Monday, June 14, 2010

How to Waste Money on a Celebrity Pitchman. UPDATED!

I've decided I'm not going to do an analytical entry about the Michael Jordon's new series of Hanes underwear ads in which he sits on a plane and is pestered by the guy in the seat next to him.

The reason people are talking about these ads is because Jordon is sporting a Hitler mustache in the ad. I wholeheartedly agree that Charlie Chaplin style mustache was ruined by Hitler and still has terrible connotations 70 years after Hitler's death.

However, Jordon's extremely ill advised facial hair doesn't really fit into my normal scope of cracking jokes about how inept the marketing is. The commercial that surrounds Jordon's Hilter 'stache is a terrible commercial, but I find it's awfulness annoying not amusing. Since actual script and production of the commercial exists in this Katherine Heigl-esque state of annoying in a way that causes me to want to punch things instead of crack jokes, I'm gonna skip it.

I don't always agree with the writer of the sports blog "With Leather", but his take on Jordon's upper lip is pretty funny.

"With Leather" also brought to my attention Charles Barkley's reaction to Jordon's facial hair. Which was: "That is one of the stupidest things that I have seen in a long time. First of all, I can’t believe that they let that commercial get on the air like that... When I am shooting the Taco Bell commercial[s] they have got this little woman making sure that every cinnamon twist and every piece of cheese is in order."

Which is all the excuse I need to talk about Charles Barkley's foray into rap music in the Taco Bell superbowl ad. I say rap but as others have pointed out, it was not so much him trying to rap as him succeeding at being Dr. Suess.

Before I get into this ad's obviously suck-itude, I wanted to point out that it ends with a shot of the moon. And the Dunk on the Moon commercial I wrote about a little bit ago with NBA player Lamar Odom features the moon even more prominently. Is the NBA doing some kind of cross promotion with the moon? Maybe the NBA has decided to do an NHL "Winter Classic" style outdoor match but have it be played on the moon, and all these shots of the moon are promoting it.

I think Charles Barkely can be pretty funny and a decent public speaker from the bits of seen of Charles Barkley on TNT's NBA halftime report and from him talking on about how he is going to run of Governor of Alabama on every talk show he appears on despite not actually being a resident of Alabama.

So if you pay to have a 6 foot 6 inch 250 pound Basketball legend as your spokenman, can't you think of something more interesting for him to do than walk across the street holding a box full of food and reciting a terrible poem.

Anyone could have walked around carrying food and said that little nursery rhyme. If you are going to shell out for a celebrity do something with them.

Swiftcover Auto Insurance has some ads starring Iggy Pop and a creepy puppy version of Iggy Pop that just as terrible as the Barkley Superbowl ad. These apparently only air in England but I had to watch about 80 of them when I was looking at clips of the automotive show Top Gear on their website, since they have a commercial play everytime you put on a video, even if it is just a 90 second clip.

I understand the BBC gots to pay the piper, but while I was on the site every single ad was the same ad for Swiftcover with iggy and this puppet yelling the name of the company at eachother for 15 seconds. I tried to find this particular swift cover ad to include below but I can only the several 30 second tv spots Iggy did for Swiftcover. Here is one with the same obnoxious puppet yelling at Iggy while he drives his car.

This is pretty much the same scenario of not taking advantage of the celebrity you paid for. He never touches a guitar, they didn't bother to license one of his songs for the background music, and he is interrupted and upstaged by the worst puppet version of a rock star since this one of Sting: (warning the Sting puppet in this childern's puppet film about the story of Peter and the Wolf in unintentionally the scariest thing ever. It lives at the deepest part of the uncanny valley where it eats characters from recent Robert Zemeckis movies.)

Not only does that ad not use any of the things that make Iggy cool-he even has a shirt on for god sakes-both that ad and this one, mention Iggy playing golf. the second ad even shows Iggy hitting some golf balls. Were these ads originally written to star Tiger Woods and an annoying tiger woods puppet, and then when Tiger Woods had sex with people who weren't is wife, did Swiftcover just hire Iggy Pop but use the same script?

Actually the second Swiftcover ad was banned by the the United Kingdom's Advertising Standards Authority and can no longer be aired on TV. Apparently Swiftcover refuses to sell auto insurance to anyone in the entertainment industry, and in that second ad Iggy states outright that he has Swiftcover auto insurance. So apparently he wouldn't have been an appropriate spokesman even if the commercials didn't suck.

Though to be fair I can see why Swiftcover will categorically not sell insurance to any people in the British entertainment industry. I mean look the kind of lowlifes who that group comprises: Maggie Smith, currently wanted for being the leader in motor-scooter theft ring; Ian Mckellen, who is notoriously London's largest trafficker of stolen Beta-max players; and Ralph Fiennes who hunts humans for sport.

After commercials that made and NBA great orate like the Cat in the Hat, and had Iggy Pop use a puppet and his golf skills to sell you insurance he is not illegible for, I thought I'd show a celebrity centered ad I really like. Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns is hilarious in this ad:

 don't want my comments to give away anything about this ad cause its cool, and I hate it when I watch a video on a blog and the best jokes from it are re-printed right below the video. So to put some space between the above video and my comment on it, I'm gonna write down another one of my favorite burma shave rhymes.   (As I did when I posted the space chimp ad a few weeks back)

The whale...

Put Jonah...

Down the hatch...

But coughed him up...

Because he scratched...


In Depth Analysis of Steve Nash ad:

You would think a Dos Equus parody would be tough to do since those ads themselves are so funny, but Nash has fantastic comic timing the the scenarios that put him in are great. This is a great example of playing to your pitchman's strengths. Nash has great expressions and this ad plays to that stregth by being extremely visual with all the silly outfits and his reactions to them. It creates an ad that fit's Nash's personality, unlike the Brakely and Iggy ads. Its also able to fit Nash without making this ad too obviously about him (he doesn't play basketball in it, or wear a jersey).

The folks at Vitamin Water create an ad that is awesomely unique and causes you remember the spokesman and the product, and is so funny and cool that it makes you associate the spokesman with it. I don't watch very much basketball because it doesn't have enough hockey fights, so next time I see Nash on TV his very presence will remind me of how cool he was in this ad, and therefore serve as additional advertising for Vitamin Water no matter what Nash is actually up to when I see him on TV next.

I figured I couldn't do an entry about NBA players in ads without something featuring Shaq. I think Shaq is awesome. This has nothing to do with his basketball playing ability. I know nothing about basketball. This is based on his Late Night with Conan O'Brien appearances and from lines people have sent me from his twitter and from the fact that he was in Kazaam in which he sang a wrap song with included the line "We ain't men! We Genies!"

So here's Shaq playing scrabble:

To conclude, I think its only fair since I put up three ads of from NBA players that I should put up an ad involving the NHL in someway, since I'm one of the three people in the United States whose favorite spectator sport is Hockey (my favorite sport to participate in is barroom brawling).

So here is a fake ad i got off of Puck Daddy parodying the 2010 NHL playoff ads. First off its much funnier if you watch one of the real ads to see the format so here is one below, but if you didn't feel like watching the real ad, I'll quickly describe it. All the 2010 playoff ads featured the slogan "History Will Be Made," and featured footage of famous moments played forwards then backwards with inspirational music.

There were a lot of parodies made of this but this was my favorite:

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