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: _______________________________________

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Super Bowl adstravaganza™ 2012

Once again, I parked myself on the sofa with my laptop on my lap and recorded my initial impressions on most every commercial as it aired during the Super Bowl game.

What a day! Advertisers ought to be thanking the New York Giants and the New England Patriots for keeping everyone’s eyes on the television from the opening kickoff until the final incompletion in the end zone. The game certainly lived up to its hype.

Did the commercials? Let’s see.

The Voice – Vocal Kombat, with Betty White

One of the most audacious commercials actually was a promotion for the premiere of the NBC program, The Voice. You have four big music personalities in Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton; now mix in the youthful nonagenarian Betty White, and the outcome is as expected: wildly entertaining and funny.

It was always about your voice, and not your body, Betty.


Where there’s Pepsi, there’s Sir Elton John? Of course! Delivering the star power, Pepsi served up Mr. John as a king holding court awaiting to be entertained. Difficult to please, he joylessly dismisses a jester to the dungeons via a trap door. A female peasant, played by X Factor winner Melanie Amaro, approaches the throne. “And what do you do?” the king inquires. “I sing,” she replies. “Huh.” The king clearly has his doubts. The lady belts out Respect and brings down the house, err castle, along with a stained glass window. The king approaches the singer in his gold platform shoes (Pinball Wizard anyone?) and reluctantly says “All right, Pepsi for you.”  She ignores the Pepsi can he offers and grabs his chalice.  “No,” she begins and throws the chalice at the trap door release, thus banishing the king to the dungeons, “Pepsi for all.”  And the crowd goes wild!

Sir Elton John was the X factor in Pepsi’s King’s Court.

Did it seem to you that Budweiser or Bud Light and Coca-Cola were in every commercial break? Budweiser’s “Return of the King”  (prohibition is over!) commercial was artistically wonderful. Bud Light’s “Rescue Dog” ad, with a scraggly little guy named Weego, undoubtedly was a fan favorite, PETA fans probably excluded…even with the “Support the American Rescue Dog message.  The Coca-Cola polar bear commercials just didn’t sparkle.


Like the 13,928,737 others who have watched the long-form commercial on YouTube in just 14 days, I love Matthew Broderick’s Day Off ad for Honda CR-V. It clearly was a stroke of brilliance by Honda and their creative team.  It resonates most with the middle aged adult crowd, and didn’t we enjoy the nostalgia?

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”


How is it that Matthew has aged so well?

Hyundai Veloster Turbo: The Veloster turbo from Hyundai is very powerful. V/O: “Trust us, it’s fast.” And to prove it, a man releases a cheetah to chase the Hyundai. The cat instantly realizes the vehicle is way too fast. He turns his eye on another prize - the man who released him from the cage. Uh-oh.

Volkswagen's “The Dog Strikes Back” commercial was very entertaining, but what an overweight dog embarking on its own fitness plan has to do with the new VW Beetle is beyond me.

Audi vanquished vampires with their ultra-bright LED headlights. Did anyone ever foresee an automobile company dedicating an entire 60-second spot to headlights during the Super Bowl?

The contest to get the first 2012 Acura NSX was very entertaining. You can’t miss with Jerry Seinfeld. The race boat and the zip line were epic bits, and Jay Leno swooping in on a jet pack at the last second to scoop up the keys was killer. Funny. I don’t recall what the car looks like, though.

I guess the Chevy Sonic “Stunt Anthem” commercial was supposed to convince us that the little vehicle is rugged, safe and fun to drive. Didn’t work for me, but at least the song “We Are Young” by Fun is catchy.

Chevrolet Silverado, man and his dog survive the apocalypse foreseen by the Mayans. I have two questions: 1.) Did Hostess pay a fee to have its Twinkies brand in the commercial?  2.) Do any of these men look like Barry Manilow fans?

The Chevy “Happy Grad” ad was the winning entry in Chevrolet’s Chevrolet's Route66 competition. Mom: “Should we tell him now.”  Dad: “Not yet, he’s losing steam.” Girl: “John, marry me right now!”  Son: “I will so marry you right now.” Girl: “Mom, we’re getting married.” Son: “This is the best day of my life.” Son & Friends repeatedly chant: “Best gift ever!” Hilarious.

Go here to see the other Chevrolet commercials that aired on Super Bowl Sunday.

Let’s see, what other car commercials were there? Oh yes, Kia Optima showed us your dream car includes your dream girl. Fiat Seduction, however, took dreaming to another level with their fantasy fueled commercial. Change cannot be contained, according to Lexus, who already has a 2013 Lexus GS model in the market with only 340 left in calendar year 2012. Toyota gave themselves a pat on the back for reinventing the Camry, along with a few other of “life’s pleasures?”.

And then there’s Chrysler’s “Halftime” Commercial with Clint Eastwood as spokesperson (a brilliant choice!):

America and Chrysler wishes it were only halftime for Clint Eastwood

Wow. The tingling goose bumps didn’t abate for several minutes. Let’s get on with the second half America!

Selected Others

Who among you remembers the brand in the dog race commercial? Mr. Quiggly break dances across the finish line and finds himself in the loving arms of his owner, Mark Cuban, who surmises that the champion canine will want a raise. Did you remember the ad was for a brand of shoes?

Bridgestone boasted about their polymer performance technology in a pigskin spot with Troy Aikman and Deion Sanders and their serenity sound absorption technology in a hoops spot with Tim Duncan and Steve Nash. A lot of money was spent for what were a couple of forgettable vignettes.

Perhaps one of the steamiest commercials was turned in by none other than Teleflora. A sexy woman (Adriana Lima) is in her bedroom getting dressed for a night out. A black dress, red heels, and red lipstick, she is dressed to the nines! On her makeup table, red & white flowers in a bright red vase. She looks to the camera and with a sultry voice, says: “Guys, Valentine’s day is not that complicated ...” brief dramatic pause as she leans into the camera, “…give and you shall receive.” Oh yea.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention eTrade and GoDaddy. Both delivered superb spots that stayed true to their brands. Entertaining and memorable. And let’s not leave out CareerBuilders and their pranking monkeys. Sleepless nights abound with those jokers.

Final Observations

As I wrap this long post up, I must ask: What was up with all of the extraterrestrial life forms? It seemed like at least half a dozen companies made a conscious effort to reach out to that other-worldly demographic, including one of Texas’ very own:

Something strange is always happening in Texas.

Are aliens becoming a high profitably market segment? The evidence from this year’s installment of commercials would suggest so.

So, did the 2012 Super Bowl adstravaganza™ live up to the hype? Many were highly entertaining. Most were smartly conceived, written and produced. The social media channels were deluged with strong positive reactions to so many of the ads. In terms of exposure and awareness, the answer is yes. Will they result in sales? That’s the true measuring stick. Does anyone use it?

To view all of the Super Bowl commercials in one convenient location, go here.

“You’re still here? Don’t you have anything better to do? Go on, get going. Go!”

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A clear-cut case of cause-and-effect

Who needs a championship football game to see super television commercials?

DirecTV recently launched a clever new campaign with a series of 30-second ads that demonstrate beyond a shadow of doubt that subscribing to cable TV will lead to bizarre life altering behavior.

Exhibit A:

Did I see a “Squirrel!” ?? That’s nuts.

So here’s the cause-and-effect logic, magnificently simplified…

Overpay = Anger
Anger = Alone
Alone = Shaggy
Shaggy = Rescuer
Rescuer = Zoo

A house full of stray animals couldn’t possibly end well. Did you see the opossum and raccoon?

Exhibit B:

He’s a pinball wizard, there has to be a twist.

It’s difficult to fathom that a father’s frustration with cable sends a daughter’s life spiraling out of control, but the video is pretty compelling. Let’s break it down:

Cable out = Dad frustrated
Dad frustrated = Daughter imitates
Daughter imitates = Principal expels
Principal expels = Goth boyfriend
Goth boyfriend = Undesirable wedding
Undesirable wedding = Dog-collared grandson

A child with a dog collar? Subscribing to cable leads to multi-generation dysfunctional families. Cable exacts a severe price on the innocent.

Exhibit C:

Cable is the Scourge that drove his life into a ditch.

I’m confident after walking your through the cause-and-effect logic in the first two commercials that you can now connect the dots on your own.

Need you see more?

That’s it. I’m convinced. The correlation is unassailable. Subscribe to cable (cause) and your life goes inexplicably and unexpectedly awry (effect). The only commonsensical course of action is to cut the cable and switch to DirecTV (logic).

You can’t argue with the reasoning. Even Aristotle would be compelled to make the switch.