Sunday, May 31, 2009

Recycling Commercials? Tastes Bitter to Me...

A personal note from TCC:
"Trying;" This word best describes the recent weeks of my life. Not unlike many others I am unemployed. This situation while only slightly annoying at first is growing more painful each day. The clock ticks and my heart beats with each passing minute, hour and day waiting for a call for an interview. The situational agony has only been compounded by lies of my past employer negating my ability to collect money that is rightfully mine. However tragic and common my story, I must thank you for reading past my personal rant and on to the article you most likely were here to read.
Thank you, TCC

Recycling Commercials? Tastes Bitter to Me...

Cadbury is guilty, as well as Folgers. The charge against the two companies: recycling.
Advertising recycling represents gross neglect for creativity within a corporation. Several reasons explain the practice of recycling: Budgetary constraints; corporate neglect of creativity; pure laziness.

Shooting yourself in the foot encompasses the severity of companies actions when they cut the budget of their marketing/advertising department. I have always wondered why companies practice such behavior as an advertisement reminds people of the product and increases sales; but when sales slump the marketing budget immediately dries up. Studies show the contrary to the practice but actions are always louder than words. There are several reasons for the practice and one maybe jealousy.

People are afraid of things they don't understand; and one thing many business people do not understand is their consumers. The thought of another person in their company with more knowledge about their customers than they posses leads to cuts and lay offs. Marketing and sales but mainly marketing get the axe. Further more, the practice of cutting the funds to grow a company further could be tied to pure laziness.

Recycling advertisements is a practice that should be avoided. Recycling may be good for the earth but nothing turns green in the business world without innovation and forward momentum.


Monday, May 25, 2009

The "American Dream" grows with fertilizer?

The smell of freshly cut grass and leaves fluttering on the trees outside my window reminds me summer is upon us and with that comes summer commercials. Alavert, Nasonex, and Benadryl are a few on the line up of this summer but the commercial I am analyzing today is from Scott's Turf Builder.

Because I do not have a video of the commercial, I will give you a quick run down of what it is about. The commercial features a couple speaking about how when they first moved in the yard was filled with dandelions and with the help of Scott's Turf Builder they changed it from this:

To this:

I have seem the commercial several times now and I am ready to provide my analysis. The commercial seems to have differing messages between the dialogue and the scene. The dialogue pushes the listener to feel guilty about having a "weed infested" lawn. The scene of the commercial builds the idea of the "American dream" with a beautiful yard and nice house. The commercial for myself is quite forgettable because the messages is not unified. Needless to say the ad was produced and distributed. If the ad had a unified message of the building the "American dream;" I think Scott's could have made a very memorable commercial.

The idea of the "American dream" from my understanding is a combination of emotional happiness and materialistic possessions. To be happy one must posses a nice house with a white picket fence, great lawn and several other things. The commercial sells the "American dream" visually very well and even makes me want a better lawn (however, that will take awhile). The dialogue of the ad brings back reality and memories of being scolded. The dialogue pushes guilt like Marie on Everybody Loves Raymond. It is the dialogue that ruined this commercial.

My original question is the title of the article: The "American Dream" grows with fertilizer? I would have to say yes the "American dream" does grow with fertilizer. The dream grows with every granule of Scott's and every step we take to improve our lives. What we fertilize our lives with is unique to all of us and everyone can use some help to grow the dream.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Does God endorse Coke?

The commercial from 1980 featuring Mean Joe Green has a storyline that pulls at your heart strings and positions Coke as a wholesome and mood lifting drink. The commercial is filled with symbolism that propositions the mind to view Coke in a certain way. Individual interpretations of the symbolism vary but can range from religious and historical to even everyday life. I will explore one of the many interpretations of the symbolism from the commercial: the religious interpretation.

While analyzing the commercial I started to see different forms symbolism some with religious connotations. I would not call myself a religious or even spiritual man but I do have an understanding of the bible. Maybe it was my recent trip to see Angels and Demons that has triggered something in the back of my mind. Several things jumped out at me when I analyzed the commercial. These symbols include: the scene, Mean Joe Green, the kid, the coke and the jersey.

The scene or set of the commercial is the main factor in the moulding of the religious symbolism. The hallway Mr. Green is walking down is dimly lit except for the light from outside and the light at the end of the hall (or tunnel?). The hallway seems to be symbolizing the path a person takes when they die. The entrance to the hallway symbolizes the real world and is packed with people and action. Mean Joe is walking or drifting away from our world that is filled with life and light. The path is lit dimly and ends with a lighted doorway. The lighted doorway is the path to the other side or spirit world. The walls of the hallway are concrete material that is hard and cold. The path that Mean Joe is walking is the path we all take when we die.

The path is the path of death and Mean Joe represents all of human kind in the commercial. The battered and weary soul traveling toward the light and afterlife. What expands the religious symbolism further is the use of Mean in the name Mean Joe Green. The use of "mean" is used to show that even the tainted take the same path. While on his path to the afterlife, Mean Joe encounters a child. This child is shown as innocent, non-judgemental and confident. The child asks Mr. Green if he needs any help only to be turned down. The child offers a Coke and Mean Joe refuses and then hesitantly takes it. The child represents an angel or similar figure. The child gives Mean Joe a gift from heaven. The heavenly gift or Coke absolves Mean Joe of his sins and gives him strength and everlasting life. The Coke is the gift of everlasting life and love.

Just when the child is to leave; the revitalised Joe Green gives the child the only thing he has left, his jersey. Mr. Green's jersey is his soul and he has given it to the heavenly figure. The commercial ends with the Coke slogan, "Coke adds life." If that Coke slogan is not religiously connotative then I am at a loss for words.

Was Coke in 1979/1980 using religious symbolism to sell Coke? Let me know how you feel.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Minnesota: Heat wave!

As I am sitting here at my computer the digital thermometer is reading 81 degrees.
81 degrees in my house and the worst part it is 93 degrees outside.

My wife and I are trying to save energy so the air conditioner was left off today and I hate it.
There is no reason for Minnesota to be warmer than LA or even Texas.

Finishing my quick post the thermometer just jumped to 81.9 degrees... I will leave you with a movie from my local energy company.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Follow-up to Tom's Shoes Commercial

I found this mini documentary on youtube about the Tom's Shoes commercial with AT&T. It explains the concept and goes over some of the process.

I found it interesting that AT&T approached Tom's Shoes to do the commercial; however, I think I understand why. Here is my theory: many, if not all, cell phone carriers are seen as jerks in the eyes of consumers for various reasons. AT&T, through several advertising campaigns, is trying to associate the company's image with kindness, trust and stability. If my theory is correct there are several things both companies have to keep an eye on as it is Tom's Shoes that will be hurt significantly more than AT&T.

The commercial was huge step for Tom's Shoes to get the word out about their company; the step has a huge risk. The risk for Tom's Shoes is hoping AT&T's image stays clean for a few months until the buzz about the commercial has died down. I am not saying AT&T is going to be facing legal, financial and PR problems anytime soon but the possibility is real. I'm quite sure that there is no problems on the horizon for AT&T.

I truly enjoyed the behind the scenes and I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.


Monday, May 18, 2009

New Taco Bell Rap Commercial

The newest commercial in Taco Bell's drive thru rap is hilarious.

The series is based on several youtube videos. The youtube videos feature people rapping their order. It was only a matter of time until an advertising firm caught on to the growing trend.

I wonder how long advertising firms spend watching youtube videos trying to spot a new trend. I would certainly sign up for that job. This could be a sample job description:
  • Watch viral videos on the world wide web
  • Analyze video traffic
  • Leverage traffic statistics to create innovative advertising ideas
  • Stay fit mentally and physically enough to drive your rascal scooter to work as you will slowly become brain dead
  • No life insurance will be provided
Hulu commercials claim that TV rots your brain... if that is true than youtube must turn it into a slurry at light speed.

It would have been quite easy for Taco Bell to mess up on a commercial like this but in my opinion they nailed it.

"The Taco Bell Girl just owned you!"


Saturday, May 16, 2009

AT&T Helps Tom's Shoes

Tom's Shoes
I just checked out to see what they are all about. They seem like they have a great plan to help the world.
While I was on the site I checked out the shoes that they had to offer. They seem like good knock-around shoes but they are not my style. If I had the cash maybe... but do I get to write off the purchase as a donation?

All I know is I'm glad to see companies that do good are able to spread their message with help from AT&T.
Thank you AT&T.


Friday, May 15, 2009

Commercials: Start to Finish 2

Good afternoon,
Here is a quick update on the research for the Capital One Commercial. We have found the Advertising Company for Capital One: DDB Chicago.

That is one step closer to finding the of how commercials are made!
So right now these are the facts...

  • Company that is advertising (Capital One)
  • Advertising Firm (DDB Chicago)
  • Production Company (Unknown)
  • Director (Unknown)
  • Locations (Unknown)
  • Actors (1 known, Patricia Belcher)

An update to the update is: I just got a reply back from DDB Chicago for more information.

This article is moving faster than I expected. I would like to thank DDB Chicago for replying so quickly.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Commercials: Start to Finish 1

I was sitting on the couch watching the newest batch of commercials and I pondered... How do commercials get from being an idea to my TV?

In this series, titled Commercials: Start to Finish, I will pull back the curtain on commercial creation, production and placement.

My first challenge is to pick a commercial that is good enough to research.
I settled on this commercial:

Why this commercial? I think this and the whole series is hilarious.

Step one: contact Capital One to find advertising firm responsible.

Some ingredients that are in a commercial:
  • Company that is advertising (Capital One)
  • Advertising Firm (Unknown)
  • Production Company (Unknown)
  • Director (Unknown)
  • Locations (Unknown)
  • Actors (1 known, Patricia Belcher)
My goal is to be as informative as possible so if you find an error or have a question please let me know.


Why does beer make a better commercial?

I have a theory on beer commercials and why they are so much fun to watch...

It's because the product is fun or at least part of times which are fun.

Beer is one of the great products that fall into the television commercial trifecta known as "Drugs, Sex and Rock n' Roll". Products that fall into the trifecta can, will and have done some of the most known commercials. A great example of this would be the Budweiser frogs. The commercial reached a huge audience (if not directly then in-directly) from the small children in school chanting the croaks to office chatter about those catchy croaks.

Some companies with products not in the category try to make their products fun with very mixed results. These companies walk a fine line when it comes to going overboard and quite often cross that line. One industry in particular has made my stomach turn more often than I'd like from bad commercials and I have written a short request to them below.

A request to feminine hygiene product makers...

STOP! JUST STOP! Your products however useful are and never will be fun! Please stop trying to make them fun.

That's it for now,


If you have a commercial you would like me to see send me the link at or leave me a comment.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Subway: She thinks my sandwich's sexy...

Welcome to the first edition of The Commercial Critic.

Subway's newest batch of commercials are out and promoting the "Five dollar footlong"; But is that all they are promoting? It looks like Subway is using sex to sell it's footlong...

Here's the commercial:

There are things in this commercial that are odd to me (beyond the fact there is a roving dance troupe in a Subway).
But my main issue with this commercial is can a sandwich be sexy? Look at this picture below.


"Wow" are the only words I had when I saw this. Subway may be desperate for customers and has resorted to selling subs with sex

I'll end the first post with a picture of a creepy looking guy from the same ad... (the guy on the right)