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The Punch-Through-the-Wall Gag, Again? …Again?

June 26, 2012


Here’s another example of idea ‘borrowing’ that stood out to me recently. In this case, the victim is Old Spice. The Old Spice campaigns from 2008-on have changed the face of advertising (to 18-30 year olds) for years to come (until someone does something better). You can see their hyper-masculine, way-over-the-top style imitated in everything from Dos Equis’ ‘Most Interesting Man in the World’ to Dairy Queen’s new ‘Ridiculous’ campaign.

But the ‘OMG he just punched through the whole commercial!’ bit reminds me too much of the ad below. These other brands just borrow the style, appeal to the same funny bone. Heck, maybe LG’s team didn’t mean to be influenced by this at all. It’s for a crazy 3D effect, right? I reserve my judgement for now, but I think they could have done something much cooler. And much ‘3D-er.’



Granted, all of these guys are ripping of the original wall-buster.


Align, Maligned!

November 2, 2011

Sometimes there is room for interpretation when it comes to ‘borrowing ideas’ in art. I have no problem with subtle references to other works, little respectful nudges in the original creator’s direction. Plenty of great art is pretty much a remake of an older great art. Like Sunshine to Event Horizon, or Always Sunny to Seinfeld. Like Family Guy to The Simpsons.

Does anyone remember this commercial:

But what is really original these days? Nothing is entirely original, and if nobody remembers who did it first, who really cares?

If they can re-make The Thing, why not re-make ‘that V8 commercial from 1989?’

More Proof Unicorns are Bad News

September 16, 2011

These kids have the right idea – never trust a clown.

Pretty funny stuff. But I am left wondering what this ad is supposed to do for Walmart. Maybe they know how much joy it brings me to see him get impaled like that.

They have done a great job refurbishing their marketing image in the past few years. (So tired of that darn smiley face.) I like the rebrand, I even like the commercials. They capture that feeling of home, and of family. And cement themselves there.

If only that store wasn’t such a nightmare to enter. I might shop there.

Dream Vacation… or Dread Vacation?

September 14, 2011

This trailer feels like an episode of LOST. It starts with an eyeball close-up, and ends with me feeling halfway between bittersweet and scared shitless but not understanding why.

I like it. I really, really like it. This is my favorite video game release campaign since Halo 3, which was no pushover. Halo 3 sold more copies on release day than any X-Box game of all timeany video game of all time …anything ever in the history of everything.

Well almost. The game outsold any entertainment product release in history with $170 million in sales in 24 hours (and this is when the dollar was actually worth something). Why the huge success? Well, sure, it was already a multiplatinum-selling franchise with millions of devout fans. But the real kicker was the marketing campaign, which centered mostly around… a diorama.


For Reference: A diorama

Yes, a diorama. The Halo 3 marketing team decided that they weren’t telling just another war story. They were charged with strengthening, or in some cases establishing, an emotional connection between every single player of this game and its faceless, near-wordless protagonist.

Dead Island’s team takes a similar route, minus the miniatures. They artfully create that emotional connection with viewers – the result is just heartbreaking (I can’t even hear this music without tearing up now).

I have no complaints about the trailer, but I have heard whining from players that compared to this, the game lacks emotional depth. I guess that’s a risk you take when the ad campaign is this good.

The Story of My Life

August 29, 2011

Target has a talent for the wordless. Hilarious and wordless. Eschewing speech in this ad helps it stick, the emphasis is solely on the visual – this momentary encounter we are all so familiar with (especially those currently in the stage of moving). For me at least, the more visually compelling an ad is, the better I recall it later. This Chanel ad is one of my favorite examples.

Excess speech can actually cloud the communication of a message. I associate fast-talking with the listing of side effects or contest regulations, and I tend to just tune it out. Since ads only have 30 seconds to communicate in the first place, almost any speech will sound hurried. Minimize words, maximize impact.

Look in the background, they apparently go to ‘Target University.’ Ha.

Five of the Worst Mornings Ever

August 17, 2011

This ad is remarkable in that it tells not just one story but five. It brings people together over an unremarkable, common occurrence in our lives, and shows a human side not seen very often in the polished world of advertising.

Sure all of these actors are too-pretty and clean-cut. In fact, the story itself is rather cliché, as is much of the imagery. (First-person cooking shots, blah.)

But that one driving shot where they all pick their noses. Who can’t relate to that on an all-too-personal level? THAT is the most powerful thought in this spot.

The coffee-pouring shots that split the screen five ways show real finesse. I also enjoy the tagline – “We are all the same, but different.” Very true. Still cliché, but feel-goody and just the right amount bland. Can’t complain.

Kenny Powers, now pitching for K-Swiss

August 15, 2011

“There is no middle third choice.” Perhaps my new favorite line in an advertisement.

It’s rare to see a (non-cartoon) fictional character cross from a TV show into commercials. I really enjoy this cross promotion, and I hope to see more of this guy in super-short-form.

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