Category Archives: television

A Toast to Guinness Advertising

Guinness produces brilliant advertising. Oh, and their stout is not too shabby either.

For creative types, beer is the Holy Grail of advertising accounts, because almost anything goes. It’s a chance to do outrageous gags with big budgets. But the problem with most beer commercials is that they usually end up being generic and formulaic. Funny set-up, add logo, insert tag line as punch line at the end. Done.

Guinness has always been different. Sure, it’s had plenty of big budget TV spots, but they’ve always been based on the brand’s “unique differentiators” (as they say in marketing-speak): the Irish heritage and the slow pour that a good stout requires. Guinness commercials wouldn’t work for any other brewer.

A Guinness Facebook post recently asked fans to list their favorite tag line from the brand. The responses were many and varied: “Brilliant.” “Good things come to those who wait.” “It’s good for you.” “Guinness for strength.” “It’s alive inside.” “My goodness, my Guinness!” Continue reading

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The Exclusive Return of the Most Interesting Man in the World

Are you thirsty, my friends?

Here for your viewing and imbibing pleasure, announced as an exclusive “event” on Facebook with a link to this “unlisted” video, is the return of The Most Interesting Man in the World.

His long-awaited reappearance was announced with the following invitation:

There’s nothing interesting about being the second person to do something. RSVP to be one of the first to see the new Dos Equis television spot. Without further adieu…

Has His Most Interestingness equaled his previous exploits? Can he beat Chuck Norris and The Old Spice Guy blindfolded? Will you buy Dos Equis? THAT is the question!

Political Attack Ads – How Effective Are They?

Vote For Pedro - One of the better signs seen at the Jon Stewart "Rally To Restore Sanity And/Or Fear"

Hello, Voters!

Is the Old Spice campaign still effective? Joe Miller of Alaska thinks so. Miller, the Republican candidate for Senate in Alaska, is still fending off his rival, incumbent Lisa Murkowski, whom he defeated in the primary. Not content to simply fade away, Murkowski is trying to hang onto her seat by running a write-in campaign as an Independent.

Combining equal parts humor and attack, Miller’s commercial is currently polling well in the Wall Street Journal survey of effective attack ads. One commenter to the YouTube channel thought it outdid the original: “This is even better than the Old Spice commercial…”

If you’re not already overwhelmed by the onslaught of mostly negative political ads, check out the selections  chosen by the Journal and vote on which ones you think are most effective. It’s your civic duty.

By tomorrow it should be pretty obvious which spots worked best.

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Accidental AutoTune Celebs – Antoine and the Bear

Antoine Dodson's YouTube rant has spawned a hit song as well as a Halloween costume.

The Rapist and the Rainbow

A funny thing happened at the most recent wedding reception I worked. The mother of the bride says to me (as the DJ), “Have you heard that song about that guy on YouTube who stopped the rapist?”

A song about the what…? I don’t think so.

“You know, about the intruder who snuck in and was trying to rape the guy’s sister in her bed?”

Hmm. No, I don’t think I’ve heard that one before.

Then there was the 13-year-old’s birthday party, where some kid wanted to hear the “Double Rainbow” song.

Is that a Skittles commercial? No? I don’t think I’ve heard that one either. Sorry, just not as hip as I used to be. (So much music, so little time.)

Lyrics by YouTube, Music by Gregory Bros.

“Bed Intruder” and “Double Rainbow” have a few things in common.

They’re both hit iTunes songs that were inspired by viral YouTube videos. Both have resulted in new commercial opportunities for their accidental stars. Continue reading

Axe vs Old Spice vs Grover – Smells Like a Monster

Axe stakes its claim as "Canada's #1 Men's Deodorant" with a billboard that reads: "For men who'd rather be with a woman than on a horse."

Smells like…

Competition! Old Spice has been on the receiving end of a few potshots lately, which is to be expected after being on a roll (or on a horse) for a while.

To start with, the company’s shirtless spokesman, Isaiah Mustafa, went moonlighting away from his regular gig as The Man Your Man Could Smell Like for Old Spice. He did basically the same shtick for someone else, but on the other side of the world and without all the props. Maybe he just needed a break from the bathroom. He went all the way to Australia to disrobe for… Continue reading

Up In Smoke: Vintage Cigarette Ads

"Do You Inhale?" never worked as a pick-up line for sea captains. But Lucky Strike wants you to think "how important it is to be certain your cigarette smoke is pure and clean."

Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em

Just for kicks (’cause kicks just keep getting harder to find), let’s return to those carefree days before smoking was banned from bars and beaches and the public airwaves. Back when LS/MFT stood for “Luck Strike Means Fine Tobacco” and ABC meant “Always Buy Chesterfields.”

Hard as it is to imagine now, cigarette advertising used to be everywhere. Thirty years ago, who would’ve imagined that vintage cigarette ads would become expensive collectibles? All manner of cigarette ads used to feature a galaxy of movie and sports stars (including a future president) puffing away, enjoying pure smoking satisfaction.

A whole series could be written on Leo Burnett’s iconic Marlboro campaign alone, but for now let’s just take a few puffs and savor a sampling of tobacco campaigns of yore. Alternately poignant and pathetic, cool and comical, they’re like a window back in time. Back when smoking was KOOL. Continue reading

The Most Effective Political Ads Ever

Today's negative political ads began with a countdown from LBJ's 1964 "Daisy" ad. "10, 9, 8 ..."

This being a midterm election year, it’s hard to escape political ads. They’re everywhere—filling the airwaves, clogging your mail box, and littering the streets and sidewalks.

But are they effective?

They’re mostly awful. A bunch of misleading mudslinging. Personally, I can’t reach the remote fast enough to mute or fast forward through them. But one exception this year has been the refreshing, albeit Quixotic, campaign of blogger Mickey Kaus in his run for Senator Boxer’s seat in California. (Perhaps the reason Mickey’s ads weren’t annoying was because he couldn’t afford to carpet-bomb the airwaves.)

After blogging about advertising as propaganda, this seemed like a good time to revisit what are arguably the most effective political ads—both negative and positive—of any year. Continue reading

RIP Gary Coleman and Dennis Hopper, Reluctant Ad Pitchmen

A tale of two celebrity spokesmen.

Gary Coleman for CashCall: “No one else would lend me money, not even my relatives.” Funny or sad?

Some people think stars die in threes. If so, it’s often tough to figure out when to start and stop counting. Not this time.

The demise on consecutive days of Gary Coleman, 42, and Dennis Hopper, 74, has left many people expecting a third celebrity death is imminent. The two actors became stars at early ages, then ad pitchmen later in life.

Dennis Hopper looks up 'retirement' in a spot for Ameriprise. Would you take financial advice from an aging alcoholic anarchist?

Coincidentally, in their roles as celebrity endorsers both offered financial advice. But whether either star was effective as a corporate spokesperson is debatable.

Continue reading

The Most Interesting Campaign in the World?

“The Aztec calendar has his Cinco de Mayo party chiseled in.”

Break out the cerveza! What better way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo than with a good Mexican beer? That, and a good Mexican beer ad campaign.

Few advertising campaigns are universally loved. Because if there aren’t a few haters, it’s usually an indication your ads are not standing out enough. But I have yet to meet the person that doesn’t at least get a chuckle out of “The Most Interesting Man in the World” campaign for Dos Equis. Hard to believe it’s been running since 2006.

People hang on his every word, even the prepositions. Continue reading