Tag Archives: Ads

Facebook and the Beacon Fiasco

It’s time for Facebook to suck it up and admit they screwed up with this “beacon” system. People everywhere are complaining that Facebook is not respecting their privacy. In at least one case, Facebook ruined Christmas. But more importantly, users – a fickle crowd, indeed – are more concerned about privacy than many people think.

Perhaps only because I’ve yet to get abused by it have I not acted on my urge to close my account, but I am pissed nonetheless than a company like Facebook – which, until the last few weeks – was the “hot, young” company in Silicon Valley, but has recently crashed and burned in many people’s minds, would do something like this. The beacon system is 100% designed for advertisers and Faecbook itself, not for users. And when you sell out your users, well, you sign your own death certificate. I could not agree any more with Scoble, who says Mark Zuckerburg ought to get his ass out there and apologize. Remember, Mark, Facebook is only worth 1 billion dollars on paper. Once your userbase distrusts you, you’re done.

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Superbowl XLI Ad Review

I have reviewed Superbowl ads before, and I decided to reprise that practice this year.

The Good
1. The ad that made me laugh first was a Taco Bell ad with two tigers. The tigers are chatting while spying on campers, and one gets focused on saying “carne asada” with a rolling r. It was humorous, and got me to chuckle.

2. There was a Coke ad that was clearly based on the Grand Theft Auto video game series. In it, after a crime spree, a character grabs a cold Coke from a cooler and starts doing nice things. More important than the content of the ad was that it copped the song “You Give a Little Love” from the Bugsy Malone soundtrack, one of my favorites as a kid! Great song, so the ad passes go, collects $200, and secures its spot in my tops list.

3. Third ad that made the cut was another Coke one. There was a white mutt who sees a parade and a dalmation, and uses an ill-timed mud puddle splash to costume himself and secure himself a spot in the parade. Touching.

4. There were a few ads that touched on Black History month and the factn that two Black coaches were in the superbowl. I tend to feel that the significance of this event, while great, ought to be overshadowed by their achievements themselves, rather than the fact that they are black. Neither coach wants to be defined by his color. But then, this is a significant event in the history of black coaches in football, and I’m glad that it was mentioned by several ads. So the jury is out, but the verdict is clear: we won’t have to deal with the issue again.

5. Honorable mention goes to the Dave Letterman/Oprah spot.

The Bad
1. Godaddy.com. Nice ad: there were boobs, and chicks, the dudes from Diggnation, the guys from American Chopper, Trishelle Canatella… but I would rather know that my domain is safe with a place that is stable and professional.

2. Sierra Mist. Seriously, I like these people, but the ads were just stupid. No laugh.

3. Crabs and Bud Light. Ih. Did nothing for me.

The Ugly
1. The Careerbuilder series. It was effective, because I remembered it and liked that it was a series of ads continuing a theme. It did not, however, make me very interested in checking out careerbuilder.

2. Federline/Taco Bell. Victim of too much hype. The payoff was small because of the backstory.

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Two Incredible Videos

First, the most incredible winter driving video I’ve ever seen. If you’ve ever driven in ice, you know that sometimes, when the road is just wrong, you are literally helpless to do much more than brace yourself for a semi-controlled spin. This road must’ve been completely iced over. Whatever this case, you will probably cringe like I did just watching one person after another get into this mess.

Secondly, a promo for Windows 386. The first 7 minutes are completely boring, but skip to about 7:10 in and the chaos begins. You will never believe that someone actually thought this would sell Windows. The only thing is does is convince me that promo directors in the mid-80’s must’ve done A LOT of cocaine.

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Video Vault (11/07/2006)

Hey’s gay… er, blind
How you confuse these terms is beyond me. Someone, I’m sure, had some ‘splainin to do when the red light went off. And I’m betting a pissed off mountain climber, who may or may not be blind and/or gay was waiting for it. Via Google Video.

Proof that there is a God. The funny thing is, every single species of monkey and ape eat bananas the other way. It appears we eat them “upside down,” despite “God’s pull-tab.” Via Google Video.

Black Macbook
The first and only “I’m a Mac” spoofs that was actually funny. Via YouTube.

Faith Hill is a Sore Loser
This has got to be a joke. Look closely, it’s quick. Vai break.com

This is actually called “The Man With Exploding Arms.” That alone is scary, but when you see his freakish arms, you’ll probably have to choke back your own vomit.

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Superbowl XXXVIII Ad Review

Another Super Bowl comes and goes and so passes another set of ultra-expensive advertisements. This year, there were a few spots worthy of mention.

The Studs
1. Clearly, the funniest ad to grace the game of games was the Fed Ex “Castaway” spot. In a classic exchange, a bearded, knotty haired Tom Hanks-ish castaway delivers a package that was his “purpose” for pulling through while marooned on the island. As he’s about to leave, he asks the woman, “Hey, by the way, what’s in the package?” She responds glibly, “Uh…not too much. A satellite phone, a GPS locator, a fishing rod, and some seeds.” A good belly laugh.

2. Another great ad that showed its face was the zebra referee. While watching a reply over and over, a zebra, apparently referreeing a game between two teams of horses, is admired from the sideline. One man sneers “This referee is a jackass.” The other says calmly, “Actually, he’s a zebra.” Good stuff.

3. The office defense – Reebok hires a defensive lineman to be a “motivator.” We see him tackling people and ransacking the office. Sheer brilliance.

4. The Matrix and The Hulk spots. Not worthy of discussion, except to say they were awesome and they premiered.

The Duds
1. Willie Nelson, H & R Block was a good combo. While it did get a chuckle, the potential for a better gag was there.

2. The clown drinking through his butt: a man wearing a costume that looks like a clown standing on his hands drinks a beer through what appears to be the clown’s butt. Not especially funny.

3. mLife – The Gilligan thing was nothing special.

Just my thoughts.

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Coming Attractions

As a boy, one of my favorite parts of going to the movies was the coming attractions. As I got older and movies at home became more convenient and commonplace, I learned to appreciate trailers as one of the still unique experiences about going out to a theater.

A few years ago, moviefone started sponsoring ads running before the trailers. The first one, featuring an old Russian man and a potato was laughable. Then, they became less funny. And there were ads for Pepsi and Coke. Shortly thereafter, the ads got longer, and Blockbuster joined in. Now, when I go to the movies, I don’t just get previews, I get all sorts of nonsense including NASCAR drivers peddling soft drinks and video game trailers (uh…video game trailers?!).

Is there anything not for sale anymore? It seems at every opportunity, someone is selling my time. A 30 minute TV show is only 22 minutes. A Bond film is practically one long commercial. I’ve been whining about commercials for a while now, but the thing is, ads are everywhere. And it’s pissing me off.

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Commercials, Part 3 of 3

I’ve been pining on and on about commercials the last few posts, so I’ll throw one more out and then let this subject go. I’m loving these Sprint ads that discuss PCS clarity vs. cell phone static. First it was kids covered in a white powder. The babysitter sits clueless while the mother cries, “No, shower the children! Why would I want to flour the children?” Then it was a monkey with a cold, under an afghan with a thermometor in his mouth. Now, the newest installment features a Texas ranch run amok with weiner dogs. “200 dachshunds?” the guy says, “I wanted 200 oxen!” Isn’t it just hilarious when the two little pups are trying to tow the hay wagon?

While Sprint is gaining favor with me for these featurettes, the ads that increasingly suck are for Mazda. I hate the f’ing “Zoom Zoom” kid. What the hell is “Zoom Zoom” anyway? Some sort of code? Why should I trust this little snot anyway? Am I to believe the brat is somehow esepcially wise on the subject of automobiles? Go home, kid. And Mazda, for the love of God, come up with something new. Sheesh.

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Drugs Fund Terrorists

After my last rant on the brilliant Verizon commercial, I know have to extoll the genius of the “Drugs Fund Terrorists” ads. The assertion here is that, somehow, each time your local no-good, head, or general pothead buys themselves a dime bag, Osama Bin Laden comes that much closer to building a nuclear bomb. Ridiculous.

The problem with anti-drug ads in America is that they’re bullshit. The first time a high schooler takes a toke of a joint, they realize this: that their parents, guidance counselers, teachers, and even the previous TV ads, are complete crap. Maybe if we stopped lying to kids about drugs and sex, feeding them lines to mold them, and then, when they experience things on their own, dismissing everything we’ve ever said as bullshit, we might make some progress. Instead, we tell them that Johnny’s dope is keeping Saddam in power.

I just saw an even better one. Two kids sitting in an office-like room with a bong are talking about your usual crap: useless, pointless, teenaged quips. We glimpse a few quick interchanges, and then one finds a gun.

Teen Dopehead 1: (holding gun) “Look at this!”
Teen Dopehead 2: “Whoa! Is it loaded?”
Teen Dopehead 1: “Nah…it’s not…” BOOM!

The gun discharges and we’re left to imagine the fate of Teen Dopehead 2, who I’m assuming, we’re to believe is now dead. This, the ad implies, is due to the distortive capabilities of pot. Nevermind the fact that Teen Dopehead 1’s moron father left a loaded gun unlocked in an office that the kids feel comfortable enough in to smoke a bong. What a load of crap.

Look, you don’t have to be a smoker to feel as though we’re handling the drug problem incorrectly in America. It’s obscene. As a parent, when I have kids, I think I’ll be honest with my children. I’ll expect that they’re going to be sneaking dime bags out of the house in their socks and stuffing cigarette papers with weed. I won’t pretend it doesn’t happen. I’ll be honest with them, respect their decision, and hope to control it.

Now, I have some errands to run, and I need to go fill my car up. Maybe if people would stop smoking pot, gas might not be so expensive. Sigh.

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All I Need Is A Miracle

I think this new Verizon ad is the best ad ever. You know the one, set to Mike and the Mechanics‘ “All I Need is a Miracle?” Friggin great. Let’s examine why.

The Premise
Scott and Catherine are a couple in the midst of a spat. Catherine is pissed, and won’t speak to Scott. He’s down, cause he’s really got a thing for her. Scott, clearly not usually a hopeless romantic, is truly bothered and is legitimately scared of losing Catherine, and makes a number of cutesy attempts to prove his devotion and apology. We get a number of glimpses of Scott moping about, strumming his guitar aimlessly, even laying the bathtub.

The Product
The ad is for Verizon. Scott wants back in with Catherine and is trying to get in touch with her. Amongst the methods Scott attempts include calling her long distance, no doubt via Verizon long distance, leaving her Verizon voice mail (17 voice mails, to be precise), calling her from his Verizon cell phone, faxing her a handwritten apology, and e-mailing her photos that she is receiving via her Verizon e-mail on her Verizon DSL connection. Brilliant. You, the consumer, barely even notice this. As you’re enthralled in the backstory.

The Purpose
I don’t know what to think. First off, the acting, at least on the part of Catherine, is pretty decent. I was honestly convinced, based on her eyes alone, in the last shot, that Catherine was hurting. I’m no cheeseball, but I found myself, quite strangely, empathizing with these characters I’d known for about 20 seconds.
Moreoever, All I Need is a Miracle is a great mid-80’s staple. The first few times I saw the commercial, I concentrated on little more than the song. Too many commercial bit-song remakes are done so poorly, and have such a mass-market, bland-voice, generic feel to them. This remake is not so poor, in fact, it’s decent. It works well with the characters.

The Pitch
Why’s it deserving of a few paragraphs of yours and my time? If you’re a writer, you know, it’s damn tough to pack a lot of substance into a little space or time. This commercial, which not only touches on a myriad of products, develops an intricate storyline that lets us know a tremendous amount about two characters in a very short span. The characters are not flat characters, in fact, you empathize with them and secretly and quietly rejoice when, at the end of the ad, Catherine shows up at Scott’s door, seemingly to give him another chance. It’s a play. It’s a complete story. It’s got action, ups and downs, twists, and a resolution with even the suggestion of a bright future for the characters. How many other ads have you seen where you care about the fate of the characters? I can hardly say I care much what happed to the Trix bunny, the kid from Tootsie Roll land, or, God help us, Steven, the Dell dude.

Sure, I could just go on about my life. But with TV like it’s been lately – stupid reality show after reality show – ads like this one are actually better than the programs.

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