Monday, February 28, 2011

Podcast Episode 6

This week on the podcast we focus on making fun of the Academy Awards. But we also discuss our usual assortment of comics and geeky movies and TV. Including James Bond, Doctor Who, and Tron. We had to take a break in the middle of the podcast due to some tech problems, which I (Thor) solved by drinking vodka out of the wooden flagon you see pictured above, so the last 30 minutes of the podcast involve me sounding sloshed. If you are listening at home play a drinking game and drink along with me. If you are listening to this in your car please refrain from doing so. CBS cares.

Want to send us questions, comments, or angry photos of yourself flicking off your computer while listening to our podcast? send it all to our hourofthunder email address. I'm not listing it out here for fear of spam software, but its hourofthunder and it is through gmail. Just throw in at at symbol and you've got your self an email address. If you do email us a question feel free to include a request for which United Kingdom based philosopher you would like shaun/Baldr to read your email out in the style of. The guy does some pretty bitchin' impressions of philsophers.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I want to have sex with this poster.

The Adjustment Bureau poster featuring Emily Blunt which was the first ad after the turnstiles on the subway platform i wait at to get home from work got plastered over with a new ad today.

There is a very short list of things I would rather look at than Ms. Blunt while waiting for the train. Fortunately the MTA poster ad gods smiled on me and gave me a poster for the 2011 film release with the best trailer. This move has everything: robots, dinosaurs, Nazis, and hot chicks. And as much as I like looking at robots fighting dinosaurs, I'm glad the poster designers went with hot chicks in ridiculous outfits as the central focus.

Below is another poster from the film that I'm going to go ahead and award best piece of movie related advertising of 2011.

Here is the trailer of this freight train full of awesome:

I'd like to get into some sort of meaningful analysis of why these are good promotional matterials from a commercial and esthetic standpoint, but I am failing to get my brain to analyze it on a level deeper than just repeating: "Holy shit this kicks so much fucking ass" to myself over and over again. I  can't help but hyping this up way too much for myself.

I need to end this post now before it just degenerating into me drooling of this steam punk universe occupied entirely by awesome monsters and gorgeous women. 

In conclusion: god bless america, or at least bless the parts of America that are comprised of the hot chicks, robots and dinosaurs.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Podcast Episode 5

Hey to all you cats and Kitten's out in radioland, Shaun and I have an other episode of the Hour of Thunder Podcast for your listening pleasure. This episode includes discussion of why the Future Foundation in the new Fantastic Four comics is stupid. Along with talking about: Macgyver, Why Jack Black's Gulliver's Travels was terrible, Why Billy Connelly is awesome. Flight of the Concords, Peter Jackson, Russel Crowe. Our favorite U.S presidents in honor of President's day, and why Grover Cleveland was the best and also drunkest president.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Zombie Dilemma

Someone graffitti'ed this poster for the awful/shitty looking vince vaughn excuse for a movie that came out this month.
I like the art here, and it reminds me that "Shaun of the Dead" was billed as the first ever "rom zom com" and was awesome. So clearly we need more of those, and less pieces of total shit like the film "The Dilemma."
(sent via cell phone)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Podcast: Valentine's Day Special (Episode 4)

In what I think is our strongest episode yet, in honor of Valentine's Day we talk about relationships in movies and comic books.

Podcast Episode 3

Listen to me and shaun talk about movies, comic books, and other things that are geeky, awesome, and sexy.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Retro Cool.

My brother sent me this magazine ad for Pert Plus that he stumbled upon. 

Pert Plus was the shampoo we grew up on. It was way cheaper than buying a full bottle of both shampoo and conditioner, and eliminating the extra step in the shower meant a 2 minute shorter shower which meant we could sleep in later and still get to  school on time. 

It was weird enough to have him tell me this very utilitarian brand had sprung for a full page at in Popular Science, but this was made exponentially weirder by the content of this ad. 

My exhaustive research of glancing at Pert Plus' wiki page tells me that Pert Plus was the first ever 2 in 1 shampoo plus conditioner and was created in 1987 by Proctor and Gamble. Who you may know from their producing every single product underneath your kitchen and bathroom sinks.    

Pert apparently hummed along barely noticed by Proctor and Gamble, with Pert keeping a low profile working in a basement office, biding its time while it corrects evidence to prove the government's involvement in the alien abduction of Pert's sister.

Before I address how ridiculous this ad is, I want to give a little more background to explain why Pert Plus decided to break its media silence after 20 years of not giving a shit. Apparently Pert Plus was the "best selling 2 in 1 hair product in 1992" but has been on a steep decline since then, and was sold by Proctor and Gamble in 2006, by which point the product's market share had shrunk to 10 percent of the 2 and 1 product market. I'm not sure how big a market that specific could possibly be, but 10 percent of that market sounds like it was probably not many more people than my immediate family, so I will credit us with keeping Pert out of the Hair-care-product Welfare line. 

This sale presumedly is why Pert is actually advertising. Innovative Brands were the proud papas of Pert Plus from 2006 till 2010 and since i saw exactly zero ads for the product during that period, I assume they spent their entire budget on this July 9th, 2009 publicity stunt in which they obtained the Guinness World Records for both "World's Largest Shower" and the "Most People Showering Simultaneously at a Single Venue" it was apparently held at a Six Flags outside of Chicago, which I think means you had to pay the park the 40 dollar park admission to go take a shower wearing a bathing suit. (The official Six Flags press release says  you also had to get into a line by 8a.m. to be eligible to take a shower. I don't think I want to hang out with anyone whose idea of fun is getting up at dawn to drive to a run down amusement park in the middle of nowhere to take a public shower.)

Pert released this promotional video of the event, and based on the footage and the narrator's delivery, Pert's marketing team is apparently comprised the same team behind every low budget 80's Public Service Announcement.

Seriously, I think the woman delivering the narration on this video took voice acting lessons from the  computer generated voices in Gieco "Made in 15 minutes commercials":

I feel bad telling you this, because I know the kind of mental image it will create, but apparently the previous record holder for "World's Largest Shower" was drunken and smelly, parttime Motley Crue drummer and full time dickchicken Tommy Lee. Yes really. He apparently did some kind of reality show with Chris Ludacris Bridges where they officially broke this Guinness World Record in 2008

Despite being sold in 2010 by Innovative Brands (which sounds like a generic fake business name for a mafia money laundering front) to the even more fake sounding company Helen of Troy Limited,  Helen of Troy apparently decided to continue Pert's new trope of advertising exclusively using cliches from the 1980's. That man and his son in the main photo of the ad at the top of the entry would have been thrown out of 1977 Sears catalogue shoot for being to dorky and having outdated fashions on. 

As I have said before on this blog, if you are making an ad, and you are not Don Drapier, you should not be able to sing the ad slogan you wrote in a Brill Creme style jiggle. If you can, your ad probably sucks.  Pert's slogan on this ad, "Get hair that's all PLUS and no fuss with Pert Plus," can only be spoken aloud in a doo-wop style ditty. Seriously try reading that aloud right now. the Ronettes will instantly appear beside you to sing backup vocals.

Actually, Ronnie Spector makes for an excellent transition back to the visuals of this ad. Just as Ronnie sang a reworked version of her 60's hit "Be My Baby" as the hook in the awesome Eddie Money song, "Take Me Home Tonight." This ad took ad copy that would have been sqauresville in the 1960's and matched it up with photos that would have been rejected as too unhip looking to be the stock photo that came inside of picture frames at K-mart in the 1980's.

This ad wouldn't have been any more outdated looking if they had simply rented the costumes from the fun looking upcoming 1980's set comedy Take Me Home Tonight. (See how I tied that all together?)

In a related story. I really like this poster. I have always loved Topher Grace and thought he was hilarious, he proved he has range in the film  In Good Company. Also movie is from the director of the awesome and underrated film "AdventureLand." 

So maybe this movie will end up being terrible, but I'm excited for it based on the slick poster and the idea of more from the man behind AdventureLand and the man in front of "That 70's Show." When it comes out, before I go see it, I will totally get all gussied up with Pert Plus in my hair and a liesure suit on my body. 

Oh, and fun fact, the 2nd result if you type "Liesure Suit" into google images is a photo from the Henry Ford Museum. Their site points out that though the outfit is "much-maligned" today, "In its heyday during the mid-1970s, the leisure suit was truly a groovy kinda thing."

Now that I am pretty sure I fit references into this article from pop culture from every decade from the 50's to the present, there is only one thing left to say. And that is: Eddie Money, take it away with a unnecessary 80's saxophone solo! 

Like animals? I mean like them a little to much? I mean "like" them Catherine the Great style? The you will love Bud Light!

A friend of mine (actually Ken again, it has been a banner week for him here at Strictly Commercials) had an awesome Spuds McKenzie bar sign in his college apartment which inspired me to put that Hawaiian shirt wearing bull terrier on the logo for my site. But I must confess I didn't know anything about his ads other then a few print ads of Spuds looking cool hanging out at the beach.

So I wasn't prepared for this commercial:

It starts out like every other beer ad ever, but with the party for some reason being thrown by a disinterested dog. But then near the end things start to get sexy. Spud grabs a girl's ass during a conga line and she exclaims, "Spuds gives the motion to the ocean!" A phrase that has only ever been used to describe intercourse, though normally by 9th grade Sex Ed teachers or people trying to explain away their small penises. Why are double entendre's being directed at a dog? Why is that dog grabbing a girls ass? What sick, sick ad executive had always wanted to go to a tropical orgy with a bull terrier and decided to inflict his fantasy onto a national audience?

I can only assume these ads were solely designed for increasing Bud Light sales in Belgium. Wait just a second here! 1992: The final Spuds McKenzie commercial is shown. 2009: The Belgium company InBev buys Anheuser-Busch, the makers of Spuds' favorite beer. Perhaps these ads about dogs pickuping up chicks were simply part of a long term ad campaign from Anheuser-Busch to make their company desirable to the Belgians.*

*You may think I am being too hard on the Belgians by calling them all pervents. I counter that with the fact that Belgium has spat out at the innocent people of earth over the past several decades both Christopher Lambert AND Jean Claude Van Damme.**
**Though to be fair, Time Cop was awesome. And also gave us the funniest line in this wonderful Article about future predicting sci-fi movies. And that line, about predictions about the future Time Cop made and got very wrong: "At one point, there's a throwaway sequence of a man preparing to masturbate with a VR headset, something we've all dreamed about at one time or another (that is, we've all dreamed of having VR porn. Hopefully your dreams aren't haunted by some guy in a big futuristic helmet masturbating)."

Friday, February 11, 2011

Dr. Quinn: sex lawyer

Both the USA and Showtime networks seem to have hired the same minimalist advertising agency, with Showtime's Dexter slogans over the years being: "Takes life. Seriously." And, "Killer. Dad." Along with the Californication ads this year which read: "Sex. Appeal."

Whatever agency this is that only makes ads using slogans under 5 words long and baed on punctuation based puns, has assumedly also been behind such USA show slogans as, "Partners in Crime. (Solving)" which is something of a game changer for these punctuation pun ads since it uses the new element of parentheses.

But I think the pun that takes the cake this years is the ad to the left for fairly legal,  which carries the slogan: "Less Lawyer. More Actress Whom You Want to Ogle."

The main reason I choose to present you with this ad out of the variety of similar punctuation driven ads, is that I wanted to note that I would bet money that USA wanted to call this show Barely Legal before discovering that Larry Flynt wanted too much money to license out that name.

GroupOn update: GroupOn cancels entire ad campaign

According to all these sites. The entire GroupOn ad campaign  I discussed earlier in this week has been canceled and all ads pulled from the air.

This seems like major overkill, especially considering that announced the ads would end with a title screen that included the web address of their charity arm.

As I said before, they are well produced ads in that I genuinely thought the first one was for a charity at first, but were absolutely terribly written ads. In that they didn't get across message that groupon says they were going for, and instead came off as cynical and mean spirited. I am surprised they are cancel it instead of just changing the ads to focus in a more genuine mannor on the charities  groupon is involved with. I guess they are worried the campaign is already too tainted from the initial ad being seen by over 100 million people.

Chicago Business news, says that they think groupon still benifeted from the surrounding controversy in a well written article.

Besides what I addressed in my previous post about the ads just not making people want to use the website at all. Even if those ads had gotten the duel points across that groupon states they were ineptly trying to express (those of using groupon and also donating to their charities they support), I still don't think this format they were using would have work for a whole ad campaign. The whole joke is that they are able to make you think it is a real celebrity driven charity ad, and this gag only works once, especially with the other ads GroupOn made being so close to the format of the Tim Hutton ad.

When the Elizabeth Hurely ad from groupon with the exact same twist came on later that night, as soon as they started showing footage of the rain forest, I'm sure most people guessed it was going to be another groupon ad. I can imagine those ads would have worn out their welcome pretty quickly once you saw what was coming.

So they diffenately were not badly intentioned, they were terribly exicuted, and I think they would have fallen flat as a multiweek campaign anyway.

At least Elizabeth Hurley got her most exposure since Austin Power came out 13 years ago. Hopefully the two pronged positive results of all this will be:
1. People donating more to help the things groupon made fun of in their ads
2. Elizbeth Hurley being in movies again.

I mean, not that Hurley is a great cinamatic talent, but I as a rule root for the success for Mike Myer's love interests in his few really good films. I'm still hoping Hurley and Wayne's World star Tia Carrere will someday be allowed to be another decent movie. At least Carrere got to play an awesome role in True Lies, Hurley's memorable career moments consist of being really funny in Austin Powers and being the girl whom Hugh Grant cheated on with a prostitute.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Adjustment Bureau

I first saw these new ads for the Emily Blunt Matt Damon film Adjustment Bureu on a subway entrance at night. I thought the colors and font were too dark at not contrasting enough to draw attention. But seeing them lit properly on a below ground subway platfrom now, I a pretty keen on them.

The silver color didn't translate that well in my photograph, but it is really gorgeous looking in real life and draws the eye because it is a color so rarely used as the dominate color in billboard advertising. The movie is based on a Phillip K Dick sci fi novel which takes place in the present day, and the tone of the poster seems to convey the idea of a present day where things are not quite right.

And besides, it has a photo of smoking hot Emily Blunt on it. I think all movie posters would be drastically improved by her presence on the poster.

You may think this would be missleading given that she would not be in the majority if the films she was on the poster for if she was on all movie posters, but I think that the solution to that problem is that every movie should have in it either Emily Blunt or Amy Adams in it.

So in conclusion I would highly reccomend the film Sunshine Cleaning. It is the only film I know of to star both Emily blunt and amy adams.

I don't think that was the direction I intended this post to go when I started typing it. But it is a valid point, though a movie reccomendation isn't really part of the scope of this blog and I can't even try and relate it by talking about the sunshine cleaning poster since it has an achingly mediorce poster, especially when you consider the cast.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

GroupOn Super Bowl Ad

I want to put up a post about my opinion the GroupOn Tibet ad and the ensuing controversy,  especially after my friend and loyal reader Ken emailed me about it, but I know i will not have time this week to detail my opinion in writing. So instead I recorded my opinion in one take (and apparently too close to the computer's built in microphone judging by the distortion, sorry about that.)

You can listen to it below:
(upated in April 2014 since I made this post blogspot has stopped playing nice with embedded media, If the embedded audio play is not working, you can listen to my discussion of the ad by clicking here)

Here are the relavent links to what I talk about:

The New York Times article

The super snarky Onion A.V. Club Article

An older Onion A.V. Club article on the same topic (the one that I pointed out the second Onion article takes a contrary view to. (I realize I am complaining about the journalistic integrity of bloggers who write for the Onion, but what is the internet for if not nerds calling each other out.))

The GroupOn ad in question:

Monday, February 7, 2011

Podcast Episode 2

In this episode Shaun and Danny discuss the recent death of the Human Torch, Batman the Animated Series, DC versus Marvel Silver age comics, Clint Eastwood, The two 21st century big screen versions of the Incredible Hulk, Andrew Jackson,the X-files, Mad cow disease, Thomas Jefferson, and much more. Listen below.

If the player gives you any trouble listen to it here or subscribe to in in iTunes by clicking here. (Which will open up your itunes and take you to the Hour of Thunder page on iTunes, where you will have to click "Subscribe" to complete the process. You probably knew that but I thought I would pass it along just in case.)

Copyright 2011 to Shaun and Danny Copyright information here

Sunday, February 6, 2011

A Brief History of the Bud Bowls

Update: I did a brief update of this and corrected some of the errant grammar to re-post during the 2012 Super Bowl. Read that article here.

I miss the days of Budweiser daring to make one long multipart ad with a story arc that ran through all four quarters of the game. Gone are the days of Louie the Lizard trying to assassinate the Budweiser frogs to take their place as the official Bud spokes-creature.

As near as I can tell by doing as little research as possible, the first ad series of this type for Budweiser was the Bud Bowl in 1989. This ran during Super Bowl XXIII, and proved to be such a huge hit that Bud made a new series of Bud Bowl ads for every Superbowl until 1996. (On a random note, the 1996 Super Bowl was actually the last Super Bowl won by my Green Bay Packers. UPDATE: until tonight. Yippie Kay Yay!)

I now present for your Super Bowl Sunday viewing pleasure, the full set of ads for Bud Bowls I through VII.

Bud Bowl I

Here is the full Bud Bowl I, the ad series that started it all.

According to the website Dead Spin, the ad agency that wrote the script for the Bud Bowl toyed with the idea of having the final seconds of the Bud Bowl be cut off by a clip of the TV movie Heidi, which would have apparently been a reference to a November 17, 1968 AFL game between the Jets and the Oakland Raiders. The game was running a few minutes long and the Jets were winning with a 32-29 score and 65 seconds left in the game. NBC, proving that they were run by morons long before they fired Conan, decided to end their coverage of the game and go on with the regularly scheduled program that was supposed to follow the game, a new made for TV movie about the children's story Heidi. While all NBC East Coast viewers saw the first minute of Heidi bounding through the fields, the Raiders scored 14 points and won the game 43 to 32. This game went on to be called the Heidi game or Heidi Bowl.

In terms of what was actually seen during the ad, as you saw, Budweiser beat Bud Light 27 to 24. Would Bud Light be able to beat their rival and win Bud Bowl II?

Bud Bowl II

So, nope, Bud Light didn't win. Bud Light: Great taste, less filling,* but apparently shitty at football.

Bud Bowl III

Here's how it went down in Bud Bowl III:

Holy crap! Bud Light won! This one is significant for being the last Bud Bowl to feature the awesome looking stop motion beer bottles playing football. And also for having appearances by Bud Ice and Bud Dry, two beverages that by all accounts tasted terrible. Bud Ice was significant though for their "Beware of the Penguins" ad campaign, which I loved as a kid.

Bud Bowl IV: 
The Phantom Menace 

Perhaps getting sick of how expensive and time consuming it was to do the intricate (but super awesome) stop motion sequences for the on field action, Bud Bowl IV featured almost no on field action of the beers playing football. And the few clips they use look like they might be recycled clips from previous years.

Instead it was promoting a prize give away contest Budweiser was having that you could win by buying their beer. As you can see below, (but, really, don't bother watching it), the ad shows some dip-shit trying to retrieve his winning ticket from a pigeon who stole it. This is somehow even stupider than it sounds. You could watch the compilation of the two minutes worth of ads about this that Bud subjected to the Super Bowl viewing public below, but I'm not sure why you would want to.

Screw this guy and his pigeon and his haircut.

Bud Bowl V

Bud Bowl V fortunately brought back the format of two groups of beer bottles wearing helmets playing football. The company decided to go with computer graphics to make the beer bottles move instead of stop motion.

I think the computer models they used lacked the charm and cuteness of the stop motion sequences from years past. However, they used the new technology for some very clever gags. Also, it is cool to see humans interacting with the bottle players. Despite my nostalgia for the stop motion, I'm actually in favor of the new graphics for the bottles. They did a lot of interesting things with them and they look way better than you would think CGI from 1992 would, (the commercial aired in Jan 1993 so it was made using 1992 technology).

Also cool about this commercial is the fact that the two Bud teams are coached by football great Joe Namath and star of the film Major League Corbin Bernsen.

Bud Bowl VI

In Bud Bowl VI, Mike Ditka is one of the coaches, and anything with Ditka in it is cooler than the same thing without him in it. The gag of Ditka listening to music on his headphones instead of talking to the assistant coaches is pretty great.

 This game was significant for being the last multipart Bud Bowl and the first time a can of beer had been a player in the game. And also for having a guy about a minute into the above video yell with way too much enthusiasm, "Hey! Turn it up! It's the BUD BOWL!!!!" I hope the actor who said that line so excitedly is related to the actor in Back to the Future II who says, "I think he took his wallet" way more times than necessary and with such gusto.

Bud Bowl VII: 
The advertising equivalent of Budweiser sending all of America a text containing Brett Favre's penis.

Bud Bowl VII sounds idiotic, and I can't find a video of it anywhere. Here is a description from the great website Mental_Floss:

"Anheuser-Busch probably should’ve sent its bottles to the recycling plant after Bud Bowl VI. Instead, they gave us 60 seconds of Iggy, Biff, and Frank, castaways who watched Bud Bowl VII unfold from a desert island. With Bud trailing late in the game, Iggy was transported off the island and into the game, where he caught a pass and began rumbling toward the end zone. Eighty yards later, following a dream-like montage of press clippings and cereal boxes commemorating his newfound celebrity, Iggy gave Bud its fifth Bud Bowl win."

Mental_Floss also has a rundown of all the previous Bud Bowls Here.

Bud Bowl VIII: 
The Bud Bowl is Dead, Long Live the Bud Bowl

There was no Bud Bowl in 1996, as I previously mentioned, but they brought it back for a one off spot in 1997 that I again can't find online but which again sounds stupid based on the Mental Floss description:

'After a one-year hiatus, Bud Bowl VIII returned with another single, forgettable spot. Howie Long and Ronnie Lott provided coverage, holding Fox Sports microphones no less, from a bar in the Louisana bayou. After a fan stole his microphone and opened a fridge to reveal the Bud Bowl in action, Lott threw him out of a bar window and into a swamp. Lott proceeded to reveal the final score before the spot ended with a familiar refrain from the fan, who was sharing space in the swamp with an alligator: “I love you, man.”'

So after its awesome beginnings, the final two Bud Bowls ended the series not with a bang but a whimper. Kind of like how Budweiser has slowly been made with cheaper and cheaper ingredients over the years, until today, where the second most prevalent ingredient in Budweiser is rice, really. (Rice is much cheaper than wheat which is why it is used. Bud has lately been doing ads promoting the fact that its beer is made of rice and claiming that the rice makes it taste awesome, which is pretty ridiculous, and akin to if Kraft's Velveeta cheese ads said that milk protein concentrate makes their "Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product" taste way better than actual cheese made from actual milk.)

*That may have been Miller Lite's 90's motto, not Bud Light's, now that I think about it. Either way both those light beers taste like rain water filtered through a jock strap.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Drop Everything and sit by your TV till 11pm tonight.

Former republican chairman Michael Steel is appearing on the Daily Show tonight. I normally fast forward through the guests, but the guests normally do not have their own felt puppet that has appeared on the Daily Show.

If you haven't seen the episodes with this puppet on it, the awesome joke is that Steele looks a lot the Sesame Street Muppet who interacts with Grover when he is a waiter.  Once Steele lost his re-election bid as the RNC chairman, the Daily Show officially retired the puppet, but if they don't bring that awesome puppet back for the Steele interview I will be one sad panda.* Here is on of the longer segments they did with the puppet. The whole thing is about Steele, but the puppet shows up at 2:40.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Steele Crazy After All These Years
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire Blog</a>The Daily Show on Facebook

Michael Steele puppet, I miss you so much already! Anyway, this isn't advertising related but I would be remiss in my obligations as a citizen of spaceship earth* if I didn't inform you all of Steele being on the show in the flesh instead of the felt. (

*A reference to the animated panda in anchorman, sort of. At least in my mind. Do you really need a justification for this? It gives you an excuse to picture this blog being typed by an unhappy panda bear. How will its giant paws fit onto the QWERTY keyboard? Hi jinks are sure to ensue!
**A term coined by scientist and inventor R. Buckminster Fuller. Read more about it here. Fuller is awesome.

via TPM

My seasonal door decor

With Christmas behind us, I decided to spend some time redecorating my apt. door this morning. With the mad skills demonstrated here, I really am not sure how Martha Stewart hasn't brought me on as a style consultant yet.