We have reached the halfway point in the 2006 season of commercials. We
kicked the season off with the studs and duds of the Superbowl commercials where
we all loved the FedEx cavemen and the Budweiser Streaker. But this season also
features the duds: the Nationwide Fabio parody, the Diet Pepsi and Sierra Mist
ads, the H3 Little Monster, the Sprint commercials, and the annoying Taco Bell
Moving into the second half of 2006, the ads have somewhat rebounded
with plenty of studs; but there are also plenty of duds still out there. Here's
your Best and Worst of 2006:
Best - Sublymonal Advertising from Sprite
latest ad from Sprite has quickly become an issue of debate on many online
forums. People are loving it and others are hating it. Hit or miss advertising
is very dependant on what demographic you're in. If you hate it, it means you
probably aren't their in target market. The people who are loving this ad are
teens and young adults who see it as a very new and creative type of commercial.
The people who are hating it are the people who think it is offensive and
repulsive (the eye turning into a mouth and the "Obey" slogan slapped across the
screen while someone snaps their fingers in your face).
But you know what?
The people who hate it are talking about it. The ad does its job with its target
market and is extreme enough to get the other markets talking. It's generating
great buzz. And when you have a soft drink that already sells, you want the
Best - Jimmy Fallon/Parker Posey Dance from Pepsi
the soft drink theme, we move to Pepsi. This ad came out at the very start of
2006 and features the song Streamline by Newton. The ad was done by the same
guys who did the FedEx caveman commercial. There's no dialogue. All they do is
dance. So why is it a great commercial? They cast the right people, they used
the right song, and Pepsi plastered it everywhere. The song became a hit in pop
culture almost immediately. Critics of the commercial simply dislike Jimmy
Fallon and are immediately turned off by his humor. They do not see the
straightforward advertising methods used.
Do you know the test to see if a
commercial is really doing its job? When you see people walking down the street
whistling the tune that's featured in the ad.
Worst - "Brilliant!" from
Paper cut outs with European accents. I get it. But they try to
appeal to low calorie beer drinkers while trying to be funny. It's tough to
deliver a message and be funny at the same time. Few ad agencies pull it off,
and, when they do, they don't use paper cut outs.
Their low calorie message
is also wasted. It's an attempt at staying competitive amidst the explosion of
lite beers. Why are they trying to be competitive there? Guinness is synonymous
with very stout drinks. No lite beer drinker is going to be persuaded by this.
Best - Unpimp Your Auto from VW
Featuring two German engineers (one of which starred as the crazy German guy
in Armageddon), these commercials are from Crispin Porter + Bogusky and parody
the latest MTV generation craze of "pimping" your car out. If there's one
generation that can stand to laugh at itself, it's the MTV generation.
accents will immediately get your attention and then you'll laugh at the
hilarious antics they use to destroy the cars (they even haul out a trebuchet to
launch one). "Representing Deutscheland, ya!" You can't help but talk about
them. Even non-VW enthusiasts are caught quoting the commercial.
targeted correctly. The ads sell the GTI - one of VW's sportier cars. And all of
the other VW ads are well targeted. The Passat and Jetta commercials where the
cars get into accidents are very memorable. It's one thing to say that your car
will let you walk away from an accident, but it's another to actually show it.
Worst - Subservient Chicken from Burger King
Originating at the
end of 2005, these commercials carried over into 2006 with the "Big Buckin'
Chicken" ads. Like the VW commercials, these were done by Crispin Porter +
Bogusky. But I guess you can't win them all right?
Granted the website
Crispin Porter did for Burger King was hailed as one of the best viral marketing
websites ever created, the entire "Subservient Chicken" ad campaign was a
failure. The commercials of the rock band dressed in chicken suits, the guy on
the couch telling his chicken to change clothes, and the "buckin' chicken"
commercial didn't get the message across. I don't even know what message that
was actually! It strayed completely away from the "Have it Your Way" theme that
has been part of Burger King since the 70's and tried to include some shock
value. Only, it fell short on the shock and did not get anyone talking about the
ads. Bring back the Lunch Break commercials!
Best - Gecko Interviews from
How can you top the old car insurance commercials from GEICO? "I just
saved a bunch of money on my car insurance by switching to GIECO." It was
drilled into our brains. Kids made punch lines out of the catch phrase on
playgrounds around the country. You can't top that kind of advertising.
new GEICO commercials are going back to advertising fundamentals: English
accents and funny animals. The Gecko has always been the mascot for GEICO, but
the Martin Agency is capitalizing on the iconic value the Gecko brings to the
company by making him the star of their commercials. Sometimes you don't even
realize what he's saying. Sometimes you just focus on how real the computerized
Gecko looks. And sometimes you just laugh at his accent. We're Americans. We
love funny animals with accents.
But there's also strategy behind it. We all know the brand because of the
past commercials with the catch phrase. Now GEICO is focusing on selling the
benefits of the company. They've built the Gecko up, and now they want us to
follow him. Genius advertising.
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