City Folks Just Don’t Get It!


They’re right. Even though technically, I’m a suburbanite, I don’t get it from the badly mixed cut scenes of animals dubbed with human voices to the cartoon version of the subjects of American Gothic. It’s like the time my cousin hit a speed bump on his two wheeler and ended up with his nuts smashed against the cross bar; it’s a horrible wreck, but I’ll be damned if anyone is going to stop me from laughing till I pass out.

I can’t fault the basis of this website as creating more specific dating sites has become the in vogue thing in internet matchmaking. After all, if that beautiful buxom twenty-three year old cow herder turns out to be greasy, fifty-six, and a guy, at least he’ll be able to hold his own in a steamy convo about John Deere and combines. I’m sure that this website draws users like Christian Mingle gets the devout and gothic grabs all the Robert Smith fans.

I just think if you want to convincingly attract users you don’t spend your marketing budget on TV spot that looks like some high school senior submitted it to barely pass his senior project or that some local access show rejected in the mid 90s. Rather than try to be clever, just put a banner on screen and overdub a quick audio of some farmer sounding type giving the site a shoutout. Hell, he can even remind us city folks of our inability to get it.

Best Worst Line of the Entire Spot (0:05):

“Do you think they will ever find us true love?” No Mr. Cow, because bestiality is illegal.

– Words by Stuck

A Walk in the Clouds

Back in the 1990s Airwalk jumped from a young, middling shoe company to one of most dominating footwear firms on the planet.

Malcolm Gladwell wrote about the little engine that could – their successes and failures – in his classic exploration of epidemics, The Tipping Point.

Airwalk rose on the back of focused messaging and edgy, gutsy advertising. Not long after, they slipped on the back of growth and all the hazards that come with trying to do too much, too fast. It makes sense. They had to come back down to ground at some point. Because, you know, gravity.

At the height of their powers, Airwalk was pumping out advertisements that did not just promote their brand but tapped into the veins of their target market. They struck a nerve in a big way. They took a look at what the market offered and what was missing. Then they hit all the right notes with risky, sexy, funny ads – print, television and otherwise – and climbed high in the apparel world.

For me the two big takeaways are: The only thing in this world that matters are people (and what they want) and trajectory matters.

Enjoy a few of Airwalk’s classic ads while you think about how you can not just connect with your audience, but improve their lives.

– Words by Jeff



My Sister Hooked Me Up With A Loan Shark


I have to admit, it’s probably hard to create a positive image for a company like Moneyrree. Most people are not stoked about having to take out short term loans in order to pay for unforeseen expenditures, while the one’s who are jacked up about it probably have some hard times looming in their future. Like car insurance or a can of bear mace, Moneytree is an option most people would be glad to leave in their nightmares.

While I understand the tough spot advertisers have when promoting Moneytree, I find the family theme they use in this commercial downright creepy. The image of children playing and this warm fuzzy atmosphere doesn’t mesh with any kind of financial pitfall. Then comes the line that haunts me the most is:

“…Family came to the rescue. My sister told me about getting a payday loan from Moneytree.”

Gee, thanks Sis, I just upped you to hero status for giving me the equivalent of an invitation to go as your plus one to a Corleone wedding. When I default on my house and CPS takes my kids away, hopefully you can suggest a good homeless shelter and social worker.

Maybe I’m crazy for thinking that coming to the aid of family in a time of need would constitute bringing some meals, watching the kids while they work graveyard during the holidays, or hell, lending them the money without interest, or even a payment plan, YOURSELF. Suggesting a high interest loan while sitting back and watching the situation grow potentially worse is hardly the act of a savior.

This ad scares me off Moneytree so bad that I’ll take my chances at a back alley dice game with my last 20 bucks before setting a foot in their offices, should my own financial situation become that desperate. Or, I suppose I could actually start building a savings account like I promised my mom I would when I moved out years ago. Maybe…


– Words by Stuck


Having the Munchies

An over-sized value meal for a low price that kicks in at 9:00 PM every night. Yeah, Jack in the Box, I see you scoping out the side stage action at Hempfest. I bet you’re strategically planning new restaurants across the street from all the new green dispensaries opening in my new herb friendly state of Washington.

Rather than harsh their mellow, I have to applaud Jack in the Box’s diligence in not only creating the perfect product to replace Funyuns and Pizza Rolls, but also for creating ads that simulate the perfect highs as buildups for the late night trip to Jack in the Box. In the three spots, we are give three stoner stereotypes: Lazy Guy, (He can’t even fly!), Easily Happy Guy (His meal came with his T.V. Remote), and Paranoid Guy (fears the moment when he’ll become a werewolf). Creating the perfect foil to this characters is Muppet Jack, giving it the right amount of surreal feeling while describing a huge meal that appears so massive, it’s practically daring anyone that’s finished a few bowls to try and finish it as well.

And who knows, maybe I’m way off base and my green brothers feel offended by how Jack In The Box has portrayed them and by my assumptions that this campaign plays right into their late night, post smoke hunger cravings. I hope I have not angered them and if I have, I hope they have a way to ease this tension between us. Then, after the right amount of time has past (what is it usually? 30 minutes? an hour?), they’ll probably feel like grabbing a late night Munchie Meal.
– Words by Stuck

Two Ads Pt. 1


Dewar’s White Label Whiskey recently released an advertisement using a poem by Charles Bukowski.

The ad looks really good and the poem shines. You can feel yourself wanting to be a better human as the ad plays. Then, at the end, you discover that all of the amazing images and the beautiful words were all put there to manipulate you into drinking Dewar’s scotch.

All advertising is manipulation, sure. But there is mutually beneficial manipulation and there is exploitation.

Head over to iSpot and watch another Dewar’s ad from earlier in the year. Different message, same look. Tomorrow I will post and discuss the Bukowski ad with the pretty, naughty lady ad in mind.

— by Jeff Osborn

Movie Trailer Tuesday – Gravity

Gravity, and it’s first weekend box office success, illustrate the value of building suspense.

Not hype. Not buzz.


Through giving away just enough but not too much of a brilliant idea, Gravity’s trailers, posters and internet presence built stress and suspense so wildly emotional and contagious that movie goers this weekend did not merely want to see it as soon as they could. They needed to.

Using another example, try to imagine how many people would have been excited to see The Avengers without the tie-in films, Iron Man, Captain America and Thor. That film is a box office flop regardless of how good it is without the build-up.

The characters created an emotional connection – between the audience and the film they were waiting for, as well as between the audience and the comic book versions of the characters they grew up with. The anticipation for how the Avengers film would tie them all together is what made the film a success.

With the exception of the first Iron Man, those films were terrible. They looked cool and there was a ton of action, but the writing and final product mattered less than getting them out and setting up the big payoff, which was good. They were all ally-oops for The Avengers’ emphatic slam dunk.

Gravity created a similar feeling of anticipation using different – less expensive – tactics.

The filmmakers stated with a fantastic premise, made amazing trailers, added interactive website and social media experiences and skimped on nothing.

So why do both of these approaches work? Would they work with anything? The answers, respectively, are, because there is one common trait they both share, and no.

Both of these films have something many films lack: A compelling story.

The Avengers is a timeless tale  with strong characters and Gravity is only the most terrifying premise for any film you have ever heard of. Without the strong and necessary backbone of substance all of the buzz, hype, drama and suspense in the world cannot save you.

— by Jeff Osborn

Hipster Hyundai

This is by far one of my least favorite commercials of the past five years. I still remember when I first saw it because it almost ruined my entire Holiday season back in 2010.

I am not saying this is a “bad” commercial. After all, what is “bad?”

I simply do not care for it and I would never (no, not ever) advertise in this way with any of my brands or companies unless I really, truly was this type of brand or company 100% of the time.

Hyundai is Hyundai. It is not about being cool or fashionable. It is not about indie-folk rock. And it most cerainly is not about living a DIY, alternative lifestyle. The lesson to be learned from this one-time-only coal-stuffed-stocking of a television spot is that you have to advertise to your strengths.

The one thing that makes Hyundai desirable is price. They make the cheapest car not made out of cardboard in the developed world. No body does it cheaper and that is a huge selling point.

Hyundai as the coolest? We are not buying it. Hyundai is the affordable good-looking, reliable car. That is something to build on.

Style Never Goes Out of Style

I am a big fan of the products Toyota delivers, but I cannot remember the last time I they had their advertising on track.

They constantly try to insert awkward celebrity features and as recently as August they were running these horrible little spots, featuring a Juno-esque soundtrack that made more people want to bang their heads against a heard surface than buy a Toyota.

Toyota’s most recent campaign for their Corolla, Style Never goes out of Style, complete with variations on the below and some alternate spots, is totally baffling.


This ad is bright and colorful. It has cool music and lots of people having fun. So why do I have a problem with it?

The goal is to sell cars, right? I don’t have a problem with ads, even car ads, using other types of storytelling to sell products. It happens all of the time. But if you are going to focus on something that is not directly related to the car it had better, at the very least, make sense.

This campaign is confusing, disjointed and effortless. Toyota has been around while styels change around it. Great, we get it. So has almost EVERY OTHER CARE BRAND OUT THERE. Now tell me why Toyota will make my life better. Show me why I will be happier if I own a Toyota. Because if the best you can give my is that flash-mobs will break out around me when I drive it, you are going to have to try again. That just sounds annoying.

Satisfry Everybody

Burger King, or, as they occasionally refer to themselves these days, “Fry King,” is confusing everyone with their new campaign.

Is it #WTFF we are supposed to be talking about, or are we hailing the Satisfry? Or have they changed their name to Fry King? Is this campaign about eating healthier (if you are willing to pay a little more to do so) or being funny and cool?

Whatever is happening here, the one thing I know, that BK’s new Satisfries are “cut from whole potatoes,” makes be wonder what their popular classic fries were cut from…


While we are talking about fast food, check this out as you ponder your next drive-thru stop.

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.

%d bloggers like this: