Saturday, May 29, 2010

Jesus crucifies the batter with his knuckleball

Here is a billboard from about six months ago that was put up by the Joliet Jackhammers, a minor league baseball team that plays in a town outside of Chicago, most famous, at least in my mind, for being the town containing the prison the John Belushi is let out of at the beginning of The Blues Brothers. Though now it is equally famous in my mind for having the baseball team with the funniest marketing ever.

Apparently this was related to a limited time promotion in which a portion of the ticket sales went to the Church or charity of your choice. But I think the ad works best completely out of context. Which I assume is how most people would have run across it anyway, while driving down the highway. Hopefully, this being Joliet, the people passing it would be driving in a used police cruiser while on a mission from God.

Realizing this ad was awesome the folks at the Jackhammer's front office apparently later bought a nearby billboard as well and inscribed it with the message,"'Don't buy Jackhammers tickets' -The Devil."

If they Jackhammers had only taken this idea to its logical conclusion and changed their logo to be of Jesus and the Devil fighting each other using Sock'em Boppers they would be my new favorite baseball team.

I know the 1990's Sock'em Boppers ad is only peripherally related to the topic at hand but its snazzy theme song should be used as often as possible regardless of the context. Also things being unrelated to the topic I am supposedly on is more of a reoccurring theme in this blog than the actual stated theme.

(The source I found out about the existence of that Jackhammer's billboard through was the hilarious minor league sports team logo review website Bush League Factor, who uses this ad as a jumping off point to go on a great rant which somehow ends up with the conclusion that god is a compulsive gambler, before eventually reviewing the team's logo. Most of his reviews are like this. You can see why I like his site.)

(pictured above, the 2010 Joliet Jackhammers pitching staff and the team's bus.)

Friday, May 28, 2010

Yo Ho Ho and a bottle of Rum

I saw this Appeton Rum ad on Lafayette and East 4th street in Manhattan, and I enjoyed its dig at Captain Morgan's rum quite a bit.

I like this ad a lot, but I do not think it is an effective ad. It is definitively a funny and clever ad. But I couldn't remember which rum it was trying to convince me to buy a mere 14 hours later, and had to spend 20 minutes of fruitless google searching-apparently typing in "captain" and "Rum" will not help you find this obscure ad making fun of Captain Morgan-before I remembered the brand had the word "apple" in their title.

So in terms of an ad that causes me to remember the brand it fails miserably. But its funny and generates interest and should at least drive up the sales of Appleton rum in the large liquor store a half a block up from where the ad is on Lafayette, since there folks will only have to remember the word Appleton for 90 seconds instead of 14 hours.

Appleton trying to knock down the mighty Morgan brand a peg(leg) or two reminds me of a quote from my friend Ken, whose interest in billboards was one of the inspirations for this blog. Ken was explaining to me why he only drinks Sailor Jerry Rum, and stated, "Sailor Jerry kicks Captain Morgan's ass. Who would you rather buy your rum from, an actual historical bad-ass sailor and tattoo artist, or some damn cartoon pirate?"

Truer words were never spoken.

Though I think Gosling's Black Seal Rum from Bermuda might have all of the aforementioned rums beaten in the "bad-ass endorsement" category. Gosling's is the drink of choice of Robert Shaw's character in the 1977 movie The Deep. Shaw in this film, like in most of his roles, spends 90 percent of the movie smoking and drinking and punching people all while talking in an accent that is 1 part British, 1 part Irish and 50 parts pirate.

I just looked it up and he apparently plays a character called Romer Treece, but really he is just playing a slightly less insane and more handsome version of Shaw's portrayal of Quint in Jaws. At no point in The Deep are food or water seen touching Romer Treece's lips. The man lives entirely on sea air, cigarettes, and first and foremost Gosling's Black Seal.

How hardcore was Robert Shaw? Well he was recently voted "The Coolest British Guy to Walk the Earth" by Jason Statham's Fists Quarterly.

Since words cannot adequately express how awesome Robert Shaw is, and therefore how awesome he makes Gosling's Black Seal just by drinking it, I have provided you with the following handy photographic evidence of the fact that Robert Shaw is the man.

Here is a picture of Mr. Robert Shaw.

And now here is Mr. Robert Shaw on the same day one hour later when he discovered the director wanted him to have facial hair for her role:

(Robert Shaw photos lovingly stolen from the fantastic site Robert Shaw for All Seasons. Where you can go if you want to learn actual factual information about Mr. Shaw.)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Auto Show Part III: In Search of Spock

I was really curious about what Toyota's pitch to the auto show attendees would be, In April around the time of the show they had just been given the largest fine ever given to an automaker by the U.S. Government. Toyota at the show went with the approach employed by the Pirate Captain in The Pirates! In an Adventure with Communists and just ignored the problem and carried on as if they were still every person over 40's vehicle of choice (This is not a stereotype, Toyota's average owner's age as of a few years ago was 43).

Their section consisted of the usual auto show assortment of rotating displays, and bad actresses in business suits over enthusiastically telling you how purchasing the car behind them will solve all of your life's problems. There was one thing they did differently though. Near the end of one of the be-suited failed actresses speeches, she pitched people on going over to the Toyota Avalon display to watch the next person stand in front of a car and talk about it. But, apparently the next Avalon display was a little different. The Avalon display was not a display at all, as the women informed anyone in earshot, it was a lounge.

How was this circular area with a rotating car in it a lounge you may ask? Well apparently it had some black pleather seats in it that looked like the kind of furniture that a propaganda video made in the mid-1970's by the U.S.S.R. might have used to represent bourgeoisie Americans in a Jazz club decadently listening to "hip" American music. But fear not, Toyota decided to show that were not out of touch by providing a hip band to play background music in their "Avalon Lounge."

And while live music was a nice touch and definitely caused them to stand out from the other displays, Toyota choice a really stuffy string quartet whose last gig was probably the New Years party held by Christopher Walken in the movie Batman Returns, which you could tell was hip, because Walken was dressed like this:(Walken was technically playing a character named Max Shreck, but was really playing Christopher Walken. Actually specifically he was playing the same version of Christopher Walken he played in A View to a Kill, where his name was Max Zoran, which i think we can all agree is a much better name than Shreck. And not just because Shreck is only one letter away from Shrek. Though I'm sure thats a part of it. Those last four sentences were apparently written by Andy Rooney. Cracked has a whole article about Walken ripping himself off.)

So yeah, Toyota isn't exactly trying trying change their image as the official car of middle aged accountants. And maybe with the current turmoil they face over transparency and reliability, that is a good thing.

(Before we move on This might be a good time to explain that I don't have any pictures of the Avalon Lounge because I kept falling asleep trying to take them. (you see because the display was boring. Rim Shot.)

But Scion, the brand they created specifically to appeal to young people must have had an uber-hip display right? Actually it came across much more like the pensioner who designed the Avalon Lounge was asked about what the young people were into. And he had once watched the ads during an episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with his grandson during the late 1980's. The designer/Ginkgo biloba enthusiast had seen an ad for mircomachines and decided that they were what all the cool kids were into. So he had them build a micromachines playset to store Scions in. Except because Toyota's display designers were involved, they decided to take this idea and make it more boring then you ever thought imaginable. Which is how, one assumes, they created this display:

Cars! Stacked up vertically, a little bit! with some projection screens! This is what the kids want! Those kids with their skate boarding and their hip-ity hop, and their wireless telegraphs!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Breaking News: the long promised auto show follow up

Yes only a month after it occurred I'm finally posting some more about the advertising awesomeness and foolishness at the 2010 New York Auto Show. This blog is nothing if not punctual.

Part of the display for Mini consisted of two Minis being restrained, one with a leather dog leash and the other with a thick rope.
When I first say these the only thing I could think of for the Mini in the leather collar was the Mini was trying to appeal to bondage enthusists.

The one with the rope around it, especially with the leather collared Mini already establishing that that part of the Mini was supposed to be the neck, made me think Mini was showing one of their criminal cars being hung at the gallows.

Obviously neither of these impressions are what Mini was going for. In terms of the "gimp Mini" I'm sure that's just me being dirty, but I think the mini with the noose might actually give that impression to people besides me.

Mini cleared things up with slogans explaining each design on the ground on the side of each display, which you can see partially in the above photos. The Mini with the studded dog collar said, "Please Do Not Feed" and one with the rope said "172 Horses Packed into a Pint Sized Corral." The Horses slogan is particularly clever with its horse power pun. Reading the slogans the viewer garners that since mini put a dog collar and leash on the mini that was supposed to be a dog, they wanted to put something horse related on the mini with the horse slogan. I guess putting a really big saddle on the mini would have not shown off the car's looks as well, but i have been thinking about the display for a while know and it just dawned on me that the rope is supposed to be a lasso. Maybe I'm just exceptionally think, but I think even with the horse analogy the rope still doesn't scream "lasso." And I think a rope with a slip knot in that is mounted vertically high above the object it is around is much more associated with a hanging than it is with horses. Maybe they were originally gonna go with a slogan like, "Judge Roy Bean ordered this outlaw car be hung by the neck until its fight stop a-kickin" but then realized that was a bad idea and back tracked with the rope being a lasso.

So creative ads, but not in the ballpark of the clever magazine ads mini has had since their debut, such as fake parking tickets to give people's cars which compliment their car on being cool, and their ad with suggestions about what to paint on the white top of your Mini.

I couldn't find either of those ads I just mentioned by google searching, but I did find this ad, which isn't quite as clever but gives you an idea of Mini's print ad design scheme.

Mini ads with their black backgrounds and minimalist approach make Mini one of only two car companies I can think of that has had a recognizable template for their ads for as long as I can remember. Indeed the only other company I can of that has ads as recognizable for their layout is Porche.

I may have to stop using the stopway stop near my house just to avoid the dread face of Katherine Heigl

Katherine Heigl and Ashton Kutcher, besides being two people whose names I have no idea how to spell, are starring in some movie with the most annoying publicity I have ever seen.

Its called the Killers, and I was forced to endure a five minute "making of" and a two minute trailer while I was innocently trying to watch Iron Man 2 on Friday. It combines an actress I can't stand (she was even terrible in Knocked-Up, that movie was great but it would have been so much better if Anne Hathaway hadn't left the project) with an actor who I actually found funny on That 70's Show and has been doing everything in his power to become the personification of smugness since then.

As if seven minutes of the Heigl-monster weren't bad enough, this film now has a poster at the entrance I use for my subway stop. I'm not going to actually display the poster here, since I like being able to go to my own blog without screaming in pain.

This poster features both actors (not the right term for them but I can't use the proper term to describe these two and keep this blog PG-13) standing holding guns. Kutcher actually surprisingly not that obnoxious on the poster, the way he poses doesn't give me any desire to see the movie, but it doesn't make me want to go back in time to stop him from being born like Heigl does.

Heigl seems to be using all of her very limited acting ability to create the most annoying tableau every created. From her annoying shit eating grin, which is a new criterion in shit eating grins, to the way she is holding the gun likes its a used condom she just found. I'm not sure course enough sounding words exist outside of Welsh spoken by an East German to describe how much I disdain everything about Heigl's expression and pose in this poster.

Here is a link to the poster. View it only if you have some desire to be less happy than you currently are.

I'm going to quickly write another poster about the ads at the autoshow to get Heigl's demon face out of my head.

PS because I am immature I added the following sentence to the wikipedia article on this movie:
When this movie was shown to lab rats it caused them all to commit suicide. [2]

(I put that link to an article about lab rat deaths in hopes it would keep the edit up for longer, since I cited my sources, but it didn't work it was gone within two days. Apparently someone is intently monitoring the wiki page about this movie, probably Heigl's mom, the Grendel.)