I WANT TO PARTY WITH YOU GUYS
REAL SAVINGS FOR REAL ZZZZZZZ
Apologies for the poor photo. (The headline reads, "Real Savings for Real People.") But I’ve been meaning to complain about this ad campaign for a few weeks, and now it’s no longer up, so I can’t get a better photo… it’s like beating a dead horse. But that never stopped me!
And I wouldn’t be complaining about these ads if not for their ubiquity… this was a HUGE July outdoor ad buy for, I assume, the Southern California Toyota dealers. Billboards and busboards assaulted you at every turn in the Los Angeles area with this anti-rogue’s gallery of well-scrubbed, earnest and friendly faces, painstakingly (and I mean PAINSTAKINGLY) balanced for gender, age, ethnicity. What is it selling, with its banal design and message? Well… “savings” or, um, “people.”
I mean, I get the point, obviously… “join these friendly, real people and get low prices for cars. Welcome!” But the yellow-pages look and message is so unobtrusive that it fades into the urban background. Cars aren’t mentioned or showed. It’s like these ads are trying not to be noticed. It’s only my personal perversity that I took notice and got annoyed.
One of my ongoing peeves is advertising that feels as though it has been passed through so many focus groups that it no longer means anything. And applying those principles of “hyper-aggressive non-offensiveness” (I made up a phrase!) to such an enormous ad buy is a real waste of opportunity (another peeve).
YOU WANT WHAT WITH THAT PIZZA?
Seen at La Cienega and Rodeo in Los Angeles: before, you are pregnant with pounds of fecal matter. During, you have your legs spread so the fecal matter can simply fall out into the soothing waves. After, you feel good enough to do the splits!
Bet that pizza place is happy with this placement...
AMERICANS ARE RIGHT, WORLD
With the World Cup recently concluded, there’s been plenty of articles about why Americans don’t embrace the event that has the world transfixed with their tongues hanging out. Here’s my two cents.
Leave aside for a minute the low scoring. (But just for a minute.) The biggest problem with the play is that it is ALL improvised. Watch that ball go bouncing around the field with no rhyme or reason. Possession changes every five to ten seconds, so there’s no time to set up plays, build formations, establish strategy. Players and opponents are in different locations every time a player holds the ball. As a result of this improvised randomness, there is a sameness of play from minute one to minute eighty-nine.
And the low scoring is a problem mostly when coupled with the tragically ridiculous “penalty kicks” rule in breaking ties… in the Final, Italy and France battled for ninety minutes, plus two overtimes to a brutal 1-1 tie, then resolved the game with penalty kicks on goal, five each. It’s basically like flipping a coin for the winner after all that work and drama. These are the best goalies in the world; yet if you noticed, in nine kicks, neither of the goalies even touched the ball; in most of the kicks, in fact, the goalie jumped THE WRONG WAY to intercept it. They might as well not have been there.
(Make those goals bigger, so there’s more scoring, and fewer chances for penalty kicks to ruin a game!)
Everyone has their reasons for liking or disliking a sport… but it highlights why football, to me, is the sport of choice. The situational strategies are so much deeper. The game is played totally differently in the first quarter than in the last. And the opportunities for jaw-dropping thrills are just more prevalent.
Just my two cents. Worth every penny!
PUSSYCATS SHOULD BE FREE
On iTunes, music videos that used to be seen for free must now be purchased for $1.99. Now, when did videos become a profit area? They used to be created to promote the song. Back in my day — the glory days of MTV, the days of Duran Duran, The Police, Madonna — videos would drive you to love the song, buy the album. It’s old news that MTV doesn’t show videos any more; MTV2 — which used to be devoted to videos — has also changed to this cheap series programming. Where can a guy like me, who cut his teeth on Tawny Kitaen rolling all over the hood of a TransAm, go to watch, say, Ludacris bumpin’ with his hoochies? For FREE? ‘Cause the transitive pleasures of said hoochie-bumpin’ aren’t worth a $1.99 commitment.
Videos are dead. I guess iTunes has killed them for good.
UPDATE: Lady Gaga has proven me wrong. Love me some Gaga.
Okay, if catching the snitch is worth 150 points, and it’s immediately “game over—Gryffindor wins!” when Harry Potter catches it, why is anyone else bothering to play?
P.S.: If Kobe can score 81 points, I have the same question.
WHAT KIND OF STUDIO IS THIS...?
A fitness studio sign in Westchester. Squint and it takes on a whole new meaning...
GEICO'S ALL OVER THE PLACE
You think of Geico, you think of parodies, geckos, cavemen, Charlie Daniels... I've always wondered about their scattershot ad strategy. Most auto insurance marketing seems to focus like a laser on the one distinction: price. You have to admire Geico for trying to break out with entertaining and distinctive ads to showcase the price point. But so many different messages, to me, gives the overall flavor of the campaign a very generic quality… and very much a bargain-basement feel. Somehow, the underlying message being delivered to my primitive brain is that they are trying to put one over on me. I’m sure they’ve tested the hell out of this campaign… I wonder if anyone else has this reaction. Taken individually, though, some of the ads are great... subtle, edgy, well-produced. In toto, I'm just not buyin' them.
THE WORLD'S TOUGHEST ASSIGNMENT
There’s repellent advertising… and then there’s Lamisil, which sets the bar at an all-new high (or low). Lamisil is a product which is supposed to clear up toenail fungus (and two words never sounded worse together than “toenail” and “fungus.”) Pity the creative teams saddled with the assignment of coming up with breakthrough advertising to sell this product. But by god, they are trying. They are trying so goddam hard.
This is Digger the Dermatophyte, crawling up under an infected toenail. Cute! Everyone loves Digger, apparently… Lamisil is putting Digger on a “toenail fungus bus tour,” where you can get a “free foot screening” (imagine being the podiatrist on the van spending endless hours looking at rubes’ skanky feet at state fairs) and, best of all, get a photo with Digger himself. What a draw.
Utah alert: Digger will be at the Utah Art Festival Art Attack on June 25. Bring your fungus-riddled toes.
We present for your amazement our nomination for The Most Skin-Crawlingly Horrifying Image of 2004. I have nothing against Anne Geddes; her images are often cute, often clever. Seeing the Canuck Diva draping her bony self over a defenseless infant, however, looking like the next frame will show her devour it with her praying-mantis-like arms, sends it right into the realm of nightmare.