Monday, January 31, 2011

Quizzno's Superbowl Ad

I wasn't aware of this at the time but Quizno's apparently did the greatest superbowl ad of all time back in 2004. There ad agency had the animator from rathergood.com make an ad using his weird spongmonkey characters who sing in a harsh voice about things they like. Only since its a Quizno's ad this time they sing about Quizno's subs, instead of the moon or blimps.



I can only imagine all the what the fuck looks people gave eachother in the stunned silence that followed people seeing that at their Super Bowl parties.

Here is an even better ad with the same highly distrubing spokesmen:



The possible coupons the use to illustrate the point make me laugh every time. I really want to find a coupon for pony rides.

Except I would make a copy of it, use one at quizzno's, and then use the other copy to get a discounted pony ride. Except I'm probably too big for a pony ride, I think once you are six feet tall you are not allowed to partisipate in a pony ride unless you are letting a tired pony ride around on your back.

Actually that sounds like fun too, where do I get a coupon for that.


Slate.com has a in depth history and opinion about this ad if you are interested. If not here is a song They Might Be Giants wrote about the 70's movie theater speaker technology Sensurround which originally appeared on the Mighty Morphing Power Rangers: The Movie Sound Track for some reason: (mad props to Strictly Commercials' Official West Coast Correspondent, Ben for making me aware of this song.)



And here is a vhs tape that got is magnetism fucked up of They Might Be Giants singing that song live for the first time. Its really low quality, but I thought I would include a link to it just because I like how they introduce the song: "A song of ours just came out on a movie sound track album last week which you would never ever want to buy."








Requiem for tough guy month.* or: William Shanter is the best actor in every possible language.

I had a couple ideas about how to end tough guy month, but I managed to forget them all.

Fortunately, I was reading about William Shatner today and relearned the following awesome facts I had forgotten about him:

1. Shanter is french canadian and the students of McGill university in Montreal voted to name a building after him but the school wouldn't do it.
2. Shatner's spoken word singing produced the greatest version ever of any elton john song:



3. Shatner also used his same singing style to make the poignant song "What Have You Done?". Once you get over the fact that he is still talking in his StiltedShatnerStyle and realize is a true account of his wife's death, the short song becomes possibly some kind of world record for most tragedy and beauty per second. (Ignore the hokey clip art added to the youtube video.)



(Sorry for the downer of a bullet point there, but Shanter illusrated the important point that tough guys also have a sensitive side.)

4. Shanter did the film "Incubus" a foreign language film which was filmed entirely in the universal language Esperanto. From the clips of him speaking Esperanto in this 1999 daily show clip, Esperanto appears to be a language even more suited for Shatner's style of dialogue delivery than english or French-Canadian, making him the world's most talented actor in both English and Esperanto.  Sorry for the ultralow video resolution of this clip. Comedy Central apparently used to film the Daily Show using a Fisher-Price PixelVision2000 camera.

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Footnote(s):
*Lets say that instead of that title being a reference to "Requiem for A Dream" that it is actually a reference to the film "Requiem for a Heavy Weight", since that film was written by total badass Rod Serling, and "Reqium for a Dream" has Jared Leto in it. Jared Leto isn't allowed anywhere near tough guy month. Anyone who sucker punches Elijah Wood in the face and then runs away** is only allowed on this blog in the virus type context usually reserved for Katherine Heigl.

**Seriously, Leto did this once to "punish" elijah wood because he had heard second hand that Wood was not a fan of Leto's awful band 30 Seconds to Mars. Wood had never met Leto before the incident. If Leto punches everyone he happens upon whom he suspects doesn't like 30 Seconds to Mars, he must not have time to do anything else ever.

Monday, January 24, 2011

New Feature: a Podcast

Me and my good friend Shaun decided to start a podcast, so I will be posting it here every week except when we forgot to record it.

Its called Thor's Hour of Thunder, and the podcast's topic will be mostly about geeky movies and T.V., along with general popculture. Topics brought up this week which you can expect to reoccur are: James Bond films, Doctor Who (both the 1960's through 1980's show and the current 21st century version), David Bowie, Christopher Lee, and that midget from Fantasy Island.

Shaun is super funny and knowledgeable, and I think this first one turned out pretty well. Free free to comment here or message me via blogger about things you would like us to discuss in future podcasts.

The host site ran into some issues and deleted my data, so just view listen to it here for now: Thor's Hour of Thunder.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Cloud City's favorite malt beverage. UPDATED!

I said a few years back that I would start drinking Colt 45 if Billy Dee Williams started appearing in their ads again.

I am typing this while sipping on a can of the stuff because the folks over at Colt 45 apparently realized that Williams is the second greatest pitchman named Billy of all time* and that they really needed to capitalize on their product's connection to his bad self. Not only did they bring him back in ads last year, but they even had his handsome mug gracing the bottles for a few months last year to promote the new campaign. They are using a drawing of Mr. Williams which depicts him as he looked in the 80's, which is a smart move since Williams is currently 73 years old, and based on this photo of him from 2005, he has aged to look like an even older version of Carl Weathers.**


Here is a billboard with the new Billy Dee art on it:





















That's a cool drawing, but it doesn't hold a candle to Billy Dee's 80's ads for Colt 45:



Those are some pretty lame punchlines when you think about them, but Williams has the smoothest delivery and sells the shit out of those punchlines so he not only makes them passable, he makes them awesome. Its like in the mediocre remake of Shaft when Samuel L Jackson tells a girl, "its my duty to please your booty." Which would be the worst line to ever happen in all of filmed entertainment if it was said by Nicolas Cage, but it Samuel L Jackson's hands it turns out, somehow, against all logic to actually sound hip.

When you have Billy Dee Williams pitching your product you don't really need much else. Just point the camera in his general direction, have a lady 'round his arm, have him hold up the can so the audience can read the label, and you are gonna sell a shitload of Colt 45. Colt 45 realized this when they first hired Williams as demonstrated in the TV spot and in this bar mirror from the same campaign***:



For some reason, later on Colt 45 decided to mess with this formula and made the following:



If I saw that exact video as an instillation at the New York Museum of Modern Art I would be much less confused by its content than trying to understand it in the context of a commercial.

The ad, especially the begining, is rediculously avant-garde, and is made even more ridiculous when you consider it is selling malt liquor. The ad that this most reminds me of  is the Michael Bay directed Dunlop Tires commercial I wrote about back in March.

What's weird is we have cans floating out of a fridge and random shots of horses as the video, and the music is ominous and percussion heavy, but the jiggle's lyrics are down right old fashioned. "With A powerful appeal! A taste that is unreal! Its  Colt 45!" sounds more like ad copy that belongs to the era of  slogans like "The pause that refreshes" than in an ad that is so Michael-Bay-Dunlop-Tire-ad-esque.

Williams apparently received criticism for being in ads for alcohol, and he responded to that criticism with a quote that is more bad-ass that Indiana Jones fighting Rowdy Roddy Piper, "I drink, you drink. Hell, if marijuana was legal, I'd appear in a commercial for that too."

Though we sadly have yet to see a Billy Dee ad for weed, he did recently do a fake ad that is easily the funniest thing I have ever seen happen on Jimmy Kimmel Live****:




Footnote(s):

*Rest In Peace Billy Mays.

**Speaking of Carl Weathers, why does he briefly appear at he beginning and end of every Bud Light ad now?  Really. I genuinely have no idea what he is doing there. You see, I don't have ESPN or Versus at my apartment so when I watch sports its at bars on mute. Therefore, I have just seen those ads where Carl Weathers is sitting looking at the camera holding a big book at the beginning and end, but I have never heard the ad's dialogue. Weathers isn't in the rest of the ad, so maybe that book was the story of the ad and he was opening and closing it for you like how Disney movies used to begin and end with a book with the title of the movie on it.

***I like typing the phrase "ad campaign" because it makes me think of British colonial troops lunching a desert campaign which consists of shooting people, but also writing clever slogan and painting them on billboards.

****Though to paraphrase Leatherheads, being the funniest thing on Jimmy Kimmel Live, is kinda like being the world's tallest midget.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Charles Bronson will steal your wife

In 1962 on the set of the film The Great Escape, Charles Bronson met his costar David McCallum's* wife, Jill Ireland. Charles Bronson at the time told McCallum: "I'm going to marry your wife." Charles Bronson was married to Jill Ireland from 1968 until her death in 1990.

Basically Bronson was the real life version of "Chuck Norris Facts."

The following two minute ad for Japanese cologne makes no sense and stars Bronson:



It is a testament to the sheer manliness of Mr. Bronson that he somehow makes this ad cool. It starts out with Charles in a piano bar listening to music that sounds like it was composed by someone who thinks Kenny G has too much edge.

Bronson then gets back to his apartment and throws his shirt up into the air while spinning like he is in the opening credits of the Mary Tyler  Moore Show** or something. Next, as more elevator music plays, Bronson covers himself in a drastic amount of Mandom cologne while imagining himself dressed as a cowboy.

Nothing described in the above two paragraphs is in any way cool sounding on paper, but Bronson somehow pulls it off and makes you want to buy a cologne called Mandom, despite it sounding like some kind of manatee condom.



Footnote(s):
*Who was famous for playing the Russian guy in The Man From U.N.C.L.E., and now plays "Ducky" on NCIS.
**There is a statue of Mary Tyler Moore in Minneapolis, Minnesota because her 70's TV show was set there but not filmed there. This appears to be part of Minneapolis's new tourist campaign, titled: "Minneapolis, absolutely nothing has ever happened here."

Clint Eastwood D.A.R.E.s you.

I was not surprised to learn Clint Eastwood did an PSA about not smoking crack rocks in the 1980's. Eastwood was the biggest film star of much of 80's* and has one of the most intimidating presences of any person who is not Darth Vader. Here is his ad:


The ad is melodramatic, and the slogan "the thrill that can kill" at the end is pretty groan inducing, but its hard to not take the message seriously coming from Dirty Harry. This is an actor who appeared in the film The Gauntlet, a film so hardcore that it features a four minute sequence of a house being shot at by half of the cops in Arizona until it made of more bullet holes than house collapses.


Eastwood makes you take this ad seriously. He gives the camera the same look he gave to the wall of that bank in Thunderbolt and Lightfoot. And in that film, that look was immediately followed by him blowing up the wall using a gun that it looks like he stole from Navarone:


For comparison here is that exact same ad with the dialogue delivered by a less badass 80's celebrity:


While it is admirable that Paul  Reubens wanted kids to not do crack, and it even makes sense for him to appear in a PSA since Pee Wee Herman was really popular with kids of the era, it is impossible to take this damn ad seriously.

I guess the producers had Reubens do the ad in character because they were worried kids wouldn't recognize  Reubens out of costume, and to be fair he does look a lot different not dressed like Pee Wee,:


but it is still probably a bad idea to try to have a character tell you not to do drugs who is best known for hanging out with a talking chair.

Not that "Pee Wee's Playhouse" was on the same level of obviously drugged-out-ness of say, H.R. Puffinstuff, but he is definitely not a guy who you can take seriously. I'll cut to the chase, I'm only mentioning H.R. Puffinstuff as an excuse to post Mr. Show's awesome parody of that show:



Bottom line America**: when Clint Eastwood tells you something. you take him seriously. I will now end this the only way one can any anything Eastwood related:



Footnote(s):
*According to the author in a late 80's Rolling Stone interview with Eastwood which I don't feel like trying to look up.
**To steal the catch phrase from Conan's "Pierre Brenard's Recliner of Rage" Skit

What made Milwaukee Famous

If you have ever been to the Green Mill or Billy Goat Tavern in Chicago you may have noticed their Schlitz Malt Liquor taps.

When I was at these bars in the last two years, I was struck by how intricate these old taps were, and amazed by how good the Schlitz that came out of it tasted. (I mean, not Harpoon Leviathan good, but better than anything Bud or Miller makes.)

I just found out thanks to wikipedia the long story of the rise and fall of Schlitz Malt Liquor, and also why it tastes good again.

Schlitz, apparently, used to be the best selling beer in the United States as recently as the 1950's but then started making there beer using cheaper and cheaper ingredients. Eventually people realized Schlitz had cheapened the formula to the extent that they were selling rain water with a single hop in it, and the company's sales drastically declined until they got bought by a Michigan based brewery called Stroh, which was then bought by Pabst Blue Ribbon*. Schlitz was virtually unavailable for most of the 2000's and was reintroduced in 2008. It is still not widely available, but Pabst touts that the version of Schlitz formula they are now using is a reconstruction of the "lost" formula from the good tasting 1950's Schlitz**.

You may have noticed this article so far has been devoid of jokes. Here at Strictly Commercials we take very few things seriously, but the history of alcohol brands is one of those things.

Long story short, the Schlitz tap at Billy Goat Tavern can kick your taps ass. Besides it dispensing tasty original formula Schlitz, the handle is a work of art I would proudly display as a sculpture***


I mean look at that damn thing. Its the Venus de Milo of malt liquor taps****

Another thing I found out through my wiki journey through Schlitz's history was the Schlitz tried briefly to make a light beer when Miller Lite made it popular for american beers to market a terrible tasting version of themselves.

This failed attempt would have been forgotten in the dust bin of history had they not hired an aging but still incredibly kickass James Coburn to be their spokesman. Which brings us to why this post is going up during Tough Guy Month. Here is Coburn drinking Schlitz Light while dressed as a cowboy for no discernible reason:




In terms of James Coburn's later career. I would put this appearance it terms of awesomeness just above his voice acting in Monsters, Inc, but below his appearance on the Muppet Show. One normally thinks of the muppets as a venue for celebrities to show their family friendly side, and while Coburn does lead a bunch of cowboys and geishas in a hoe down at the end, he also chokes Kermit at 1:29 into this clip:



James Coburn: So badass he can beat up defenseless muppets and it somehow only makes him seem even cooler.

Footnote(s):
*Now that Budweiser is Belgian owned Pabst Blue Ribbon is actually the largest American owned Brewery. (This may be the first time I have used a footnote to actually provide additional information instead of to make a joke that was too dumb to be included in the body of the post.)

**Source: Beer Advocate

***That sounds like a compliment about how classy it is, until you realize is me we are talking about, and the "sculptures" I currently proudly display in my apt. include a football sized garden gnome and a Mac Truck Dog hood ornament.

****Just as Billy Dee Williams is the Sir Francis Bacon of Malt Liquor Spokesman. The similarity there being that Sir Francis Bacon died of pneumonia brought on by spending too long outside stuffing a chicken carcass with snow as part of an experiment on refrigerating food, and Billy Dee Williams is really cool. (Yes that was a long trip for a dumb pun, but Bacon really did die that way, and I try to relay that fact as often as I can, Because I think it proves that Bacon was secretly a total Renaissance-bad-ass.)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Strictly Commercials Announces: Tough Guy Month!



As you may have ascertained from the title of this post, it is tough guy month here at Strictly Commercials. While I'll write about random ads that tickle my fancy, I'm going to make a concerted effort throughout the month to feature retro ads which display badassery or feature as pitchmen actors who are hard as a gun made of diamonds that also shoots diamonds.*

Lets start this month long collection of stubble and six shooters by linking to an awesome Cracked.com article from 4 years ago about Clint Eastwood. Here are:


8 Not So Tough Facts About Clint Eastwood

Yup I'm starting 2011 by linking a 4 year old article, because this blog is nothing if not timely.

Footnote(s)
*I didn't want to just use the clich├ęd phrases "Hard as nail" or "tough as nails" so I came up with my own very elaborate metaphor. I don't think that it will supplant either of the aforementioned phrases.