On the way to the Mullen new office open house party in Boston, we sampled some radio, a medium we haven't listened too much in years. After listening to Kiss 108 on the ride in and the ride out, a couple things are clear.
Twitter, mentioned no less than three times (in both programming and commercials) in a 30 minute period, is now mainstream. East West Mortgage is asking people to follow them to keep up to date on the latest mortgage rates. An LG phone commercial couldn't gush enough about how one of its phones was "Twitter enabled." Even a car dealer mentioned Twitter to, well, we're not really sure.
OK so Iranian women, in place of the muzzled media, are getting all social using Facebook and Twitter to tell the world about the country's election chaos. By most accounts, they're doing a pretty good job.
What's not doing a good job is favorite whipping boy, contextual advertising, a form of advertising which never fails to amuse, shock, surprise or baffle. The latest contextual corrigendum come amidst a news report about Tehran Tweeters. All while Iranian women diligently make use of social media to circumvent the news blackout, Iranian Personals pimps its bevy of "Iranian Soul Mates" to those who care more about flirting and dating than taking an interest in world events.
"Insane Crash" is a coupla months old and continues Sprite's "Freedom from Thirst" campaign, which launched in 2005.
From what we can gather, a passel of sun-fatigued, thirsty teenagers sit around, baking in their boredom. Then, in a moment of Sprite-lubricated genius, two guys on opposite ends of the quad come up with a really fun idea: slamming into each other at high speeds and exploding into droplets of sugary dew.
The first slam sparks a chain of equally inexplicable -- but apparently thrilling! -- martyrdoms, and everyone is happy, and there is rock music, the end. This sordid piece of wasted time brought to you by Ogilvy/Asia-Pacific.
Perhaps because they were sick and tired of being confused with a worldwide sandwich conglomerate, Philadelphia-based Gyro Worldwide is changing their name to...Quaker City Mercantile? Wait, what? Gyro/QCM is an ad agency right? So now they're shedding their sub shop image for...some kind of cereal-focused trading exchange?
People! We're in the marketing business, right? We're supposed to make it easy for people to know what brands are, what they stand for and what they do. Right? Right?
But maybe that's old school thinking because Gyro/QCM doesn't really want to be clearly defined as a traditional ad agency, rather, "a company that aims to produce much more than advertising." And that will do so by "drawing on Philadelphia's heritage...to recapture Philadelphia's mighty industrial past and weave a new version of this greatness into its future."
Wait, what? Now we're "weaving greatness?" WTF does that mean?
We give up.
The music in Palm Pre's "Flow" feels Stephen Spielberg epic, but the concept of the ad itself is a little weird.
In "Flow," a woman saunters into an empty field, settles on a giant rock and starts futzing with her Palm Pre phone. At the same time, an entire army of orange-clad martial arts-inspired dancers appear around her, illustrating her big internal soliloquy with their unified movements.
OMFG. Yes, OMFG. That's the only logical reaction to this commercial for the Comfort Wipe, the "revolutionary" new product that lets you wipe your ass without ever having to touch it or a piece of dirty toilet paper.
Dabitch is right when she wrote on Adland,"I predict that 'The first improvement of toilet paper as we know it since the 1880's!' and 'Get-a-grip' will be punchlines in late-night shows by next week, and finally topple 'I have fallen and I can't get up' & 'set it and forget it' from their thrones." Thrones. Funny, Åsk.
And if this doesn't stick, there's always "apply directly to the forhead."
We're just waiting for the spoofs on "Break the Monotony," a campaign for SPAM -- yes, the meat whose identity you can never quite peg -- put together by LAIKA.
See "Bored Room," which depicts bread slices in a meeting, falling gradually into comas, until SPAM leaps in, Kool-Aid Man-style, and crashes the party.
New York Pizza, which is not in New York, is out with another strange commercial just in time to be compared to the recent Miller commercial, featuring Sopranos actor Frank Vincent, which was derided for perpetuating Italian stereotypes. In the commercial, we see the stereotypical mafioso type who's "got other businesses" envision a "Damn Hot" promotion that, in the end, doesn't go so well.
After surprising a little boy, pleasing dad and shocking mom, New York Pizza's Rollergirl gets lost, hangs with prostitutes and ultimately gets arrested. At which time our mafioso character concludes, "Eh, bad idea" and realizes all that matters is a "damn tasty pizza and a damn cheap price."
Yup. The whole flashmob/spontaneous dance party thing has jumped the shark. Actually, it jumped the shark long, long ago but T-Mobile is confirming every last shark has been jumped with its Tree Rave.
In Tree Rave, unsuspecting park dwellers are assaulted by hired freaks who, upon placement of a boom box (they still make those?), break out into a really bad tree dance causing onlookers to offer up classic WTF looks as they wonder whether or not they should grab their kids and run far, far away from these tree hugging wackos
It's not like Burger King commercials could get any weirder. I mean Square Booty? Seriously? But these new ones are up their on the weird scale.
So how does BK make people aware they're open late and have all sort of BK Burger Shots to sell? They wake a guy up with an air horn. That's how.
We know exactly how this ad was concepted. It's just too easy. A couple of CP+B creatives walked into the office of another and found the dude sleeping. They grabbed the dude's air horn (everyone has one in their office, you know) and scared the shit out of the guy. Then, one creative said to another, "Dude, this would be perfect for the late night menu thing!"
And there you have it. And here's the NAACP-mandated African American version.