prometheus + coors light tv spot

All tie-ins are not created equal.

Try as the marketers behind this awkward spot may, human-killing aliens and Coors Light just do not work well together here.

Over the years marketers have successfully and seamlessly tied thousands of products in with one another. The best marketers sell you something (Coke, Budweiser, or a BMW perhaps) without you even knowing by building an emotional connection between you and the product while you think you are simply watching your favorite madcap group of tele-friends ham it up while you sit on your couch or the newest romantic comedy in the theaters.

This ad, unfortunately, is clumsy, overt, and more awkward than me in eighth grade.

Tie-ins do not work if the audience notices them. I am not the only one who knows this. I promise the folks behind this ad know it, which is what makes a fumble like this so confusing. Television ads are not cheap. Producing them is not especially inexpensive either. To me, the biggest problem with this ad is the waste and disconnection from the current situation of potential consumers.

How far could those same marketing dollars have taken either company if spent on a new, vibrant, creative social media push?

Ads like this make me question how much marketers have really learned over the past decade. This spot smacks of the lazy, money-blowing old guard. Companies cannot afford to treat their marketing like this anymore.

The American auto industry collapse provides constant examples of what not to do while your business model evaporates around you, and one of those lessons is “Do Not Waste What Money You Have on Television Ads Just For The Sake of Having Them.”

Hollywood is definite offender. The American film industry can complain about how nobody goes out to see movies anymore, but Avengers and fine films like Midnight In Paris are proof that audiences will still spend money on GOOD movies. The extra cash to toss away on crappy films has gone away, which means that it is more important than ever to put a thoughtful marketing push behind any given film. This ad is proof that at least one person hanging around the upper strata of Hollywood still does not get it.

movie trailer tuesday – tree of life



Did this trailer make me want to see the movie?


Tree of Life‘s trailer is an exception to the rule I have been beating like a dead horse every Tuesday.

I did not know many people who had seen this film when I saw it, but I found the trailer irresistible. It is mysterious, thought provoking, even inspirational.

The quick clips, their organization, and the absence of dialogue or narration make it difficult for the viewer to ever really figure out what is happening. There is something aggravatingly fascinating about the lack of a clear story arc and any semblance of a traditional trailer formula.

The emotional, epic music acts as a bed underneath the perplexing and compelling imagery.

The viewer sees faces he or she knows, but a few quick glimpses of Brad Pitt looking stern or Sean Penn looking really tired is the extent of the use of the familiar here. Everything else feels foreign, exciting, and maybe even a little dangerous.

Was the trailer effective as a commercial?


Terrence Malick is a one of a kind filmmaker, so it only makes sense that a trailer for one of his films should stand out as being unlike any trailer in recent memory.

And this brings me to an important point about movie trailers: Much like the films they sell, movie trailers are almost all pretty much the same. Unfortunately, trailers for films that are more creative than the average still follow standard trailer formulas. Advertisers that work with many different products (the good ones, at least) seem to push the accepted standard far more often than whoever is making all of these stale film trailers. The trailer for Tree of Life is not overly complicated or mind blowing. It is simply different from the 99% of the trailers around it. Sure, the film being marketed is different than 99% of the films being made (making it easier to make a new feeling trailer), but  I am not proposing anything outlandish here. Instead of telling the audience the entire plot and story in 2 minutes, how about taking a little extra planning time with the material and using the same film footage to confuse and delight the audience?
Why more studios do not work to create trailers that stand out from the crowd is beyond me. But Tree of Life is proof that an unconventional trailer can get people into theaters to see your film.


too cool

I cannot be the only person noticing a flood of commercials featuring people doing things you never see them do in real life. One of the most obnoxious to me, is this Hyundai commercial from Christmas two years ago:

Hyundai might want to appeal to people like the ones in this ad, but they probably do not. Likely because people like the ones shown in this commercial are usually too busy walking or biking places or planting urban gardens or buying non-prescription fashion glasses to drive any car. Let alone a Hyundai.


I liked the premise of the commercial, but I was annoyed by the disconnect by the story it was trying to tell and the product it was trying to sell.

Keeping in mind my discussion about consistency from last week, what business does Taco Bell have depicting a guy like this as a customer? There are probably a few, but that is not Taco Bell’s core customer base. But not a lot.


First of all, I have never seen a Wendy’s that busy. Ever. Second, people inside Wendy’s restaurants are usually a lot older, and sadder looking.


There are several more offenders, including many McDonald’s offenders from when they launched their McCafes. I cannot seem to find my favorite examples right now, but I will add them to this post as I collect them.



marketing and art

These are probably not entirely original, but they are good reminders to us all nonetheless:

Marketing is not a science, it is an art.

Passion resonates.

And, the two are more connected than most realize.

Passion was there when da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa. Passion also there when Steve Jobs changed computing and technology (again and again and again).

Passion was in the room not only when he painted it, but also when I cried while viewing Picasso’s Guernica seventy years later. In a very similar way, passion brings hordes of people out to wait in line for hours to be the first for the next new product from Apple.

Great marketing is not a gloss or a clever logo or an endorsement from a celebrity. Great marketing is a brilliant, life-changing, gutsy, risky, lonely idea that solves a problem, is the first of its kind, or makes the world happier, brighter, or better in some small way.

There will always be people who stand in the way of a great idea, often including the person who dreamt it up in the first place. There will always be skeptics and obstacles offering excuses to quit. The art lies in bringing an idea to the masses in a way they will notice. In a way the will make a difference.


When I am sick it helps me sleep, and when I am getting better and still taking it, i get messed up dreams that keep me entertained for days.

Sometimes great marketing sells products, but usually a great product can sell itself.

God-bless NyQuil!

That is all.



movie trailer tuesday on a thursday


I have been sick all week, so here comes a string of make-up posts. Enjoy!

First up: Movie Trailer Tuesday – Avengers Assemble:

I normally use Movie Trailer Tuesday to rant about Hollywood and how bad a movie looks like it will be. Starting this week I will try my best to focus on discussing the trailer and answering questions like, “Does the trailer make me want to see the movie?” And  “Is the trailer effective as a commercial?”


Does this trailer make me want to see Avengers Assemble?

The name of the film does not.

The star power almost does. The casting of Mark Ruffalo as The Hulk in particular does. Between Eric Bana, Edward Norton and Ruffalo they may have finally gotten it  right with the latest attempt at casting Bruce Banner.

If I was fifteen and loved the transformers (I will italicize but refuse to capitalize that particular film franchise) and thought Scarlett Johansson might someday marry me, this trailer would appeal to me. But I, as a closet nerd and comic book fan, have had it with comic book movies. The trailer for Avengers could only capture me if it were able to convey some of the depth and brains the recent Batman installments and the first two X-Men movies exuded. Even the first Iron Man had some redeeming qualities that shined through even in the trailers.

Bottom line answer: Nope.


Is the trailer effective as a commercial?

See above. If the upcoming film has any shred of wit or depth or decent writing, the trailer sure did nothing to relay that to the potential ticket buyer. There is probably a few groups out there, die-hard Avengers and Marvel fans, as well as teenage boys of a certain disposition, for example that cannot wait for this film to come out. I happen to be not in any of those groups.

The trailer, sadly, advertises a film (and probably a genre) that has been gobbled up by the “Action” genre. Comic book movies can be more than just summer explosion fests. The action and adventure of the comic books themselves helped them become popular, but the best, most beloved comic books were loved because of their writing, smarts, and the deeper meaning they often held. Judging by the trailer for Avengers, I would not expect much more than tired one-liners and CG action.

Bottom line answer: The folks who were going to see Avengers anyway probably all got huge boners from this and the other trailers, but everyone else is likely to go do something else this summer.


jc penny and the two stories

My wife brought this ad to my attention:


JC Penny seems to be waging a war against the common Department Store mentality of heavy discounts, all the time. Check out the links – The difference between Macy’s homepage and JC Penny’s says it all.

The ad itself is not what caught my attention, but Penny’s approach. Or the approach of their marketing firm, to be more precise.

It is important to note when a company is trying to sell you something and when they are embracing a genuine, corporate shift in an attempt to get re-aligned with their market.  It is true, all marketers tell stories (credit to Seth Godin), and there are many kinds of stories. But they all boil down to two options: The story is an inaccurate depiction of how the company will make the consumer’s life better, or the story is an accurate depiction of how the company will make the consumer’s life better. There is no in-between.

grin and beer it

Ah, I long for the days when companies could use cartoons in advertisements for things like beer.

The anti-smoking folks had a point when they campaigned against big tobacco to get them to stop advertising to children, but I am not so sure beer ads like this Hamm’s spot are directed at the kids.

This is just good ol’ fashion, nonsensical fun. This spot my not make you want to buy beer right when you see it, but it guarantees viewers will be humming it to themselves the next time they stroll down the beer isle.

You see, there is something fun, upbeat, memorable and catchy about this add. And real Hamms fans must have been delighted to spot the beavers from Hamms tie-in spots in the beginning.

“Hamms the beer refreshing” is about as inane as it gets. Love it!


the most interesting beer in the world

I want to dedicate this week (minus Tuesday) to beer commercials.

Many beer commercials fall into the same category, but one campaign stands out above the rest (at least in my lifetime):

The Most Interesting Man in the World

Dos Equis did a smart thing when they gave the green light to this series of commercials. A very smart thing, indeed.

Here is my favorite:


They even make my wife smile, which is no small feat for a commercial. Especially a commercial for beer. (She even stopped what she was doing and leaned over to watch with me as I was reviewing them for this post.)

I like the TMIMITW commercials because they are:

1. More interesting than your average commercial

2. Simple

3. More clever than your average commercial

4. Well written, and

5. Ridiculous and unafraid to make fun of themselves

I would like to see more companies, beer companies most of all, take more risks like the one Dos Equis took with these commercials.

I don’t usually like beer commercials, but when I do I prefer TMIMITW.




are you ready for some commerce?

There have been some great Super Bowl commercials, and some enormous wastes of time, money and attention.

For better or worse, America always gets excited for Super Bowl weekend’s premier event: New, loud, shiny commercials.

Next week I will dedicate this blog to Super Bowl ads from years gone by and I want to kick this party off right (get it?) by sharing the most important Super Bowl ad of all time (then I will tackle you with lesser ads for five straight days, starting Monday).



‘Nuff said.


This is seems a good time to say RIP to Steve Jobs. The world is a better place because of you, thank you for pushing.

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