Thursday, May 31, 2012

One Shade of Grey

The book Fifty Shades of Grey is a real phenomenon, selling lots and lots of copies, and stimulating readership worldwide. But not everyone has the time to read such a racy novel, and not everyone is interested in trudging through the descriptions of all the reprehensible deviant behavior relayed in this tome. That’s why the Short Attention Span Bookbinders and the “moral majority” have teamed up to create a new classic for the more appropriately behaved among us: One Shade of Grey. It is the exciting and heartwarming (and indeed titillating) story of a young woman who falls in love with a sophisticated man, and after she marries him, they have sex on their honeymoon in the church-approved “missionary” position. The end. (It’s both romantic and pithy, not to mention acceptable and appropriate!)

And of course the title of this novel refers to the fact that this man’s life was “one shade of gray” because his hair was “one shade of gray”; but after using Just for Men, he finally attracted the attentions of this one young lady, and believing it was the hair dye, he thought he’d better grab this chance while he could, and before she found out that he really has gray hair, because the men in all those Just for Men ads always get rejected once their dates find out they actually have gray hair! (I hope she won’t divorce him when she finds out! I guess he needs to have a codicil in the pre-nup specifically state that she may not divorce him for his gray hair, or else she gets nothing from his estate.)

Hey, you know what? Maybe Just for Men ought to make a “50 Shades of Gray” Just for Men hair dye product! They could say that the fifty shades of gray tones make for a more convincing “silver fox” look, and they could market it to younger guys who are being rejected by women for not looking sufficiently sophisticated or accomplished. Then they could dye their hair gray for that “successful man-of-the-world” look! (Wouldn’t it be fun to see young men dye their hair gray to look older? Then we could trick them into thinking it’s cool to be old! Then we old guys will have a shot at the ladies again! And next we could create some idiom like, oh, I don't know, maybe: “Life begins at 40!” But that’s too young, isn’t it? Okay then, how about 60? Or maybe 70? If we go too old, they might not believe us! But who cares? Let’s just see how far we can string them along until they finally wake up and see they’ve been had! That’s what I always say!)

Democratic Convention in North Carolina

Apparently there is a bit of a kerfuffle over the fact that the Democratic Party is holding their convention in a “right-to-work” state. (That means you have a right to work, but you still must fight for your right to party.*) So now the unions are mad, and that’s bad for Democrats, because they have to kowtow to unions just like Republicans have to kowtow to oil companies, big business, and Wall Street (although Wall Street gave more campaign cash to Obama in 2008 than they ever gave to anyone else in ever: go figure. That’s a lot of wasted ass-kissing by Republicans!). So that means it’s like if the Republican Party held their convention in Venezuela or something.

Here’s the (old) story:

* I want to live in a “right-to-party” state! Elect me president, and I’ll make every state a “right-to-party” state! (Whoo-hoo! Free J├Ąger shots! Mandatory beer bongs! A Toga Party convention! All drugs legalized! Only party-pooper pansies would vote for someone else!)

Beautyrest Recharging Ad

This commercial begins with a series of little vignettes presenting people recharging many normal everyday items such as video game controllers, cell phones, electric toothbrushes, cars (a Nissan Leaf, actually, although I’m not sure many people are really doing this yet), etc., while the announcer says: “We charge everything else. Maybe it’s time to recharge the human battery.” (Why do we “charge” everything else and “recharge” the human body? Shouldn’t we “recharge” everything, especially since this is a direct analogy and metaphor? Or are they thinking about all the money they’re going to make, and that’s why they say “charge”? But they didn’t want us to suspect, so they applied the “charge” to the inanimate objects, and said “recharge” about the humans?) Then they show some lady resting on a couple of beds and mattresses, while computer graphics show us what the mattresses are made out of, etc. Then the lady is shown sleeping on a bare mattress, and text indicates this is “Proper Sleeping Posture™”.

Yes, apparently Beautyrest owns proper sleeping posture, and you’re not allowed to use it, in fact nobody is, unless you buy their mattresses (!). Yes, apparently this is why we have so much unnecessary pain and spine problems in the world: Beautyrest is hogging all the proper sleeping posture for themselves, and they’re extorting money from us all to allow us to use it! Those fiends! They should branch out into chiropractor stuff too: then they could trademark “Proper Alignment™”, and they could sue anyone who had proper alignment for copyright infringement unless they first bought a mattress from them and paid through the nose for their chiropractor services to boot! Think of all the money they could make! And then the court system could force everyone to sleep wrong and to have scoliosis and spinal problems unless they bought a Beautyrest mattress! I’m telling you: this is the future of the mattress industry: shaking people down for having correct posture!

And it’s odd, because according to Beautyrest, the “Proper Sleeping Posture™” is to lie directly in the center of a double bed, and to sleep with no sheets or blankets on (!). (Maybe that’s so they can tell more easily who is infringing on their trademarked sleep posture on the wrong brand of mattress, so they can sue them. Which must mean they have secretly installed webcams in all of our bedrooms!) But hey, these people are professionals, so they know what they’re talking about! And this is why men always hog the mattresses and steal all the covers off of you, ladies: they’re just trying to show their wives/significant others how to sleep properly so you can learn how to do it right! You see, it’s because they care about you that they always hog the bed and steal all the covers: they’re leading by example, and they’re just trying to help show you how to do what’s right for you! But since women never listen to men, in order to help the women they care about, men have to demonstrate things like this without making it clear that’s what they’re doing. (So ladies, remember that the next time you complain you’re being squeezed off the bed and have no covers! You’re just being ungrateful of your man’s helpful demonstrative persistence, and this ad proves it!)

Oh, but by the end of this ad, the woman’s mattress turns into a huge electrical recharge bay, and our heroine is exposed to massive amounts of high voltage electricity and radiation! She’s going to be the Bride of Frankenstein! Isn’t this dangerous, secretly exposing sleeping people to high voltages? Those maniacs! They’re planning on electrocuting us when we’re at our most vulnerable: when we’re fast asleep! Oh my God!

Save yourself! Trust no-one: anyone and everyone could be a clandestine Beautyrest agent secretly attempting to electrocute you! Sleep alone, and always wear a full-body rubber suit! That should help protect you from their “shocking” plans!

(Or am I overreacting here? Maybe they’re not trying to make us all into electricity-fed automatons tasked with doing their bidding like some sort of cyborg army of electrical supermen. Perhaps they’re simply trying through these ads to subliminally plant the ideation of human-electrical hybridization, hoping we might defy our mothers and collectively lick our fingers and stick them in an electrical outlet {!}. But even if that’s all it is they’re trying to do here, won’t that place millions of lives at risk? I mean, I understand that they’re simply experimenting with creating electrically-charged super-humans so they can enslave us all to help them rule the world, and there’s nothing really all that wrong with that in theory, but what if we’re not all susceptible to electrical super-humanizaton? That is to say, despite how unlikely it may be, what if being electrocuted harms people, rather than making them into superheroes? Hey, it could happen! Then they would be guilty of horrific crimes, rather than the saviors of humanity! But hey: I guess if there’s a chance at creating a race of electrical supermen, you’ve just got to try it, no matter the cost. So I suppose I can’t really blame them after all.)

Here’s the current customer-charging commercial:

Frank’s Red Hot Sauce Bake Sale Ad

In this commercial for Frank’s Red Hot Sauce, we see a bake sale in support of a church (This is already illegal in some states: Massachusetts has deemed baked goods to be threatening our children and destroying America to such an extent that they have been banned for any and all fundraising sales there. {It’s funny when a yummy snack treat is considered child abuse, isn’t it? I’d say making them illegal is child abuse, but that’s just me being reasonable.} I guess now they’ll have to sell narcotics to raise money for schools and churches from now on, since they’re so much less dangerous than cookies and cupcakes.), where an old lady is congratulated and thanked for her lemon squares, the sales of which alone are purportedly sufficient to restore the church’s roof. And when asked what makes her treats so sinfully delicious, she replies: “Frank’s Red Hot Sauce: I put that (bleep) on everything!” (Ha ha! Hot sauce on lemon squares? Oh, the hilarity! She must be demented. But this ad, demonstrating as it does the popularity of these lemon squares, threatens us all by forcing everyone to put hot sauce in lemon squares from now on. Think of the children! All those tiny burned mouths! Oh, the humanity! Oh, well: it serves them right for all that back-talk.)

Now, mercifully our virgin ears are not assaulted by such vile filth as what old ladies spew forth from their potty-mouths, but given the context, and the mouth movements we observe with our x-ray vision, it would appear that Granny makes a reference to excrement that is, as the dictionary might have put it, “usually considered vulgar”. (That is to say: “$#!†”.) And as we all know, prim and proper old ladies uttering vulgarities is the height of clever comedy, as well as exhibiting guerilla-tactical persuasiveness of the highest order and ninja-master level. So once it is suggested that the old lady spouts obscenities, we’re as good as guaranteed to be Frank’s Red Hot Sauce consumers for life, even if we don’t realize it yet! (Maybe they’re employing some subliminal command during the bleep sound effect masking Granny Foul Mouth’s unacceptable utterance? Could that “bleep” actually be an acronym, perhaps for: “Buy Lots of Each and Every Product”?)

Oh, but this is only part of the humor! For not only does our elderly heroine pronounce obscenities, but she does so to a priest (!), and in front of a church (!!). Oh, for shame! This commercial is not only a threat to our nation’s relaxed moral values, it attacks the church as well! Well, I never! Next she’ll probably try to seduce young children! (Oh, but that would be going too far, for this is the church’s role in the community!* And for trying to horn-in on their child-molestation racket, they denounce her as a heretic and burn her at the stake! {Mercifully, Granny has developed a tolerance for burning heat, thanks to Frank’s Red Hot Sauce: every heretic’s best friend!} And that foul mouth is all they need as evidence: after all, we’ve all seen The Exorcist, right? Possession by the devil always makes nice people say dirty words! So that proves it right there!)

But while this amusing and groundbreaking comedic approach lends itself wonderfully well to manipulating us into purchasing their product, I worry that they may have unwittingly revealed some trade secret here. Because the old lady says: “I put that ($#!†) on everything!” And that seems to reveal the contents of the sauce’s secret recipe, doesn’t it? I mean, she basically comes right out and refers to it as excrement, and while they did bleep the word out, they didn’t try to alter the content of what she says, so that appears to me to be a tacit admission on their part that their hot sauce is indeed excrement, or at least contains mostly excretory-style ingredients. And since it’s such a spicy hot sauce, we’re not likely to notice the taste so much as the spiciness of it. So perhaps the Grandma in the ad is simply trying to warn us all that this sauce contains feces! Wow, and I would have thought the FDA would be requiring a warning label or something to that effect on the bottle. But I guess they’re probably too busy partying it up in Vegas on your tax dollars to do their jobs either.

Here’s the swear-spewing spot:

* That’s just a joke in bad taste! I’m sure no church would ever do anything like that! Right?

BTW: I noticed that Frank’s Red Hot Sauce has actually gone so far as to trademark the phrase: “I put that (bleep) on everything!™” So if you ever say that again about anything, you’re going to get dragged to court for trademark infringement and get your pants sued off until you cough up lots of cash. I honestly think doing things like this is the height of arrogance. A company really thinks it can simply hire a lawyer, pay some fee, and then own a colloquialism? This is patently ridiculous, and I think it should be illegal. I’m serious. Other companies should not steal their competitor’s ad slogans, particularly when it’s around the same time, but to say that some company owns a word or phrase forever and ever? That’s just plain insulting! And I hate it that companies are having the nerve to do such things now. It’s just plain asinine! Nobody should be allowed to own a word or a phrase, especially an idiomatic expression. That’s just outright intellectual theft! So say this is your slogan for the time being: fine, whatever. But to legally register an expression others coined and used for years before the ad agency applied it to your product? Go forth and procreate with yourself! (It’s something else if you coined the phrase yourself, like: “Think outside the bun”, etc. But to quite simply appropriate a pre-existing colloquial expression for your own commercial purposes? Don’t be ridiculous! And especially when it’s something with profanity in it that’s then bleeped out: do you really think you need to protect that with a trademark to prevent others from stealing it as their slogan as well? My eyes roll disparagingly with disbelief!)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

“Hasta Levitra, Baby!” (New Levitra Slogan?)

Levitra is one of the “big three” boner pills (the others being Viagra and Cialis), but lately I haven’t noticed their ads so much anymore. Have they thrown in the towel? Have they been squeezed out of the market? Or have I been missing their recent ads? (Or worst yet: have they lost their patent and gone {Gasp!} generic?) Well, I think it’s possible they’ve been losing their market share to the other flavors of boner pills lately. (I guess that would make Levitra the strawberry of the Neapolitan ice cream of boner pills.) And you know what that means: A new ad campaign could raise them up and put them right back on top again! (Or for the first time: whatever.)

So, what to do for Levitra to make it fly off the shelves and down old men’s throats again? Well, how about a new slogan? And I was thinking, Arnold Schwarzenegger is out of a job now, right? And he is most recently well-known for a very public sex scandal, right? So why not get him to shill for Levitra? He could use some of those famous catch-phrases from the Terminator movies! (A couple of which were, if I recall correctly, as follows: 1.) “I’ll be back”, and 2.) “Hasta la vista, baby”. When you think about it, they both seem to work really well for ads for Levitra, don’t they?) Here’s what I mean:

The first one: “I’ll be back”, would lend itself to a situation where a man is trying to have sex with a hot woman, but he is unable to, um, shall we say: “rise to the occasion”. So he tells his lady friend: “I’ll be back”, whereupon he gets up, goes to the bathroom, takes a Levitra, and comes back stiff as a board for the “horizontal bop”. Then the announcer says: “Problems with erectile dysfunction making your love life retreat? With Levitra, you’ll be back!” This might be a tad racy for a television commercial, so I would suggest doing this one as a joke ad on SNL or Robot Chicken, or else doing it for real as an Internet ad campaign that requires age verification to view it. (Or perhaps it could simply seem to suggest what is going on, without showing anything or being too specific in the language they use; it would be pretty easy, I should think.)

The second one: “Hasta la vista, baby”, is the flagship idea here. You see, it sounds like: “Hasta Levitra, baby”, doesn’t it? So it would play out like this: Some lady is endeavoring to “get it on” with some gentleman, but he “won’t stand for it”, so to speak. So the lady gets frustrated and says: “Hasta Levitra, baby!” And she kicks him out of bed. So then the announcer says: “Problems with erectile dysfunction? Hasta Levitra, baby!” Then they show the guy get his Levitra prescription from his doctor, they rattle off the list of warnings and disclaimers, and he goes back to the lady, who is somehow still waiting for him (she must have been catching up on the soaps), and he shows up, “standing tall”, so to speak, and they consummate their passion (which hopefully we don’t have to see! They could just show a top sheet & blanket bouncing around on top of some type of exaggerated activity underneath.). Then the announcer says: “So if you’re worried about erectile dysfunction, there’s just one thing to say: Hasta Levitra, baby!”

And the hero in each of these ads could be Arnold Schwarzenegger! He could be the guy who’s trying to get lucky with some elderly hottie, but he can’t get an erection. So he says his famous Terminator catch-phrases, gets some Levitra, gets aroused, gets a boner, and gets laid. And after his cheating double-life was exposed, women might enjoy seeing him get humiliated by impotence, while men might vicariously enjoy watching him engaged in his stealthy secret torrid affair activities.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Language Professors Hate Him, Etc.: Internet Ads

I keep seeing stupid Internet ads that have declarative statements of seething hatred from some professional group directed toward some specific person pictured in the ad. (Usually it's about some fitness thing, and it says something like: "Fitness Trainers Hate Him".) When I look at the picture, generally of some impossibly-built muscle-head, or of some old man's head Photoshopped onto a young man's body, purporting to demonstrate how the ad's fictional supplement or diet or exercise regimen works far better to keep you in great physical shape than any kind of bona fide fitness program, the general shameless level of obvious trickery on display makes it easy for me to understand why someone might hate at least some of the people associated with the ad, but I generally doubt the claims of hatred have any validity as presented whatsoever. That is to say, these ads are not the least bit convincing, and they are so shamelessly bogus and/or exaggerated as to insult the viewer.

I was reminded of these dumb ads again today when I saw one that read: "Language Professors Hate Him", and then there was an obvious library photo of some random guy. I believe I am supposed to be intrigued to the point of clicking on the ad, whereupon my computer probably becomes infected with a spambot or some such thing. (Although I don't know what happens, as I couldn't be less interested in the presumably false claims suggested or implied by these ads' presentations.) But we never really find out why language professors hate this guy. It could be that he has developed an amazingly efficient new manner in which to learn languages, such that the entire career path of language teacher/professor is rendered completely obsolete virtually overnight. Or, it could be that this guy hates language professors ever since one flunked him in intro Spanish in college, and so he now targets them for all kinds of harassment and vandalism, such as slashed tires, fraudulently ordered pizzas and Sham-Wows, constant telemarketer calls, etc. (The fiend!); and ever since an investigation revealed this guy's identity, his hapless victims, all language professors, have finally got a face to put with their hatred, generated as it was by their feelings of helpless victimization and the vindictiveness such experiences generate.

But just once, to validate the claims of these dodgy Internet ads stating some professional group hates some specific individual, I would love to see a news story that claimed the FBI recently broke up a criminal conspiracy of language professors to abduct and kill someone, and the picture in the news story ended up being exactly the same photograph as from these ads claiming language professors hate him (!). Now that would be fun! (Maybe it could turn out that the whole purpose of these ads all along was to warn this guy that there was a group of language professors out to murder him, and the ads were placed by the FBI from the beginning, because they didn't know where the guy was, but they knew of the conspiracy, and they were trying to save his life!) Plus, it would finally lend some badly-needed credibility to these insufferably disingenuous Internet ads! In fact, maybe they should fabricate and plant such a story to correspond to each of these ads, and that might appear to back up each and every one of them, making it look as if each person pictured is in fact living every moment in mortal danger! Then we might even care. (But probably not.)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Iron Maiden

Sam Dunn recently had a series running on VH1 Classic called: Metal Evolution, and at the beginning of each show, they start the credits with Iron Maiden’s song “The Trooper” (from Piece of Mind). I love Iron Maiden, but mostly I like their first two albums. I even just got their first album for the first time for Christmas, after having grown up with it on a tape someone else made for me. But there is a point to this, and it has to do with marketing (surprise!): for Iron Maiden has always used a mascot I don’t particularly like: Eddie.

I know, I know: everybody loves Eddie. And it’s not that I dislike Eddie in and of himself; it’s just that I just don’t see why they chose Eddie instead of an actual iron maiden as their mascot. If I had been their art director or marketing guy, I would have said to make an iron maiden their logo/mascot, and to have one on every album cover, and to have a big iron maiden suit that someone could wear onstage that opens up and spills blood and a skeleton out of it. But had I done that, maybe they wouldn’t be so popular! Every metal fan seems to love Eddie, so maybe it’s why they’re so big. But personally, I think it’s the music for which they are enormously popular, and Eddie is a complete and total non sequitur, negating the great imagery that could have come from using an iron maiden as a mascot for Iron Maiden.

But you know, maybe I’m too literal. I used to play in bands in New York City, and I was a big fan of the band Helmet at the time, when I was playing a lot of the same clubs they were (CBGB's, etc.). When I first heard of them, it was when I met their drummer through a mutual friend, and he said he was in a band called “Helmet”, and I said: “Oh, cool: do you guys all wear helmets on stage?” Well, he thought that was silly. But still, I think this kind of thing is good for imagery and branding purposes. KISS made it big on imagery, and they’re about as big as you can get, so I don’t understand why so many bands fight the imagery thing. But then again, that was the late 80s/early 90s, and everyone was really down on stage shows at the time, calling anyone who did one a “sellout”. Of course, four random guys with T-shirts and jeans got old really fast, so pretty soon we started to get more stage shows going, like from The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black and White Zombie. (But then again, I think White Zombie was doing it before and throughout the whole hipster anti-stage-show-thing. They were really something when they were a NYC bar band! Just amazing!)

So, where was I again? Oh, yes: Iron Maiden. Yeah, I kinda think they should have used an iron maiden as their mascot; it would have been way more appropriate. Then they could have had album titles like Horrors of the Black Museum, Put to the Question, etc., and they could have used that great last shot from the movie The Pit and the Pendulum of Barbara Steele's eyes staring through the closed iron maiden as liner notes art, or printed it on the surface of a cd or something. Now come on, honestly: wouldn't that have been fun?

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Assault Rifle BB Guns

Where I live, we constantly get junk mail stuff from some local sporting goods store, and always printed on the front of this newspaper-looking ad thingy are many BB guns that are designed to look exactly like well-known classic assault rifles, like AK-47s and AR-15s (M-16s, that is). Oh, but they don’t look exactly like them at all, now do they? For these BB guns have a little orange tip on the end of the barrel, to indicate that they are just BB guns, so nobody will think they are real assault rifles, and so nobody will meet the bearers of these mock firearms with deadly force. So that clears that issue up!

And I don’t wish to give anyone any ideas or anything, but, um, couldn’t people with real assault rifles simply paint an orange tip onto the real thing so people will think the guns are simply BB guns until they actually start shooting? And couldn’t someone simply snap the orange tip off the BB gun (or paint it black) and then go rob a bank with a BB gun? So this whole making-BB-guns-that-look-exactly-like-assault-rifles thing seems just a tad irresponsible to me. But I’m just a lame square, so what do I know?

It’s funny, because in this current world we find ourselves living, I believe it’s now illegal to make toy guns that look like real guns (I think to prevent tragic cases of shooting kids who appear to be brandishing real weapons when they’re only toys). But they’re still allowed to make BB guns that look just like real life assault rifles, like the same kinds terrorists and militias use? I’m sorry, but that seems kind of inadvisable to me, especially when they are being sold in an urban environment like Los Angeles. I don’t mean to deprive anyone of the fun of being shot by the police when someone calls 911 because they see you carrying one of these mock weapons, but for those who don’t want to panic everyone and get the SWAT team called on them, I’d think it would be sort of, you know, kind of like, um, not such a good idea to buy/sell/make, etc., BB guns like that. But I guess I’m just a buzzkill who always wants to rain on everyone’s parade, so don’t listen to me.

Oh, look: I see I’m not the first to think of this painting an orange tip on a real gun thing:

Drain Empties Into Ocean

We have these great signs spray-painted next to sewer drains along the roadsides here in Southern California that have a graphic of a fish skeleton, and around it, it says: “Drain Empties Into Ocean”. This is so we won’t pour all of our poisonous refuse into these drains I suppose. I guess they just want us to carry our buckets full of cyanide and strychnine and 20-molar sulfuric acid and stuff around all day or something. Maybe we’re supposed to pour all of our poison down the toilet at home, huh? Or maybe just drink it. But this message has always been quite amusing to me, because whenever I see this sign, I always think to myself: “If the ocean is just filled with nothing but fish skeletons already, what difference does it make what we pour down there?” Because honestly, that’s what it looks like they’re indicating.

I think the idea is that we’re supposed to see the fish skeleton and feel all guilty about all the fish that will become fish skeletons due to our wanton disregard of proper hazardous materials disposal, but are we really supposed to just walk all the way home with our wheelbarrow-full of glowing nuclear waste? If they really want us not to pour all of our liquid death and mayhem into the storm drains, then why not have a picture of a smiling fish? Then we’d see this happy fish, and not wanting to ruin its mood, we will somehow prevent ourselves from proceeding with our hazardous waste disposal at the local major intersection. (Oh, did I forget to mention that these are always at major street intersections with lights and turn lanes and the whole nine yards? Well, they are. And I only mention this because it’s not really the kind of place where I’d expect to find a lot of illegal clandestine toxic waste dumping. Oh, but maybe that’s why so many people do it: because we’d never be expecting it! Oh, but then how come the sign is painted there if nobody was ever expecting it to occur there?) The best would probably be to have a smiling, happy fish, and then next to it to have a fish skeleton with a circle with a line through it painted over it. This would tend to indicate that there are live fish at the end of this drain, and that it is, in fact, undesirable to force them against their will to become fish skeletons prematurely or unwittingly. (Unless it’s like Fish Halloween or something, and they’re just dressing up as fish skeletons to scare each other and/or go trick-or-treating, and we’re just misunderstanding what’s going on in the ocean or something. Rather than a bunch of dead fish skeletons, it could just be a scary fish costume party! You never know.)

But you know, maybe the sign looks like it does for another reason. It is possible that the local government agency that’s in charge of this storm drain sign painting and fish protection stuff is merely reporting what they’ve been finding lately. For when they go look at where the storm drains dump out into the ocean, all they find is a bunch of fish skeletons swimming around. And that may have nothing whatsoever to do with all the dangerous and illegal poisonous and/or hazardous waste disposal we’re all covertly engaged in at our local major street intersections, because when you think about Los Angeles restaurants, what’s the most popular and ubiquitous kind of cuisine that’s offered at the finer eating establishments hereabouts? Why, it’s sushi, isn’t it? And you know what that means! That’s correct: all the local sushi restaurants are obviously sneaking through the storm drains from their local intersections all the way down to the ocean, and they’re grabbing all their fresh fish from there, where they just fillet them right there in the surf and just drop the fish skeletons right there in the water at the place where the storm drains empty into the ocean! And they’re obviously doing that so as to try to pin the blame on innocent toxic waste polluters like the rest of us! (Those fiends!)

Look, everybody knows from horror and science fiction movies that dumping toxic waste doesn’t make fish turn into fish skeletons, but rather, it makes them mutate into monster fish-man hybrid creatures that then go on a man-eating rampage on the beach during teen parties and such. That’s the real threat from the hazardous waste dumping, and we all know it! So look sign maker guys, we all know it’s sushi restaurants who are to blame here (or it’s fish Halloween parties), and so we all laugh off your anti-toxic waste/hazardous pollution dumping signs with your fish skeletons on them! If you really want us to believe there’s a threat, and convince us to cease and desist our awesome fun tradition of illegal dumping activities, then show us a mutant fish monster on the painted warning sign, like perhaps the monster from The Horror of Party Beach: that’s what they mostly end up looking like, I think, from the times I’ve accidentally created them with my secret dumping of glowing radioactive waste and stuff. And when we see a painting of one of those fish monsters, we’ll all know it really is the dumping of toxic sludge that’s to blame, and maybe we’ll finally stop doing it all the time.

Here’s what the new storm drain signs look kind of like (I can’t find the new ones here online yet):

Here are some sign designs that I think would work better to prevent dumping:

And here’s what the real fish monsters mutated by illegal clandestine toxic waste dumping generally look like (They should use these in the signs if they want us to stop dumping all of our vats and bathtubs full of toxic waste sludge down the storm drains.):

Friday, May 25, 2012

Ally Bank Grocery Ad

Here we have a wonderfully realistic scenario where some guy asks to go before someone else, and then the line-skipping guy gets awarded a check for 50,000 free dollars for being the store’s one millionth customer (Hooray!). Um, okay, so this isn’t all that realistic, huh? Because generally the one millionth customer doesn’t get a check for $50,000, but rather, they might get a gift certificate (if they’re lucky). But the guy who wins the money: he’s going to get hit up for cash by everyone he’s ever met, plus he’ll probably lose most of it in taxes anyway, and he will most likely forget that, spend it all, and then get a tax audit which reveals years of tax cheats and sends him to prison, and all because he cut in line (and it would serve him right, too! That other guy clearly deserved all that negative curse stuff that always apparently accompanies winning the lottery! Plus, the other guy was being set-up by the police so they could finally catch him for all his crimes of murder and extortion and stuff, and this selfish jerk ruined it all and let this vicious criminal get away yet again by being so inconsiderate and cutting in line! {Could he have been this malefactor’s partner in crime, intentionally inserting himself as the monkey wrench into these carefully-planned machinations of the law, foiling the police’s sting operation?} So you know the prosecutor is going to nail him for something just to get revenge for him ruining all their years of hard work and careful planning to catch that other vicious criminal guy, clearly one of America’s Most Wanted if ever there was one!): that’s what you get for being rude, jerk! That guy only had two items anyway, so only a rude jerk would ask to skip ahead of him! And this is, of course, why it’s such an unbelievable scenario!

Oh, and guess what else! Because Ally Bank set up all the cameras and stuff to film this commercial, it clued in that vicious criminal guy, and that's why he let the other guy go ahead of him in the first place: because he suspected something was up (!!), and so that's why he also acts all disappointed when the other guy gets the check: so that nobody would suspect that they have grabbed the wrong guy! And so this horrible violent felon escapes once again from the long arm of the law, and all because of Ally Bank's attempt at advertising propaganda. Well, shame on them! Now he'll commit more and yet more heinous crimes, and it will be their fault! (Oh, the humanity.)

Generally speaking people only jump ahead in line if someone ahead of them has lots of stuff, and they only have one or two items. I pretty much always offer for people to go ahead of me when they only have a couple of items, and I have a lot, because after all, that’s only polite. But you see, that real life scenario would never work to prove Ally’s propaganda, um, I mean, point here, so they just stretch the truth. Or maybe this guy was looking through his wallet for something and taking forever, and that’s why the guy asks if he can go ahead of him? Then that’s this slowpoke’s own fault! Unless Ally Bank is saying that everyone should always have to wait forever in lines behind slow people, just like at the bank! (Like the old Bugs Bunny cartoons where an old lady always manages to get in front of him to count out thousands of pennies: “One, two, three, four…”)

But what do you expect from Ally Bank anyway? They used to be GMAC, and after a HUGE government bailout ($16.3 Billion, over a few short years, according to Wikipedia), they re-branded themselves (with approval from the US government, who handed them so much of our tax money) as Ally Bank, hoping that nobody would notice. And you know what? I never knew it until they made this silly bull$#!† ad scenario, and then I got curious. So when it comes to advertising, stick to true stuff that makes you look good, and forget the shyster stuff, and maybe we’ll trust you, perhaps to our own detriment. (Just some free advice to banks, even though nothing is free from them!)

Here’s the cash collecting (& cheating) commercial:

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Bud Light Platinum Adages Ad

This ad has been on since the Super Bowl, but I never paid much attention to it until today, when I heard the announcer saying, from across the room, while I was not even looking at the TV set: “They say a man’s work is never done.” Um, who says that? From what I remember, the saying goes more like this: “A man may work from sun to sun, but a woman’s work is never done.”

That’s the first I’ve heard it applied to men, so I suppose the “they” (who say) is this ad team, or perhaps Anheuser-Busch. Or, maybe, just maybe, they’re trying to get women to drink something other than their beer by insulting their well-known adage by attributing it to men. Maybe then they should also say: “And that’s why men earn more money than women for the same job: because a man’s work is never done.” (That ought to turn women against them! I mean, assuming they haven’t already done so by changing the aforementioned old saying about whose work is indeed never done.)

I didn’t think men drank light beer anyway (I mean, they do in television commercials, but I’ve rarely seen it in real life; or at least, not by choice.), so this ad seems to be, for lack of a better phrase, “barking up the wrong tree”, so to speak. But maybe they can get the female market back by marketing a line of Bud Light Diamond!* (Women seem to like diamonds a lot, so maybe that would bring them back.)

Oh, and if a man’s work is never done, then how come they always seem to find the time to watch sports, chase women, and drink lots and lots of beer? Or is that why “a man’s work is never done”: because they don’t bother to do the work? (Maybe that’s what they should say they meant if women notice this altered-adage issue and get mad.)

Here’s the specious spot:

* Then they could have the slogan be: “Bud Light Diamond: It's a girl’s best friend!”

Or else maybe they could say: “Bud Light Diamond: Because diamonds are a girl’s best friend!” And then they could have ads where girls say stuff like: “Shower me with diamonds!” (And then someone pours a bottle of the beer on her head.) Or some woman could say to her friend: “Oh, guess what? Bill just got me a diamond!” (And then she holds up her bottle of Bud Light Diamond.) It’s practically limitless what they could do with this idea, for the women’s market.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Canal Digital “The Man Who Lived in a Film” Ad

Last night on CBS, there was a show called: Clash of the Commercials: U.S.A. vs. the World, and on this program they showed what were supposedly the best commercials from America and around the world. Some of them were great, and some I wondered why they were included. But the best one for the world category I couldn’t argue with, and that’s the subject of this post. (Although it losing to yet another version of an E-Trade baby ad I could complain about all night. However, I will not waste my or your time doing it here.)

I love this commercial for Canal Digital, and I was frankly surprised when it didn’t win. And while I do love it, I have one small criticism of it, which might not even be relevant to most viewers, and that is this: The guy in this ad is constantly living out negative, horrifying experiences in movies, apparently due to Canal Digital’s service. So I hate to say it, but this kind of shows this service in a negative light, as though you might live a tortured existence if you get their movie service. I know it might seem like a lame criticism, and like I said before, I do ever so love this ad, but it looks rather like this guy is miserable because he has Canal Digital, and that might make some people see this spot and say: “I don’t want to have the hell-on-Earth experiences of this poor guy, so I won’t get Canal Digital.” It could happen, especially for people who hate horror movies.

So how do you fix it? Well, this doesn’t need any fixing, but rather, it needs a companion piece (maybe there already is one in Norway?). In this companion ad, we’d see someone else (a woman, I’d suggest) living her life as a series of wonderful scenes from movies she loves, and all thanks to Canal Digital. But it’s just a suggestion.

(BTW: They said on the show last night that this ad is from a small agency in Norway. Well, I must say it has just about the best combination of production value, design, concept, special effects, and taste I’ve seen in a while. A great job all around! I hope to see more from these guys in days and years to come!)

Here’s the frighteningly funny spot:

Monday, May 21, 2012

Aviva Life Insurance Medical Checkup Discount Ad

This commercial for Aviva is pretty funny in a number of ways. I like the paper people stuff, like they used last year, where they’re saying that most insurance companies see you as a policy, but they see you as a person, blah blah. This imagery works really well. And in theory, I’d say they’re probably patting themselves on the back about it here. But there are some issues I have with it as used in this spot. And the problem here is twofold.

Firstly, all the hospital staff in the ad are paper people as well as the patient (not to mention the patient’s family: although the family can be argued to work at least; but the hospital staff too? No way!). So this makes no sense, since the whole idea is that most insurance companies look at their clients as just a policy. So does this mean all the hospital employees fall into the same category? What if they have Aviva? That would negate the claim of the ad! (Right?) Maybe the hospital workers all have to take the insurance offered by the hospital these days, with HMOs, but wow: even their own employees are just a policy to these insurance companies? Oh, the paper humanity! And does everyone else in the whole world fall into the paper people category for not having Aviva? What if they don’t even have life insurance: surely they should be normal people, right? (But even their own client{s} is paper to start with until the medical exam, so do they only care about you after your medical exam?) I mean, I understand that they’re saying that all other insurance companies view everyone else as just a policy, but this ad is really about this one patient, so this making everyone into a paper person kind of muddles things, I think. Or did the visual effects company take this idea too far?

(For the purposes of this ad, only this patient and maybe his family should be paper people, and the hospital staff should be real human beings, otherwise the ad’s message becomes confusing and sinks, as it leaves too many unanswered questions out in plain sight. I have said it before and I’ll say it again: What is the message you’re trying to send with this ad? {In this case, it’s aimed at the guy who is having the medical checkup, and he’s our identification figure, and the message is that you’ll get a discount on your life insurance premium if you get a medical checkup, like this guy is doing here. And also, Aviva cares about its clients.} Pinpoint that message, and don’t let any elements in your spot distract from it! This making everyone into paper people is confusing and it might make us wonder who this message is actually aimed at. After all, the doctor is a normal human being: does she have Aviva life insurance too? See what I mean here? Or are they really trying to say we’re all just pawns in a huge insurance conglomerate’s designs/schemes? That’s what it looks like they’re secretly saying here, doesn’t it? {And if that was the secret message: kudos, guys! Seriously: I feel like that so often these days!})

Secondly, the paper policy guy is left forever in the patient exam room, and he’s so bored he starts playing with the medical kit. So he’s basically giving himself the medical exam (with the reflex hammer, etc.) before the doctor arrives. And then she just talks to him, so I guess he did do the exam himself (!!). Oh, but he’s still paper then, so maybe paper people have to do their own medical stuff themselves? (Does this mean they have to operate on themselves if they need surgery? Well, I guess it’s just a paper cut, so there would be no blood, but those things {paper cuts, that is} hurt!) And more to the point: does Aviva think of us as a policy whenever we need to have anything done, but as real people only when we’re paying into their coffers? Because that’s what this scenario says to me (because the guy is only real after the medical exam, which he has to do himself: get it?).

But seriously: this ad makes it look like we have to do our own medical tests and stuff ourselves: so why go to the hospital? This is just ridiculous! And worse, it’s very unnecessarily confusing and risible! And that’s distracting from the message, which is something you never want to do in an ad! (And when ads are so short anyway, there’s really not much excuse to have so much silly and questionable stuff going on that takes us off-message. {I mean, it’s funny, but mostly it’s funny in that this part got approved to be in the ad! Do the Aviva people sleep through these presentations? Or is this guy giving himself a medical exam supposed to distract from my next point below?})

And thirdly (yes, sorry, there’s something else too, I’m afraid), the whole point of this ad is for Aviva to say that their policyholders get a discount if they get medical checkups. Well, I’m sure that’s very nice and friendly-like of them, but could there possibly be another reason for them wanting their life insurance policyholders to get medical checkups? (I mean other than because they care about you?) Oh, that’s right: if the medical checkup shows some new, potentially life-threatening medical condition, maybe they could drop that policy and save themselves some big payout! Now, I’m not suggesting that insurance companies only care about money, or would terminate a policy if it looked like they might have to pay benefits on it: that would be very cynical! But it is possible that some company might want to give its policyholders an “incentive” to do some early screening that might save the insurance company some money down the line. Although I’m sure Aviva would never do that, since they don’t see you as a policy, but rather, they see you as a person! (And that’s why they want you to get checkups: they see you as a real person, not a paper person; and that’s worse for them, because paper people never get sick: because they’re made out of paper. But you might! So get that checkup, just to be sure you’re healthy enough to keep paying those premiums for a long time!)

Here’s the checkup conundrum commercial:

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Lean Cuisine “Chef’s Pick” Packaging

As a man who would prefer to remain as trim as possible, I eat Lean Cuisine quite often. Alas, while the cuisine may be lean, I am not as much as I used to be. Oh, but this new packaging is just what I need to scare me slim again!

That’s right: for those of you who have noticed, the new Lean Cuisine packaging has selected entrees they’re calling the “Chef’s Pick”, and what do you suppose is at the top of this little badge/logo thingy? Well, if you guessed two slasher movie-style murder knives, give yourself a gold star! Yes, they could have used a knife and fork, a fork and spoon, a piece of fine china, a wine glass, a chef’s (toque) hat, etc.; but no: they decided to use two slasher knives, as if to say: “You’d better lose weight, or else!” (Unless you want to have Michael Myers after you, or one of any number of slasher-knife killers from the movies!)

Yes, I’m afraid that if you gain weight while eating their delicious entrees, that makes them look bad; and that’s why they’re putting in these new suggestive logos for subliminal messaging. It’s just lucky for you that I was eagle-eyed enough to spot them before it was too late! (But seriously, it looks like if we don't lose enough weight while eating their stuff, they’re going to “whittle us down to size”, doesn’t it?)

(Of course this is a silly joke. But seriously, Lean Cuisine, are two crossed slasher-style murder knives really the way to go for your “Chef’s Pick” entrees logo? Oh, but then again, after all of these ridiculously rude and evil chef TV shows, maybe crossed murder knives is what most people automatically think of these days when they think about chefs! {As in, that might be what they would like to use on these chefs, for being such jerks on TV for so long!})

And here’s a picture of this packaging (the logo is at the top right-hand corner):

Logan’s Run Prequel?

Hey, we are mostly all familiar with the movie Logan’s Run, right? That’s the 1970s Sci-Fi movie where society is built upon the premise that most people will willingly volunteer themselves to be ritually euthanized at age 30 (and anyone who chooses not to do so is hunted down and killed). It may seem like an unbelievable scenario, with people willing to subject themselves to mandatory suicide at such a young age: why would they do such a thing? Well, I think I know, and it’s creeping up on us little by little. (And I think the filmmakers were trying to suggest this to us by setting the movie in the Washington DC area.)

It’s odd to me that the most recent reference for my argument here comes from the very state where I myself went to elementary school: Massachusetts. Yes, the very same place where the “shot heard ‘round the world” was fired from is now the place which is ground zero for our big-government’s war on fun, for it is here where the government has decided it is now illegal to have a bake sale at school. And why? Oh, well, because it’s too yummy, and there’s an obesity epidemic. It’s not that stupid government regulations have made it so no kids are ever allowed to have recess or gym class or play outside anymore; and it’s not that our education system is failing our children; no, it’s evil things like home-baked cookies and muffins and cakes! That’s right: “Get thee behind me, Satan-food cake!” (<An appropriate attitude/mantra for the landing-spot and original settlement of the Puritans, I suppose.)

And it is this trend that I predict will make the world of Logan’s Run someday a reality. (Which would mean that we are currently living in the prequel to Logan’s Run right now, as I have previously predicted!) And here’s what I mean: Everything that’s fun is slowly being made illegal by Big Brother, “for our own good”; and after a while, I honestly believe people will become so crazy and frustrated in the so-called “land of the free” (Ha! What a joke! Where even salt is illegal some places! Ridiculous!), when by such time that everything that’s fun is against the law, they will gladly and willingly end their lives of deprivation and frustration as soon as possible! Because after all, when our big government is finished taking over our lives completely, nothing will ever be our choice again, and happiness will become a thing of the past, spoken of only in forbidden, hidden books. And at this point, people will be volunteering for euthanization early! In fact, they’ll have to keep them out by force! (Only for people to get forged birth certificates, and then a whole new “illegals” debate will begin in the news media, with liberal pundits saying it’s hate speech to call them “illegals” for wanting to sneak in to be euthanized early! {And of course, conservative pundits will complain that mandatory suicide is meant for 30-year-old Americans only, so these trespassing “illegals” should be deported out of the carousel.})

Yes, in a future devoid of individual freedom and pleasures of any kind, they’ll be lucky if anyone even wants to live until they’re 30! (Except that premature suicide will probably be deemed a pleasure too great to be permitted! And so it must be made illegal!) And this is how the government plans to conquer the overpopulation problem. Unfortunately for them, by then the five people still here will have become so obese, they will take up the entire continental United States and Canada! And by then, it will be too late! And all because they didn’t understand that putting government prohibitions on things just makes everyone want them that much more, and creates underground criminal empires, like during Prohibition of alcohol in the 1920s! And it’s these dangerous illegal baked goods, like homemade Ho Hos and Ding Dongs, that will provide the fuel for the population size explosion! (The population will be only 5, but it’s their sizes that will explode!)

Yes, that’s right: I’m warning you, future citizens of America: once the drug cartels find out that bake sales are against the law, they’ll drop all this dangerous drug trade stuff and turn their attentions to illegal bake sales! You know it’s true! And then, my friends, the streets will run red with blood, and white with cream filling and frosting! And then maybe the government will learn but too late that life should be sweet, and not filled with the bitterness of oppressive over-regulation! (Or something trite like that.) After all, is this not the “land of the free”? (Or wasn’t it once?)

Anyway, hopefully I will have gone through the carousel and renewed by then! (Only I’m already over 30, so I guess I’m technically “a runner” by now anyway!)

Here’s the Wikipedia page for the movie Logan’s Run, for those who are unfamiliar with it:

Saturday, May 19, 2012

ExxonMobil Science Test Ad

So, this is an ad from an oil company that’s not talking about oil. Have we seen this before? Oh, um, wait: I think we have! Chevron has been doing these for a while, and so I think ExxonMobil must have followed their example, which is this: They say to themselves: “Hey, young people don’t seem to like big oil companies; what can we do to make them like us?” And then, being rich out-of-touch corporate-types, they hire an outside Public Relations firm to help them (thus creating jobs for BS artists!). And then the PR firm says: “Hey, man: you’ve got to distract them with something else, like a problem they care about, and then act like you want to help them with that something else. Get it?” So then they hire an ad firm to make an ad based upon what their PR firm tells them to do.

So, in this case, since Chevron has already said they like small businesses (what else are they going to say? “We hate those little jerks and we’ll drive them all out of business! Mwa Ha Ha!”? No, of course not! They have to say that they love small businesses! It’s like when BP did those “beyond petroleum” ads, where they said they were spending some teensy-weensie amount of their gargantuan profits on “renewable energy” {that was to make us think they cared}; but then, while the ads were still running on TV, their head honcho decided to scrap the renewable energy program, as parsimonious as it was, and just stuck with drilling oil. And then the gulf oil spill happened, and I think we all know the rest. Um, that is to say: That’s right: BP has saved the Gulf Coast and made it better than it’s ever been! Their ads say as much, so it must be true!), ExxonMobil’s PR company said: “Hey, what about the failing American school system? We could act like we cared about that, and then everyone might think we were their friends! Hey, it’s worth a try, right?” And so they tried it, and this current advertising campaign is the result. (Either that, or they’re trying to rub it in that we’re all dumb for not liking them by saying our schools are terrible.)

Never mind the fact that all the current oil company ads are just basically saying: “Hey, forget you hate oil, and look over there at this other issue/problem! Maybe we can help! And then you should like us!” And never mind that they never really say what they’re doing to help, or anything real or substantive: No, just believe the huge faceless international oil conglomerate you already hate: that’s the ticket! How could you go wrong?

I have already stated in an earlier post how to deal with this problem oil companies are facing with everyone hating them for pollution, climate change, etc., but I will say it again here anyway (although this may be hitting below the belt, as I have said before): Oil company ads should tell kids the truth about how much of what they use and need everyday comes from petroleum products: cell phones, tablet computers, mp3 players, video game consoles, DVDs, BluRay discs, flat-screen TVs, etc.: none of this stuff would even exist without oil companies, because plastics all come from petroleum products. So they can pretend to care about schools and stuff all they want to: until they hit young people close to home, they will never be convinced, because now they’re trying to fool them; in my plan, they would be telling them the truth (perhaps even the ugly truth), and there’s just nothing that convinces people like the truth!

Here’s their silly science test ad (What are they going to do to “solve this”? Make another ad?):

And here’s my previous post, where I detail the advertising strategy I think would serve them better: it’s in the last paragraph, under the link for the commercial (But like I said before, this is more of an intellectual exercise for me, as I’d really like the oil companies to seriously try to develop renewable energy with some of those billions and billions of dollars they earn in profits. Then they wouldn’t have to lobby so much in the future to keep their industry alive, because they’d be ready for the next phase of energy technology when it came.):

ExxonMobil Science Test Rankings Ad

(This is a joke prequel to a {semi-}serious piece about this ad, which will be posted next. I just didn’t want the post to be too long. But this is just a joke! Please don’t think me a bona fide warmonger: It’s irony, I tells ya’!)

Hey, here’s an animated ad that shows an Erlenmeyer flask and a ranking of countries by science test results, and then they say we should work towards getting on the top of that list again. And then they say their new tagline: “Let’s solve this.” But seeing as how we’ve been seeing schools dropping their academic standards here in America just to keep schools from failing, don’t they have a better idea for how to “solve this”?

If they really want to put America on top again, why doesn’t ExxonMobil just lobby the US Congress to have the American military “remove” all the countries that are ahead of the United States in academic standards? (Surely they have enough influence for this, right?) Then America would be on top again! And best of all, we wouldn’t even have to do any work on our education system to get there! (The education problems are hard; but we’ve already got the missiles!) Plus, this would teach other countries not to do better than America in education in the future, so we’d never look bad again! It just seems like an extremely efficient way to “solve this” (since that’s what they said they want to do). Unless, of course, you want to admit America is not #1! (And only a traitor would say that {even if it’s true}! Oh, but then I guess that would make ExxonMobil, um, er, that is… Uh, never mind.)

And additionally (and best for ExxonMobil), if they could make this happen, oil wouldn’t be the top target of environmental activists anymore: nukes would! So this whole thing would have oil companies smelling like a rose! (Well, perhaps a rose soaked in oil, but that’s still a rose, last I checked!) And while all the environmentalists were busy with their new push against nuclear weapons and nuclear power plants, the oil companies (and especially ExxonMobil) could quietly take over the world and drill in everyone’s back yards! (And that’s probably why they’ve been running these education-themed ads lately, so we’ll all be brainwashed into insisting upon this education-rank-raising nuke-attack strategy! And it’s got to be due to subliminal advertising: I didn’t think of this: they made me do it! Help, help: I’m being mind-controlled! {You know it's true! They're probably doing it to you, too!})

And another thing this might help with: President Obama has made it clear that he would like to get rid of all of America’s nuclear weapons. Well, here’s a way we could get rid of them all, and shoot to the top of the academic achievement scale at the same time! So it would be like killing two birds with one stone; and with such a big country full of bird hunters, that would be perfect! (He could just say he accidentally butt-dialed the launch codes. People accidentally butt-dial their cell-phones all the time, so it would be the perfect excuse!)

And lastly, everyone already thinks oil companies are evil, and environmentalists have been saying for years that oil companies are destroying the Earth, so if ExxonMobil got caught lobbying for such an approach to solving this science ranking issue, nobody would be surprised, and it wouldn’t make them look any worse than they already do. Plus, ExxonMobil could simply say: “Hey, you’ve been accusing us of destroying the Earth for years, so we thought it was about time we finally did it, just so we wouldn’t be blamed for stuff we didn’t do anymore. After all, when you get accused of something for long enough, eventually you just want to go ahead and finally do it, since you’re already being trashed for having done it anyway!”

Here’s the scientific spot (but you have to jump through some hoops to see it, since they don’t want to get bashed on YouTube, I guess. Yes, I’m afraid you have to press the button that says: “Watch the video”. But little do you know, it’s a missile trigger, and you’ll be responsible for the coming nuclear holocaust! {That way, they have plausible deniability!} But if it will put the USA on top again in education, I suppose you’ll be treated like a hero later, huh?):

(Of course, this is joke. I don’t really want ExxonMobil to have the American military eliminate all the countries that are outperforming America in school stuff! And I especially don’t want to do it after this new vote that says the US can indefinitely detain any American citizen without charge or trial, so long as they say it’s a terrorism suspect! {YIKES!} So, in fact, I deny all knowledge of this post; and furthermore, someone else must have written it!)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Southwest Airlines Suitcase Dominos Ad

Hard clamshell suitcases in red, yellow and blue (the company colors of Southwest Airlines) are set up like dominos in a large trail from an downtown city locale (I’m guessing a hotel or a business), forking off in different directions, presumably leading to different gates at the airport for loading onto Southwest planes in this colorful and pithy ad for (surprise!) Southwest airlines. (I originally though this was a commercial for Samsonite luggage, as this type of scenario might be well suited for making the case that their suitcases are tough, etc., by knocking them around and making them fall over and such.) But if this is what they do with our luggage (put them in unsupervised domino setups and knock them all over, then it’s no surprise that airlines always seem to lose so many of our bags (in addition to having stuff stolen out of our checked luggage)! Plus, since these bags do not appear to go through any kind of security checkpoint, then isn’t this going to leave our airplanes vulnerable to terrorist attacks, and isn’t this commercial, advertising that they load luggage on the plane in this manner, going to alert terrorists to this exploitable vulnerability?

I am joking above (although this ad does open itself for this type of mixed interpretation due to its scenario), and I like this ad for being fun and colorful, but it seems to me there is a better solution to this “bags fly free” message. Just think about that statement: “Bags fly free” for a minute: what does that bring to mind? Well, for me, I think of a group of people waiting in line to buy an airline ticket (I know, that doesn’t happen much like this very often these days, but just as the first in a campaign of similarly-themed commercials, I think it would stand out.), and they each go up and pay to get their airline ticket. Then, one of the people in line gets up to the ticket counter, and it’s a guy dressed up as a suitcase, and he pulls his wallet out, but the Southwest ticket agent just hands him the ticket and says: “Oh, you don’t have to pay, sir: bags fly free on Southwest Airlines!” That would communicate this “bags fly free” message simply and directly, and you would even get it with the sound off, especially if they wrote “Bags Fly Free” on the screen at the end.

Then, after this initial setup spot, further ads in this campaign could have the guy dressed up as a suitcase buying airline tickets over the Internet, and being charged $0.00 because he’s a bag, etc. And just to make the message sink in even further, then the bag could go to another business website and try to get something else for free, only to be charged for it, be it a pizza, an article of clothing, a movie ticket, or a porn site. And in the next ad, the bag could set up flights through a travel agency, and the travel agent says something like: “If you fly on Delta (or whatever other airline), it would be $683.00, but if you fly on Southwest, if would be free. Because you’re a bag, and bags fly free on Southwest Airlines!” And each time, this message of “bags fly free” would be immediately and simply communicated and understood with no chance of having the viewer being distracted by other elements in the scenario that are perhaps sending out other signals which could be misinterpreted somehow.

Here’s the cheap carrier’s checked case commercial:

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A New Threat in the Obesity Epidemic

Hey, did you think the obesity epidemic was a problem before? Well, that’s nothing to what we’re going to see in the next century! Look: feast your eyes; glut your soul on our accursed next phase of obesity causes*: The Honda office scooter thingy:

You think we’re fat now? Just wait until we never even have to walk across the room again! This is obviously Japan’s revenge for beating them in WWII! They’re clearly trying to kill us all with our own greatest weakness: laziness! Those fiends! Soon they’ll make ones that go pick up take-out food for us too, or that dispense Twinkies and cupcakes! You know that’s what’s next! And because it’s imported, it will skirt all the anti-yummy-food regulations Americans must abide by nowadays: very sneaky!

* That quote is from The Phantom of the Opera, except that he said "my accursed ugliness".

TD Ameritrade Trade Architecture Ad

Here we have TD Ameritrade making another ad where part of it uses the same colored pencil animation style as in their previous commercial about the so-called Mayan apocalypse. And so this made me wonder if they were going to be somehow misleading or shoot themselves in the foot again, and I was not disappointed, to say the least! Yes, it seems that TD Ameritrade made this ad to look as though using their new software (or whatever it is) is somehow akin to burglary: what a perfectly appropriate message for an investment firm to want to communicate to the public, especially in light of all the fraud and theft perpetrated by investment banks leading up to the financial crash! In this ad, they make it look like using their investment products is just like robbing someone’s house, and they even suggest the killing of a sleeping dog! Hey, great analogy, guys!

So this spot begins by showing some guy with night vision goggles and fuzzy bunny slippers on sneaking around someone else’s house at night. (The bunny slippers are key here: if he gets caught, he can say he was just sleepwalking! That’s what I always do. But his night vision goggles might be a little harder to explain! {That’s why he needs a gun!}) Then, after tip-toeing around the living room, and avoiding tripping over a skateboard, while acting like a cute sleeping dog is an “enemy” to be “neutralized”, which could only be true if the guy is burglarizing this home. Oh, but then they act like it was just a fanciful exaggeration or something, and that he really just wants to “target” stocks to trade, at which point the ad takes a visual and storyline shift, making it looks as if it’s a story about cyber crime (!).

Yes, then this guy looks as if he’s Tron, breaking into someone’s computer, navigating the maze of security features and firewalls, and skillfully breaking into this computer, where he rides a pendulum (?) like Tarzan would ride a vine in the jungle, while the announcer’s voice says TD Ameritrade’s new software will make you into “a trading assassin” (!!). Now, I’m sure investment banking makes a lot of people think about it as being a criminal enterprise, especially after the huge financial crash nobody was ever charged for (criminally, that is: we taxpayers were charged over a trillion dollars for it!), and that this makes people angry and perhaps want to kill some of them, but is suggesting this type of criminal activity, and using terminology like “assassin”, etc., really the way they want to go here? I would seriously advise against it! (Because after all, if they whip people up into a vindictive frenzy, the crowd just might target them too.)

Now, I know what they’re thinking here: investing with their online system is a super-cool, James Bond-ian experience, and they want to make it look all neat-o and keen and whatnot. But this ad really makes TD Ameritrade look more like they’re encouraging criminal activity, and like they’re engaged in cyber crimes and banking fraud, and that makes them look more like Bond villains than benevolent secret agents. Is this really what they want us to be thinking about? I wouldn’t have thought they’d want us to think about this kind of thing, but that’s exactly what this commercial does: it likens trading with them to a high-tech robbery and stealth cyber crime. And I wouldn’t think that would attract many honest people to their business. (But hey: maybe they’re branching out into hacking!) And under the circumstances of the recent zeitgeist being for a mistrust of the investment banking establishment, I would have to say that this commercial is about the worst possible thing they could do right about now message-wise. (But hey: maybe they’re trying to use reverse-psychology!)

Here’s this covert criminal conspiracy commercial:

Quiznos Bus Stop Sandwich T-Shirt Ad

Hmm, it looks like Quiznos is either stretching a bit much here, or else they are suggesting something uncomplimentary about the taste of their food. You see, in this commercial for Quiznos sandwiches, some guy at a bus stop wearing a Quiznos t-shirt with a sandwich printed on it gets the picture of the sandwich ripped off and eaten by a woman sitting next to him (!). And this is obviously intended to suggest that their sandwiches are so delicious that even a picture of one printed on a t-shirt would taste delicious. (And the thing is, the woman in the ad seems to be completely satisfied with the t-shirt sandwich, which suggests to me that she thinks the real sandwiches taste the same. Maybe the better route to go would be to show her coughing the shirt sandwich up and saying it only looks like a Quiznos sandwich, and that there’s only one place to get a real sandwich that good: Quiznos!)

The problem is, it rather suggests that the sandwiches taste so bad, that nobody can even tell the difference between one of their actual sandwiches and a picture of one printed on a t-shirt. And that doesn’t really do much to suggest that they taste good, does it? And worse yet, this reminds me that their sandwiches always look far better in pictures than they do in reality. And sure, that’s true of all fast food sandwiches, but this reminds me that it has never been more true of any other brand of fast food sandwich than it is of Quiznos sandwiches.

Seriously, look at the sandwiches in their ads, and then go buy one in person: it looks nothing like the one in the ad even remotely! And while this generally true everywhere else too, whenever I see this ad, or indeed any ad for Quiznos, it reminds me that once, a few years ago, I saw an ad for some Quiznos Angus beef sandwich, and I went to get one, but they skimped so much on the beef, it wasn’t even anywhere near to being like the sandwich I saw on TV, and it had so little beef and such a lot of bread, it actually made me ask out loud to my lunch companions: “Where’s the beef?” And while it’s a good idea to make your food look good in the ads and stuff, when they are not even close to resembling the real thing even a little bit, you’re bound to not only disappoint, but perhaps even drive away your customers.

And here’s why this stuff is important: Subway is apparently resoundingly defeating Quiznos in the brutal sandwich wars. And that may be because they’re better, but it could also be due to something else, too. You see, when I look at an actual Subway sandwich and compare it to the big menu photograph, it doesn’t always look exactly the same as the beautiful photograph, but I can at least tell it’s the same sandwich (but without makeup and lighting). But my experience with Quiznos has been that the real-life sandwiches in no way resembled the pictures of them. And when I see this ad, I’m reminded of this, and so it ends up working against the company, rather than for it. See what I mean?

This is just one of countless other ads where someone is shown doing some ridiculously desperate, rude, jerky, selfish, and stupid thing to try to say that the food product is so good, you’ll even want to eat a picture of the food, and you’ll even steal it and screw over your friends to get it. And this, my friends, makes the company look bad, and insults their customers as immoral, selfish sociopaths. (And it’s lazy. But I’ll admit it is silly and fun; it’s just that it never sells me on the product so much as it’s just a forgettable sketch comedy bit we get bashed over our heads hundreds of times until we absolutely loathe it.) And do you really want to do business with someone who thinks that of you? There are so many ads like this on TV, and while they’re supposedly endeavoring to depict the product in a positive light, I’ve always thought they were simply making the people in their ads look like jerks and idiots, and that it looked like this was the kind of people they were trying to attract as customers.

But if they’re going to show this scenario, where a woman eats the sandwich picture off the guy’s t-shirt, the least they could do is show him with huge bite marks taken out of his chest, leaving him bleeding profusely and cowering in pain. And then it could turn out that the woman is a cannibal zombie after all, and then she eats his brain too. (Yum, yummy!) Oh, and this helps to advertise for the new Quiznos human brain sandwich, of course! (Real chunks of scrumptious human brain in a zesty blood sauce! Mmmm: Gory!)

Here’s the sandwich shirt show (You have to look down below and select the ad called: “Bus Stop”, as this spot is not on YouTube; probably because people would leave too many negative comments, especially if they’ve had my experience with Quiznos.):

UEFA Champions League Final

Well, the final is this Saturday, between Chelsea and Bayern Munich. And with many of each team’s best players sitting the game out on accumulated yellow or red cards, that means we’ll get to see this scintillating final played between two depleted teams: awesome! Or, wait…

Can you imagine if American sports did this? The Super Bowl being played with many of the best players not allowed to play? How about if the World Series didn’t allow all the best players to play? Would you watch it then?

I’d like to know exactly who this policy is intended to punish more: the players, or the fans? It seems to me we all lose with this plan! Maybe the substitutes and second-stringers who normally wouldn’t get to play wouldn’t agree, but this seems like a big waste to me! (And isn’t the big final game the wrong venue for the backup players to be starting anyway?)

After all, did we all really follow this whole entire extended tournament just to see two second-string teams play in the all-important final? That just seems a bit intellectually-challenged to me. (Maybe when people stop buying tickets ahead of time, UEFA will change the rules to make more sense. I mean, that is to say: they never will.)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Rebekah Brooks Charged

Rebekah Brooks, the former editor of News International’s defunct muckraking scandal-rag newspaper, the News of the World, has been charged with attempting to conceal evidence from police, hiding computers and documents and such in the hopes they would not be found, etc., in an alleged conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. But is this charge really fair? I don’t think she was trying to obstruct justice, so much as she was merely attempting to make investigators’ jobs more fun and interesting by playing “hide and go seek” with the evidence. It was for entertainment purposes only, and after running a tabloid newspaper for so long, Brooks probably out of habit tried to make everything appear like much more than it really is by orchestrating a fake cover-up for fun, just to make everything more exciting for everyone. After all, isn’t that what they always did with the news stories at the newspaper she used to run? And like that, I’ll bet it was simply intended as good-natured fun all around! (And you can’t blame her for that, now can you?) When this case is over, I’m sure we’ll all clearly see this was nothing more than a publicity stunt for her upcoming autobiography: Babbling Brooks: My Sensational Life Making the News of the World: Read All About It!

Here’s the sensational & scandalous story (Read all about it!):

Little Caesars/I, Claudius (Joke) Tie-In Ad

I wrote recently about how one of my local PBS stations is running the great classic BBC mini-series I, Claudius lately. Well, you probably knew it would only be so long before I came up with some joke ad scenario for I, Claudius, so here’s one, if you were hoping: a tie-in ad for Little Caesars and I, Claudius.

So here’s how this would work, if I, Claudius were now a new network TV series, or a new movie: Seeing as how there are so many poisoning deaths in I, Claudius, I was thinking that Little Caesars could offer the Little Caesars’ I, Claudius meal: two poisoned pizzas, delivered by a guy dressed up as a Roman centurion, who then stabs to death anyone who doesn’t die from the poisoning. And then, at the end of the ad, the Little Caesars mascot Caesar guy could take a bite of the pizza, say: “Poison, poison!” and die.

I’d think it would be a perfect advertising tie-in for Little Caesars, what with Caesars (and little prospective future Caesars) dying left and right in I, Claudius, and this TV mini-series being all about the death struggle for the reigns of power in ancient Rome. (You see, Augustus’s wife Livia is killing everyone who is in the way of her son Tiberius’s line of succession to the throne, and after that, everyone else is keeping Livia’s illustrious murderous tradition, um, “alive”, I guess.) And maybe Little Caesars could even have extra menu items, like Livia’s “Last Meal”, Augustus’s Poison-Painted Figs, etc. And, naturally, it would come with free sharp (plastic) daggers to stab each other with. Think of all the minutes of deadly fun you and your family could have! And after all, if it’s going to be your last meal, shouldn’t you be able to drag everyone else down with you? (You know Tiberius would do it!) And the tie-in tagline could say: “Pizza so good, it’s to die for!”

So what do you think, Little Caesars? It’s not too late to do ads for the local PBS run! There are at least two weeks left in Los Angeles for this current run of I, Claudius!

(Now, this is, of course, a joke! No company would do a tie-in like this, suggesting their food is poisoned! And this is all meant in fun.)

This is I, Claudius, for those who are unfamiliar: