The UK's Hallmark Channel and agency Ralph are promoting series nine of Law & Order: SVU with an online stress test. (Not to be confused with any such test you might have taken on a subway.)
Find out what it's like to operate as an undercover cop. You'll have something like five seconds to memorize a criminal profile, then you have to watch clips -- on which you'll be tested -- while pushing Space Bar to the sound of a pulse.
We were groggy when we did it, which I guess is no excuse; we fared horribly and are utterly unqualified to bust rapists for a living. Well, there goes my back-up career.
Giving the New and Improved! Ask.com a promotional kick, Hanft Raboy & Partners personified the nagging questions that sit fussing in the back of our heads -- or, in this case, on our shoulders.
Watch as an elephantine nag weighs down an inquisitive 8th-grade boy. Here, a cop contemplates where to meet cool girls. And in our favourite spot, a pregnant woman wonders, "Can I eat eggs, clams and crab legs?" -- through an elderly Indian man.
Each question-asker accentuates its host's musings in a slightly tone-deaf way, imbuing the spots with quirky charm. And the tagline ensures we know exactly what each shoulder-bound burden represents: "Get the best answers to all your nagging questions."
Here's "Life Story," a spot by IBD Brands for the Panasonic Lumix camera. It's narrated by a guy trying to capture meaningful moments of his life -- except the most crucial factor (his face) keeps getting cut out. Hence the need for a Lumix, which sports a wide-angle lens.
There's something appealing about "Time for a Change," Diapers.com's first stab at online video marketing. Positioned like a political ad, it offers "gas relief" and bi-potty-san support to frustrated Americans.
After walking the talk with some discount codes, a voiceover grandly concludes, "Your doodie is our duty" as the Stars and Stripes hover in the background.
Aww. Finally, something a hockey mom can really get behind.
The ad went live at Parents for Change. Users click straight into the Diapers.com site, where they can put their discount codes to good use. Good, simple stuff by The Ad Store.
In IBD Brand's "Make Me High" for J. Hampstead Fabrics, Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra does a sensual, ribbony wind dance with her bedsheets.
They convey her into the air before she alights angelically upon some faceless dude, strokes his shoulder and croons, "I've never felt so close to my man."
Cheesy, so cheesy, and there doesn't appear to be any connection with the fabric and the love interest at all. Did he precipitate the wind dance? Or did fine fabric save their fraying relationship? One commenter was all, "I was hoping the fabric was connected to his suit as workers were still stitching it."
That would've been fun to watch. This rang more like a parody for an early-'90s perfume ad: it felt loaded with banal effects (hot actress, out-of-body experience, a thin stab at love) but lacked sublimity.
What would happen if a Thickburger jumped into a cold swimming pool? "Shrinkage" -- one ad among many for Hardee's Little Thickburger. Despite its focus on (small) size, (wide) breadth and general meatiness, it is radically devoid of gigantic titty jokes or other innuendos.
Each spot sports its own overly cute Thickburger-vs-Little-Thickburger comparison and ends with the same glib line: "It's a Thickburger, but little."
If Daria ever went into advertising, a slogan like that would've been her magnum opus.
Four Playboy playmates hit the slopes -- in the buff! -- on a set of limited-edition Burton "Love" snowboards.
Moms with kids are predictably unhappy -- and, just as predictably, a youngish guy with Alex Bogusky hair goes on the record with a nonchalant "They're just naked bodies."
Just in time for Halloween, Doritos launches Hotel 626, a haunted virtual hotel that's only open between 6pm and 6am. (You'll literally have to make a reservation if you try to penetrate it before then.)
Users are encouraged to visit the site in the dark with headphones, a camera and a microphone, which can be used to complete challenges. The hotel is 13 rooms big, including a morgue and a dark room (like, for developing photos?).
Part of Doritos' sponsor-heavy online universe, Snack Strong Productions, the effort will be promoted on specially marked bags of Doritos. By Goodby, Silverstein & Partners.
Each year Evian releases a designer bottle to highlight its commitment to "chic sophistication." 2007's splurge of choice was by Christian Lacroix; now meet Jean Paul Gaultier's Pret-a-Porter 2009 edition. Get it tout seule or in big-ass boxes of 12 for just $118. It's a steal!
Can't afford it? No worries. To maximize the likelihood of cashflow from every frivolous spender alive, Evian's got a slew of other appetite-slicking vessels that will make dehydrated friends writhe with envy, even while smirking under their Botox.
They that brought you $10 facial spray (now sponsor-friendly!) and bottled water for children also debuted the regal Palace bottle, complete with its own metal pourer and coaster. (Comes in packs of 12. Coaster, pourer and self-esteem sold separately.)
- A handful of rich-ass celebrities use reverse psychology to cajole MySpace users into voting. What, does Jennifer Aniston not do it for you? Maybe Leonardo DiCaprio's poverty-ridden excuse for a blog will.
- The wife of David Warthen, founder of Ask.com, is facing tax evasion charges on money she made while working as a hooker to pay for law school.
- Three thought-provoking reasons not to blog anonymously if you're gonna blog at all.
by Angela Natividad
, Trends and Culture