Friday, November 28, 2008

The Hess Truck is Back!

As a former collector of the annual Hess Truck, I thought it would be appropriate to show you this year's commercial for it. Looks like this one will lift and plow. Neat!

It's hard to analyze the spot too critically. Who can rag on little tykes singing about one of the only toys that has survived the ages? Even if all they do is substitute a new line of the song each year, it will still get stuck in your head.

Guru Grade: 6 / 10

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Swedish Fish: A Friend You Can Eat

I hate it when videos get deleted from Youtube...

"This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Cadbury Adams USA LLC"

Sorry folks :/

Gotta, admit... I didn't think Swedish Fish even advertised. After all, their deliciously juicy scale-lined carcasses practically sell themselves. Honestly, what's not to love about Swedish Fish? Sure, there was that one time when I ate an entire bag and had an allergic reaction to the Red 40 dye and swelled up like a balloon, but those things happen.

Notice that there is a cat in an advertisement once again. Continue to prepare for kitty domination.

Guru Grade: 6.5 / 10

I Am King, Says Diddy

When I first stumbled upon this thing, I thought it was just going to be a viral video promoting P. Diddy's music or something. Then I started watching it, and I knew he had to be selling something. In the end a product is finally revealed: cologne, called "I Am King," the same title of this "movie."

From Diddy's blog:

"I am debuting my new movie "I Am King" for my new fragrance "I Am King" which is available exclusively at Macy's. This fragrance is dedicated to Barack Obama, Muhammad Ali, Martin Luther King and all you men out there who take care of your families and respect and treat yourself like the Kings that we are all. I would like to also announce that this is my audition tape for the next James Bond. There is a black president and it's time for there to be a black Bond. God Bless..."
I used to like my boy Puff. He was one of the few rappers who could talk and actually back it up. For example, he promised us "Ten years from now we'll still be on top..." in "Mo Money Mo Problems" (released in 1997) and what do you know? He's still very successful. But with this "movie" which is nothing but a glorified television commercial, he tries to act like he is the grand messiah of epicness. I'm not buying it. Take that how you want it.

Guru Grade: 4 / 10

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Green Apple Ad is Sour

The flawless shimmer of a Mac ad just doesn't shine right on YouTube, so here's a direct link. (Even though YouTube went widescreen!)

Click here to watch

The name of the song is "Run" by Broadcast 2000.

The greenest family of notebooks, eh? Wouldn't that be some spiral bound made out of recycled paper or something? Honestly, how "green" can a computer be? Sure it uses better materials and takes less energy to run, but compared to having no laptop at all, you're still doing damage.

This whole green movement is merely a global-warming-inspired fad. Just like hula hoops and Tamagotchis, it will become another trend in pop culture that you curiously think back on as you watch 'I Love the 2000's' on VH1 sometime next decade, so it's very weird to see Apple jump on the bandwagon here. They make trends, not follow them.

There's not a speck of creativity outside of what Apple has already been doing in their ads. White space- check. Catching song- check. Fluid motion in animation- check. Where's the new hook? Use the green theme, but beef it up a little, would ya?

Guru Grade: 3.5 / 10

You're in the Movies, Burt Reynolds!

More video game commercials, jeez. I'm a bit timid to put some of these out, because they kind of sell themselves in many cases, leaving no room for creativity in the advertisements. This one's got Burt Reynolds, and he's more obnoxious than ever. However, that game looks really freakin' cool. How do they do it without a green screen? Marvelous.

Guru Grade: 5 / 10

Adidas: Celebrate Orignality

Finally! I was aware of an Adidas commercial with Katy Perry and David Beckham in the works for some time now, and it's just been released. Adidas Originals has invited these and other celebrities, including Kevin Garnett, Missy Elliott, Mark Gonzales, DMC, Method Man, Young Jeezy, among others, to celebrate 60 years of "Soles and Stripes."

The full length video is shown above, and there are two other spots:

30 Second

The name of the song in the 30 second and minute long ad is "Beggin'" by Frankie Vallie & The Four Seasons (Pilooski Re-edit).

The more I watch it, the more celebrities pop out. Was that Estelle? Looks like quite the party.

(Note: Guru Grade may be skewed by the seductive shots of Katy Perry... ~swoon~ )

Guru Grade: 8.5 / 10

Zune, Common, and Afrika Bambaataa

Basic .mp3 player commercial trying to compete with the iPod... They show you how Mixview works with their new Zune software.

The name of the song is called "Universal Mind Control" by Common. The dude he's talking to is Afrika Bambaataa, the artist who released "Planet Rock," one of the most sampled songs of the century.

The only part I like about this commercial is Common's song and how he raises his hand in the beginning. That's hardbody.

Guru Grade: 5.5 / 10

Monday, November 24, 2008

PlayStation Network T-shirt Spot

I saw this while watching 'A Colbert Christmas' last night. Pretty cool effect, but the music video for D.A.N.C.E. by Justice did it better. Anyway, nice to see PlayStation trying to incorporate community into their products, rather than just the appeal of having the priciest tech on the market.

The name of the song is "Pass It On" by Her Space Holiday. (previously unreleased)

This ad as well as others touting the "Entertainment Unleashed" motto will be running throughout the holiday season to entice buyers and make you feel bad for buying your kid a Wii instead of a PS3.

For more information and to see other PlayStation ads, click here.

Guru Grade: 7 / 10

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Stella Artois: The Race

I wasn't planning on posting this, but I'm still waiting for some other videos to pop up online before I can talk about them, so I figured, why not.

This spot makes me happy. Reminds me of 'Life is Beautiful.' It's funny in a disgrace-your-heritage-for-a-pint kind of way (but not really disgracing your heritage, if you see the end.) Bravo. Buon giorno, Principessa!

Guru Grade: 8 / 10

Saturday, November 22, 2008

J.C. Penney: Beware of the Doghouse

Click here to watch

J. C. Penney has just released this entertaining video. It's quite long for a TV commercial (about 5 minutes) but it keeps attention and provides some decent entertainment. I think they worked off of a premise that many people will be able to relate to - either positively or negatively. In the end, we learn that diamonds are still a girl's best friend.

Guru Grade: 7.5 / 10

Friday, November 21, 2008

Don't Forget Your Free Dr Pepper

A couple months back, Dr Pepper made a silly statement promising to give a bottle of their product to everybody in America if Axl Rose released Guns N' Roses' final studio album in the year 2008. The album has been in the oven for about 10 years now, and it will finally be released on November 23. Yep, that's this Sunday! What's even better is Dr Pepper has stuck to their word and will give US residents one day and one day only to log on to their website and sign up for a free bottle of Dr Pepper.

Dr Pepper hasn't really advertised for this event. I reckon they don't want to be giving out TOO much free fizz. Anyhow, here's an ad just to justify the post. Enjoy.

The name of the song is "Sirius" by the Alan Parsons Project.

Guru Grade: 6 / 10

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Lips Xbox 360

The name of the song is "Take on Me" by a-ha. Classic.

There's a pair of little walking lips in everyone! It may just take a little longer for some people to build up the courage to awake their sleeping soprano in front of the whole party. But don't worry... if little walking lips guy can do it, so can you! A very goofy spot indeed. I like when little lips dude beat boxes at the end.

Guru Grade: 7.5 / 10

Charles Schwab: Talk to Chuck

I have a friend who is severely freaked out by these commercials. They've been running for awhile now. The animation technique used is called interpolated rotoscoping, designed by MIT Media Lab veteran Bob Sabiston. The purpose of this cartoony appearance is to emphasize what the person is saying, which can often be ignored if there is nothing else to catch your attention.

Guru Grade: 5.5 / 10

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sonic: The Stalls

Click here to watch

Sonic spoofs the Hills! This is the first season of "The Stalls" wherein your favorite characters from those funny drive-in commercials cause some front seat drama while dining on the finest in-car fast food. Although the premise may be cheap and corny, this campaign is special because it is one of the first episodic TV commercial series, airing on Mondays around 10:11 p.m. Eastern.

The folks over at Sonic are playing perfectly into the hands of its target market. The teenage girls and college students who worship the stars of the Hills are probably the ones going to Sonic most often (At rush hour: 3 in the morning, of course.)

What I like most about these spots is the way the captions roll across the screen, imitating the Hills' production design to a tee. However, the spots are only 30 seconds long, leaving little time for a decent amount of content. I think a minute long episode would be better. The ADD generation probably wouldn't sustain anything longer than that though.

A television commercial series! Finally! I'm really happy about these little clips, and it will actually keep me coming back for more. Guess that means I'll be watching the Hills, too. Whatev. TTYL.

Guru Grade: 6.5 / 10

Friday, November 14, 2008

Samsung and Ozzy Osbourne

This commercial is for the new Samsung Propel device. I was a dedicated viewer of MTV's 'The Osbournes' and I've seen quite a bit of Ozzy's mumbling. While I understand where they're coming from, I don't think they needed to exaggerate his speech as much as they did. Hopefully they continue this campaign and include people like Don Vito.

Guru Grade: 5.5 / 10

Toshiba: Time Sculpture

Just a cool video I found:

The song is "Air War" by Crystal Castles.

View 'The Making Of' Here

Guru Grade: 8 / 10

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Moar Cats in Advertising

I always thought cats hated water, but I guess they found a way to get across seas to be pictured in this Royal Mail spot from the U.K. And of all things to be doing on Election Day!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Dupont: Open Science

Here's a new spot by the Ogilvy, NYC team. They animate a fictional world and try to explain what 'open science' is. I'm not impressed.

Sure, commercials like this are nice to look at. They're visually appealing and have a certain artistic charm, but what else? A good advertisement has to be more than just pristine execution. Any ad agency can make a pretty spot with an endless budget, but a creative idea- something special needs to be added, and I don't think this commercial had it. Check out the dialogue:

"What is open science? It's minds working together to do amazing things. It can rebuild cities, making them safer and more sustainable. It can bring solar power to remote villages. It makes materials lighter, which saves fuel. It can feed a growing planet. Science that's open, opens up possibilities everywhere."
Sounds good, right? They've paid close attention to their audience, by using words and phrases that will be met with agreement, such as "sustainable," "solar power," and "saves fuel." But is this what you're really doing, Dupont? Show me some remote villages that you're providing solar power to. Give me an example of the sustainable methods you employ. Explain how open science can "feed the planet." Oh, what Dupont? You can't. This was all just vague rhetoric you used to accompany some fancy visuals.

Why create this animated fantasy world, where the skies are blue and cities are built in the blink of an eye? Is it because the real world we reside in is so far from that ideal that it seems like an impossibility to attain the things that you promise?

Face the facts. Our planet is in a dire situation, and life is not flowers and butterflies. Instead of lying to the public by exhibiting a perfect dream world, get real and start putting your "science" where your mouth is.

Something like this ad from is what I'd rather be seeing from Dupont.

Royal Caribbean: Nation of Why Not

Click here to watch

This flashy spot is part of a new campaign for Royal Caribbean. They created a colorful fantasy land and combined it with all of the things you can do on a cruise. Royal Caribbean wants you to discredit the normal limits of technology and do things that seem oxymoronic, like climbing a mountain at sea or ice skating on the equator.

The Nation of Why Not campaign comes at a perfect time- right after the presidential election. It might not sound all that ridiculous to some McCain supporters to actually "secede from land"...

The music is very catchy, but I don't think it is an actual song. Probably just produced for the commercial.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Cats in Advertising

We've almost come full circle, back to the times of the Egyptians. Soon we will worship cats and take direct orders from them. A curious online obsession with "lolcats" created by 4chan and icanhascheezburger has led us down this hole. Now felines have crept into advertising...

Cats are ninjas in this Toyota Corolla commercial, packed with a lil' action. If it were any other animal, you'd think it was the dumbest ad you've ever seen. But they are cats. So it is awesome. This is episode one "The Heist." There are two more coming soon.

Hubert here has lost his marbles and now dines on Whiskas cat food, prancing around the house like a four-legged tail-haver.

Some methods are less direct, like this spot for Zyrtec. Notice the menacing beast, just waiting to pounce.

Keep an eye out for more cats in advertising, and report back here. Meow.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Pillsbury: Home is Calling

This is Pillsbury's first big brand campaign since 2001. The obvious triple shoe tap is from The Wizard of Oz. I wonder if they had to get permission, since they never exactly referred to the film directly, but they definitely used the idea.

If you go to the Pillsbury website, you can see that they are donating money to Feeding America every time the video is sent through e-mail, so you might want to check that out.

This commercial is really simple. Take a person, put them in an unfamiliar or stressful environment, make them wish they were home. While it's a good idea, I think the minute-long ad is a little much. After the first few shoe taps it just gets repetitive. Anyway, Pillsbury's soft sell approach should capture the attention of comfort seekers who need some relief from these tough economic times. We're going to be seeing a lot of emotional ads during the holiday season this year.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Microsoft Gives Power to the PC People

The "I'm a PC" commercials were such a success that Microsoft decided to let you show your PC-ness:

This is your 5 seconds. Make it count. Raise your mouse hand high and show us what kind of PC you are. Be honest, but be original. Be uniquely You. And feel free to think outside the webcam. Use a video camera. Go on location. The better the piece, the better chance you’ll have of making it to TV.

So I figured the TV ad guru should take a crack at getting in one of the commercials. Heck, I'm just as quirky as any of those people. Here's what I came up with:

Unfortunately, they already have another commercial out that's all about food, so my chances have severely declined already. But bacon is the greatest victual of all time, so maybe they'll throw it in there.

Click here to watch

Ad Showcase: Columbia Sportswear Pioneers

Click here to watch

I was first intrigued by the off-road unicyclist. Then I saw the oil tanker surfers, and I knew I'd have to do a showcase about these ads. Other "pioneers" include a group of guerrilla gardeners, a blind sled dog racer, and a pair of tundra golfers.

I thought these odd sports were cooked up by some ad agency, hoping to attract attention to Columbia Sportswear, but these athletes are real. Check out the website to see some in-depth interviews. Some of their stories are very interesting.

"Nobody had really done street unicycling before. Nobody had tried to grind a rail or jump down stairs or anything like that, so that became my goal. That's what I wanted to do. I had seen skateboards do it and I had seen bikes do it, and I said, ya know, maybe this is possible on a unicycle," Dan Heaton, street and mountain unicyclist.

The spots all have a slight theme of poking fun at these adventurers, but they still provide respect to the strange activities.

The song playing over all of the spots is called "Quest for Glory" by Q-Factory.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Barack Obama Elected 44th President of the United States of America

Congratulations!!! Good job voters!

New Ad Council Campaign is Really Gay

There's a new campaign trying to reduce bias against bisexual, gay, lesbian and transgender students in America's school. Too bad it sucks.

The Ad Council thinks that saying "that's so gay" is harmful to homosexuals. Really? Sounds like a simple observation to me. They also say on their website that it is a homophobic remark.

I really hate these commercials for a few different reasons. First off, saying "that's gay" doesn't even mean "that's homosexual" anymore. The word has evolved and changed, just like it did from "happy and jovial". The Ad Council fails to realize the new use of the word. I've actually heard homosexuals use "gay" in this context. They don't care because they know it doesn't mean "homosexual." Words change.

Also, DON'T TELL ME WHAT TO DO. I will NOT "knock it off." What are these people thinking, throwing out demands through a one-way medium!? I'm not gonna listen to Wanda Sykes anymore than I'm gonna watch her bad acting.

If they want people to stop making fun of each other, they should probably start with their own ads, and stop making fun of ditsy teenage girls, people who make certain fashion choices, and guys who can't grow full mustaches. It's hypocrisy in the ugliest form.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Smokey the Bear: Get Your Smokey On

Click here to watch

Only you can prevent wildfires! I remember it as "Only you can prevent forest fires." That's because in 2001 they changed it to wild ones only. Another piece of Smokey the Bear trivia you might not know is that his name really isn't Smokey the Bear. It's Smokey Bear. A song by Steve Nelson and Jack Rollins popularized the incorrect middle name, which seems to have stuck.

The Smokey Bear campaign celebrates its 64th anniversary this year, and Smokey is back and better than ever. His new CGI appearance has taken on a whole new look. The Smokeys of the past didn't look too frightful to me, but this one looks like a hairy linebacker. Stern and burly.

Anyway, the commercial in the link has two people in a diner spotting a could-be forest fire starter. The guy turns into Smokey when he confronts the smoker. I saw this while I was watching the Simpsons on Hulu. Sweet.

Starbucks: Free Coffee for Voters

Click here to watch

Once again posting up some reminders to vote. Starbucks, the wonderful company that they are, will provide FREE coffee to anyone who votes on November 4th.

I really like this commercial. It's a typography styled spot that looks like text on the side of a cup of Starbucks coffee. Typography is an emerging art form, and this is the first time I've seen it used effectively on a TV commercial. It caught my attention with the simple flow and catchy piano tune. The name of the song is "Ja" by Stefanie Klo.

So go vote, and if you want go to Starbucks and get yourself a free tall cup of fresh brewed coffee. Myself, I'll be chillin' in Dunkin' Donuts.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


Just some reminders!

Choose or lose. Take off your shirt.

Vote for change. You're not doing anything important on Tuesday anyway.