Another favorite TV spot of 2009

The Geico “pothole” spot for emergency road repair always makes me giggle. Yeah, I like hick humor, okay? I hoot at “My Name is Earl,” Bill Engvall’s “There’s Your Sign” and Ron White’s “They Call Me Tater Salad,” too. I grew up in Mexico, MO, “Little Dixie,” so it can’t be helped.

But to salvage my cultural credentials, I also like Monty Python and Black Adder. And Restoration comedies. Well, some of them. Did that save my credentials or damage them further?

So you wanna design a company logo?

Try to restrain yourself from using sexual imagery and Nazi swastikas, for a start… These are a couple of the “common logo mistakes” covered in this Web page. It’s unbelievable that the clients didn’t see the problems before they slapped these logos all over their stores and stationery.

These are all real logos of real outfits. Unfortunately. But hilariously.

These examples show why you ought to hire a logo designer with a brain. I know several. Just ask for a recommendation before you have a train-wreck of a logo.

2009 TV Spots We Love – Part One

Yep, I’m using the royal “we” in this blog post title. Perhaps in a lame attempt to give you the impression a committee of experts chose these spots as the year’s best. But no, the committee is just me. My criterion: I don’t mute the sound on them. Don’t see one you love here? Let me know, and I’ll post it. Oh, and why “Part One?” Because my list of choices disappeared, but it may turn up.

My top spot of the year is the e*Trade “Golf Baby” spot. The other spot, with the baby singing “Broken Wings,” comes close, but naah, this one’s better. The delivery of the golf-hatted baby is so dry, it crackles. Which makes me cackle. Oh, and I so want the chance to call someone “Shankopotomus.”

For sheer cinematic beefiness, you can’t beat this Jameson Irish Whiskey spot. Quality filmmaking, expert storytelling, on-the-nose strategy, and perfectly executed concept smoothly mesh to reinforce the tagline, “Taste above all else.” Ah, now that’s the stuff.

Budweiser always has gone the extra mile to deliver clever or heart-warming TV spots. This one is a little bit of both. Any dog can fetch a stick, but a Clydesdale? He remains a powerful symbol for The Great American Lager. Huh. That’s funny. A draft horse from the U.K. representing beer which used to be brewed by an American company, now brewed by a German company. Which started as a different German company, Anheuser-Busch, founded by Adolphus Busch and his father-in-law in the late 19th century. But I digress.

Life, color, action! The new iPod Nano shoots video, and this spot practically dances right off the screen with energy, joy and fun. The jumpin’ tune (with lyrics suggesting places you might want to take video, but don’t turn you off) makes even me eager to buy one of these things. And you know that’s somethin’, ’cause I’m as tight as a lizard’s skin.

edbegley2.2Some of the Direct TV spots were made in 2008, but I include the whole campaign among the best seen on TV in 2009. For some reason, they’re not on YouTube, so you’ll have to click this link, where you can see all of them, plus outtakes. The commercials, directed by Christopher Guest and starring Ed Begley, Jr. as the CEO of the mythical “Cable Corp., Inc.” and Michael Higgins as the dim-witted VP with all the dumb ideas, make me giggle. I couldn’t remember if they were for Dish TV or Direct TV, which is a bad thing in advertising, but then, I always get those two mixed up.

Ten worst ads of 2009

Yessss! My evaluation of the Palm Pre commercials (one of them, anyway) is vindicated! It’s number 5 of BNET’s 10 Worst Ads of 2009. The weird girl with the intestinal hairdo fails to charm. I wonder if she fails to sell Palm Pre’s, too. She just makes me mad, I don’t know why.

But the Pre spot is hardly the worst of the 10. You have to have a strong stomach or be immune to extremely bad taste to stand some of the others. One wonders what concept (if any) was behind the Red House “black people and white people” TV spot. Is it supposed to be ironic? Funny? Stupid? Well, one out of three isn’t bad.

And how about the one with a girl removing her lips so they can continue talking to her mom on her Virgin Mobile phone about her icky skin condition while she hits the gym shower?

Here’s number 6 for Miracle Whip, one of the most disgusting substances ever invented for people to ingest. What’s the idea? Is Miracle Whip copping the “I’m a Pepper” attitude? Hey! How about “I’m a Whipper!” No?

And believe me, some of the others are worse. Go here and see. If you dare.

Should you always tell the truth?

If someone asks your opinion of something they made, and you think it’s awful, should you say so? Is it cowardly not to? Is it rude to diss someone else’s work? Even if they asked you to critique it? Or is there some polite way to answer, but avoid offending them?to tell the truth

I wish I knew.

The other day, a fellow member of an online discussion group posted a link to a promo video about his company, remarking he thought it had turned out rather well, and he asked other group members to tell him if it got to the point quickly enough.

Remember the “Seinfeld” episode where Jerry and the gang visit a couple with a new baby? The mother, leaning over the crib, keeps saying, “Isn’t he bee-YOO-tee-ful?” You don’t see the baby, but from the horrified faces of Jerry and friends, you can tell they’re thinking, “Ye gods, is that a BABY?”

Well, to me, as a producer, that video was like the ugly baby. To start with, it lacked any element of engaging story-telling. Furthermore, it was too long by half, the voiceover was written like print copy, and the delivery was flat. And so was the video of the obviously staged “team meeting,” which was dulled to low-contrast black and white, for no apparent reason. The team members were shown passing papers around a conference table. Talk about your raw excitement.

The piece was actually so boring I couldn’t keep my mind on it for the whole 2 1/2 minutes. The problem was not that it took too long to get to the point, but that it was pointless in every imaginable way. It didn’t inform, it didn’t entertain, it just sucked up 2 1/2 minutes of my life. It actually made me mad! Heck, if they’d hired ME to write and produce the thing…

I spent the next half-hour rattling out my excruciatingly detailed, pointedly negative opinion of this thing its creator was so proud of (Dr. Frankenstein was proud of his creation, too!). Then I spent another half-hour trying to make it sound civilized. In the end, I decided not to post anything. Life minutes wasted: 62 1/2. Actually, 65 because I watched the video again to make sure I hadn’t spaced out and missed something good. I hadn’t.

Honesty is a value I admire and try to practice. But let’s face it: there are times when it’s best to keep your tater trap shut.

If someone asks for my opinion, and it will help them, I will offer it. But in this case, the project was done, so my opinion was irrelevant. Good thing I vented my spleen privately, on my computer, where it couldn’t hurt anyone. Well, unless that person reads this and connects the dots.

So in re sharing negative opinions, I think, “When in doubt, leave it out.” What do you think?

Social Media in 30 Seconds

What's what in social media?

What's what in social media?

If you’re new to social media, maybe you don’t know the important differences among them. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, blogs, all are social media, but they’re different kinds and are best used in specific ways.

Here’s a brief explanation to get you started.