I'm behind schedule, so here I am early on a Sunday striving to catch up. And so, on to the third question in the series.
3. What commercial can you remember that you really thought was kick ass? Why? Has advertising improved with time or gotten worse?
I struggled a bit with this one. I wanted to provide as honest an answer as possible. Honesty may be the best policy, but it's also a tremendous challenge for yours truly.
For the most part, commercials have always been mediocre. There are exceptions, but usually the better ones are foreign (and typically from Europe). Here are several examples (that I actually have stored in my laptop and can email to anyone who is interested ... I'm sure they're also on YouTube).
Commercial #1: A man in his early 30's is in a supermarket with his son (who looks to be about 3 or 4-years old). The boy keeps attempting to put a bag of candy in the cart. The man keeps saying no and putting it back. "But I want it!", the boy shouts, and shakes the cart. Finally the boy throws a massive tantrum, taking items off of various shelves, and violently throwing them to the floor. Finally the brat is on his back on the floor in the middle of the aisle, screaming. Everyone is looking in the poor guy's direction. Finally the simple tag line displays on the screen: "Use condoms".
Commercial #2: In a commercial for Danier Leather, a very attractive woman poured into a one piece knit dress and leather jacket walks into an upscale hotel lounge and sits alone at a table. A man at an adjacent table, who cannot takes his eyes off of her, boldly strides over and places his room key (Room 808) on the table in front of her, and walks out. She nonchalantly glances at the key, does a thoughtful double-take, and then gets up. The lady saunters over to the bar and places the key in front of another man sitting on one of the stools, gives him a sexy over the shoulder glance, and leaves the bar. The last scene shows the two men riding up in the same elevator, with the first man finally looking down at the key in the other dude's hand as the elevator doors close. As the commerical fades to black, the tag line, "What does leather do for you? Danier Leather: Feel the difference." is displayed.
Commercial #3: A little boy, who looks about 5, is shown in a series of scenes, as follows: 1) eating a giant ice cream dish; 2) buying a giant snake; 3) getting a tattoo; 4) bringing a chain saw to show 'n' tell and cutting the teacher's chair in half; 5) pulled over by a motorcycle cop while driving an exotic convertible; and 6) getting in a plane to go skydiving. In each scene the boy emphatically says (subtitled), "My mom said I could!" The last scene shows the boy running down the hallway to his mom's closed bedroom door. "Mom, can I put the cat in the washing machine?" From the other side, the boy hears, "Yes! Yes! Yes!". He pumps his fists in the air, and exclaims, "Yes!", then runs off to find the cat. The commercial ends with the tag line, "Hansaplast Condoms. Pure Pleasure."
To answer Enemy's other question, I do think there's hope, as domestic commercials ARE getting wittier. In particular, I am one of the many lemmings who enjoy the Geico "Cavemen" spots. I have to stop what I'm doing - even if it's pleasuring myself - to watch them. I was hooked from the first one, where the announcer takes two of them to dinner, profusing apologizing because he didn't know they were still around.
Of course, anyone who goes to the occasional outdoor rock concert could tell you that they've always been around, but I digress.
Nonetheless, the "Cavemen" are a brilliant ad campaign.
Sometimes though, rather than using an entire new concept, such as the Cavemen, a existing spot could be humorous and effective with just a bit of fine-tuning.
For instance, what if the Life Alert medical products people used Joni Mitchell to help hawk their emegency alert pendent? They could use the existing commercial where the elderly lady takes a tumble down the stairs. Only in MY version, it's depicted in slow motion, with Joni singing, "Help me, I think I'm falling, and I can't get up ...".
See what I mean? Better, right?
Or how about if they used that old tune, "Tighten Up", NOT for Titan Auto Insurance, but for tampons?
Also, I've yet to see a single commercial that acknowledges homosexual men as major consumers of leather goods. So why not license Smokey Robinson's "Cruising", for use with a series of gritty black and white "cinema verite" street and nightclub sequences? "I love it when we go cruising together".
Note the Little Lamb booth in the background of this photo. Coincidence?
Has anyone given serious thought to using Elton John's "Rocket Man" for Trojan Condoms? And how about the spots that don't make any sense? For instance, I'm reasonably certain bears don't use toilet paper, or concern themselves with fabric softener. What WOULD be funny is if the first bear wiped his ass with the second.
I'm going to kick myself for writing this, but what are YOUR thoughts on the matter?