I have this cousin, Dave, who spends every Thanksgiving prancing around and telling everyone to get him gift cards from a strict selection of stores, otherwise "I'LL RETURN YOUR PRESENT AND CALL YOU CHEAP!" after Christmas.
Seriously. We're in our mid-twenties and he still does this.
One year, to curb expenses following a rabbit-like baby boom, the family held a Secret Santa and I was unfortunate enough to draw his name. After ferreting me out with admirable speed, he spent the next three weeks SMS-bombing me with potentially awesome gift options.
When the holidays roll around, there are few things I want to do less than shop for Dave.
The Ungiftables by Cafepress is a site for exactly these people. Who's the bane of your list? Critical Mother-in-Law? Emo Nephew? Flip-Flop Wearing Liberal Activist Uni Brat?
To better equip users for that awkward mistletoe moment, makeup purveyor Sephora launched MistletoeMakeover. Upload your face and watch with glee while the internets hoochie you up.
At left is the perennially-demure Alex Bogusky in Santa's Little Temptress mode. (Steve Hall is arguably prettier though. Also, he winks, which gave me the most delicious chills.) Other potentially traumatic beautification options include O Tannen-Babe, Smokey Sugar Plum and Merry Berry.
If for some odd reason one of these looks puts you in impulse-buy-mode, hit "Get This Look" and snap up promo code KISSorWINK. Turn it in at Sephora.com for free lashes or a lipstick sample with a purchase.
Be quick! Like your youth, mistletoe wilts.
By EVB/San Francisco in conjunction with TAAZ.
The holidays -- shopping, senile relatives, stuffing with raisins and endless variations on the nativity -- aren't for everyone. This Leo Burnett ad for McDonald's depicts just such a guy.
The scene: charades by the Christmas tree with extended family. After an over-obvious movie mime (chest-pounding, monkey noises) that wins him "Brokeback Mountain...?", he acts out the first two words of The Great Escape, then leaps into a secret tunnel that looks like it's been dug with gravy spoons. Off to McD's he goes.
The UK-based ad promotes McDonald's "festive menu," which launches Wednesday. A spokesperson told the Guardian it's "strictly a turkey-free zone" to give customers "a haven to escape from some of the stressful Christmas activities, like shopping."
Guess that makes sense. Nothing soothes the consumption-distressed soul like chicken ... McNuggets.
Memorable moments from 41 ads, nicely choreographed to the tune of One Spring Away. Yeah, the gorilla's in there, plus bits from Sony's Bravia spots and Gap's Khaki Swing.
Steve is jealous because, in less sober times, we've bounced this same idea back and forth: "Hey, what if we mashed up a bunch of ads to, like ... a song...?"
But it takes a fine hand to elevate advertising -- coolly thrashed by jaded pundits -- to the soft-focused realm of scrapbook-worthy human experience. The Band From does it better than we could have.
You know, like a candy cane, except with peeled-off bits of other people's faces.
To promote Give Me More Stripes, some kind of VIP dining rewards card, TGI Friday's launched the farcically kitschy Give Me More Stripes face striping widget.
Those reined into the Give Me More Stripes club get a coupon for a free appetizer, a one-time "front of the line" pass -- which could come in handy if you're ever insanely feening for jalapeno poppers -- and the ability to earn "stripes" for every dollar spent.
...Are those anything like big-top points?
Staples is running a campaign called Gift it for Free, where 10,000 people could "win" any purchase they make at the store between November 16 and December 24.
To promote an already-feeble promotional effort, the marketing team invented a fictional character called Coach Tom, who from what I can tell just wanders around dispensing advice on winning to people that aren't interested, like Tai Chi practitioners and the Kings. At some point in his didactic prattling, he'll toss in a ramble about Gift it for Free, which doesn't visibly spark any interest in his existence.
Feels forced and campy. Also, the videos are too long. But whatev, see requisite YouTube, Facebook and Twitter pages. (Remember how everyone used to build a MySpace page too, and now nobody bothers? Sign of the changing times.)
Pay close attention. The object behind the Grill the Goodness advergame is to put items on the grill, then use various tools (spatula, tongs, fork) to achieve two objectives: cook the food properly, and swat sticky fingers that try to steal the food before it's done.
Do those things with grace and poise, and maybe you won't be relegated to salad shaker when the reckoning happens.
Sassy stuff by Red Tettemer. Also one of the better advergames floating around right now, with the possible exception of Suicide Kittens. Hit the Grill the Goodness homepage for videos, tailgate tips and the Get Grilled Hall of Fame/Shame.
From now through December, expect to see Lara Croft decimating your favourite gamer sites, starting with this one. (Pull the ring in the leaderboard to get her going.)
Once all that pesky content's out of the way, indulge in a big-ass HD ad for Tomb Raider: Underworld, plus free downloadable demo. By Eyeblaster, IGN and SF-based agency JVST.
Playful immersive ad experiences like this are very cool. We saw something similar last September for Wario Land: Shake It! on YouTube. As the video progressed, Wario's kicks, bumps and big fat jiggles utterly "destroyed" the profile page.
We've seen plenty of evidence in the ad world of P. Diddy's self-deluded worldview: Ciroc Vodka, Burger King, Unforgivable.
Even so, I still choked a little upon catching sight of this two-page spread for I Am King, the direct and to-the-point moniker for his newest fragrance. Copy and packaging are flanked by The Man himself, tux-clad and perpetually defiant.
Diggin' how the spread lacks a sampler. Guess you're supposed to take it on faith that if Diddy shits it, it reeks of rosepetal.
It's funny about this subsite. For a few seconds I seriously thought it was for a phone called the Pomegranate NS08 -- which I had already begun to covet more than anything else I've ever wanted, ever.
Then I realized it's unlikely that a phone -- even one with email, internet, GPS, music and a camera -- will actually shave your face, brew coffee or double as a harmonica. (Though it's easy to picture scenarios where all those value-adds would be useful.) So, taking my cues from the site motif, I concluded this must be a campaign promoting the universal merits of the pomegranate fruit.
I hit "Release Date" and got a message that kind of seemed to corroborate my theory:
Someday you'll be able to get everything you want in one device. Today you can get everything you want in one place.
Followed by the product reveal, which did
blow my mind because it struck me as so utterly improbable: