Monday, August 25, 2014

The Ridiculously Phallic Crunchie Ads of the 1950s.

Let me feed it to you—s l o w l y—baby.


offices of London ad agency Subliminal, Persuader, & Manipulate, 1957.

Subliminal: "Gentlemen: I just got off the phone with Fry's. We got a new giant bar to push, the 6D. I told them they should call it the 8D, but they said it's not twice as big. I told them, who gives a fuck—we've already gone down on Freud like a five-quid slag with this campaign, so why not go all in?"

Manipulate: "I can tell you from experience that girls think 8 is the perfect size D."

Persuader: "Can I borrow that dildo this weekend, Manipulate?"

Subliminal: "Shut-up, you cunts. Creatively, do we want to stick with illustration, or should we switch to photos?"

Manipulate: "Photos photos!!! I'll do the casting! No men this round!"

Persuader: "I think we should stay with drawings of hot birds. That way, consumers can project themselves into the scene."

Subliminal: "Whoa, Persuader. You been doing some reading?"

Persuader: "Packard's new book is a gold mine, boss."

Manipulate: "Can we get them to change the tagline? 'Biting' makes me think of my first painful experience."

Subliminal: "It rhymes, it wins. Give me ideas by Friday, wankers."

Her hands say no, but her eyes say yes.
Her boyfriend just wants to watch.

Peeling down the foreskin.
Well placed beach ball covering up man's raging member.
Look at his eyes, mouth.

Red head on a cold day.

1959 photo ad, Manipulate finally gets his way.
"...two are nicer than one." The horse seals it.

All ads found via Google.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Swagger Ad Dads Need To Get Got.

The New Cheerios Gang-Signs Dad

It's been well documented (if not well researched): At some point in the 1990s, Ad Dads very suddenly became moronic punchlines. I don't know who was more responsible for this—ad agencies or brands or Homer Simpson—but the tipping point was reached quickly. It was an anti-Mad Men ad movement. It was anti-creative. And it was just as sexist as all the Women As Sex Objects ads (though not as insidious).

The OG "Swagger" Dad

But in the last few years, there has been a shift in Dadvertising to Dad as Hero. That's fine. But, unfortunately, a subset of this new "Super Dad" ad concept has been the "Swagger Dad", popularized by comedian Brian Huskey in a lazy, hackneyed though widely applauded 2010 Toyota minivan ad. Like all such awkward-white-people-co-opting-black-culture ideas, it was insulting to the entire human race.

Swagger Dad #2

Now four years later Toyota, via their agency Saatchi & Saatchi Los Angeles, has finally released a "sequel" featuring "The Neuberts" (Christ). And since many criticized the first spot as racist, the world's leading auto manufacturer brought in Brooklyn boy Busta Rhymes to embarrass the fuck out of himself, hopefully for a very fat stack.

This video has all of the cringe and none of entertainment of the first Sienna ad. Four fucking years, and this is the best they could do. And I'm unemployed.

American Greetings—"Dad Life" (2010)

The world's largest greeting card company (That's one of the Whitest phrases I've ever typed.) apparently scoped the success of the Toyota video, and dropped their own awful anthem less than two months later, pre-Father's Day. Theirs featured four Swagger Dads, including a black dad to mute racism criticism. Dockers® and St. John's Bay shirts and John Deere riding mowers and Roundup weed killer get shout-outs, though it's not clear if any of that was prearranged. Note the douchey bluetooth.

"I gotta clip for my piece..." (cellphone holder)

Cheerios and their digital ad agency Tribal Worldwide also certainly noticed the 12 million views the original Swagger Dad ad racked up. They smartly avoided the shitty studio rap track, but this dude is still just another Swagger Dad telling you #HowToDad—which includes eating and feeding your children bowl after motherfuckin' bowl of peanut butter Cheerios for "breakfast, lunch, dinner, and midnight snacks". #HowToAngioplasty

Health concerns aside, this ad was just merely bad and unoriginal, until, yep: had to throw in those slo-mo fake gang signs at the end...ahh YEAH.

What recent Dad Ad do I like?
This one, for Jell-O pudding, by cp+b.
It's real. Yo.

Monday, August 18, 2014

What In The Hell Has Happened To Beer Advertising?

Long gone are the days of the great "Tastes Great/Less Filling" Miller Lite TV commercials.

Long gone are the days of the very good Bud Light "Real Men of Genius/Real American Heroes" radio spots. (It didn't work as well on TV.)

And, long gone are the days of the fucking brilliant Errol Morris-directed "High Life" Miller TV ads. Watch three of them below. And watch 78 of them here.


So: Whadda we got now?

We got campaign after campaign inartfully, unsubtly, desperately sucking off Gen Y. If you are a Y, you should be guffawing derisively at your computer/TV screen at the sloppy blowjobs being performed on you by beer brands. But then, what do I know? Maybe your generation likes sloppy bad blowjobs.

Bad Blowjob #1: Heineken.
 Heineken continues to try to position itself as the official beer of "Adventure". The commercials, created by Wieden & Kennedy offices worldwide, are beautifully produced. Beautifully produced bullshit. The product is usually slipped in awkwardly, like with this 2:00 Dutch spot, the latest in their current "Man Of The World" campaign. Their "Man" is a dandy dancing whiskery hipster (sorry, but the word fits here) with perfect timing, cuteness, and charm. All of the hot women instantly cream over him. He is the Ultimate Millennial Hero. He is the most hateable brand mascot since Mr. Opportunity.

"Man Of The World". Image via.

You could call him the '2nd most interesting man in the world", since the campaign's 2012 start post-dates Dos Equis's "Most Interesting Man In The World", and W&K obviously "borrowed" the idea to create this super man. It is the most flaccid soft sell from the beer category that I can recall. I purposely never order Heineken because of this pandering campaign.

Bad Blowjob #2: Miller High Life.
The copywriter, art director, and director on these new-ish #IamRich spots should all be fucking ashamed of themselves. Meet "Rich". That's his name, you see, because he's not rich. (Though if that's his NYC apartment, he's far from fucking middle class.) Rich is yet another Bearded Millennial Hero. The ads pour irony into a skillet mold, let it harden, and then cave in your head with it. Here's a 2nd spot—note all of Rich's male buds have facial hair. Actual maybe quote from Miller's marketing director: "I WANT THE COOLEST COLLECTION OF BEARDS EVER ASSEMBLED IN AN AD."

Just absolutely awful advertising. Agency: Leo Burnett.
NOTE: I will not stop drinking Miller High Life because it is my favorite cheap beer.

He's cool because he's black & white and slightly out of focus, and sits ironically on a throne.

Bad Blowjob #3: Miller Fortune.

I love Mark Strong, one of my favorite actors (see him in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy). It's not his fault these spots are so bad, he didn't write this contrived hooey—take the money and run, good man.

My copy: "Get in there and get tossed out on your ass, tosser. I've another Miller Fortune waiting to ease your pain. And then you can try again, Sisyphus. Why will I still be here? I just like creepily standing outside of bars and providing strangers with running commentary on their loser lives."

My copy:" What are you doing? Did you see that rack? Guzzle this, turn around, and go back in there and FORCE YOURSELF on her. Then, five hours from now, come out, alone, and power-barf on the sidewalk. I'll still be here, with another Miller Fortune and a bottle of Scope."

(Miller Fortune deleted this spot from their YouTube page, probably because some criticized it for telling men to be "ungentlemanly".)

My copy: 'I know what you're thinking: 'I'm gonna miss this tap-in on purpose, and she'll suck me so good, the sheets'll get stuck in my ass.' Don't do that. Slam it home, loudly, and scream YEAH! in her face. Then, run the next table, and the next and the next and the...well just fucking destroy her, and then give me a call..."

Bad Blowjob #4: Corona Light.

Here Corona and their agency, Goodby Silverstein and Partners, smash older, married Millennials in the face with a Stupid bat. This copy feels like it was written by the account supervisor, or even the Corona marketing director's wife. Oh! That ending twist joke! My SIDES!

Bad Blowjob #5: Garagista (South Africa).

Ahh. the old "For those who..." strategy. How do you get "hip" people to drink your beer in 2014? By making fun of "hipsters"—at least according to the Garagista Brewery and their Capetown ad agency FoxP2.  But nobody is hipsters, everybody is hipsters, now. These people are just idiots, especially this chick. Don't you feel superior looking at these idiots? Shit, I'm getting such a confidence boost reading these ads, I think I'll dust off my chrome Slingerlands and start up a NYC post-post-post-punk band. Call ourselves the Mad Men. Dress like Draper, get sued by AMC. Get famous.

(click image to enlarge)
I'd actually like to to hear this gentlemen play his banjo. I bet he's pretty good. And come on: that font screams "drink me, hipster!".

(click image to enlarge)
I honestly cannot pick which one of these headlines is the worst. 
It's a dead heat at the Shit-Awful finish line.

Bad Blowjob #6: Miller Lite.

Lastly, there's the "Man Up" Miller Lite campaign from a couple of years ago. The blowjob target here: Bro-lennials. But not just any Bro-lennials, specifically the homophobic, unironic fist-bump-explosion, brain-dead Bro-lennials. This, seriously, may have been the dumbest alcohol campaign in the history of fermentation/distillation. 

There is, in fact, one very good beer campaign out there right now. It's the Newcastle "No Bollocks" effort. Excellent branding. Agency: Droga5, NYC. And no: Dos Equis's "Most Interesting Man in the World" is not a great beer campaign. It's merely a decent campaign. Sorry.

I'm thinking, maybe? the problem here with these bad beer ads is that Millennials, the new "creative class", are the ones creating them. And, they—somehow—think they're good? Discuss.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Van Gogh Severed Ear Portrait Ads, Ranked.

Vinnie painted approximately 40 self-portraits before shooting himself at 37. (or before being shot, claim others). But he only created two with his bandaged ear. The popular opinion is that he cut off part of his lobe with a razor blade after a fight with Paul Gauguin. Another theory is that Gauguin lopped it off with his sword, either accidentally or on purpose.

No matter. Van Gogh was an artist. Advertising art directors are not artists. They are art thieves, stealing popular artwork to help sell products/services. They steal "The Scream". They steal "David". They steal the "Venus de Milo". And, oh boy, do they steal the "Mona Lisa".

But poor, tortured, partially-earless van Gogh continues to be the most abused artist by ad hacks. I've collected a sampling of ads from the last 15 years that badly riffed off these two portraits. This ranking wasn't easy; they all suck. But some suck harder. Listed from worst to least worst, top to bottom.


10. Daikin air conditioners, India, 2003.

The two obvious ways to use the portraits is to play off Van Gogh's missing ear, or to reattach the ear. Copy: "Complete Silence". See, the art director has put his ear back. Because ... now ... he can ... enjoy ... the silence ... better ... with two ears ... instead of ... just one ... Agency: Dentsu Y&R.

9. Zeldox, Finland, 2007.

Zeldox is the Pfizer brand of Ziprasidone, a schizophrenia/bipolar disorder drug. Did Vincent suffer from either of those disorders? Who cares! Let's all laugh at suicidal mental illnesses. LOL—BLAM! Agency: TBWA/PHS, Helsinki.

8. The ADDY Awards, USA, 2011.

  The "ADDYs" are one of the lesser advertising awards shows, put on by the American Advertising Federation. (I've won two, just for reference.) The body copy, which is hard to read thanks to over-art direction, reads: "You've gone through a lot to create great work. It belongs in a museum too." BA-HA, no, it doesn't. RE: the headline—I learned at SVA to never tell a reader to "imagine" something, because you're basically calling him/her an idiot. But I'll give it a try. His arms? His head? His pecker? His beard? Who the FUCK cares. Agency: LGA, Charlotte.

7. iMeet, USA, 2011.

iMeet is a video meeting service.
The agency here is the much lauded MUH•TAY•ZIK | HOF•FER of San Francisco.
I do not understand why they are much lauded.

6. Elite Paintball, Brazil, 2011.

This is, really, the worst of the bunch, but because it is so audaciously stupid, I've moved it up/down. The unreadable headline: "Van Gogh lost his ear, and if he hadn't paid attention would have lost his eye as well." A much better headline is the copy next to the logo: "Only the best painters survive." Agency: Festo, Brazil.

5. Gardena garden shears, Germany, 2004.

Copy: "Every one a work of art." Gardena sells gardening tools worldwide. Van Gogh liked flowers, particularly sunflowers, I guess. So, bingo! Ad. (sigh) Agency: Serviceplan.

4. Desirée hairdressing school, The Netherlands, 1999.

"Cheap haircuts by student hairdressers."
At least it's via Vincent's home country. Agency: Result DDB.

3. Lazer helmets and eyewear, Belgium, 2011.

(Fucking ADs and their unreadable type/font choices) The thing you might not be getting with this Belgian ad is that to wear Lazer Magneto combo helmet/glasses, you don't need ears. So, therefore...IF VAN GOGH WERE ALIVE TODAY, HE WOULDN'T HAVE NEEDED HIS EAR TO GO BIKING. Agency: Dallas, Antwerp.

2. Panasonic RF-HXD5W headphones, Israel, 2014.

The only thing that makes this ad "better" than the others above is that it is related to sound and that it makes some sense. Agency: McCann TLV.

1. Sky 100.7, The Netherlands, year unknown.

"100.7% listening enjoyment".
Again, at least the ad is via The Netherlands. And again, at least the ad is related to sound. It is the same concept as the above layout. But since it is older than the Panasonic ad and a tad more subtle, it is the "winner". Agency: unknown.


The Perth Zoo, Australia, 2010.

The ad is from a 2010 campaign promoting actual elephant paintings. (Here's the Warhol execution.) I didn't include it above because it doesn't use one of the Van Gogh paintings. It's a little subtle for a moronic mass audience, but... Agency: The Brand Agency, Perth.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Awful Stock Photos Turned Into Awful Ads.


The amount of time I've spent on stock photo websites (mostly shitty Getty, of course) over the last 15+ years would be measured in months, not hours. Any ad creative who's had to work with either cheap-ass clients who wouldn't pay for a shoot even if you took their fucking kids hostage or dipshit clients who just didn't see the point knows the mental pain of paging and scrolling for half a day until you find that one image that is slightly less shit-awful than the previous 2,000. And why do we do this? The ad's not going to help the client's business, the ad's not going in our portfolios, shit, it won't even be worth wiping our asses with—but we search and search and fucking SEARCH until diarrhea seeps out of our eyeballs.

It is, truly, one of the most pathetic activities a human being can do.

Well, this is my pathetic revenge. I've been collecting these unusable stock photos for about a year and, this past weekend, turned them into bad ads for major brands. Because, fuck you clients, and fuck you stock photo houses and your shitty cheap photos. I did the ads quickly, in Word, so they would look extra special shitty.

Here you go, Eli fucking Lilly.
It's no worse than your skeevy post-coital hand-holding two bath tubs sign off.

You young "content creators" won't remember the classic Hebrew National commercial from the 1970s featuring an insane-looking Uncle Sam. The "higher authority" in the tagline is of course God, not somebody/thing referenced very often in advertising these days. (ConAgra discarded the 110 year-old, NYC-born kosher hot dog brand's tagline in the 1990s.)
This kid looks like he's keen on meeting his maker.

Why would somebody put the Mona Lisa on a tongue?
Fuck you, 123RF, and fuck you Listerine and your useless"breath strips".

"Creepy facial-haired middle manager in a suspect red-ish dress shirt just wrenched one out in the work bathroom." That's what the description on 123RF should say. It doesn't. Quick, sign up your new "Mr. Fix-It" spokesman, Stanley Black & Decker.

Hey, look LensCrafters! "Eye" think your new funky-cool icon lockup works splendidly with this gem from shutterstock. Nothing sells eyewear faster than an horrific image that sort of implies badly botched lasik surgery.

This photo is child porn, Thinkstock.
If those girls aren't that guy's daughters...
Wait. That only makes it worse.
Run with it, Baskin Robbins. Court the pedo demo.

The Beef Council is frankly tired of all the shit they've been taking lately: Beef is bad for you; Beef is bad for the environment; Beef is bad for your "soul", as if that's a real thing. You know what's real, vegan pantywaists? The taste of a medium rare rib eye.
Critics say the Council is afraid to show cows in their ads. Well, here's a solution: Hire "Cowman" as your spokes-creature. Shove that face right in the agog faces of the PETA pussies. He'd be like the Marlboro Man's deformed brother.

Another creepy facial-haired fuckface, this one contemplating his horrible life choices lying on a flat cake for some imagined reason found within the unimaginative mind of a failing commercial photog. I did my best/worse.

Scat Porn combined with Joker Face. Wonderful.
Not Nutella's official tagline.

That's about all the House this underage student/pregnant-teacher-who-sorta-looks-like-Helen-Mirren marriage can afford right now. But Wells Fargo has plenty of experience with toxic home loans. Just understand, lovebirds, that the "we'll" in their tagline refers just to them.

This photo is titled "Ballerina" on Thinkstock.
I focused on the "rail" part of the photo, as it is the only usable part.

Here's an ad history lesson for you ad student dipshits: Accenture used to be Andersen Consulting who way back in the (mostly) pre-Photoshop early 1990s via Y&R NYC did some good simple animal-themed print (one two) and TV (one). It was so good and successful, about 10,000 b2b businesses have since copied (badly) the animal kingdom riff.
Another bad use for this stupid photo could be as a replacement cover for Augusten Burroughs' "memoir", Running With Scissors.

I abhor kitchen shows, so I don't know if "Cutthroat Kitchen" is just women, men, or what. I also don't know if the above Kitchen Führer is a man or a woman. The hands and ring say "man", but... It's definitely not Alton Brown.

The title of this photo is: "In with both feet". I guess if you needed to show "man putting his foot in his mouth", this technically works. But, no, not really.

The balloon hat is a retirement "gift" from his workplace. He's going to try to sell it on craigslist for $1,000, claim Jeff Koons made it. Then, he's going to take a vacation. He can't afford to go anywhere, so he's just going to set up camp near the rock quarry for a few days. Go swimming. Maybe kill somebody.

You can buy both of those items at my hick hometown Super Walmart.
Thank you, iStock. I'm going to use this ad image as the centerpiece of a spec campaign email pitch to CEO and Tennessee good ole boy Doug McMillon. My ≈1,000 cousins are his core clientele.

You think of a better use for a stock photo of a "doctor" delivering a fucking pineapple.

Gorton's tagline in the 1980s was: "If It Isn't Gorton's, Throw It Back." As an SVA student, that hit me as a smart strapline.  I don't remember the agency. Anyway, fuck this incomprehensible photo.

Title: "Elderly man falls down with a walker on a lawn."
I could've made a MedicAlert bracelet ad. But that would've been what's called a "see-say" ad—which is a hacky no-no. So, fertilizer ad it is.

Thinkstock title: "Scary Bloody Zombie Wearing A Cap And Glasses". Also, "holding a sign". He/she looks nothing like a zombie and a lot like a mummy, and I have zero ideas for what this photo could actually be used for.

As far as I'm concerned, this is the best PrepH ad ever assembled. It's the only use I could think of for this useless Getty image, other than to illustrate a man doing things "ass backwards"—but he looks too fucking happy.

NOTE #1: Send me any bad stock photo, and I will turn it into a bad brand ad for you.

NOTE #2: I've been unemployed now for nine months since being fired by BuzzFeed. This is mostly because of, I'm finding out, Ageism. If you're over 50, you're as good as dead to New York City "new" media companies. I'm asking for half of what I'm worth from people 20-25 years younger than me who can't take a smidge of constructive criticism (from somebody who has created somewhere in the neighborhood of 10,000 ads, won 3 CLIOs, etc.) about why/how their advertising, native or otherwise, could be better.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

The Woman Used Illegally In The Infamous Burger King "Blowjob" Ad Speaks Out.

Some of you will remember this unsubtle Burger King ad from five years, via Singapore. The overwhelming negative blowback over the ad forced BK USA Corporate to release this statement at the time:
"Burger King Corporation (BKC) values and respects all of its guests. This advertisement is running to support a limited promotion in the Singapore market and is not running in the U.S. or any other markets. It was produced by a locally-based Singapore agency..."
The woman used in the ad—used without her permission or even knowledge—emailed me last year about the ad, seeking litigation advice. She said she had just found out about the ad, and that she "was not going down without a fight." I unfortunately couldn't help her, legally, but told her I thought she had a good case.

Well, she's not done fighting. "Jane Doe" (what she calls herself in emails) emailed me again today, sharing a short new video on YouTube called "Burger King Raped My Face." In it, she shows several shots from a photoshoot she did, including the one Burger King in Singapore used in its 2009 "Super Seven Incher" ad campaign.

Doe's image was used in online promotions, on bus stops posters around Singapore, even on place mats at BK restaurants. From her note accompanying the video:
"Burger King found my photo online from a series I did of various facial expressions and contortion poses, and with no due regard to me as a person, profited off reducing me to an orifice for their penis sludge; publicly humiliating me in the process (...)
When asked for comment from the press Burger King claimed the campaign went down well, however after some research I discovered The Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore (where it was released) received several complaints and the campaign had to be prematurely removed (...)
Now due to the coverage its received (Time Magazine's Top Ten Tasteless Ads, Business Insider, Buzzfeed, Gawker, Psychology Today to name a few) it's part of the public domain (...)
Friends, family, coworkers, prospective employers who saw it assume I was a willing player. Those offended by it don't know the extent of what's wrong with the ad; that I didn't know about this being done to my image, let alone agree to or pose for the scenario (...)
I believe in sexual expression in art and the media; it's beautiful and necessary for a healthy society but IT MUST BE CONSENSUAL otherwise it's RAPE.
Nice family restaurant you're running there Burger King.
#boycottbk #facerape #SuckOnYourOwnSlimySevenIncher"
I like that last hashtag.
Here's the video:
UPDATE: YouTube removed the video, probably coerced by Burger King.
UPDATE #2: And, it's back up.

Note: It was probably BK's ad agency (Singapore's Religion, since closed) that found Doe's image, but of course Burger King is responsible for its usage and ultimately the ad.

UPDATE:  Tim Nudd, editor of Adfreak, got a statement from Burger King on the ad:
"Our investigation shows that the rights to use the image were purchased from the legal owner of those rights. We were not made aware until recently that the model claims not to have known about this use. We have since spoken with the model’s family and assured them that we have no intent to use this image again."