a brand promise that is very appealing. Is it sincere? Is it true? is it engrained in the corporate psyche, embodied in the corporate culture and manifested in every process and customer service policy?

For some reason, I seriously doubt it.

My suspicion is that this is a creative platform developed in a bit of isolation. Obviously, it is brilliantly implemented. The concept is captivating, the copy is clever, the talent is brilliant and the production is superbly executed. The commercials are quite entertaining and people respond to them.

I predict the campaign will win some highly coveted advertising awards.

Okay, that checks out…copy that.

Girl, you know I’m real!

Yes, we’re all laughing uncomfortably.

But is the campaign winning net new customers for the client? That’s the metric that really matters (except at advertising awards banquets).

Again, for some reason, I seriously doubt it.

Actually, I do have a sneaking suspicion why the campaign may not draw new card holders. It goes back to the brand promise. Sorry Discover, I’m not buying it.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Take 30 for Play 60

How many television commercials make you laugh every time you watch them? Here’s a better question: How many are promoting exercise for children?

This ad from the Play 60 program sponsored by the NFL is wildly popular and gaining reach well beyond the sports world.


It’s obvious. See for yourself:

“…and make Panthers fans forget about you.” Is this kid for real?

This young man has some serious acting chops. He seemingly has a career in front of the camera if he doesn’t make it to the NFL.

What a gem.

Now, are you motivated to get away from your computer, take your kids outside and spend 60 minutes playing?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

What’s more All-American than…

Don’t you just love the Jack-in-the-Box commercial with Brad Paisley? The guy’s a natural!

Talk about laugh out loud funny (that’s LOL for you younger readers). The commercial excels in every way possible.

When it comes to advertising, Jack-in-the-Box is a perennial All-American.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Sorry Charlie, your sheen is actually a blemish on these brands

So this is how it is in showbiz. Bad boys aren’t shunned by their peers for obnoxious, indulgent, abusive and self-destructive behavior. No. They circle the wagons. They bring the prodigal son back into the fold. They begin a careful rehabilitation of their misguided one’s image.

Hollywood never abandons its own, does it? And the advertising industry is apparently in collusion, for how coincidental is it that two ad campaigns featuring Charlie Sheen launch in close succession?

It will take a platoon of media hypes to rationalize hiring Charlie Sheen.

Why? Why? Why?

I ask DirecTV three times because I’m confident the first two explanations will be laughable. A wonderful campaign just lost some credibility and DirecTV earned itself a black eye with so many consumers, starting with women, who used to admire the brand.

Someone ought to arrest the brains behind the decision to hire Charlie Sheen

Fiat ought to be ashamed. They make Mr. “Party Boy” Sheen out to be some kind of god to be adored by women and revered by men. At the same time, Fiat seems to sneer at his recklessness figuratively and literally. Driving the car through his mansion in a furiously aggressive manner with great disregard is an apt metaphor for how he has conducted his life of late. It’s shocking.

Ad Age asks “Should Madison Avenue Be Rehabbing Charlie Sheen?”

Simple answer: No.

I ask Fiat and DirecTV: how does attaching your name to Charlie Sheen and his drug-infused and domestic violence (allegedly) bad boy image enhance your brand?

Not-so-simple answer: _______________________________________