Friday, November 13, 2009

Samuel Adams: Happy Employees Make Better Beer

This spot baffled me. I just couldn't understand what corporation would green light an ad that shows their employees consuming alcohol in the workplace. The I saw the head of the legal department pouring off a fresh batch and I got my answer.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Bing: Search Overload Syndrome

I've been spending a lot of time thinking (and blogging) about Bing, the new Microsoft "decision engine." Unlike the first commercial I saw for Bing, which seemed to point the finger at Google for causing the recession, this one really resonates. Whereas the brashness of the other spot left me cold and confused, the humor here drives home the point about how absurd it is to go on a scavenger hunt from keyword to link to keyword to link before getting the information you're was looking for.

Perhaps most importantly, this ad passed the "mom test." My mother-in-law "got" the ad, found it funny, and wanted to try Bing. Sure enough, after I proceeded to show her Bing in action, she asked why the commercial didn't just show a simple demo. Good question. Methinks its because it would be too hard to differentiate from Google by showing a series of searches and results. The viewer's first instinct would be to say, "Yeah, but isn't that just what Google does?" Instead, Microsoft is trying to evoke some emotion about a pretty cut-and-dry product and category. This is a pretty good effort but only time will tell if these spots bing home the bacon.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Microsoft Sync: You Talk, Sync Listens

This was the first commercial that made me laugh out loud since the SuperBowl. The beginning is just so unexpected. And from there, each scene builds the suspense... wait for it, wait for it. Blam! Really draws you in and drives home the core product benefit. Good to see Microsoft having some fun out there. They usually come across as quite the stodgy brand. Even their Zune ads are a bit stiff. And after a couple years of getting their PC a** handed to them by the Mac guy, it's nice to see them come out with some original, edgy material. This one'll have 'em talking.

Apple iPod + iTunes: Mary J. Blige Work That

These iPod spots rock, literally. They are truly iconic. As only Apple can, the product is set off in plain white. They don't even need to show it, those ear buds and trackwheel base are that recognizable. Apple just has a way of leading the way above the fray. And adding Mary J. into the mix doesn't hurt. Apple knows how to work it.

Geico: Paid Celebrity

These Geico spots are classic -- "Joe Consumer is an actual Geico customer, not a paid celebrity so to help tell his story, we hired one." I especially like the one with Little Richard but didn't have my camera handy when that one was rolling. In general, I love when commercials poke fun at themselves and come off as anti-advertising -- or, as I've called it, "outside looking in." Shows empathy for the consumer and creates an "us" (brand and consumer) against "them" (all those other advertisers) sorta vibe. Simple formula but hard to execute well. Not so easy a caveman could do it. More like cro-magnum man.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

E-Trade Baby Trading

OK folks, I've finally gotten around to kick-starting this site. Can't promise my post frequency will be anything to write home, er... blog about, but I will do my darnedest to put out some Good and Bad Commercials for you every now and then.

This year's SuperBowl commercials ran about as hot and cold as the Giants offense. The spots from E-Trade were Eli Manning 2-minute drill-esque. Got your attention right away with a talking baby (those never get old -- rememeber Baby Bob from Quiznos?) Really drove home the point that using E-Trade is so easy a baby could do it. And gave us just enough adult humor (again, not the most original but who isn't mesmerized by clowns) to give the brand a little edginess. In my mind, E-Trade won the CommercialBowl this year - no kidding. Who was your fave? Cast your vote in the poll on the right rail ------>

Pepsi Magnetic Attraction

Pepsi scored big at the big game this year. Loved their spot for Pepsi Max with Joe Buck and Troy Aikman doing the Night at the Roxbury head bob. And the Chris Kattan cameo at the end was priceless.

Then they had this gem with Justin Timberlake getting dragged around town by a girl drinking a Pepsi that gets her "closer" to JT tunes with each sip. Especially love the parts when he's dragged across the soccer game leaving the girls screaming and when he gets clocked in the head by the flat screen at the end. This spot was unexpected and on point. Kudos to Pepsi for bringing sexy back to their SuperBowl commercials.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

SalesGenie Panda

I was floored by this ad. Not only was the animation amateurish but the plot was downright dumb if not borderline racist. Giving the pandas names like Ling Ling makes it clear they're supposed to be Asian. Not sure why it was necessary to give them a distinct ethnicity. Certainly doesn't add to the theme of the spot. And, to top it off, they have them speaking broken English. Reminds me of the Average Asian skit on Mad TV. The SuperBowl is not the place to perpetuate stereotypes. Shame on SalesGenie. They shouldn't have let this one out of the bottle.

UPDATE 2/6 - Sales Genie has pulled this spot in response to complaints that the ad was offensive to Asians. Danica's Exposure

I already covered this one at Good URL Bad URL so I'll keep it brief here. While GoDaddy's SuperBowl spots are always borderline tasteless and crass, they are effective. They get you to remember the brand. This year's spot drove viewers online to check out Danica Patrick's beaver. Apparently they got half a million hits in the 30 minutes after the spot aired. While I hate to slap a Good tag on an ad so juvenile, it accomplished their goal and that's what it's all about, daddy-o.

Under Armour The Gathering

This as was just a little too big for me. And with all the fall-out from baseball steroid scandal and Chris Benoit's death, showing a juiced-up bodybuilder clad in Under Armour and sputing off about taking over the world just didn't seem right. These guys are taking themselves too seriously if they think launching a shoe line is akin to a revolution. They'd have been better off with a more under-stated ad.