I am fascinated by the television advertisements I've seen lately. Morbidly fascinated in most cases as they tend to be atrocious. Here are some of the most memorable.
Verizon V-Cast: Cute girl is walking down the street and hears a song she likes piping over a store's speakers. She holds her phone up to it, the phone IDs the song and she's able to download it to her phone. My reaction: 'Now THAT is cool'. Bonus points for using a Modest Mouse song. I do have questions however: Does the song need to be in Verizon's music library in order to be identified? What about background noise like traffic or honking horns or people talking blocking the song? Will the phone know which music I like and recommend new releases to me? Will this feature be built into the new wireless iPod that is supposedly on it's way?
Sears Catalog: My current favorite. Couple buys a house and as they age it looks like they're turning pages on their walls. So the TV turns into a baby crib or they turn the page to reveal a new fridge or microwave. Simple, effective and visually entertaining.
Mr. Brooks: Let's see if I have this right. Kevin Costner playing a bad guy, Demi Moore looking more plastic than ever, Dane Cook trying to do some serious acting, and William Hurt over acting as an imaginary friend (or something). Plus, it looks like they give away the entire story in the preview. Sounds like a blockbuster.
Degree: This is a series of the most disgusting commercials I've ever seen. They have close ups of guys putting on gel deoderant and the after effects. One fat, hairy guy gets shit all over his newspaper after sticking it under his arm. Another shows fat and hairy guy using a blow dryer so the gel doesn't get all clumpy and nasty. Love that they give you a close up, too. Thanks, Degree. That's just what I want to see.
Vonage: Love the one with the girl on the beach who sees shark fins in the water and excitedly jumps up saying 'Look, Honey! Dolphins!' and goes running out to swim with them. Some things are just funny and ditzy blond bimbos getting torn apart in a shark feeding frenzy is high on that list.
Diet Pepsi: Not sure who they hired for their ad campaign, but fire them. One of the lamest I've seen in a while as it makes no sense, doesn't really show anything, isn't funny, and doesn't tie in at all with their product. I get aggravated every time I see one of these. On the other hand....
Pepsi: If it's the same crew that gives us this one, you might want to keep them. Guy watching baseball game freezes the action, just as Johnny Damon is sliding into home. He walks to get a Pepsi from the fridge and on the TV, still frozen, Damon has a conversation with Justin Morneau. There are two versions of this and I like the latest one better, where Damon offers that he should grow his hair long and beard back because people liked him better when he looked that way. Good stuff.
BP: Please tell me you've seen these animated, wordless ads for BP Gas Stations. Even my two year old likes watching these. Babies are driving around while flowers float through the air and they try to decide which gas station to stop at. Some are near ruins, some are angry and greedy looking, but then BP shows up all sunshine and smiles. Like the Sears ad it's simple and effective and once that song gets in your head it won't come out.
Propel Fitness Water: As suspicious as I am about water being a 'fitness' product (isn't it, by definition, good for you?), I like the ad with the huge robot thing running, then stuff gradually falling off only to reveal a guy running off the stress of his life. Not so fond of the one that has every celebrity (including Derek Jeter and John Stamos) known to mankind in it.
Orbitz: Girlfriend/wife/something is telling her boyfriend how much she'll miss him. They profess their undying love for each other as he's getting ready to get on a plane. Suddenly, this notification appears above his head stating his flight is delayed. 'I guess we have more time' he says. There is an awkward moment before the girl says 'I gotta get going' and he says 'Yeah, I'm gonna hit the duty free shop.' Must admit I laughed the first time I saw this, but now it's just annoying. Maybe because I see it all the time. Either way, let's get a new one out there. Thanks.
Cisco aka 'The Human Network': This one is pretty effective. It shows one guy taping his son doing a silly dance, he posts it on the internet, then it shows people all over the world watching it in different mediums; a handheld, a tv, a laptop, etc. What bothers me is that it taps into the celebrity craze we've all been sucked into. That anyone, anywhere can become famous if we act stupid or silly enough and have the balls to boast our antics on the internet. It would be funny, but the commercial is so straight forward it thinks this is what we all want. To be famous for something, anything. I feel a touch angry after watching this.
That said, I do like the one where the two kids have the staring contest over video conferencing. I think international disputes should be resolved this way. Can you see Bush staring down Osama Bin Laden? Bush blinks first and U.S. must leave Iraq. Bin Laden blinks first and he must turn himself in. I would tune in to watch that.
Dunkin' Donuts: Rachel Ray? 'Delish'? Four ice coffees? If there was one person in the ENTIRE spectrum of quasi-celebrities I thought DD should hire as pitch...er...person, she would be near the bottom. Not quite as low as O.J., but probably not above Kirk Cameron. Does half of America even know who she is? The only reason I know is because my wife watches the Food Network 12 hours a day. Hard to believe it was only 3 years ago they were running those inspired Johnny Damon ads. Sad day in Dunkinville.
Wendy's: My one question is what the fuck was being passed around this ad meeting? A bunch of people are standing around kicking trees. One guy, who just happens to be wearing a red wig with pigtails (Wendy's hair? Just guessing) thinks, 'Why should I eat a burger from a frozen patty'. He says it out loud, then shouts 'I deserve a real burger!' or something. One of the most bizarre spots I have ever seen.
Today's distraction: Watch the best ads from this past January. I would particularly like to point out the winner as the beer I drink whenever I go out. Notice that in foreign commercials you can actually show the guy drinking the beer? Can't believe their civilization hasn't come to an end.