A man is at a wooden desk in a room lit by one desk lamp.
He's writing down something with a new pen.
Then, he looks up...and sees about fifty people right outside staring at him, their faces mashed against the window. "AAAAHH, WHERE DID YOU GET THAT PEEEEEN?? THAT PEN IS SO AMAZING!!!" they shout with sincere enthusiasm. The man moves the pen to the left side of the page, and all fifty people move their heads in unison. He moves it to the right side, and they all jerk their heads to that direction. Their mouths are agape in awe.
Two people in a supermarket grab the same package of bacon at the same time. This particular brand of bacon is so irresistible, neither person will let go. They play tug-of-war at the counter, and one leaves dragging the other person on the pavement. The market's automatic doors close, then they open and about seven other pairs of people fighting over bacon like spoiled brats come out.
Inside a white-colored house, the doorbell rings and a man gets up to answer. He opens the door to see a guy in a cheesy lumpy costume. The guy says that he is, in fact, the man's liver.....and he demands that the man eat Health-O-Zowie Cardboard Bars "or I'll be one sad liver!" Seeing this, the man is thoroughly convinced and eats one right away.
Cereal is shown floating in a heart-shaped bowl. "A leading national study by our own General Mills scientists has shown Cheerios can not only lower your cholesterol, reduce the risk of heart attacks, and decrease birth defects for pregnant women....it can even save your soul from hell!"
"What? You're drinking
nitroglycerin during your period?? Aren't you worried you'll
"Not this time, Mandy! Not with All-Stay Super-Maxi Absorbisquats!"
Then we all buy Tivos and skip the ads, and the advertisers wonder why.
It's not that we want television to suffer. It's that we're tired of being treated like we're dumber than rocks. In nearly every 30-second spot, there is some nut obsessed with the feature product to the point of insanity, and this is supposed to convince us the product is superior. After all, if we just saw someone ADDICTED to it....
I'm more likely to refuse a product if I hate the ad than buy it if I like the ad. I never eat at McDonalds because I've always found their advertising annoying, and if I ever become a coffee drinker, it won't be Taster's Choice (I still haven't forgiven them for their awful ads from a decade ago). And if an ad is repeated during every single break on every single channel, I'll hate it no matter what they put in it.
It doesn't have to be this way. It IS possible to make an ad that won't feel like a chore the audience has to suffer through just to find out how sarcastic Dr. House can get that week. I've gathered on this page my favorite ads from the last five years, and I've found many other people like them too.
Ad agencies: look, listen and study. You CAN get us to like you.....
*click on the pictures to see
The Spongemonkeys had the shortest successful career of any advertising mascot in history. I thought the Taco Bell Chihuahua had it short, but this was a record. Three ads, and that was it. Two are here for your viewing pleasure.
Who knows what possessed them to do it, but Quiznos dropped the Spongemonkeys immediately upon success and passed the torch to Baby Bob. Ads that generate true attention are very hard to get. Most companies would have given anything to have thought of the Spongemonkeys first. In one moment, Quiznos had it all--and gave it up just as quickly. For BABY BOB. It does not compute.
Quiznos subs are delicious in occasion, but get old if eaten more than once a month. The warmness goes away if you don't eat it right there in the shop, and once it's gone you're left with an uncomfortably dry sandwich. But I'll eat a hundred if they bring these furballs back sometime.
"MENAH MENAH" SPOT
One of my favorite ads of of the last few years. The woman is out on a date, but she's not paying attention. She gets "lost" in her Dr. Pepper and to her, everyone in the restraunt is singing the "Menah Menah" Muppet song. That.....is.....so.....brilliant. Menah Menah!
They might not actually be spies. They might be superheroes or freelance mercenaries or ....really, I don't know WHAT they do for a living, but it's interesting. These pastel-colored superhumans leap and dash through every Esurance ad firing high-powered lasers at evil maniacs, braving high-speed chases filled with explosions, and leaping off high buildings on motorbikes. And all the while, they can't talk about anything but car insurance. The pink-haired one will be fighting for her life on the wing of a flaming airplane battling three rabid cyborg monkeys with machine guns, but all she will say is "If you file your claim now, you can get our quote at up to 39% APBX!" It's so surreal, I just can't get enough.
If you've never heard of what I'm describing, there's a reason. To see an Esurance ad you have to stay up rather late. They don't come on all that frequently, and they appear amid dull university and loan shark spots. In addition, these guys are up against Geico and Progressive. It's no easy task to step up to that kind of challenge, but in my view, Esurance did it. Sure, it's about insurance, but I've never seen this much spice on vegetable matter. These animations rock. In the third ad the girl is in the Wild West and faces off against a giant robot. If that one doesn't convert you, there is no joy in your life.
MOUNTAIN DEW "MDX"
Mountain Dew's latest energy drink will most likely fade out of the market in six months like all the others, but it couldn't have made its presence known in a better way. The ad is a bunch of green animals sitting in a dark jungle and mouthing the lyrics to "All Night Long." Glorious.
It's even more surprising that this could come from Mountain Dew. Typically, the main goal of a Mountain Dew ad is to make sure you never realize what a sissy name for a soft drink "Mountain Dew" actually is. So they put on a teenager screaming "EYAHWEYARHGHHH" in a macho sort of way while parachuting from 50,000 feet and wrestling a shark....he's so X-Treme because he DOOZ THE DEW!!
Not necessary. Maybe for car insurance, but not for soda pop. This is a great ad idea that sticks with you, and that's all any company really needs.
Skittles has been focused on creeping people out for some reason. From those strange Celtic fantasy ads to an old man with a prehensile beard, they loooove making us uncomfortable. Because then we'll buy SKITTLES!
Maybe the sight of sheep-men was intended to work the same way, but it didn't. They're hilarious. Sorry, Skittles, better luck next time.
SINGING BUNNIES AT TOYS R US
This aired in 2003 and again in 2004. This one is more arguable than the others--I can see why some would find this ad annoying, but I burst out laughing at the sight of it. Some will tell me to just grow up. But I don't wanna grow up, because if I did.....
Toys R Us has run into financial troubles recently; the kind that threatens to actually kill them. They say the main problem is today's kids are buying their toys in the Wal-Mart toy aisle, which I don't understand. The cheap supermarket toy aisle existed when I was a kid, but nothing ever beat Toys R Us. In my mind, that place was as close to heaven as you could get----so much so that before I learned of intercourse, I thought you bought BABIES there. Why do kids today prefer a cold aisle in a store for grown-ups over an entire dreamscape made just for them?
Any Garnier ad would be suitable for download here, but I couldn't find my favorite, so you get nothing. I know I have this ad on tape somewhere, but I searched for hours and couldn't find it. It's a pity--that girl up above has been my MSN avatar for two years now. These women and their crazy hair, set to Garnier's loopy music, are a joy-enducing sight. Woo-woooooo!
This is here because it's the only television promo this decade that ever worked on me. Most ads for upcoming TV shows are as generic as the shows themselves: one is about a cop who fights crime and yells a lot. Another is about a doctor who saves lives and yells a lot, and yet another is about a lawyer who...yells a lot. According to the networks, that's all we need to know.
I can't remember why I had UPN on, but here was this blonde smirking, sashaying and smart-mouthing, and I said to myself, "who IS that??" I had to see more. Comparing this with the effectiveness of every other TV ad is just sad. "Tonight on BONES! BONES looks at BONES! THEN she might DIE!!"
Don't underestimate the importance of a dynamic main character. Veronica Mars looked so different from the usual rich brats that populate teen dramas, I knew the show would be a hit right there. It's a great show; buy the DVD.
GRUNDY WANT PANTS TOO!"
I've been looking for an excuse to upload the Cartoon Network Superfriends spot from 2001. This seems like the right opportunity. It aired back when CN would willingly run (or acknowledge the existence of) anything under their ownership created before the late 90's. They made many new spots featuring old cartoon stars around this time, but this is the one most beloved and most quoted.
Now cartoons like Superfriends are banished to CN's spinoff network Boomerang, but by the time your cable company actually offers that network, they'll be gone from there too.
What you've seen today is more the exception than the rule, and that's a pity. Spending millions shooting, editing and broadcasting a commercial that does nothing but annoy everyone is wasting money. There are certain events, like the Super Bowl, where companies are more inclined to get people to like them, but every day should be Super Bowl Sunday. Ad breaks should be so entertaining that we wouldn't have to buy Tivos at all, or edit them out of our recordings. In a dream world, we wouldn't want to miss a single bit of TV. The only bathroom visits would be when sitcoms and Dr. Phil came on.