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Best And Worst TV Commercials?

[ Comments Off ]Posted on February 13, 2010 by admin in Popular Media

Saturday, February 13th, 2010

Is it a good commercial because you like it, or because it does the job it’s supposed to do?

As I mentioned recently, it’s odd that after years of dodging TV Commercials, now we go looking for them, and put them in best ads and worst ads collections. Especially around Superbowl time, many of us seem to end up in more casual conversations about commercials that end up in a YouTube search than we’d care to admit. Which highlights an interesting fact: most “best of” lists are really ratings of the commercial’s likeability, not whether or not it’s a “good” (i.e.: effective) commercial. Let’s ponder a few examples, and then I’ll offer up my own best & worst for your consideration. A commercial that often makes the “worst” lists is the one for that toenail infection product that you can’t remember the name of. I’d argue that it was actually a really good commercial; even if you don’t remember the brand name, I’d bet the next time you have a toenail infection, you’ll look for the product on the shelf. Along the same lines in terms of memorability, but lacking a likely customer conversion, is the this high speed Internet ad from 2007. Several friends mentioned this recently as a memorable ad, but even with only three likely choices, no-one could remember if it was an AT&T, Comcast, or Verizon ad. So if anything, it was only really promoting “high speed Internet”. On the other end of the spectrum, we have the Google Parisian Love ad. This one makes a lot of “best of” lists, but in my opinion is utterly ineffective. If you don’t already use Google, it’s probably because you’re loyal to your Yahoo or Bing homepage for whatever reason, and certainly aren’t going to turn around and go digging through your browser settings to change your homepage after seeing the ad. For me all it did was creep me out slightly. I think they should’ve kept going and shown searches for funeral homes with a catchy “Google: Cradle To Grave” pitch. Which highlights the next important factor: quality & impact vs placement. That romantic Google ad was placed in a Superbowl broadcast, of all places, which on the surface makes little sense. Historically, it was fairly easy to argue that placement was as – if not more – important than the quality or instant impact of an ad. With the continuing evolution of new media however, this becomes a much more complicated equation. Given the dynamic and interactive transaction most of us pursue when pondering a purchase, the broader reach and relationship-building of an ad campaign is really more important than the TV commercial itself. To illustrate, below are my two picks for worst and best campaigns to highlight what I’m talking about. First up is this spot for “First Else”: Read the rest of this entry »

TV Commercial Withdrawal: Why I’m A Trunk Monkey Junky

[ 3 Comments ]Posted on January 7, 2010 by admin in Popular Media

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

It’s odd that the only thing I miss since cancelling my cable service is the commercials, and now I can’t find any good ones. Have a fave you’d care to share?


This spot for Cullman Liquidation
is hands-down a fave for me

With the annual hubbub about the Superbowl ad spots starting to simmer (here are last year’s top 10), I’m reminded of the only thing I miss about television since shutting off my cable service back in 2003: the commercials. It’s more than a little odd that I miss them; when I was exposed to them on a regular basis, I had two PTSD-like reflexes to their sudden appearance: 1.) Hit the mute button and pointedly avoid looking at them, or 2.) Play a game of “distill the message”, in which my friends and I would take a beer commercial for instance, and distill it down to the message it was conveying. An example being “although you’re male and act like an idiot, chicks will dig you if you drink our beer“. So in my pining for a commercial to watch, I figured that with the advent of YouTube and the fact that even grandma has a blog these days, it would be easy to find a roundup of the best commercials of the last few years. How wrong I was. Try searching yourself; this tends to be a heavily-targeted keyword, so you’ll keep encountering things like this old European condom commercial, and the title on the clip is almost always something like “FUNNIEST COMMERCIAL EV-AR”. There’s also the added weird “meta” effect of TV programs that are actually devoted to filling the spaces between the commercials with commercials. So although I found some interesting clips to share, I realized I’ll have to come back with a “Part II” after doing a more themed, focused search. Something like the offensive car ads we rounded up last year. Below is a quick roundup of some of the quirkier things I found; feel free to share any goodies of your own. Read the rest of this entry »

Growing Up In England Must Be Creepy

[ 2 Comments ]Posted on August 14, 2009 by admin in Lifestyle & Culture

Friday, August 14th, 2009

Which is why you should Always Keep Ahold of Nurse, For Fear of Finding Something Worse


The Girl Who Didnt Dress Bright

The unpleasant treatment of children in Dickensian tales is almost understandable; the stories were written in times that were, well, Dickensian. But what is it about British culture that warrants morbid PSA’s with dead children, and inspires entire Pink Floyd double albums with songs like We Don’t Need No Education? Or more recently, the Tales of the Road children’s safety campaign  created by the Leo Burnett agency. If you’re a fan of Tim Burton you’ll love the ads; they seem to be based on a weird amalgam of the “Big Eye” art of Margaret Keane, the poetry of Hilaire Belloc, and the macabre tone of Edward Gorey’s The Gashlycrumb Tinies. My favorite is probably The Girl Who Didnt Dress Bright, perhaps more for the name than anything else. You can see the rest on the UK Department for Transport’s YouTube channel, and on their main web site you can even play brutal hit and run games like Make Me Cross. And remember: No pudding ’til you’ve eaten your meat. Read the rest of this entry »

Sultan-Peppered Ad Sheiks Djibouti

[ Comments Off ]Posted on August 13, 2008 by admin in Editorial & Opinion

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

Racism or humorous truthiness?

A new Nissan commercial being broadcast in Israel is causing a little resentment in Arab Gulf nations. In the commercial (left) Saudi oil barons are shown leaving a hotel, and upon noticing the new fuel-efficient Nissan parked nearby, begin pounding on the car shouting “Hawks should peck at you day and night” in Arabic. The voiceover concludes with “It’s clear the oil companies won’t like you”. Offensive, or truthiness in advertising? You decide. For more offensive car commercials, see the booby-jiggling Nissan Pathfinder ad, Jeep’s Bouncy & Fun, Toyota’s nipple-stimulating air-conditioning, and the accidently leaked VW Polo ad, Small But Tough.

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