Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Nike Makes Being a Soccer Superstar Look Cool (as if they needed help)

How often does a spot come along that makes you feel cool just by watching it? Nike delivers again with "Write the Future" produced and aired in anticipation of the World Cup. I watched the commercial a couple of weeks ago, and marveled at the fact that the three minute spot still feels packed. The sheer visual and narrative scope takes the viewer on a roller-coaster, time-traveling spree through the eyes of the starting lineup of the international soccer scene: Cristiano Ronaldo, Didier Drogba, Wayne Rooney, Fabio Cannavaro, Franck Ribery, Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas, Theo Walcott, Patrice Evra, Gerard Pique, Ronaldinho, Landon Donovan, Tim Howard and Thiago Silva all make appearances (and Homer Simpson, Kobe Bryant and Roger Federer show up for momentary cameos). I think it would have been more entertaining if the commercial had explored the hypothetical consequences if Ronaldo's World Cup performance had gone sour. I'm not in the habit of denigrating talented people, but the sheer obnoxiousness of this photo...

warrants some exploration of an alternate reality in which Christiano Ronaldo isn't perpetually the object of idolatry. Anyway, in addition to being a whirlwind visual feast, "Write the Future" really brings home the fact that soccer is an international phenomenon in which the U.S. does not participate. The commercial rests on the premise that the actions of soccer players have a huge effect on reality. Sadly, in North America this isn't the case. And Nike makes being a part of the international soccer community look so enjoyable that I want to rush down to my YMCA this very moment and organize an amateur soccer team in the hopes of drumming up more grassroots support for the sport that the rest of the world is obsessed with. Come one, U.S.A. Let's try something new in 2010.

Friday, June 18, 2010

BP Cares (What You Think, Maybe)

Shaming BP seems to be all that the general public can do at the moment while we wait for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to be resolved.The above is a pointed spoof of BP efforts (and attitude!) repositioned as a coffee spill. Particular highlights include "the public" staged with a doughnut, and spoofs of Kevin Costner's and the hair booms efforts.

As a marketer, one of the most interesting aspects of this crisis to me has been BP's disastrous public response to this catastrophe. May I suggest putting a muzzle on Tony Hayward and hiring someone with a gentle Southern twang to break the news of the inevitable future failures on the part of the company to contain the spill.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Linchpin Meetup!

Are you indispensable? If not, do you want to be? (Some people don't.) If the answer to those two questions is yes, then I hope you'll join myself and other like-minded folks at the Dallas-area (or wherever you live!) Linchpin Meetup, inspired by Seth Godin's book Linchpin on June 14, 2010. A linchpin by Godin's definition is a person without whom a company/organization/team/family/situation will eventually fall apart. By maintaining a pithy daily blog that manages to be both uncompromising and inspiring, Godin has created a community of current and future linchpins, and the Linchpin Meetup website describes the event as "a completely non-commercial chance to find and connect with other members of Seth's tribe, an opportunity to talk, challenge, and inspire your fellow travelers". Not sure what that means in particular, but I'm looking forward to it. So...
  1. Check out Seth and the Meetup site
  2. Get interested
  3. Find your local Linchpin Meetup
  4. Go

Monday, May 3, 2010

Good Old Days

I noticed the above vintage photograph on The Sartorialist and was instantly impressed with the subject and composition. Not only is a great example of varying styles of historical outerwear, but there is a great deal of interesting detail (the water on the road and the advertisement to the left) as well as good foreground, midground and background representation. The result is chic and visually stimulating.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Big Red, For Better or Worse

My House episodes on Hulu are periodically interrupted by a Verizon Wireless commercial that seems to have the theme of "better with Big Red" (you can view the commercial at AdFreak here). Initially, I placed the spot at approximately the level of Diesel's "Be Stupid" campaign and couldn't imagine who the commercial appealed to. Not only is the jingle a ferocious ear-worm, the commercial seemed to send a message that is, um, pathetic. The kids are stuck on the phone at the campsite rather than participating in what is going on around them, the porter makes his "boring job much better" and you can "download stupid stuff much better" with Big Red (and Verizon is now Big Red? Seriously?). I find advertising that implies--or asserts!--that its audience/consumers are idiots incomprehensible. I reason that if users of a certain product or service are idiots by the company's own admission, then it's better to self-select out of that group. The Verizon users in the spot do seem like people I'd rather avoid, on the level of people who text during dinner parties or who are on their phones in museums. I was ready to mute my computer during the commercial's Hulu interruptions and condemn Verizon to ad purgatory.

Luckily, I decided to do a bit of research to determine if the "Better with Big Red" spot was truly as bad as it appears. Imagine my surprise when I discovered what has probably been obvious to my older readers from the beginning: the commercial is a parody of a classic Big Red gum commercial! Further, "Big Red" is apparently a nickname given to Verizon by its customers, rather than manufactured by the company itself. Sigh of relief! Now I can finally bear to give Verizon credit for the single thing I liked in the commercial: the "YouTube on a horse" moment, which seems to be a reference to the famous Old Spice commercial which is rapidly gaining the status of classic in its own right. If this isn't a reference to Old Spice, ignorance is bliss.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Hardcore Adorable

I usually hate Crocs. They may be comfortable to wear, but they're painful to look at. Kudos to new agency Cramer-Krasselt, then, for making a commercial that not only holds my attention for a few seconds, but also highlights the competitive strength of Crocs (comfort, or--as the voiceover says--"the loyal, loving, good-for-you technology"), makes me squirm at the cuteness and showcases a pair of Crocs on the model that I can't instantly dismiss as too embarrassing to even wear to the laundromat.
In this feel-good spot, a tired wearer of high heels is greeted when she gets home from work by two tiny animated Crocs shoes who rush to massage her feet as she sits down after a long day at work. Bonus points for the shot of the Crocs trampling the dog toys to reach the door. Minus point for the bad Photoshop job on the landing page of the Crocs website, but overall a win for the company. Not least because although the subject matter of this spot ostensibly appeals squarely to women, it was brought to my attention by a guy friend who found it memorable enough to mention it.

Lastly, I need clarification. Is the singular of Crocs "Croc"?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

You're Doing It Wrong

This Tetra Pak ad was funny, until they actually tried to sell the product. It is good in theory, but a bit of a stretch from the viewer's perspective.