thesilversiren: (Default)

Yesterday was the Super Bowl, the highlight of American sporting events and home to the edgiest commercials that ad agencies can put together. Right?

Meh.

I admit, I’m not a big football fan. But I am a big fan of great advertising (I am in love with The Man Your Man Could Smell Like) as well as the halftime show. Following Janet Jackson’s nipple issue, the halftime shows were scaled back. I, for one, didn’t mind Paul McCartney- since I can’t afford tickets to his concerts. But really, the halftime shows have been dull, especially the Black Eyed Peas. Which isn’t a surprise- they’re an act that’s better experienced via the radio or in a club, not live. And certainly not in a giant stadium.

The Super Bowl didn’t get off to a good start. Christina Aguilera blew the National Anthem. Which was surprising since it’s not like it’s the first time she’s sung it at a major sporting event- I seem to recall her singing at the NBA finals. She not only screwed up the lyrics (which is somewhat forgivable for me, if you factor in nerves), but committed the cardinal sin of a bad rendition.

To future anthem singers, just sing the damn song. I know, everyone wants to do for it what Whitney Houston did. But let’s be honest, she really just sang the song and she sang the hell out of it. Christina threw in every trick she could, and sounded horrible doing it.

For those who say that it’s ridiculous of me to criticize her when I wasn’t the one up there… Here’s a quick and dirty recording of me singing the national anthem. You get a bonus dose of the Little Kidlet yelling in the background, and I haven’t warmed up- but even that is better than Christina was. Not only that, I’ve sung the national anthem at assemblies, our city’s DARE assembly (which was filled to the brim with kids)… so yes, I have sung it publicly before.

National Anthem

As far as the ads go, it was pretty hit and miss. There were a few great spots (the Eminem Detroit one was good), but not all of them were surprises. The Volkswagen Vader spot had already hit the internet. For me, the bright spot was actually a Fox promo- the “House” send up of the Mean Joe Green Coca-Cola ad.

Then there was the Tibet Groupon spot. In which, it started with a serious bit about the plight of Tibet, and launched into a pitch for a Groupon coupon for a Himalayan meal. Not surprisingly, people were upset. I was going to link to a tweet Timothy Hutton had posted last night, but it seems that he deleted it. Basically he said that the Brits were right, and Americans have no sense of irony.

I will say this, I saw the other two spots, and thought they were fine. But I did feel that the Tibet spot went too far. Make fun of Saving Whales or Deforestation. They’re both subjects that people have mocked- and while yes, it’s sad that whales die… it’s not like Tibet, where people have given up their lives to try to get freedom.

To quote Jeph Jacques, it would be like having a Groupon ad that went something like this. “Thousands of people died at the WTC on 9/11, but thanks to Groupon we got really cheap hotel rooms at ground zero!” Think he’s exaggerating? Not really. Just because it didn’t happen on our soil, doesn’t make what’s gone on in Tibet any less serious.

While Groupon has maintained that they did offer links to related charities on their website… it was still in bad taste.

So there you have it. The game was sorta boring, the halftime show wasn’t very memorable and neither were the ads. Except for Groupon.

But the real highlight? I thawed some steak, pan seared it and finished it in the oven… and served it with some beer battered onion rings.

A little labor intensive, but well worth it.

Hope you had a wonderful weekend!

Originally published at American Whitney. You can comment here or there.

thesilversiren: (Default)

In an update to a previous post, a British TV watchdog group (Clearcast) is saying that the PSA “Cut” starring Keira Knightley is inappropriate to air because it is too violent. Of course, the irony here is that the PSA is about domestic violence.

The whole reason that the PSA was effective was that it demonstrated the brutality. Most display the after effects alone, and show a woman crying, covered with bruises. And because of this, there are still people out there who believe that a woman who was abused must have been “asking for it.”

If you happen to read this, and live in the UK- please try to find a way to speak up for the PSA. Violence for the sake of violence is one thing- but this is violence for the sake of education. An entirely different matter.

Originally published at Whitney Drake. You can comment here or there.

thesilversiren: (tv)
A million apologies to anyone who has a narrow layout, like I do. The first ad that I have is just too wide and makes my layout look horrible. Eep. So two ads behind the cut. Sprint's "What's Happening" and Visa's "Pizza."

Read more... )
thesilversiren: (Default)

Tropicana’s recent rebrand failed. Clearly it failed- when I saw the story I thought, “Tropicana rebranded?” (Note: a rebrand is when a company changes their logo, packaging, ad concepts to try to reinvent themselves)

In short, all of Tropicana’s competitors saw huge gains following the rebrand- which is completely against typical statistics. Usually the product will see a boost (even if it’s just temporary), not a loss.

But, not all brands are Tropicana. First of all, they felt that they needed to promote the health benefits of drinking orange juice. Because, of course, people don’t know that OJ is loaded with vitamin C. (Yes, that was sarcasm) So they decided to slick up the package, make it a little sexier… (Again, what orange juice has totally been missing: sex appeal.)

Their main problem is the redesign made them invisible. The Tropicana logo and orange with the straw are basically iconic. The new design, since it contains nothing from the old design… doesn’t bring any recognition. To explain what I mean, it’d be like Coca-Cola suddenly redesigning to a black can with two green C’s on it. Without the red can or the familiar white swoosh, there’s nothing to tell you that it’s linked to the product you’re familiar with.

Not only that, the new logo is boring. There’s nothing to distinguish it from a nicely designed store brand carton. There’s nothing that stands out about it, it’s just too generic.

I could also point out that I watch a lot of TV and saw very few ads. Without a major media push, a drastic change just can’t be effective.

Originally published at Whitney Drake. You can comment here or there.

thesilversiren: (iron man - my space)
Tropicana recent rebrand failed. Clearly it failed- when I saw the story I thought, "Tropicana rebranded?"

In short, all of Tropicana's competitors saw huge gains following the rebrand- which is completely against typical statistics. Usually the product will see a boost (even if it's just temporary), not a loss.

But, not all brands are Tropicana. First of all, they felt that they needed to promote the health benefits of drinking orange juice. Because, of course, people don't know that OJ is loaded with vitamin C. (Yes, that was sarcasm) So they decided to slick up the package, make it a little sexier... (Again, what orange juice has totally been missing: sex appeal.)

Their main problem is the redesign made them invisible. The Tropicana logo and orange with the straw are basically iconic. The new design, since it contains nothing from the old design... doesn't bring any recognition. To explain what I mean, it'd be like Coca-Cola suddenly redesigning to a black can with two green C's on it. Without the red can or the familiar white swoosh, there's nothing to tell you that it's linked to the product you're familiar with.

Not only that, the new logo is boring. There's nothing to distinguish it from a nicely designed store brand carton. There's nothing that stands out about it, it's just too generic.

I could also point out that I watch a lot of TV and saw very few ads. Without a major media push, a drastic change just can't be effective.
thesilversiren: (tv)
Ouch, Apple. What happened? You've had your "I'm a Mac. I'm a PC." series of ads, that are without a doubt... hilarious. Witty, clever, you've had plenty of fun pointing out Microsoft's diminishing market share in colleges, pointing out what a strong OS you have. Even how easy it is to switch.

Then Microsoft released their "I'm a PC campaign" and tried to take back their image, as well as focus a positive light on their overall brand- not necessarily the OS.

So you followed up with these two spots: "The V Word" and "Bean Counter." Both videos behind a cut to save f-lists )

Do they work? No. They've lost the clever, hip attitude of the ENTIRE ad campaign. "The V Word" seems more in line with the previous ads, but focuses on Microsoft, rather than Apple. In a different way. Even when PC was doing something silly to get people to buy his computers, it was mostly aimed at pointing out how Apple works different. But in "The V Word," there's no mention of Apple's OS. It's just making fun of Microsoft.

Then, there's "The Bean Counter." The sole focus of the ad is pointing out that Microsoft is spending money on advertising. When, if you think about it, we've been inundated with ads from Apple for the iPod, Macs, iPhone. While Apple's advertising was focused on gaining market share, they're essentially calling Microsoft out for trying to rebrand themselves- after Apple has succeeded in labeling them as a "fuddy duddy."

Bottom line, these two ads come across as mudslinging. Minimal focus on products, just attacks. The campaign has been becoming more and more negative, but up until now, they at least tried to be fun.

EDIT: There's ANOTHER new ad called "Bake Sale." Same take, making fun of Microsoft for spending money on advertising rather than "fixing Vista." By the by, if you're actually believing Apple's line... let's look at it this way. The "I'm a PC" campaign was a huge push to revitalize the BRAND for Microsoft. To humanize it, since the brand has always been Bill Gates, who despite giving away more money to charity than just about anyone out there- still comes off as a little cold, geeky and well... just unhip. Vista, as far as operating systems goes, has been touted as a big failure. They build it up as the next big thing, released an OS that isn't compatible with most software and has a tendency to eat up a lot of computer resources. So I don't blame them for trying to change people's minds. It's just good business.

Bake Sale behind the Cut )
thesilversiren: (mad men)
I'm trying to find video clips for these ads, but you'll have to do with my poorly mocked up concepts for two new ads. One from DiGiornio (the frozen pizza brand) and the other for Pizza Hut's new pasta.

DiGiornio. In their newest TV ad, they put up a picture of a delivery pizza with a price appearing with rising numbers, like a gas pump. Next to it, they have an image of a DiGiornio pizza with a price below it, same style. The delivery pizza is $16.13. The DiGiornio pizza is $6.99.

Does it work? Absolutely. While their previous ads have all built on the idea that you can't tell a DiGiornio pizza from delivery (It's not delivery, it's DiGiornio!), this focused solely on the economics of it. They assume we know that the pizzas are comparable, but they point out how much more affordable the pizza is- while reminding us that a larger part of the budget is being taken up by rising gas costs. They even end the ad with the reminder that DiGiornio won't leave your wallet on empty.

It's direct, clever and doesn't pretend to be anything other than a reminder that they know what America's going through right now. Well done, Kraft foods.

Domino's. In their latest ad for their new pasta line, a family of four is getting ready for dinner. It's Domino's. Out of the blue, a rapping Penne pasta with the Domino's logo starts walking towards them. The mother is disturbed, the son is intrigued, and the mom winds up smacking the pasta who calls her a "pasta playa hater."

Does it work? Not quite. Pizza Hut's gone to great lengths to make their pasta dishes seem classy (since they're Toscana recipes). This seems cheap (even the pasta is a poor CG). Not only that, but the concept seems to be aiming for the weirdness level of the King from Burger King... but misses.

So who wins this round? DiGiornio, hands down.
thesilversiren: (tv)
Does it work? )
thesilversiren: (tv)
Thanks to Rej (aka [livejournal.com profile] 5cent) who sent this my way. I think that this is going to be the first in a long line of ad critiques - where I question whether or not an ad accomplishes what the client/agency wanted.

My critique of this ad has nothing to do with my political views. Any discussion on this post should be related directly to the ad itself, not your personal political views. Thanks.



The concept: Obama is Dr. No - he says no to all sorts of things. A James Bond like theme plays, and the background is similar to the 60's openings for the Bond series.

Does it work? No. First of all, McCain is trying to have a "cool" ad, geared towards a younger demographic. This is obvious with the usage of a concept, rather than a straightforward campaign ad. Yes, James Bond is cool. But unfortunately, Dr. No was the first James Bond movie released. While it's one of the more famous ones... it's a dated reference that decreases the odds that younger generations have actually seen it.

It's never a good idea to play a snazzy theme and have exciting backgrounds while you show images of your opponent. Note that they don't actually mention McCain until the very end of the campaign. For the duration, all you get are images of Obama + neat backgrounds + fun music. If you aren't paying attention to the content of the ad itself, it seems pro-Obama. The point of television advertising is to get the viewer to walk away understanding what you're selling, even if they're barely paying attention. (Sometimes the stranger concepts work in grabbing attention, but we aren't talking about dancing lizards hawking flavored water... this is about selling a political candidate

And on a humorous note, despite the fact that Dr. No was a bad guy who tried to kill James Bond, he did have a lair, minions and a successful operation going. Say what you will, Dr. No did get things done.

I'm sure that what I wrote for the concept was how they pitched it, and it sounds just fine on paper. But the reality is that it doesn't work on any level that they intended it.

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