Category Archives: television

Super Bowl Advertising – It’s Halftime in America, Do You Feel Lucky?

Who won the Brand Bowl for you?

Ever since Apple’s “1984” commercial launched the Macintosh, the Super Bowl has been as much about commercials as football. And at an average cost of $3.5 million for 30 seconds of airtime, the price reflects the great expectations of both the audience and advertisers.

The Nielsen Co. reported a record 111.3 million viewers watched the 2012 game, narrowly topping last year’s Super Bowl TV audience of 111 million.

Four major product categories dominate the big spenders, according to Daily Finance: “automotive, film, food, including snacks and fast food, and beverages. Four of the top 10 Super Bowl advertisers are auto companies. Another four are food and beverage manufacturers. Three movie studios are in the top 25.”

One of the most talked and tweeted about commercials of the 2012 Super Bowl of Advertising was the automotive spot narrated by Clint Eastwood.

 

Unlike other advertisers who released previews on YouTube, Chrysler played it close to the vest, airing their spot only after Madonna’s unpaid halftime commercial (let’s be honest: she’s promoting a new single, album, tour and a movie).

Immediately after the spot aired, the Twitterverse was all… a-twitter. Some people got a lump in their throat. Others got heartburn.

Ostensibly promoting GM brands (Ram/Dodge/Jeep/Chrysler), it ended with the tag line “Imported from Detroit” just like last year’s commercial, which featured rapper Eminem, a native of the Motor City.

But people seem to differ on the whole point of it. Was the actor trying to promote American-made cars, give the country a pep talk, or re-elect President Obama? Or perhaps all of the above? Continue reading

The Day the Internet Went Dark

Kohl’s Ad Inflicts Black’s “Friday” Earworm on Shoppers

Kohl's brings Rebecca Black's "Friday" back for "Black Friday". Now say that five times fast.

It had to happen. But I can’t decide if the new Kohl’s commercial is brilliant or insane. The only thing I’m sure of is that it’s insanely catchy.

Kohl’s is promoting their post-Thanksgiving “Black Friday” holiday sale with a jingle set to the maddeningly ubiquitous viral hit “Friday” by Rebecca Black.

“Black Friday, Black Friday, gotta go to Kohl’s on Black Friday…” Continue reading

Where Where You When Steve Jobs Died?

How did you find out about Steve Jobs death?

Years from now, will you remember? I think I will, which is why it’s worth at least a blog post.

I first heard about Steve Jobs passing via Twitter. On my MacBook Pro. The poetry of the “coincidence” didn’t escape me. As Matthias Worch put it, “That’s not a bad way to go.”

iHeaven. A poetic tribute.

We have the technology, so let’s put it to use in remembering one of the pioneers who made it all possible. Steve Jobs not only helped create a new industry with the Macintosh personal computer, but also revolutionized software, music distribution, digital moviemaking, smart phones and tablet computing. And along the way, Apple also put out some pretty mean advertising, usually in collaboration with agency TBWA Chiat/Day.

Here’s the TV commercial that launched the Apple Macintosh computer. It’s widely regarded as one of the best, most effective adverts ever made. Directed by Ridley Scott, the spot aired only once in January 1984, but it turned the Superbowl into the advertising showcase it’s become today.


RIP Steve, and thanks for showing us how to Think Different. “Because the people who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

 

Advertising Tributes to 9-11

American Airlines ran this ad following the attacks of September 11, 2001.

In the wake of September 11, 2001, advertisers struggled to find the right tone in their communications. It didn’t seem appropriate to try to be funny following the devastating terrorist attacks that took nearly 3,000 lives. But it was also difficult to appear serious and sincere while promoting a commercial venture.

Sympathy Ads

The vast majority of print advertising that ran in the immediate aftermath offered sympathy and condolences. Businesses that had been located in the World Trade Center expressed remorse over the loss of their employees and vowed to continue.

I was amazed to see the variety of condolence ads that came from countries all over the world, including the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia where the majority of hijackers were originally from. For a while I saved a file with many of these ads, but it got to be overwhelming. I now wish I had some of them to post a few images for you.

Life—and even advertising—had to go on. Continue reading

A Toast to Guinness Advertising

Guinness produces brilliant advertising. Oh, and their stout is not too shabby either.

For creative types, beer is the Holy Grail of advertising accounts, because almost anything goes. It’s a chance to do outrageous gags with big budgets. But the problem with most beer commercials is that they usually end up being generic and formulaic. Funny set-up, add logo, insert tag line as punch line at the end. Done.

Guinness has always been different. Sure, it’s had plenty of big budget TV spots, but they’ve always been based on the brand’s “unique differentiators” (as they say in marketing-speak): the Irish heritage and the slow pour that a good stout requires. Guinness commercials wouldn’t work for any other brewer.

A Guinness Facebook post recently asked fans to list their favorite tag line from the brand. The responses were many and varied: “Brilliant.” “Good things come to those who wait.” “It’s good for you.” “Guinness for strength.” “It’s alive inside.” “My goodness, my Guinness!” Continue reading

The Exclusive Return of the Most Interesting Man in the World

Are you thirsty, my friends?

Here for your viewing and imbibing pleasure, announced as an exclusive “event” on Facebook with a link to this “unlisted” video, is the return of The Most Interesting Man in the World.

His long-awaited reappearance was announced with the following invitation:

There’s nothing interesting about being the second person to do something. RSVP to be one of the first to see the new Dos Equis television spot. Without further ado…

Has His Most Interestingness equaled his previous exploits? Can he beat Chuck Norris and The Old Spice Guy blindfolded? Will you buy Dos Equis? THAT is the question!

UPDATE: The YouTube link has been changed from “unlisted” to “private” so it’s no longer available for viewing. Sorry! It was fun while it lasted.

Political Attack Ads – How Effective Are They?

Vote For Pedro - One of the better signs seen at the Jon Stewart "Rally To Restore Sanity And/Or Fear"

Hello, Voters!

Is the Old Spice campaign still effective? Joe Miller of Alaska thinks so. Miller, the Republican candidate for Senate in Alaska, is still fending off his rival, incumbent Lisa Murkowski, whom he defeated in the primary. Not content to simply fade away, Murkowski is trying to hang onto her seat by running a write-in campaign as an Independent.

Combining equal parts humor and attack, Miller’s commercial is currently polling well in the Wall Street Journal survey of effective attack ads. One commenter to the YouTube channel thought it outdid the original: “This is even better than the Old Spice commercial…”

If you’re not already overwhelmed by the onslaught of mostly negative political ads, check out the selections  chosen by the Journal and vote on which ones you think are most effective. It’s your civic duty.

By tomorrow it should be pretty obvious which spots worked best.

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Accidental AutoTune Celebs – Antoine and the Bear

Antoine Dodson's YouTube rant has spawned a hit song as well as a Halloween costume.

The Rapist and the Rainbow

A funny thing happened at the most recent wedding reception I worked. The mother of the bride says to me (as the DJ), “Have you heard that song about that guy on YouTube who stopped the rapist?”

A song about the what…? I don’t think so.

“You know, about the intruder who snuck in and was trying to rape the guy’s sister in her bed?”

Hmm. No, I don’t think I’ve heard that one before.

Then there was the 13-year-old’s birthday party, where some kid wanted to hear the “Double Rainbow” song.

Is that a Skittles commercial? No? I don’t think I’ve heard that one either. Sorry, just not as hip as I used to be. (So much music, so little time.)

Lyrics by YouTube, Music by Gregory Bros.

“Bed Intruder” and “Double Rainbow” have a few things in common.

They’re both hit iTunes songs that were inspired by viral YouTube videos. Both have resulted in new commercial opportunities for their accidental stars. Continue reading

Axe vs Old Spice vs Grover – Smells Like a Monster

Axe stakes its claim as "Canada's #1 Men's Deodorant" with a billboard that reads: "For men who'd rather be with a woman than on a horse."

Smells like…

Competition! Old Spice has been on the receiving end of a few potshots lately, which is to be expected after being on a roll (or on a horse) for a while.

To start with, the company’s shirtless spokesman, Isaiah Mustafa, went moonlighting away from his regular gig as The Man Your Man Could Smell Like for Old Spice. He did basically the same shtick for someone else, but on the other side of the world and without all the props. Maybe he just needed a break from the bathroom. He went all the way to Australia to disrobe for… Continue reading