Imagine if the Coke Happiness Factory got hijacked by dancing Reds that prefer fruity vodka to sugar water. You're probably picturing "Airship," the latest spot for Stoli Blakberi, put together by Publicis/London and production company Stink/Psyop. Music by Prokofiev.
Part of what keeps me drinking Stoli is unwavering affection for its advertising. On TV or in print, it's always got the same feel: over-the-top, cartoony, propagandistic. Disney's "It's a Small World After All" meets the hoarse ballads and frosty grit of Moscow.
Stoli is a proud, heavy-handed romantic, and taking a swig is like surrendering to history: the beautifying dizziness, concrete on your lips, bile in your throat. It's a suffering, and a brand, baptized in nostalgia.
The other day I was complaining -- or was it more like bitching? -- about how all car ads seem pretty much the same. (If not "the same," then "zealously derivative.") Then Organic busts out with this really weird ad for the Chrysler Town & Country.
It's all words. The narrator's telling this bizarre story, then the words appear in front of you, so you get this tiring but riveting experience of seeing and hearing crunchy nouns like "pocket pony" and "crabapples" at the same time. (Don't ask, just watch.)
Here's that Chevy Traverse ad that keeps playing during the Olympics. I sat through it twice yesterday and didn't really get the correlation between Shirtless Man Lovingly Laundering and Chevy Traverse with Folding Seats.
Twitter's not keen on it either.
Fortunately, there's YouTube. Scroll down to the comments. Past all the complaining about double standards and whatnot, someone explains that both the man and the Traverse are "beautiful, useful, and everything you ever wanted ... and them [sic] some."
Ohhhhh. Suddenly the tagline makes sense.
For client Little Debbie, Marcos Ambrose joins forces with a talking koala. They're so cute together, it's oddly gratifying to see them draw housewives' attention at the supermarket or co-pilot a race while koala eats Zebra Cakes.
"I thought you only ate eucalyptus leaves?" Ambrose demands, slightly miffed, right before he peels out onto the track.
Collective awwwwwwwww. Don't you just want to rub their tummies and feed them a Devil Square?
The spots went live in tandem with racing season. So far Ambrose isn't doing too terribly, no thanks to his choice of snack food, but a talking marsupial riding shotgun (think of the crumbs!) probably keeps things interesting.
See more of their routine on Little Debbie's Miles of Smiles website, put together by Luckie & Co., which also did the creative.
And unlike other cars, which wave their ostentatious extras in your face, you can't even see the excess tooshums. Because you know why? It's made up of service, so says the tagline: "The extra Volkswagen part on every Volkswagen. Volkswagen service."
Nice repetition of brand name!
By production firm Czar, NL and DDB for Volkswagen.
Like full on spam, this email screamed, "Catastrophe hits live during the broadcast of a Direct Insurance commercial." After quickly checking Twitter (what? that's where all the news is these days, people) to make sure there was no actual catastrophe, it became apparent this was yet another ploy for publicity.
The release continued, "During a live broadcast of the Israeli 'American Idol' show, a Direct Insurance commercial for catastrophe coverage burnt up before the eyes of avid viewers. After burning, a simple slide appeared: We apologize for the technical difficulties but catastrophes can happen to anyone".
This new spot for Nissan (:30 and :60) immediately piqued interest: one car circulates a vinyl album. Interesting retro tones punctuate the background. The camera pans out, revealing many vehicles circulating many vinyls. It's an image that brings Warhol to mind.
What's going on? What'll happen next? Will Nissan pull a Dell?
Nah. One jalapeno-red maverick races off its track (cut to big Nissan logo!), encouraging others to do the same. (A vaguely familiar idea. Got a quote for me, Mazda?) They briefly fall in line, a tactic car advertisers seem to love, then park with a screech in haphazard fashion.
The 350Z, arguably Nissan's sexiest model, pulls abruptly into the foreground. The tagline follows: "Escape the pattern. Nissan."
"After finding a Leatherman on the ocean floor, our hero transformed himself from clawless freak into BIONIC LOBSTER: the handiest lobster alive."
Awesome premise -- one-clawed lobster gets new lease on life -- by STICK and MOVE/Philly for client Leatherman. (If Finding Nemo taught us anything, it's that everyone loves a story about broken fish prevailing over life's hard knocks.) Happily, they went all the way with it: See spot where Bionic Lobster fends for his life, MacGuyver-style, in a seafood restaurant. And there are comic books! Three parts so far, and if you bother to download the PDFs, well-made and funny too.
Looking forward to seeing more stuff by STICK and MOVE.
Southern Comfort (with Lime!): for when you're beyond sensory cognizance. The music sucks, your conduct questionable, everyone's funny, and Ugly at left is starting to look like a Good Investment.
The spot's called "Suspended Moments" and is part of a big hard year-end push. Also, in efforts to get down with the music scene, Southern Comfort goes by SoCo now. (It worked for J-Lo, Diddy and BevMo, right?)
Beginning next month, "SoCo Music Experience" webisodes will air on Heavy, My Damn Channel, Pitchfork.tv, Complex.com and DeathandTaxesMagazine.com. I'm not sure what a "Music Experience" is, but if I had to guess, I'd say they're like trashy music videos with slipperier floors. And heavy on the indie bands for good measure.
On Visa's behalf, Morgan Freeman congratulates US Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps "on having won more gold medals than anybody EVAR." The ad started airing hours after Phelps exceeded his own expectations of winning eight gold medals -- seizing his 10th on Tuesday. (He is now up to 11.)
Don't tell me they didn't have this bad-boy lying in wait, because I seriously doubt Freeman looked up from his gardening or whatever to go, "Oh! Phelps delivered the goods, I think I'll put together another sepia montage and say 'Good job' all over the world."
A recent Nielsen Online buzz tracking study found Phelps is the most-discussed Olympian athlete online. And on TV last night, I found out Phelps' wingspan is 6'7" -- THREE INCHES WIDER than he is tall. Also, his feet bend 15 degrees more than the average swimmer, making them more flippery or something.
UPDATE: Everyone seems to think I hate this ad. I don't. I think it was crafty of Visa to have it on the pipeline, I think it was a lovely way to fist-bump Phelps, and I think the campaign as a whole is a positive step away from the mediocre "Life Takes Visa" stuff we've been seeing. There. Please feel free to untwist your underpants.