Tuesday, January 31, 2012


I turned on the news tonight to find the Florida Primary results on CNN, so I switched over to Fox News, and what do you suppose I saw there? That’s right: It was Charles Krauthammer laying down the law on conservative values. And this reminded me that conservatism is really just trying to bring back our national roots, and that’s what a lot of power metal bands are doing, what with their swords and armor and stage shows and stuff. And then it hit me: Krauthammer would be a great name for a German or British power metal band! They could play Manowar-style metal, and they could gorily crush a bunch of fake severed heads with a giant hammer (called “The Kraut Hammer”), like some twisted, perverted version of Gallagher with his watermelons, spraying fake brains all over everyone. (Or would that be more like GWAR?) It would be awesome! I want to go see them right now!

And what they could do is have a song like Manowar did with the Orson Welles narration, but this time have Charles Krauthammer’s voice saying stuff about Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney. And then they could put on a pair of chain mail gloves called the “Romney Mitts”, and they could use them to grab the Kraut Hammer to crush a big fake newt (!). It would be the best use of imagery from this whole boring campaign season!

This is Gallagher and his “Sledge-O-Matic”, for those of you who aren’t familiar with him/it:

And this is what Manowar sounds like:

And here’s the song with Orson Welles’s narration (No kidding! Look it up if you don’t believe me. It starts at 2:37.):

Musselman’s Apple Sauce Hands Commercial

Mussleman’s Apple Sauce is currently running a TV commercial that says: “Because you use your hands to heal, to comfort, to help…” (etc.), they use their hands to nurture, tend and pick “the very best apples”, and smush them all up into apple sauce for your kids to eat. That way, they’ll grow up “healthy and strong”. This is a very nice spot! It’s beautifully shot, it’s heartwarming, etc. But with this hand theme going from parents to Musselman’s employees to kids, I was hoping they’d continue that into what the kids’ hands were going to do. And if they were honest about it, it would likely be very different from what the parents’ hand were doing (!).

So when I saw this commercial, I was with them all the way to the end, and then I couldn’t help but think they should have said: “So your kids’ hands will be strong so they can punch each other, give each other wedgies, swirlies, nugies, and purple nurples!” And then they could have shown lots of close-up shots of kids’ hands performing these acts upon other kids. And I’ll bet I’m not the only person who thought of this, either! But it’s a very good ad regardless.

Here’s the handy spot:

Office Max Mini Animal Abusing Ads

I was going to write a post joking about the movie The Grey, saying it was mean of the movie to show those guys teasing the cute hungry wolf puppies with their humany goodness and not letting them have any, but guess what: PeTA beat me to it! No surprise there, but that’s at least a survival movie, so you’d think those characters would surely have the right to defend themselves against those wild animals that are always trying to eat us all and destroy humanity all the time! (I’m on to those conspiratorial wild animals, man!) But what about these new Office Max ads where they tease, harm and abuse miniature African wild animals with their big deals? Surely PeTA will be incensed at these ads, right? (Even though they're obviously fake CGI animals. But I suppose the implied violence is real!)

And who wouldn’t be incensed? These ads show Office Max’s big deals knocking down rhinos, bouncing elephants all around after forcing them to perform circus tricks, and causing gorillas to fall from great heights to their grievous bodily harm! And they’re making light of it! Surely this deserves the mighty wrath of PeTA just as much, doesn’t it? And while I’m making fun of PeTA here (again), these commercials are definitely making a joke out of harming miniature wild animals, and that’s just mean. It’s kind of like dwarf tossing, or stand-up comedy jokes about midgets, isn’t it? But really it's just mean because they show the animals getting bowled over, knocked down from great heights, and bounced around.

If they had shown the animal looking normal, walking across the scene, and then bumping into or stopping and looking at a wall that turned out to be the shopping bag, and then the camera zooms out to show how big the bag is compared to the usually giant-looking animal, it would indicate the big deal aspect they’re going for, and it wouldn’t have been mean to or ridiculed the animals. But it also wouldn’t be as silly, and I guess that’s what they’re going for here. Oh, and then it also wouldn’t earn PeTA’s wrath, and all the free publicity that comes with it. (But then again, PeTA would probably still complain about the ones I suggested too, simply for having an animal in them: even if it were a pantomime animal!) But wouldn't it have worked better with showing the normal sized animals, and comparing them to the giant bags? Because as it is, we can clearly see these animals are intended to be miniature, so it somewhat undercuts the "big deal" message. (But it still works the way they're doing it anyway, because we all know how big these animals usually are. And they're pretty cute and fun, too. But that still does not excuse them bullying those poor defenseless CGI animals: Shame on those fake animal abusers! Where is the fake CGI PeTA on this?)

Here’s the rhino ramming spot:

Here’s the grievous gorilla gouging spot (which I saw for the first time today, 1/31/12. Note that it clearly states that the offer ends on 1/21/12, so it’s already invalid by the time they’re running the ads for it: a nice touch, to be sure!):

And here’s the elephant enslaving ad:

Cheerios Multi Grain Donating Clothes Ad

Here we find a lady in a car looking over at another lady’s butt as she’s leaning over, and since she knows her, she comments on how she’s not nearly as much of a fatty as she used to be. So the formerly fat female says she’s lost weight to the point that her old clothes no longer fit, so she’s donating them. (She must not have owned many clothes, because the bags of clothes are pretty paltry. Or else maybe she was only fat for a few weeks, so she only had enough time to buy a couple of outfits.) But is this such a good idea? Surely it’s nice of her, but most people who lose weight seem to gain it back, and then she’d have to go out and buy all new clothes again while wearing a beach towel since she won’t have any clothes that fit her any longer once she packs the pounds back on in a few weeks. And then she’ll be depressed and embarrassed!

So after she dumps her corpulent clothing in the donation bin, her friend asks her how she lost such a massive amount of weight, and the formerly fat female says she did it by eating mostly whole grain (yeah, right!). Um, whole grains are carbs, and carbs are what tend to pile on the pounds. I would think vegetables and exercise would help more for weight loss, but since this is a commercial for a breakfast cereal… She would have been more believable had she said: “I switched to eating my cereal with skim milk.”

Anyway, right after the lady says she lost weight because of whole grain, the announcer makes the extremely vague and un-disprovable claim: “people who choose more whole grain tend to weight less than those who don’t.” Uh, this is such a vague statement, it’s hard to take it seriously. People who choose more whole grain? Choose whole grain how? And for what? To eat, to buy, to throw at people? And they don’t say these people even eat it: they simply “choose” it! So then they’re basically saying people who make the right kinds of food choices at the supermarket tend to weigh less, and it has nothing to do with the whole grain, or even if they eat it, but rather that they’re simply the kind of people who consciously make more intentionally healthy food choices when they buy food; and this could be food bought for their family, rather than even for themselves to eat. Or at least, with such a vague statement, it could mean that. But yes, I’d venture to guess that people who choose more whole grain foods would tend to be the kinds of people who care more about eating right and being healthy, so this statement may be true, but it doesn’t have much to do with this cereal: it has more to do with the kind of people who eat health food, and what their lifestyle is. And eating this cereal alone will not make you into one of those healthy people.

And they “tend to weigh less”? What the hell does that mean? How do you measure this “tendency”? It’s so vague how they say it, it sounds completely forced and meaningless! And worse, it sounds like they’re wording it this way because they know they might get accused of false advertising if they just came out and said these people do weight less. How about simply saying that healthier people make healthier food choices, and whole grain foods are healthier? That’s a true statement, and it’s not embarrassingly vague.

But at least they didn’t say that if you eat their cereal, along with a better diet and exercise, you’ll lose weight. That’s what those dangerous diet pill ads say. And if you eat a better diet and exercise, you’ll lose weight anyway, so eating the cereal doesn’t matter in that scenario. But I guess what they’re trying to say is that people who make more healthy food choices tend to be healthier, and I’d venture to guess that’s true. But it doesn’t really say much about their cereal, and it’s hardly a good enough reason to buy it. It seems to me that most of the people they’re talking about in this ad (at least in California) “tend to” shop at Whole Foods or Trader Joes, and I doubt they even sell Cheerios of any type (the brand, that is: you can find knock-offs there I’m sure!) at those stores. But this weight loss claim just seems like an exaggeration and a dubious claim.

What I’d recommend for this type of commercial for Multi Grain Cheerios would be something more along the lines with the idea of someone deciding to get healthier, and so they decide to get fresher, more health conscious foods, as well as exercise more often. So after jogging or Yoga or whatever else, they go to the supermarket, and as they’re walking through the cereal aisle (with a basket full of healthy choices), they reach for some cereal, but then they stop and grab the box of Whole Grain Cheerios instead. Then the announcer could say that people who eat health foods are healthier, and that whole grain foods are part of a healthier diet. Then at the end of the ad, we see the person looking slimmer and healthier, and a friend of theirs sees them and comments on how much better they look. Then they could have a slogan that says something about “going with the grain” (like in woodworking, versus going against the grain). So it could end with a product shot of the box of Multi Grain Cheerios, a bowl of it, etc., and the announcer says: “Multi Grain Cheerios: Go with the Grain!” (Has another company used this slogan yet? I haven’t noticed it.) And they could make a campaign about how someone who wanted to get healthier decided to “go with the grain”, and the slogan to "Go with the Grain" implies action also, so it could include exercise in the plan, and encourage the cereal as a good energy source for exercise, and the start of a healthier lifestyle, as well as saying that healthy living is going with the grain, whereas an unhealthy lifestyle is going against the grain, etc.

But here they have the slogan: “More Grains, Less You: Multi Grain Cheerios!” Now, I know this is a weight loss-themed commercial, but this slogan saying: “More Gains, Less You” kind of makes it sound like it will make you less of who you are too, as in personality, will power, etc. At least, that’s partly how it comes across to me. I’m not saying it’s bad; I just think that overweight people sometimes feel insecure and stuff, and like less of who they were, so maybe saying this would be better: “Whole Grains, Less Pounds, More Happiness: Whole Grain Cheerios!” See what I mean?

Here’s the clothes-donating commercial:

This is a much better looking version, but the volume is WAY TOO LOUD!:

Fresh Squeezed Couture

Remember when so many young ladies had “Juicy” written on their butts? That was from the company: “Juicy Couture”. I used to joke about someone developing a juicer for those pants, but I don’t see them as much as I used to. So if they’ve fallen out of favor, maybe they could drum up some new interest by releasing a new brand called: “Fresh Squeezed Couture”. They could make sweatpants, jeans, blouses, etc., all with “Fresh Squeezed” written right across the butts and boobs, every bit as suggestively and tackily offensive as the “Juicy” did! Frankly, I’m surprised nobody has done it yet. It’s tasteless enough, right? So it’s sure to be very popular!

Alladin Bail Bonds Ad

On Saturday afternoon, right before the U.S. Figure Skating Championships broadcast on NBC, there was a commercial for Alladin Bail Bonds, saying they’re the biggest bail bonds company because they’re the best. This seemed like an extremely odd placement for such a commercial, timed as it was to be the direct precursor to the introduction for the figure skating broadcast. Is there some kind of criminal underworld in the figure skating community I don’t know about? Or are the fans and viewers of figure skating competitions all a bunch of felonious burglars, murderers, thugs and con artists? I wouldn’t have thought so, but I guess you never know…

BTW: Many Bail Bonds ads very wisely skirt the issue of crime completely, focusing instead on helping and being there for their clients in tough times. There's one ad where they show a young mom and her little daughter, and it's very sweet, making it look like they really care about people's families. (I'm sorry, but I can't find this ad online.) And whether they actually care or not, this is targeting their prospective clientele in just the right way to attract them, as well as treating the issue in a way that distracts all of us non-criminal types from remembering that they're in the business of freeing alleged criminals up until their trials (or later, if they jump bail...), so it makes them look good all around. And that's just smart advertising.

Here’s Alladin’s ad:

Monday, January 30, 2012

Theraflu Max D Fight Ad

Okay, here we have some guy with the flu prepare some Theraflu Max D and drink it. Once he’s swallowed that last gulp, he gets beaten to a pulp by some unseen entity, and then they try to play it off like it’s the medicine “fighting the flu”. Yeah, right! That guy’s got a poltergeist, and this company is exploiting his misery to cash in on selling their product! It's like the movie The Entity, and they're making light of it! Well, shame on them!

Unless, maybe they mean something else instead? Could they really mean that if you’re already sick, and then you take their medicine, that you’ll get beaten up by the medicine? It says it fights the flu symptoms, but it’s definitely that guy who’s getting beaten up. Is when you’re already sick really the time you also want to get your ass kicked? I wouldn’t think so!

Maybe if they personified the flu inside of him, like the Mucinex commercials do with the mucus, and they take us for a CGI thrill-ride into his body, where the Theraflu goes in to beat up the flu, then it would work. But seeing this guy get beaten up doesn’t make me want to buy their product. The flu kicks my ass enough as it is, thank you very much!

BTW: This version of the ad I’m attaching isn’t the version I keep seeing on TV: here we see him well, and feeling well after the beat-down. But on TV, he just gets beaten up, and then they show him for a split-second feeling better, but that’s missing the part where he’s feeling healed right after the punches. And even so, he’s still the one getting beaten up, and it’s not helping me want to buy their product right there.

Here’s the abusive ad assault:

Tobacco Free CA.com Secondhand Sally Ad

This has to be one of the most sanctimonious commercials ever made. They act like some girl smoking a cigarette on her balcony is going to send the smoke on a seek-and-destroy mission to murder a baby in an adjacent apartment, with the smoke having to go through an obstacle course in order to reach the infant. That’s ridiculous! Smoke goes upwards, and it’s actually physically impossible for the smoke to do what’s going on in this ad! They actually show the smoke opening windows and doors, snaking horizontally down hallways, and then honing in on the baby, after which targeting it defies the laws of gravity to lower itself down on the baby like a phantom! This is such shameless propaganda, they’re simply handing ammunition to their causes’ opponents by running it on TV. How stupid can you get?

Never mind the fact that they’re completely missing the point here and misrepresenting what’s actually going on in this scenario. Look, most people don’t realize this, but babies have telekinetic abilities that they forget how to use once they learn language skills. That’s why the smoke is able to go through all the windows, doors, etc.: the baby is opening them! You see, babies like to watch the smoke dance around in front of them for entertainment, since they don’t understand the TV yet, so they make the smoke do what they want in front of their faces, kind of like a guy making a cobra dance by playing a recorder or a flute. And the fact that the smoke is dangerous is what makes it so exciting to the babies, kind of like the cobra being a poisonous snake is what makes it so amazing when the guy plays the recorder to make the snake dance. And I know you’ll say that the baby can’t do it without the cigarette smoke, but without the smokers, the babies will burn down your house to get the smoke to play with, and you’ll all be killed horribly! So you really ought to let some people smoke if you want to live! And it’s either that, or banning babies, so it’s your choice.

Okay, so that’s just a ridiculous joke, but these ads are really dumb. For decades, most Americans smoked, and that means that most babies grew up around constant cigarette smoke for decades. Most of these babies were fine. In fact, many smokers are fine, too. I had a great aunt who smoked over a pack a day for most of her life until she died well into her 90s (!). So smoking is definitely bad for you, and you probably shouldn’t do it indoors around others who don’t smoke, especially babies and little kids: fine. But this ad says it’s not even okay to have a cigarette on a balcony once in a while? Are they crazy or something? If you want to encourage people to quit smoking, that's good; but trying to guilt trip them into it with something like this is completely wrong-headed. How about some positive encouragement about what you'll get out of life if you quit smoking, rather than trying to say that smokers are always murdering babies (!!)? (I wonder if the people who made this ad are pro-choice, because I'll bet pro-lifers could make an ad like this about them! And this ad might start to give them some ideas, so cut it out, please!)

This is a stupid lie which will put more people in danger by forcing smokers to smoke indoors, which will lead to more apartment building fires that kill lots more people. This fascist anti-smoking group, which is getting legislation passed as well that makes it illegal to smoke outdoors where all the car exhaust already is (!?), is trying to exaggerate this issue to the point where nobody will even take the legitimate dangers of smoking seriously anymore, and to where smokers will smoke extra cigarettes just to rebel against them and their dishonest propaganda (which is all this is: dishonest propaganda. And they should be ashamed of themselves for resorting to this!). And in the end, it may well be counterproductive and lead to a backlash.

Yes, I hate to say it, but many smokers are young people who like to sleep late, and if they live next to a baby, it’s probably constantly crying and waking them up. So when they see this ad, they might just say: “Hey, I hate babies! So I can harm them by smoking on the balcony? Then I can get revenge for all the times they wake me up! Awesome!” And many smokers are real contrarians too, so anti-smoking stuff just makes them want to smoke more, especially when it’s really shameless like this is.

It’s really better to be honest if you want to convince people, rather than exaggerate things to where everyone knows you’re full of crap. There are some really good positive reasons to want to quit smoking! I used to smoke years ago, but I quit, and life is much better without cigarettes. But I might never have quit if bullies tried to accuse me of killing babies anytime I had a cigarette. Smokers are used to abuse from health bullies who want to make everyone behave, so they take it as an attack for which there must be a counter-attack, as in smoking lots more and blowing it in people's faces. So if you want people to quit, show them what nice things they can have once they're tobacco free: like that beautiful girl who doesn't smoke, or that jog on the beach, or that productive day without having to stand outside every hour to smoke, etc. But this type of emotional blackmail will be rejected every time by smokers: this I guarantee you. Especially when it's an extreme exaggeration, like this is.

The silly ads are here, but you have to select the one that says “Secondhand Sally” to see the one I’m talking about (but they’re all ridiculously over-hyped bullsh*t):

BTW: I am so glad these ads are online: otherwise, people in other states and countries might think I’m lying about what a ridiculous exaggeration this ad is!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

With A Name Like Smuckers...

It has to be good! And while I don't eat a lot of jelly or preserves these days, Smuckers is wonderful for sponsoring the figure skating. They always do it! And if they didn't sponsor it, it might not be on TV very often. And we need this stuff on TV to inspire the next generation of American Olympic gold medal winners! So thank God they sponsor figure skating! (And thanks to NBC too: they keep on putting it on TV even against things that soundly defeat it in the ratings, but someone has to stand up for the people {especially the little girls, who have no lobbyists} out there who want to watch it, and I'm glad someone does.)

But about this whole "With a name like Smucker's, it has to be good!" ad slogan, um, after so many years, you'd think they'd come up with something else. It is very well known by now, that's true. But it's basically well known because A.) they repeat it a lot, and B.) it gets made fun of a lot! It sounds like they're saying: "With a name like Smuckers, it has to be good, because it sounds disgusting, and it turns my stomach every time I hear it: Yuck!" (SNL even had a sketch about this name issue back in season 1 or 2, I think, which is really ridiculous.) And if you're hobbled like that to begin with, and then you constantly remind everyone about it, you're taking attention away from what you're selling: fruit preserves. So you'd think (well, I'd think, anyway) they'd want to say something else about their preserves other than the nebulous, nondescript: "(it's) good". But what?

The issue of preservation comes to mind, but it doesn't sound like a good way to advertise preserves. But I suppose you could go the route of showing a famous painting of fruit being preserved or restored (like a Cezanne still life of fruit), and then the ad says that Smuckers is preserving the actual fruit into just as much of a work of art! And then they could go the route of saying it's an art form the way they make preserves, etc. And then they could have a campaign where artists paint versions of famous works of art on toast with different flavors of Smuckers preserves (as the different colors of paint, painted on with a butter knife), to drill into our heads the idea that Smuckers preserves is a work of art, and the way they make it is an art form. See? And then they could simply skirt the whole issue of what the name sounds like.

Hey, how about if they made a fruit preserves version of those yogurt squeeze thingies that kids eat? They could call them "Smuckers' suckers". And you could suck the preserves out of the squeeze tube. Kids seem to love those yogurt things, so maybe preserves could work too. (Or would that just encourage a whole new fetish of "preserves pervs" who like to suck on stuff, and then make the brand look bad?)

You Reek-a Deodorant Ad

This is a silly idea I had for a deodorant commercial: Two people are trying to solve a problem, and in so doing, one of their faces comes close to the other's armpit, and they say: "You Reek-a!" And the other person says: "Eureka?" And they say: "No: You Reek-a!" And then the other person sniffs their underarm and says: "Phew!" So then the announcer says: "Do you reek-a? Then you'll say 'Eureka' when you find (whatever brand of) Deodorant!" Or maybe they could call the deodorant "You Reeka"! (I know it's very silly and dumb, but I'll bet everyone would remember it for years to come!)

Nike Basketball Kobe System Dominate Ad

I just saw a commercial on the NFL Network with Kobe Bryant doing a seminar presentation for all these famous champions, and he's telling them they have to dominate everything: dominate retirement, dominate art, dominate breakfast, dominate the galaxy, dominate this, dominate that, etc. So he's teaching all these winners how to dominate everything, but I can't help but remember how he got dominated in another court besides basketball: the divorce court. So, is he so obsessed with dominating everything after being dominated in divorce court? I have to wonder, and the timing of this ad campaign couldn't be worse for bringing this suspicion to mind, because the news stories of his ex-wife's huge divorce settlement were just big news very recently.

So at the end of this ad, I was expecting one of the guys in the audience to say to Jerry Rice (the guy who says he doesn't get it): "He's been obsessed with dominating everything ever since he got dominated in the divorce court." (And you know, they don't make shoes that can help with divorce court domination!) And then, just to rub it in, they could have the tag of this ad show Kobe being picked up by a limousine from the seminar location, and as they drive away, Kobe says: "Hey, this isn't the way to the basketball arena!" And the driver of the limo says: "I know. I'm your ex-wife's divorce lawyer; I'm taking you to the cleaners!"

And then they could make a whole ad campaign around this basketball court vs. divorce court idea, with the first ad showing Kobe destroying opposing teams with his 40-plus-point games, and they could have him say: "Being dominated in divorce court makes me want to dominate even more on the basketball court!" And then they could have another ad that has Kobe facing off against his ex-wife's divorce lawyer, where half of the court is a basketball court, and the other half is a divorce court, and they could show him battling this guy and his team of paralegals. And for the next ad, they could show Kobe destroy this guy on a basketball court (the lawyer being dressed in a suit with dress shoes), and after defeating the lawyer by a score of 100-0, Kobe could say: "They don't make shoes that help in divorce court, but out here on the basketball court, Nike shoes rule!"

I don't mean to be hitting Kobe below the belt here, by the way. But this ad really reminded me of the whole astronomical divorce settlement story (and that picture of the galaxy just rubbed in the whole "astronomical" part!), and it's the timing of it that's doing it more than anything. Plus there's the whole basketball court vs. divorce court thing (because they are both courts), so it's hard not to think of it. And after all, California is a community-property state, so the super rich should really consider staying single here!

Here's the dominant spot:


BTW: Later on Kobe and his wife reconciled, I think, so I am happy to report all of these jokes I made here are not referencing real bones of contention for Kobe, one of my city's greatest sports heroes.

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Football Ad

I was watching the NFL Network's marathon of 30-minute Super Bowl recap shows, and I saw a fun ad for Reese's Peanut Butter Cups showing an animated game plan of X's and O's running a play, and they show the O's quarterback pass to a receiver, and the announcer said (something like): "And peanut Butter goes to Chocolate: always a perfect combination!" I thought that was really fun, but since it's football, I thought maybe they could go back to that idea of crashing the two together, like they used to do in that famous ad campaign where they said: "You got chocolate in my peanut butter!" "You got peanut butter in my chocolate!" "Delicious!" So they could have the chocolate team and the peanut butter team, and when they run the play, the teams could smash into each other, combining the two.

So for one commercial, they could have the chocolate team try a running play, but as the runner tries to run around the side, he gets stuck in the peanut butter, and he gets smeared by the peanut butter, and the announcer says: "There goes chocolate, right around the outside, but he's gotten stuck by that peanut butter center! Hey: chocolate with a peanut butter center? Yum! That sounds delicious!" See what I mean here? And then they could have another commercial where the peanut butter quarterback gets sacked by the chocolate team, and the announcers says: "Peanut butter has chocolate all over him! And all the peanut butter receivers are covered by chocolate! And down he goes: peanut butter gets chocolate piled on top of him! But hey: that sounds delicious, doesn't it? Mmmm!" And both of these spots would show the animated graphic of the X's and O's like the real commercial, looking like an animated football playbook.

In the actual ad, which I can't show you, as I can't find it online (curses!), they show us a completed pass, and then say it's "the perfect combination", but they don't use that idea of getting the two things smashed together, like football so readily suggests. And they could also make plays on other football terms, like saying that peanut butter is in chocolate territory, or that peanut butter runs right through chocolate's outside line and gets smeared because he's covered so well by chocolate, etc. Or they could have a peanut team and a chocolate team, and say the peanuts get "creamed" after slipping through like butter, and getting piled on by chocolate. Anyway, there are so many fun ways they can go with this idea. I just like the idea a little better of one team tackling and smearing the other one to combine the two together, like in the famous old campaign where they have the two things literally crash together, because football so readily suggests such an approach.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Mint Romney

Hey, we all know Mitt Romney is kind of dull and flavorless, right? But he also has lots and lots of money! So perhaps it would be possible for some marketing guy to come up with an idea that would make people think of something more flavorful when they hear his name from now on. Wouldn't that help to brainwash people to think of him as not quite so bland? Well, then, how about this as an idea: Mint Romney!

He could start a new company called "Mint Romney", and make Altoids-like breath mints, Orbit-like mint chewing gum, minty gel toothpaste, minty fresh mouthwash, etc., all with "Mint Romney" written on it in big letters, and with a cartoon picture of Mitt Romney's smiling face right on the packaging! And he could produce it all, and give it all away for free! And then whenever anyone used these products, they'd get a minty-fresh feeling, and they'd subconsciously begin to associate it with Mitt Romney! (So when they had their mouths washed, they'd also get their brains washed, too!)

And the best thing about this idea for Mitt Romney is that because he's so ridiculously, fabulously, filthy rich, he could make all this stuff and pay for it out of his own pocket, saving all that campaign and SuperPAC money for ads to destroy his competition. And if anyone complains about it, he could simply say that he's starting up a new business venture to sell all this stuff, and he's just giving it all away for free to start with as a promotion to build brand loyalty, and that it has nothing whatsoever to do with his campaign. (And after all the absolutely obvious BS scam stuff that's going on with the SuperPACs "not co-ordinating" with the campaigns they support, how can anyone bust his chops for this?)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Verizon LG Spectrum 4G R2D2 Ad

This commercial for the LG Spectrum shows how some sales guy sells a customer on the LG Spectrum 4G smartphone, rather than on buying R2D2 instead. They list the differences, but only in the way that the smartphone is better than R2D2 (!). They show us how the smartphone can play a movie (Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace, coincidentally) on it’s little teensy screensy, but they neglect to mention that R2D2 could show it to you in an awesome 3-D hologram, which would be way cooler! (Never mind the fact that if you had R2D2, you’d actually be living the Star Wars saga yourself! And that kicks any stupid little smartphone’s butt-dialer completely!) Plus, they say stuff like that the smartphone is easier to carry since it fits in your hand, but they neglect to mention that you could ride around on top of R2D2, as he’s got little jets to fly around, as well as wheels to roll around on, so you could go anywhere you wanted to with ease! Plus, the salesman dishonestly claims R2D2 needs a starfighter, which is a complete and outright lie! But if you have a starfighter, R2D2 can totally help you in tons of ways to fly it and fix it, plus get you out of all kinds of jams in addition, like shutting down trash compactors you’re stuck in, etc., as well as help you find princesses to rescue whenever you want to feel heroic. And, if he bought R2D2, he could easily sell R2D2 later on eBay for millions of dollars in Latinum (I know, I know: a Star Trek reference. Sorry, {other} nerds.), and then he could probably buy the company that makes this LG Spectrum phone!

Man, this salesman is probably dissing on R2D2 so he can buy him for himself! But R2D2 doesn’t know that, so he’ll most likely shock him with his high-voltage appendage and trash the store after this customer leaves! But the joke’s on this salesman anyway: for little does he realize it, but R2D2 always comes with a C3PO unit, and that means you get followed around everywhere by some wise-ass hyper-critical blame-game-playing douche-bag complainer robot with an annoyingly stuffy British accent all the time: and all of those irritating quips will most likely get the salesman beaten up and picked on all the time. Plus, jocks will always give him wedgies for having Star Wars droids hanging around with him wherever he goes. But after all, it serves him right for insulting R2D2, gypping the customer out of choosing R2D2, and using a Star Wars droid as a comparison product for a smartphone to begin with, because that’s just silly and dishonest! (But fun for this ad! Although when they do a comparison like this, where they compare something against something else that's a completely different kind of thing, it makes it look like they're afraid to put their product up against the competition, doesn't it?)

Here’s the sneaky salesman’s scurrilous Star Wars scam spot:

Beautiful on the Inside

I keep hearing people say things like: “She’s beautiful inside and out”, and: “He may not look like much, but he’s beautiful on the inside.” This is a nice sentiment, but it’s not really very realistic. You see, I used to work in a morgue when I was younger, so I know only too well that inside, we’re mostly really squishy and icky and gooey and stuff. The fact is, most people can’t even look at another person’s inside without passing out or throwing up. And it stinks, too! There are all kinds of smelly things going on inside of us that are yucky and stinky; is this what they’re referring to when they say someone is “beautiful on the inside”?

So when you hear anyone say someone is “beautiful on the inside”, run away: they’re probably some heinous serial killer who loves to stare at people’s innards after they flay them and stuff! Or else they’re some weirdo anti-social surgeon with a gore fetish. And either way: Yikes!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Cisco Cars Ad

This is the ad of the robot assembly line with the broken robot arm that gets healed by another robot arm, and they go back to welding and riveting car parts together, all to the mellifluous, mechanical strains of Gary Numan’s “Cars” (the perfect song for this automated robot assembly line for cars). So, this ad raves about how Cisco can help the robot hordes make all humans obsolete, huh? Well, pretty soon, if this commercial is any indicator, we’ll all be out of a job, and then the machines will have won the conquest of Earth without firing a shot! And it will be all Cisco’s fault! Traitors! John Connor’s gonna kick your asses!

But seriously, this ad makes it looks like Cisco is plotting to destroy everyone’s job, doesn’t it? I’m frankly shocked that they’re willing to show this ad on regular TV with so many people out of work at the moment! It’s really quite insulting in a way, isn’t it? And it makes Cisco look like a villain to everyone who’s out of work. But then again, I guess unemployed people can’t hire Cisco anyway, so: “What’s the difference?”, they probably say to themselves. But the unemployed can storm the gates of your company, like in Metropolis, can’t they? So it’s still kind of insensitive, and perhaps even a bad idea to boot.

I think they ought to show this one at the corporate meeting with the car company executives, and show something else on TV for the public to see, because it's possible this ad could generate a lot of enmity for their company. And I think a TV advertisement should generate goodwill and amity towards the company it’s for. But that’s just me.

Is there any way they could have an ad that shows how they’re helping people? (And not just the 1%ers?) It’s just that this commercial seems so out-of-touch with the current zeitgeist of big business hurting the little guy, kind of like what most people seem to think of Mitt Romney. Know what I mean? And I think that's a mistake.

Here’s the corporate-computer conspiracy commercial:

Marijuana Legalization Ad Song?

I just saw an ad for something with Debby Boone in it (I don’t remember for what, sorry.) singing part of her famous hit: “You Light Up My Life”. And that got me thinking: “Hey, you could change some of the lyrics, and it would be the perfect song to advocate for marijuana legalization!” Want to see the altered lyrics? Too bad, I’m going to show you anyway:

(To the tune of “You Light Up My Life”: the chorus part)

You light up my pipe,
You give me dope, to carry on,
You light up my “j”,
And fill my lungs, with smoke,

You light up my pipe,
You give me dope, to carry on,
You light up my “j”,
And fill my nights, with bongs,

It can’t be wrong, when it feels so right,
And you, you light up my-y-y pipe!

Here’s a link to the actual song, so you can compare them (the chorus part, that my lyrics replace, begin at 39 seconds in):

(Sorry, actually, my lyrics are for the extended chorus at the end, and that starts at 1:47.)

So what do you think? It’s perfect, right? Or would it make everyone look like a pothead?

But if we could get Debby Boone to sing it, it might choke them up enough to make them legalize it! (And “choking them up” is perfect for the issue of marijuana legalization, isn’t it? Cough, cough! Choke!) I don’t smoke pot myself, but I think it should be legal, because after all, it’s readily available enough to anyone who wants it anyway, so what’s the difference?

But what a great voice Debby Boone has, huh? Wow! I’d forgotten how good she is.

Here’s another version of it, this from Japanese television, for those who like it:

New Pop-Up Ads

Hmmm, I thought I had set my browser to block pop-up windows and obnoxious pop-up ads. But there’s a whole new batch of them popping up everywhere I turn on the internet. What the hell?

There is also a new breed of internet advertising that uses flashing and constantly vibrating and dancing words and graphics to grab our attention. I have one policy with advertising like this, and it’s the same one I have with any company that calls me at home on my telephone: I will never ever ever, under any circumstances, ever buy anything from them: NEVER! So they make me look, but they also make it extremely difficult and headache-inducing to read or look at anything online anymore, so I absolutely want to harm them. And I’m sorry, but that doesn’t make me want to buy anything from them. But they made me remember who they are, so I remember not to ever give them any money for any product or service at any time under any circumstances.

This makes me want to look at magazines instead: at least their ads don’t irritate me and give me headaches in a wrong-headed attempt to win my attention! Or is this a new secret strategy being tried by paper newspapers and magazines, advertising fake products in really annoying ways on the internet, designed to make us all abandon the internet and go back to reading paper media? (It just might work, too! Because the new pop-ups are always for internet “magazines”, and the dancing ads are something that can’t occur in paper printed media. So if it’s a conspiracy, it’s perfectly executed!)

So, companies that advertise on the internet: use this tactic at your own risk! You may end up dissolving your own consumer base. And if you do, you have no-one to blame but yourselves! (Well, and your ad agency; but if you don’t know what your own ads look like, then you deserve whatever animosity they earn for you!)

5-Star Response John Walsh Ads

There’s some thing called the 5-Star Response thingy, and they say: “5-Star Urgent Response: it’s help at the touch of a button!” This is basically like a Life Alert type of push-button remote control thingy, only it also has GPS in it, so they can find you no matter where you’re hiding and come and get revenge on you. Oh, I mean help you. (Sorry, I was thinking of another product there for a second: 5-Star Revenge.)

So this ad shows some old guy jogging or walking, or whatever he’s doing (maybe he’s stalking someone to kidnap them! He must be, otherwise why would John Walsh from America’s Most Wanted be the spokesman?), and he starts feeling like he’s having a heart attack (saving his intended victim!), so he presses the button, and the helpers on the other end of the line say they will send an ambulance. But it’s just a button on a remote control thing you put in your pocket: what if you sit on it while you’re driving and they send an ambulance? Will it chase you all over town, making you paranoid so you’ll try to escape, leading to a high-speed pursuit? I’m just wondering.

Then there’s another commercial for this thing where some young woman is walking to her parked car at night, and she’s afraid of the dark or something, so she presses the button, and the call center people stay in contact with her so they can hear all of her screams and stuff when that killer strikes! Oh, but he’s not going to get the chance tonight, because her stalker is actually that old man who’s having a heart attack! (It’s really well lit where the old guy is this evening.) And that’s an extra, secret feature on this device: it remotely gives a heart attack to anyone who’s stalking one of their customers, so long as they also have one of the devices (the attacker probably stole one from one of their other victims that this company failed to successfully protect and save).

But if they’re going to show someone who’s afraid of the dark being comforted by this call center, shouldn’t they have a little kid call in from bed at night? Kids are more scared of the dark than anyone, right? And on the first week of nights where their parents force them to sleep in the dark for the first time, hoping the monsters will get them finally, or for whatever other reason they might be doing it, the kid could press the panic button, and the nice people at the call center could be nice to the kid, and give him/her a false sense of security until the monster strikes (!). That would be a great ad! And then it turns out that this company really only exists to distract people in peril so their assailants can attack them more successfully, while they’re busy focusing on using the device. Mwa ha ha! And maybe John Walsh is doing it to get revenge for having his show America’s Most Wanted canceled!

But you know, if they’re going to make a product like this, shouldn’t they call it the “Panic Button”? Then they could show seriously frantic people completely spazzing out and panicking about something, and they press the “Panic Button”, and get saved by the company. Or with it called the "Panic Button", would it sound more like if you contacted them in an emergency, they would panic on the other end of the line, saying something like: "You're scared? Oh my God, you'll probably be killed! Aaaaa! You're a sitting duck out there! Run, run, run for your life! Quick, before they catch you! I can't listen anymore! I'm getting out of here!" (And then they drop the phone and run away in terror at the company.) Could that name make it seem like that sort of thing might happen? It just seems like it would be really easy to remember the “Panic Button”, and after all, that’s what it really is anyway, right? But then again, maybe there already is one of these devices that’s called the “Panic Button”, and they got beaten to the punch for using that name.

But if they’re going to call it “5-Star Response”, shouldn’t 5 movie stars, or rock stars, or sports stars, or TV stars, or Hip Hop stars come and rescue you when you're in trouble? Because after all, if you don’t get saved by 5 stars, then isn’t the name sort of false advertising? They've even got one TV star shilling for them right in the ad, so doesn't it suggest this idea, or at least 20% of the idea?

Here’s a 5-Star Response commercial with John Walsh, combining the two scenarios, proving that the heart attack guy really is the one trying to attack or abduct the woman (and they throw a lost kid scenario in there too, just so you won’t suspect that they’re secretly helping the old man abduct women):

Of course this is all a joke: this product looks like it could be very helpful for people in trouble, especially when they’re also lost. And John Walsh is a serious real-life hero! I’m just making fun of the ad scenarios to be silly.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Freddie Mac Attack?

Oh, CNN, you guys are so clever! In discussing the recent Freddie Mac issues facing Newt Gingrich, CNN had a lower third that read: “Freddy Mac Attacks”. Um, hello: why didn’t you call it a “Big Freddy Mac Attack”? That way everyone would have thought of the old “Big Mac Attack” McDonald’s ads for sure! And then, whenever Newt made his counter-attack on Mitt Romney, you guys could have called it “A Whopper of an Attack”! And then the next attack could be called “The Baconator”! And then you could have continued using fast-food item name metaphors for the whole rest of the election season, and we’d all be entertained with all the bad puns (like saying you're going to reveal some "juicy McNuggets of information", or claiming a candidate was "McRibbing" one of their competitors in a debate) rather than being bored silly like we all are. Do you guys need a new writer? Is that it?

Alka Seltzer Quick Draw Ad

Wow, this is a fun idea that has a lot of potential for future ads. Some regular guy is on a ranch in the West when he gets heartburn, and some cowboy/gunfighter shows up on a horse and quick-draws a package of Alka Seltzer, saying “It kills heartburn fast!” So we’ve got a quick-draw gun-fighting cowboy guy as the pitchman for Alka Seltzer: what a great idea!

Well, if they’re going to go this route, to personify the fast-acting properties of their product with a fast-drawing heartburn fighter, then how about personifying the heartburn as cattle-rustling villains? They could show these cattle-rustlers grab some helpless guy, rip open his shirt, heat up some cattle brand (shaped like a chili dog or a slice of pizza, or something like that), and brand him in the chest with it to indicate heartburn; and then this quick-draw Alka Seltzer hero gunfighter can ride up, quick-draw the Alka Seltzer, and shoot tablets at the guy’s burn, healing it instantly! Then the bad guys get scared away by this powerful force for good, and they ride off with their tails between their legs, and their horses’ tails between their legs, too. (They could really show the villains’ horses with their tails between their legs too, just for fun, and pointed out by an announcer, so we all get it.)

So there are a lot of directions they could go with this campaign, now that they’ve started down this road of the quick-draw cowboy gunfighter hero Alka Seltzer guy. They could also have some quick-draw gunfighter villain all clad in black in a future ad, like Jack Palance in Shane, or Lee Van Cleef in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. So in this spot, they could have the bad guy walking around at an outdoor carnival, shooting chili dogs into people’s mouths and stuff, and causing their chests to glow orange and red with heartburn, and he’s laughing maniacally the whole time he’s doing it. But then our hero arrives on his noble steed, and he cures everyone’s heartburn, leading to the final confrontation between the gunfighters: so the Alka Seltzer guy draws faster, and the Alka Seltzer disarms the bad guy’s heartburn-causing food-shooting gun, emasculating him in front of everyone, and he runs away, defeated and demoralized! And Alka Seltzer saves the day again! Hooray!

Anyway, they can do so much with this idea, and it’s really a fun direction to take. I’m just surprised it’s so tame to start out, but maybe that’s so they can get sillier and crazier later on in similar ways to what I’ve laid out above. It would be fun to see them do that sort of thing. The whole heartburn subject, and a product that fights it, really opens itself to such a comedic approach, as you can clearly see in many Alka Seltzer ads over the years, like the spicy meatball ad everyone uses to joke about stereotypes of Italians in comedy shows like The Daily Show. So the more fun you can get, the better, I think. And this recent quick-draw heartburn fighter is a good way to go about it.

I can’t believe I can’t find this ad on YouTube, but here’s their “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing” commercial:

And here’s that Alka Seltzer “spicy meatball” ad from 1969:

Amazon Kindle “The Lorax” (Proposed) Ad

In this proposed commercial for the Amazon Kindle e-book reader, a very compact telling of Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax (the TV special, in the same visual cartoon style) plays out, showing a lush forest being over-logged until there is nothing left. The Once-ler tells the boy that there is a voracious appetite for trees for all kinds of purposes, including paper for books, newspapers, magazines, etc., and we must re-grow the forests to replace what we’ve removed, for the ecological balance of the planet. So at the end, the Once-ler says: “Take this to re-grow the forest” as he gives the boy the last Truffula tree seed, and he says: “And take this to help keep it from being cut down again”, whereupon he hands the boy an Amazon Kindle, so he can spread the word that we can all read everything we used to read, but without cutting down anymore trees. The End.

This is an ad idea of mine for Amazon’s Kindle e-reader. I really like the ads they’ve done for the Kindle, but most of them seem to focus on people getting lost and enraptured in the world of the books they’re reading (which would be a great ad for the library, but works well for an e-reader too), as opposed to the environmental aspect of saving trees by not printing books on them as much when people read books on an e-reader. Maybe there are ads for the Kindle that focus more on the environmental tree-saving aspects of the Kindle, but I haven’t seen them. So I thought I’d come up with one that addresses this very real and pressing issue and very real benefit of the Kindle.

And there's also a new movie version of The Lorax coming out this year (I just found out about it when I went to get the links for the Wikipedia pages), so it would be extra zeitgeisty. I came up with this idea a few months ago, and I thought it was perhaps a bit out of date, since the novelty of the e-readers has somewhat worn off; but with the new movie version of The Lorax, perhaps it would be a good tie-in. (But still, I think referencing the TV special look and feel would be a much better way to go here. You just can't beat those old cartoon Dr. Seuss TV specials!)

Here are links to the Wikipedia pages for The Lorax, both the book and the TV special:

VW Star Wars The Bark Side Super Bowl Teaser Ad

Okay, so I guess VW is doubling down on the Darth Vader references, despite the fact that associating themselves with Darth Vader as an advertising mascot might tend to remind everyone that their company was in actual fact founded by Adolf Hitler. I would have advised against it, but I must admit that the ads are cute, and I like them. Still, though, the fact that the Star Wars Empire was inspired by Nazi Germany, and the fact that Darth Vader is our sort-of Hitler Stand in (or is he more of a Heinrich Himmler type?), seems to me to so hit the nail on the head about letting people in on their Nazi past so effectively, they might as well put Hitler mustaches on the grilles of their cars if they’re going to go that route.

But maybe I’m wrong about this whole thing. Perhaps VW drivers are those dark-side types who only buy VWs because of their Nazi affiliation, and these ads are merely intended to get that message out to the evil dark-side types that they’ve got real life Empire-like beginnings, but without clueing the rest of us by calling a spade a spade, so to speak. Besides, they’re a German company, so coming out and glorifying the Nazis in ads might get them in trouble with the law there, so the best they can do is do the same thing in spirit by glorifying the evil Darth Vader and hope that everyone figures out that they’re trying to make a reference to their founding father, the Darth Vader of the Fatherland: Adolf Hitler. I’m just not so sure this is a good idea, that’s all.

But I like the dogs, that’s for sure. They’re cute. And without the inclusion of German Shepherds, the Nazi’s favorite dogs (at least in movies and TV shows), perhaps they’re hoping we won’t notice the Empire-Nazi connection and remember stuff like the fact that Adolf Hitler founded Volkswagen. But it seems like an awfully big chance to take on something that could end up being a big PR disaster if people do notice it.

BTW: This might sound like a hit-job on Volkswagen, but it’s not. I really like Volkswagen; I’m only commenting on their marketing/advertising strategy and the actual, historical fact that this company was founded by Adolf Hitler, and as such, I think they ought to avoid the whole Star Wars Empire thing, seeing as how it’s modeled on Nazi Germany, which is where and when VW was founded by you-know-who. So personally, I don’t think the Nazi beginnings of VW should reflect on their cars today: they haven’t been run by Nazis for decades, and they’ve been making great cars for years, so that should be enough for consumers, right? But the fact remains that by referencing Darth Vader, they’re tipping their hat to the Nazis, albeit unintentionally, and that might make some people remember the Hitler thing, and people are kind of mad at that guy. Even Michael Jordan can’t wear a Hitler mustache without being bashed for it, so you’d think VW might get some flack for being founded by the guy: a little more of an association than a facial hair fashion choice, I’d think. (Besides, Michael Jordan had a Hitler beard to match, so it’s a totally different look than Hitler! I mean, he had a hipster beard. Oh, sorry: I screw that up so often!) So I’d try to avoid leading people to remembering that association with Hitler, if I were working for VW in advertising. But I’m not, so there you are. And I guess they either don’t realize it (the Hitler association suggested by the Darth Vader ads), or they don’t care.

Here’s the Sith-aggrandizing ad (It’s a howler!):

Bayer Advanced Aspirin “Twice As Fast” Ad

Okay, I have to call bullcrap. Bayer Aspirin says its new aspirin is “clinically proven to work twice as fast” as its previous aspirin. Okay, first off, why did they want us to suffer through the torture of headache and muscle pain for longer than we had to in the past? Do they hate us? And second, apparently this new “fast acting” aspirin is being marketed in an attempt to lure in younger buyers, those not wanting relief from a heart attack. So I guess if you’re having a heart attack, you can wait for relief; but if you have a muscle ache: IT HAS TO WORK RIGHT NOW!! Somehow, I feel like their priorities are out of whack, but whatever.

Okay, so young whippersnappers are really impatient. You know, like 40-year-olds. Yes, for you see, their new ads are supposedly aimed at the 40-year-old audience, as opposed to the 60-year-olds they usually get to buy their stuff. This is actually a factoid I gleaned from a rather interesting article about this product that said Bayer was trying to improve “stagnating” aspirin sales. Um, maybe they could produce more crappy music! That’s what works on me to get the headache going. But then they’d be copying the Head On strategy, and that’s cheating. How about this: show young people how bad for their liver it is to take Tylenol and drink alcohol close together. Those college kids do get those hangovers every so often, you know! So tell them that aspirin works better and is safer than Tylenol for hangover headaches (so long as you don’t mind bleeding ulcers, which are for old people anyway). That ought to invigorate the youth market!

But what really gets me is how they claim that their new aspirin is “clinically proven” to work twice as fast as their older, lame aspirin. Um, you can’t really clinically prove anything anyway (You can show suggested relationships of cause and effect, but that’s not actually proof.), so you know they’re lying already. But all pain drugs use this claim in their advertising anyway, so it’s not really Bayer’s fault, and they’re no bigger liars than everyone else. But you can’t really prove it works twice as fast anyway (How do we know it’s not the placebo effect? Did they tell the patients it would work faster? We don’t know what they did, so the claim is a bit dubious.): you can show evidence to suggest it does, though, which is what I would have preferred to hear. But people are so used to being lied to in commercials, they would think something was less effective if it made a lower claim, right? And so they all must keep on exaggerating as long as it is permitted! It’s just the way it works.

I’m surprised they didn’t say: “Aspire to New Bayer Aspirin: Aspiring to be the Best!”

Here’s the accelerated aspirin ad:

And here’s that article I referred to about the Bayer marketing strategy for this new aspirin:

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

eBay Salon Ad

Women sit in a salon getting pedicures while talking about shoes and gossiping about celebrities in this recent spot for eBay. The basic plotline is that one of the salon customers is shopping for designer shoes on her smartphone, and as she tries to interest the people around her in her Carrie-esque shoe fetish (Carrie from Sex and the City, not the pig-blood-soaked prom queen and telekinetic terrorist from the great Stephen King/Brian De Palma/Sissy Spacek movie Carrie), they all gossip about an actress who supposedly has the same pair of shoes the shoe-coveting lady wants to buy, culminating in a pedicurist claiming she did said actress’s toenails before, and she had toes like a sloth’s claws. (She says: “toes like a sloth”, but then indicates claws with her fingers. Which I think means her toes are like a sloth’s claws, as opposed to, say, being like a whole sloth, or a family of sloths hanging off the ends of her feet.)

This ad gets extremely mixed reviews for its YouTube posting, but I think it’s supposed to be funny. It’s funny to me especially, since most women I know aren’t interested in buying second-hand shoes on eBay, and most people know you really have to try shoes on to know if they fit well enough first before you buy them. But then again, TV commercials are mostly just fantasy anyway, so why bother trying to be believable, right? But this ad communicated something very different to me than an encouragement to shop on eBay, or a demonstration of how you can shop from the comfort of getting your toes attacked by someone using sharp implements.

Yes, I’m afraid the joke line that was supposed to be the big hit of this spot said something else to me, and so much so, that I didn’t even realize it was an ad for eBay until I had seen it multiple times. Yes, the thing is, the shoes this woman is displaying on her smartphone are these ridiculously uncomfortable-looking 6-inch spike-heeled monstrosities that are all the rage with masochistic women these days. And when the pedicurist lady says the actress who owns these shoes has toes like a sloth’s claws, all I can think of is: “Of course she does! She wears those horrible foot-torturing shoes with the 6-inch heels! When you wear those things, gravity pulls your entire body weight down onto your toes all day long, so of course this is going to mutilate your toes and crush them into sloth-claw-like talon shapes!” And that image, combined with my disbelief that women are not only willing to wear those torture devices on their feet, but that they actually seem to want to wear them, just blows my mind, and as a result, I simply didn’t/couldn’t pay attention to what the ad was advertising after that sloth toes comment.

And here is the big issue for me with this spot: the commercial is supposed to make me want to shop on eBay and demonstrate to me how much stuff is available to buy on eBay, but it really only serves to remind me of how I can’t believe women wear such horribly feet-mangling shoes! (As well as presenting an unintentional explanation of what will happen to your feet if you buy and wear them, which I should think would only serve to demonstrate why nobody should ever buy such shoes to begin with!) And not only are such shoes horribly uncomfortable, but they’re also ridiculously expensive! And I suppose that’s why she’s buying them on eBay: nobody but a rich and famous celebrity could possibly afford to buy them new! Oh, and I guess with shoes like these, they’re so horrifically and torturously uncomfortable, it doesn’t really matter if they fit right or not anyway, since they couldn’t possibly be less comfortable no matter what size they are, so it doesn’t make any difference if you buy them on eBay, since they’re going to hurt like crazy and deform your feet regardless of what size they are and how they fit.

Years ago, The Kids in the Hall had a comedy sketch about a designer (played by David Foley) who said he “love(s) the beautiful woman”, and he also “hate(s) the ugly woman”, so he designs ridiculously expensive fashions to torture ugly women: one of these being a “hat” which is simply a railroad spike driven through the head, and the other being a pair of boxes full of broken shards of glass with straps on them to be worn as shoes. This is what these absurdly high-heeled and absurdly high-priced contemporary women’s shoes make me think of: a torture device designed to punish women both physically and financially, but which nevertheless women stampede to subject themselves to the indignity and torment of. It simply beggars belief that anyone would do such a thing to their feet and pocketbooks, but there you are. And after women valiantly struggled for equal rights, this is what they get for their troubles! I guess it’s an example of “one step forward, two steps back”. (Literally: because these shoes are so hard to walk in!)

Here’s the foot-crushing, toe-torturing shoes & claw comment commercial:

Monday, January 23, 2012

Weight Loss Cash Bonus Program

On NPR yesterday, I heard a discussion about a program where overweight people are paid money to lose weight. They said it was very effective, offering obese people (they were workers at large companies they were talking about, or at least, that’s the impression I got) an immediate monetary reward to lose weight. But is this really a good idea? And is this simply another form of discrimination that will backfire? What the hell am I talking about? Well, here’s what I mean:

If you’re paying fat people money to lose weight, then everyone will want to be fat so they can get the extra money, right? So everyone will stuff themselves with lard and Twinkies (saving Hostess from bankruptcy: yay!) so they can get fat, and all so they can get paid money to lose weight. And then they'll all get the horrible diseases they're trying to prevent in the first place with this program! But then people may challenge this program for discrimination, since it only pays fat people to lose weight, which is clearly unfairly discriminating against thin people and dumping cash on overweight people just for being obese, and that’s just wrong.

So after this challenge, skinny people will win the right to be paid to lose weight too, and then they will all die of malnutrition, having all become bulimic and anorexic, murdered by this evil bribe program! Plus, it will get overweight people so used to being paid to lose weight, they will refuse to ever lose weight without being bribed to do it ever again! So when this program comes to an end, all obese people will eat extra food and be extra slovenly to gain more weight faster than ever before to protest not getting any more free money for losing weight, and this will cause them all to die of heart attacks and diabetes, and all because of this horribly lethal program! Either way, everyone will die horribly, due to this wrong-headed plan.

Plus, like with most programs of this sort, normally healthy people will get no reward for doing the right thing, and out of protest, they will all overeat, smoke cigarettes, eat Baconators all day, avoid exercise, etc., until they all die, to show how wrong this whole plan is for rewarding the wrong people all along! And then there will be nobody left to protect us all from the alien invasion, and we’ll all be vaporized by laser ray guns! (If we’re not eaten first by mutant giant ants and dinosaurs created from all the overheated nuclear reactors that melt down because of everyone dying in protest of this bigoted program!)

See? They’re just out to kill us all! I told you!

Here’s the scale-stepping story (This is all that’s on NPR’s website, but I thought they were talking about more than this. If it’s just this, then it’s not as much of a threat, since it’s just Colorado, and of course they’re all fat, since skiing is just sliding downhill on sticks, requiring no fitness whatsoever. Plus, it helps to be fat, so you can be pulled down the hill by gravity, right?):

(I know, I know: skiing requires fitness: I'm only joking about that! But everything else is true!!)

Sprint Unlimited iPhone Ad

This spot begins with a countryside helicopter shot, moves through a suburban area, and cuts to a downtown cityscape, with the logos of iPhone apps floatings around in the air around homes and businesses, and hovering over cars and a moving train, etc. Then the announcer says that there are over half-a-million apps for the iPhone, yadda yadda, and there’s practically no limit to what it can do, etc. Then they ask why anyone would want to limit the iPhone, cutting to video of a little boy playing with an iPhone.

Okay, so that’s a good ad, right? It sure looks nice and stuff, and the message is pretty good for Sprint’s unlimited data plan. But there’s definitely something about this spot that’s a bit questionable, and it really has more to do with the iPhone than with the commercial. You see, the spot ends with a little kid playing with a iPhone, and that raises a lot of issues. One of these issues is that the kid could accidentally charge up tons of money while playing with the iPhone, so leaving it out for the kid to find and play with could be disastrous. But if you have Sprint’s unlimited data plan, at least it shouldn’t gouge you in that way (with roaming, and going over your data limit, etc.); and showing the little boy with the iPhone makes this suggestion, which may be entirely accidental, by the way: they may have simply wanted to end the spot on a cute kid playing with the iPhone.

But they may also have ended with showing the kid playing with the iPhone to show the childlike fascination he has for the iPhone, and that we all had as kids for cool gadgets, and to indicate that in getting an unlimited data plan, we can all get back that childlike fascination too, because the iPhone’s potential is truly unleashed and unlimited for all iPhone users with such a plan, bringing back that sense of wonder and awe we all had as kids for neat-o things. But getting back to the boy playing with it, this can also be seen as all the video game charges kids can make during an unsupervised game on the iPhone (or any smartphone, I think), and that’s scary, and also something which the Sprint unlimited data plan would not help you with; in fact, it may make it even more likely to happen. But that’s not Sprint’s fault, unless they own video game companies that target children in this way to gouge parents for more money. And I don’t think they do own any of those reprehensible companies.

Okay, so here’s another issue with the child, and it’s an even bigger issue for me. When I see a kid playing with an iPhone by himself, I think more of child neglect than childlike wonder at amazing gadgets (although I remember being a little boy fascinated with gadgets, and I’d love to be a little boy again to play with an iPhone!). Apparently lots of parents are just handing their kids their iPhones to keep the kids busy so they can ignore them. That’s how the kids end up charging thousands of dollars’ worth of “free” video game stuff, like that virtual aquarium game price gouging scheme targeting children that was exposed on The Daily Show: because they’re unsupervised. But this is a far smaller issue than a real problem developing in our society today: adults are becoming so involved with playing with their iPhones all the time that they’re completely shutting everyone else out. Families are being driven apart with parents spending all their time on the smartphones and completely ignoring their children and spouses. People go on dates nowadays where both parties just sit at restaurant tables and play with their smartphones while absolutely ignoring each other. This habit is getting to the point where people are so engrossed in using these little gadgets that they’re literally walking into traffic and getting killed. And it’s pushing people apart more than it’s bringing them together.

So when I see a kid playing with an iPhone in an ad that says they don’t know why anyone would want to limit the iPhone, and then they offer unlimited data plans for such phones, I just think about how this kid will now be completely ignored by his parents from now on because of this phone and this unlimited data plan. And then it makes me think of those DirecTV ads where they show all the bad things that can result from something, and I see in my head this whole montage of this kid becoming a juvenile delinquent, getting arrested, acting out more and more, all in an attempt to get noticed by his parents, and eventually ending up in jail on murder charges. (And I hear that DirecTV ad announcer’s voice saying: “When you get a Sprint unlimited data plan for the iPhone, your children get neglected. When your children get neglected…”)

So I think this is a good ad for the product, but that you can read a lot of bad things into it. It might actually be fun and a public service as well for Sprint to run an ad about their unlimited data plan for the iPhone that says you can do anything you want on the iPhone now with this unlimited data plan, and that it’s so great, people might forget to interact with their friends and family, so then they remind people to talk to and acknowledge the people they care about, and not to use the phone all the time, even though now they can.

Here’s the unlimited ad:

October Surprise

I keep hearing about how everybody in political campaigns wants to avoid having an “October Surprise”. And who can blame them? It sounds really fattening. And since it’s called an “October Surprise”, it must be related somehow to Halloween, right? So, in keeping with the time-honored tradition of desserts called a “(Something) Surprise”, shouldn’t restaurants begin offering a dessert called an “October Surprise” to their political customers? (Especially when catering to political events.)

So, seeing as how it’s called an “October Surprise”, I propose it to be something like this: A candied pumpkin jackal lantern with chocolate candies inside shaped like donkeys (for Democrats), elephants (for Republicans), question marks (for the surprise), exploding television sets (for the explosive revelation of said surprise), and big protruding lower lips (for the disappointment of losing the election).

So it would be like a Halloween treat for politicians, which would be especially appropriate, since they’re constantly pretending to be something they’re not (honest and caring) all the time, just like little kids do for Halloween when they dress up as monsters and superheroes and stuff. And given that politicians behave all immature and petulant all the time, just like schoolchildren do, hypocritically name-calling, twisting people’s words to make fun of them, and constantly picking on their opponents, spreading exaggerated and twisted gossip about them behind their backs, isn’t it extra appropriate that they should get a Halloween-themed candy treat dessert themselves? Children get Halloween candy, so surely adults that act like children should get some too, shouldn’t they? Plus, politicians and political pundits are far scarier than monsters, and they harm and endanger way more people, too. So then they deserve an “October Surprise”: the dessert that’s like Halloween candy for adults!

It’s the least they deserve for giving us all a year-round horror show!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Lake Flaccid (A Proposed Ad for Viagra)

An announcer tells us the following story, with appropriate visual accompaniment in the form of video showing what's being talked about (specifics written in parentheses):

Lake Flaccid is a quiet lakeside community: it even says so on the sign welcoming people to town: "Lake Flaccid: A Quiet Lakeside Community". But it's really too quiet. The men walk around like broken men, with no bounce in their step. The women are bored and melancholy. And so it was until one day a truck carrying little blue pills crashed off the lakeside road and went into the lake. (We see a truck with "Viagra" painted on the side crashed into the lake.) Everything changed that day, and nobody knows why. All of a sudden, people started appearing more positive, more enthusiastic, more confident, and happier all around. They began socializing more often, and celebratory parties became so frequent that they changed the name of the lakeside town to: "Rock Hard Lake"! (A rocking song with a smoking guitar solo kicks in when the announcer reveals this, and we see a nighttime shot of the houses on the lake, with colored lights flashing and stuff to indicate people are having parties.) Yes, nobody knows what caused everything to change that day, but the town was somehow rejuvenated. Who knows what it was? I guess it must be something in the water... (Then the logo for Viagra appears on the screen.)

This is an idea of mine for a Viagra ad, making a joke on the movie title: Lake Placid. It was originally intended as a joke ad, but after some of the more outrĂ© things they've done lately for Viagra ads, maybe they could do it for real...

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Geraldo's Sinking Ship Show

I just saw part of some special Geraldo did on the crashed cruise ship Costa Concordia. It was pretty good reporting. But in listening to Geraldo bash this captain for his blunderingly bad judgement, etc., I couldn't help but notice that this condemnation was coming from the same guy who had the bad judgment to draw a diagram in the sand of an imminent US military operation on a live news feed, giving away their position, and ruining the element of surprise. So a good show on this maritime disaster, but maybe the editorial stuff could remind us of things we're not supposed to remember? So perhaps a simple objective report of the facts would be a better course of action for Geraldo. But then again, he used to be a daytime scandal rag TV show host, so maybe he's not capable of repressing that habit.

One thing I will say, though, is this: Geraldo called this captain a coward, and it may be true, too; but there's one thing that's definitely, positively for sure: Geraldo Rivera is one brave Motherf#$%&! He's had his nose crushed by skinheads, and he's been shot at by both sides of this recent Libyan revolution, and that's a fact! In fact, anyone who saw his Fox News coverage of the Libyan rebel fighters knows he was under fire and almost left to die on the battlefield, and he never stopped reporting the whole time (!). He never even said: "Hey: where are you going?" (His producers said that, and most likely saved his life.) Plus, the whole time, he was saying that the rebels were completely incompetent with weapons, and the only people they were liable to kill were themselves, all within earshot of the rebels holding loaded weapons, and while they were being fired upon by Khadafi's troops (!!). So this guy knows about courage, that's all I can say! Judgment? Maybe not. But Geraldo is one tough guy, you'd better believe it!

Friday, January 20, 2012


I just saw last week's episode of Real Time with Bill Maher, and he had Herman Cain on for a satellite interview. Underneath Cain's face on the video was a little identifier that said it was Herman Cain, and that he was from: "CainConnections.com". Um, considering what made Mr. Cain bow out of the presidential race, is it really such a good idea for him to start a website as his public face that sounds like a dating or late night hook-up website? I mean, really: it sounds like "LiveLinks" or something like that, doesn't it? And after all these women came out of the woodwork to claim that he was having affairs and trying to initiate one-night stands, this website simply sounds like he's trying to set up more dates for himself, or trying to hook the rest of us up like it seemed like he had been hooked up, if you know what I mean. And I think in light of everything that's come before this, and especially for a businessman who ought to know how things are going to look, this website name is a bit ill-advised. But then again, maybe he doesn't know better, and that's how all these little relationships got started (allegedly) that sank his campaign. But one would think that at least one of his political advisors would have had the decency to tell him what this website name would sound like. Although perhaps they're still too cheesed off about how this whole thing ended to want to help him anymore: who knows. But I have a difficult time believing that anyone could fail to see the irony in him selecting the name "CainConnections.com" as his new website: it's just too hilarious to miss! Unless it really is what it sounds like...

Servpro Doll Ads

Servpro has been running these ads with dolls for a while now, and it's cute, but wouldn't it take Barbie and Ken-sized dolls a lot longer to clean up fire or water damage than actual human-sized people? It just seems like the dolls might not be the best idea to communicate an effective clean-up team. But they are cute, and the animation is very nicely done. Kind of like in Robot Chicken.

Here are some examples of this disaster clean-up campaign:

Apple's New iCephalopod

Yes, it's Apple's new iCephalopod: the handy grab-all device from Apple! Remember those evil multi-legged robot thingies from The Matrix that chased the ship all over the place? Well, they'd be kinda like that, only nicer. The iCephalopod would be very much like an iPod or an iPhone, at least in shape, but it would do something very different: it would have movable, retractible, cable-like arms that would enable mobility-impaired people to reach for and grab things around them with ease! (Kind of like Doctor Octopus's arms, but smaller.) And with multiple arms, it would certainly be able to grab and lift or control even complex objects with ease, or grab a number of different objects at once, like spices from the spice rack for cooking! Plus, with its touch screen controller interface, or its voice-recognition software controlled by Siri, it can be controlled by finger movements, or by voice alone. That's the iCephalopod: buy it wherever imaginary Apple products are sold! (But maybe they really ought to make one: After all, as we all become more sedentary and obese, especially with our increased use of computers to do most of our daily stuff for us, these iCephalopod things and their robotic arms will go from being handy to positively necessary just to get the stuff we need on a regular basis; you know, the stuff that's just lying about the house, like the TV remote, our keys, our cell phones, etc. Because you see, with the way things are going, we're going to become way too large and out-of-shape to get it ourselves pretty soon!)

Rehabilitating Fingerprints

On NPR yesterday, there was a story about a decapitated head in a bag found under the Hollywood sign, and then reports that police had found hands and feet as well. This led to an interview with a forensic investigator who said he worked with "rehabilitating fingerprints". This sounded quite alarming to me. So if the police department is attempting to rehabilitate fingerprints, does this mean that fingerprints are committing crimes too, all by themselves? And since this whole issue was raised in reference to a story about a horrendous murder, could this mean that fingerprints are behind this vicious crime?

Are fingerprints themselves violent, psychopathic criminals, detaching themselves from our fingers at night to perpetrate horrible crimes, after which they furtively sneak back and re-adhere themselves to our unsuspecting fingertips? Or more troublingly, could they indeed be peer-pressuring their fingers to engage in criminal behavior, or more shockingly, could it be possible that these criminal fingerprints are actually possessing their owners' bodies while they're asleep, forcing them to commit heinous crimes, after which the person remembers nothing? If the police are trying to rehabilitate fingerprints, then this must be true! And if this is the case, then how do we know who is guilty: a person or their fingerprints?

I only hope the police are able to rehabilitate these criminal fingerprints before it's too late!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Burger King Home Delivery Ad Slogan?

I just heard a news story claiming that Burger King is beginning a new home delivery service. If they don’t have an ad slogan for that yet, might I suggest the following:

“Now your home is the home of the whopper!”


“‘Have it your way’ is coming your way.”


“Have it your way, (and) we’ll bring it your way.”

Here’s the story, delivered right to you: