Lately I can't turn the TV on without running into an ad for the Pickens Plan, T. Boone Pickens' $58 million attempt to liberate the US from its sordid addiction to foreign oil.
Interesting things about Pickens and this campaign:
o Pickens is an oil magnate. (Can you hear the crows going "OMG! OMG!"?) Soon, he'll be a wind magnate too.
o The ads are totally finance-focused. Pickens hardly says the e-word ("environmental") at all.
So we do a lot of ad critique around here at Adrants. Sometimes it's worthy, other times it's the digital equivalent of a newspaper used for dog defecation. In what has to be the most ridiculous critique of a ridiculous ad EVAR, MSNBC Ads of the Weird takes on a Dr. Scholl's ad featuring America's Next Top Model Runner Up Yaya DaCosta who dances on a desk and then jumps into a pair of shoes which, naturally, have Dr. Scholl's inserts.
It's a forgone conclusion that Verizon ads suck and deserve to be pummeled by bitchy ad critics such as those employed at trade rags like Adrants. Oh wait, that's us. Oops. That would be...leading industry publication Adrants. Now that we have that settled...
It's official. America has no sense of humor and has become so literal, no one can say anything at all without offending various cause group members who, due to an onslaught of grade school self-esteem-focused curricula which have rendered them incapable of chilling out and enjoying life without looking at it through a microscope.
So what's all the fuss about this time?
- We got to check out the Facebook redesign yesterday. There's tabs and room for more ads (I'm seeing TWO now instead of just ONE!). Also, personal information is intuitively distributed so you don't have to read everything from one long column. A lot of people are annoyed because it's heavy with the social media vibe, but we'll be used to it in, like, two weeks.
- For Parrot, Feed Company started a video campaign featuring a nightmarish kid on a driving lesson. "We're done, we're done! FUCK IT!" Heh.
- Shark sighting. Or not. By Mullen for the sharks and rays exhibit at NE Aquarium.
- New spot by BBH/NY and Partizan/LA for LG Steam Washer. It's called "World of Steam" and takes place in a wrinkly fabric world. It's weird, but not as weird as this was, and I guess sort of passively pleasant.
- Another Parrot thing: Parrot Not Quail. (I'm not really down to make a parrot the state bird, but we did make the Terminator governor.)
If you carry a knife, you risked being stabbed by your own blade. Most likely wielded by Evil You from Mirror World.
The spot was put together by AMV BBDO for the Tower Hamlets Council, which is concerned about "rising!" knife crime and convinced people won't stop carrying blades unless they believe they're disproportionately likely to trip, fall and impale themselves.
Bet that pansy-ass excuse didn't stop Genghis Khan, though. (Yeah, I know that's not Genghis, but it's a pretty rad picture.)
AMV BBDO, those apparently horrible people who Bob Garfield hates for making a Snicker's commercial that, OMFG, is homophobic, or so he says, have created two commercials for Wrigley's Extra gum.
In the spots, produced by Biscuit@Independent, couples in love do what couples in love do. They roll down grassy hills while embracing each other and they share a jacket while waiting for the bus. What's not to love? Bob? Bob?
Last week, we were sent a funny ad from AMV BBDO in which Mr. T guns down a speedwalker because it's just too goofy for Mr. T's style and, seemingly, for Snickers. Bob Garfield just reviewed it, gave it zero stars and called the thing...huh...homophobic? What a minute. What the fuck? Homophobic?? I'll be the first one to crap on an ad that is overtly homophobic but, seriously, WTF?? This is the furthest thing from homophobic. Homophobia NEVER crossed my mind when I reviewed this.
Most sobering situations could use an inappropriate joke. Contributing to Stand Up to Cancer's "This is where the end of cancer begins" campaign, celebrities use donated airtime to make laughter, not bummer. See spots:
"Cancer patients and their chemo-induced baldness have stolen the sympathy that is rightfully mine." And that's why Larry David can't get laid.
Meanwhile, Henry Winkler plays cancer in the style of Epuron's infuriating Wind guy. "Did I bite you? ... I didn't mean to." Ahh. That Fonzie's still a riot after all these years.
More videos at the Stand Up to Cancer website, including one where the Daily Show says FU to cancer, and one where Katie Couric ... well, "Katie Couric" should be enough to make you laugh, actually.
For the Looking Glass Foundation, which assists adolescents with eating disorders, DDB, Canada launched a PG-rated but poignant awareness campaign in British Columbia.
The "Pencil Marks" PSA features a girl charting her waist-slimming progress with pencil marks on a wall. The agency also distributed broken toothbrushes in baggies that read, "Attempting to purge, Jane B. broke a toothbrush off in her throat and choked."
See, if you're gonna be all pro-Mia, you need to get over your squeamies and use a finger.*
I've seen "Moving" for Dunkin' Donuts about 486 times -- and I find it more loathsome after each sitting.
But Dunkin' knows how to maximize a spot's branding power. If you watch any amount of weekly TV, you'll see it enough times to be mouthing the words in a month. And the music is so distinctive, so gratingly terrible, and so instantly recognizable that it will probably do its label more good than harm in the long run. Life can be cruel that way.
"Moving" is part of the Hill Holliday-developed "America runs on Dunkin'" campaign, which has been running -- successfully, even -- for the last two years. Message consistency contributes to its sheen, but rival Starbucks, which lost its grip on its own brand, also threw plenty of kindling in Dunkin's direction.