Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Good ads, bad ads
What commercials work for you? What don't?

I bring this up because the current campaign for the Royal Bank of Scotland -- "Less talk. Make it happen" -- drives me crazy.

RBS is a major CNN sponsor and the ads run on the network constantly. But, to me, they don't improve with time.

(Not that I want you to stop contributing to my salary, RBS, but could you look into a new campaign or ad agency?)

First: The one with the choking diner. Choking is not only not amusing, it's unpleasant to watch.

Second: The guy who gets caught in quicksand. The best of the bunch, but still overstays its welcome.

Third: The group on the tram. Again, poorly edited (the rhythms in these commercials are very strange), abrupt and not amusing. (These ads are supposed to be amusing, right?) None of RBS' ads make me want to use their services ... assuming I could afford to do so.

Contrast these with the new Geico commercials, in which figures such as Fred Flintstone and Jed Clampett are "exposed" in clever take-offs of gossip shows. Or the recent IBM campaign in which jargon-spouting employees are met with the proper confused looks. (Interestingly, the IBM campaign's tagline is similar to RBS'.)

I suppose RBS' ads have been effective, in that I've noticed them among the clutter. But I could say the same about HeadOn.
What a fanny.
The "Tram" commercial is a horror satire. The female in the group is the obligatory psycho-killer among them. This is exemplified in the version where she laughs, bug-eyed at the camera, and in the other by her obsessive hair combing.

It is not shown on camera, but shortly after the "emergency start" button is pressed, so forces them all to take the loss. Even the guy doing the ridiculous surfer pose at the end. However, lucky for him, she secretly has a crush on him, so she offs him last.

What? Am I the only one who got it?
The ads that don't work for me are the Visa ads that show everyone going through food lines or shopping lines quickly and swiping Visa check cards and then when someone tries to write a check or pay with cash the lies screech to a halt, thus inferring that cash or checks hold everything up.

This is insulting and encourages people to use credit/debit cards. I think it's horrible. If I want to use cash that is my perogative and it does not hold up any line any more than swiping a card, punching in my code, etc.

Visa ought to be ashamed of themselves for these ads!!!

(And being polite, I won't even mention the advertisers that ought to be strung up for coming up with the "Have a happy period" ads for feminine products......most women I know would like to know who that is so they can take a contract out on that person!!! LOL)
I don't understand why/how products like milk and beef are advertised at all. Not like they come out with a new kind of cow every few months. IT'S A COW. Granted, Dubya was elected twice, but we're not THAT stupid!
The ad that I hate is the Centrum Silver. I take that product and the stupid ad make me want to switch to another product.

Also, I just received a copy of a letter sent to the CEO of the "Happy Period" ad that sums up how women feel about that one! I believe it suggests bodily harm would be appropriate to that guy.
Before anyone else slams them, I'd like to post a preemptive defense of the Energizer Bunny commercials. There are plenty of obnoxious commercials out there (e.g. the Visa check card ads, already mentioned), but to this day I'll always buy Energizer batteries whenever I can just because I like the commercials.

I work as an electronics engineer so I know there's very little difference between battery brands, despite the claims of Duracell. My preference of Energizer is driven solely by their commercials. When I can't buy Energizer, I buy Ray-O-Vac because they're good quality and tend to be less expensive (plus I dislike rewarding Duracell for their deceptive commercials).
I'm so sick of Geico commercials I
want to throw my tv out the window.
They think everything they do is so
hip and clever. It just tells me they are worried sick over the com-
petion. Why else would they saturate the airwaves with their
pathetic attempts at humor? Same
thing with Time Warner. They run
these ads into the ground.
I absolutely love the CareerBuilder.com ads that show the workplace as an actual jungle. The one with the man with the three-ring binder on his head like a helmet will make me laugh every single time. And never go for the ice cream cake!
JFC people. they're commercials. nothing to see here.
I LOVE the RBS ads -- thought they were one of the best campaigns out there -- who hasn't been around a bunch of colleagues who just never seem to get anything done. Very appealing core message from my POV. FedEx Kinkos has a similar ad out where an exec goes around the room explaining why no one on the team is worth his time to ask for help. I like that one too. It's much more fun to watch ads that tap into some authentic aspect of work or life. Another one along those lines (but consumer focused) is the Lending Tree ad where the person is "rooting for his bank to win". If you're going to make an ad, get the core message right first and worry about all the little executional items second.
The ads with the guys singing a song about male enhancement to the tune of "Viva Las Vegas". Makes me want to throw a brick through the TV.
What about the tasteless "Bob" of male enhancement "fame"? Terrible.
What commercials work for me? None.
I hate the adds for Checkers, so much. "you gotta eat"-- Yeah maybe,but not there until you get some less annoying adds.
I love the Cingular commercials of dropped calls, they're very smart and to the point and very creative.
The Tooth Fairy commercials drive me nuts...not because of the goofy fairy, but because they use little children jumping into the adult world of greed. What's in your wallet--choose green instead of plastic, you'll sleep better.
About the Visa commercials -- I don't think they understood the irony when they used the theme music from _Brazil_...which happens to be a movie about a society that has turned into a zombie society, ruled by bureaucracy, and without creativity.
My 17 year old came in and asked me if I had saw the new Hardies Commercial. he said mom, that commercial sounds really nasty.
Its the one with the guy eating the new Hardies sandwich. I saw it and had to agree.
The commericials that completely drive me up the wall are the Cialis and Viagra commercials (try explaining what the meds do to a ten year old), and the Geico cavemen commercials. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

The best ones? I love the Geico commericals that are the take-offs on the gossip shows.
Seconding the complaint about the Visa ads in which a shopper incurs annoyed looks from other shoppers and from the clerk, for the HIGH CRIME of wanting to pay for a purchase with actual money. The surface message of those ads is, "Save yourself and others a moment's supposed inconvenience" -- but the real message is, "Spend money without thinking about it. Don't pay any attention to the total, or to how much is coming out of your account. Just spend."
Most of the Adds are stupid, cannot
beleive thatAmericans Make them up, almost averything is controled by other countries our gvernment has given our COUNTRY away to Money Control,Our rich has SOLD there SOULS, cannot expect to much from the greedy
The new line of Wendy's commercials, with various male actors wearing the Wendy's characters red-pigtail wig. Not funny, in the least. What is the point? I think Dave must be rolling over in his grave.
Let's start with the JG Wentworth dirge, or there's the maxi-pad commercial "have a happy period" which proves to me that not one woman works in that entire company, or how about the non-stop Countrywide refi.......yeah, all these are aggravating but the worst is the credit card where the world falls apart because someone used cash instead of ringing up debt by using the credit card. That's just rude - the idea that you are somehow less important and definitely not with the 'in' crowd if you use cash. I change the channel and I don't use the product.
I had a stack of Life magazines from the JFK era. Budweiser had double page ads, full-color, with people dressed to the nines.

Men in tuxedos drinking from pilsner glasses. Ironically Bud is a lager, but I digress.

Now, beer commercials make men look like total idiots and women are practically nonexistent.

My problem with commercials is I will remember a clever one but can seldom recall what they were selling. My favorite now is for a druug for "restless legf syndrome", RLS. Side effects include strong urges to gamble or have sex.
I hate the lamasil commercial where the fungus crawls up the guys toenail. I change the channel when that commercial comes on!
Digger the Dermatophite gives me the willies. I'll change the channel as soon as I see it.
Ny favorite is the one-a-day vitamins for the over fifty crowd. There are two versions. In the male version, a man is asked whether he realizes there's a choice for male or female vitamins. He stares confidently into the camera and declares, "Of course." In the female version, the woman, when asked the same question, looks quizzically at the camera, "...you mean...I have a choice?" Ok. Who doesn't know there's over a hundred vitamin choices these days? Why do they have the guy look 'with it' and the woman look like she can't even read? I can't beleive this got past a focus group. Ok. Maybe I can.
LOL, the gekko commercials convinced me long, long ago that I never wanted to have Geico insurance....
I completely agree with HeadOn, the Visa commercials, but I have to add that any and all medicine commercials drive me nuts. I don't want to hear about someone's impotence problems or urinary tract infections while I'm eating dinner, thankyouverymuch. Most countries have laws against that stuff...
The commercial I cannot stand and hit the must button every time it appears on tv, is that headon commercial. It is so infuriating, I will NEVER buy their product. And I plan to find out who markets the product and boycott all of products.
I cannot stand the commercial that Hardies has for the Hawaiian hamburger. They use Hawaiian "slang" to describe the burger and the guy eating it while fLipping a dashboard Hawaiian girl. We don't know what the words mean, but it makes it sound so nasty and he acts like eating the hamburger is better than sex. It is just disgusting.....then they flop the burger down for you to see it and all the ingredients like a pig fall out of the sky and all the "slop" falling out. UCK!!!
I LOVE the Visa ads where the line is interrupted by cash/or check writing. Especially the check writing. Nothing is more annoying than getting stuck behind someone in line writing a check out, or using the automated check printer in the register that always malfunctions. If they need that much help keeping track of their money they should swipe they check card and write the balance down in their book. Thank you to VISA for trying to get the message out how rude it is to waste my time writing your check.
Keep in mind that ad agencies don't care whether or not you like the ad; the purpose is to ensure simple product recognition, and in reading over the comments here, these unpopular ads are effective! Some of you know the names of characters in the ads you dislike, and all of you know both the name of the product and it's purpose, thus the ad is meeting a significant part of its objective.

Ad agencies have long known that it is sometimes the most disliked ads, like the pepto-bismol dance ad which is credited with generating an increase in product revenue but was detested by the general public, that are most effective, while very popular ads, like the old "I can't believe I ate the whole thing" campaign during the 70's were accompanied by a decline in product sales.

"Enjoyed" and "effective" are not synonymous terms.

Regardless, as with all of you, there are ads I simply cannot watch, like any advertisement during which I am forced to listen to someone chew their food. Blech! More sickening still is I can tell you exactly which products those ads are hawking! Gah!!
Commercials? What are commercials?
How glad I am that geico has stopped using the cavemen. That was one adveritsing idea I did not enjoy. Target, to me, is one of the best when it comes to commercials. As soon as it comes on the air, you know it's the Target brand. Wendy's is annoying, but at the same time, it's selling the product. Men, especially, are digging the dudes in the red braided pigtails. Capital One and Mastercard keep going strong with their familiar phrases. One that annoys me everytime I watch it is the sprite commercials with "sublymonal" messaging. I find them to be almost unbearable as the ones for HeadON.
Love the new Honda Generator ad with the grannies- it's on you-tube. Great.
I live in Nashville, TN. Check out our zoo ads-Fun (based on sport commentators) and informative- sort of. Gotta love the meerkat!
I have to agree about the Lamasil one, it just makes me cringe! The thing I don't like about the Visa ads is that those touch-pay things aren't in use where I live so it takes just as long to swipe, then enter the type of card, pin, cashback yes/no, amount of cashback, confirm final total...
I can not handle the Charmin ads for "Bare Bottoms" (i.e. Bears). I think it's awful that we see a bear doing his "business" in the woods behind a tree. I will never, ever, ever, buy Charmin.

I also hate the Mucinex commercial. I mean, do I need to see yucky stuff that may or may not be in my nose/chest or whatever. It makes me queasy to even think about.

What are these guys thinking??? Who would buy these products???
I am creeped out by the Ameriprise commercials - you know the ones where the scarry looking old man, dressed all in black, with a cult follower's gianormous ring, getting all up in the camera telling us about the "dreams" and how we're not to follow, but create our own. He's usually in an environment that is so idyllic that is unrealistic. It very much reminds me of Satan himself looring poor saps in, with illusions and promises. I am not going to Ameriprise. Shudder.
The commercial I abore is the new Taco Bell commerical for the cheesy burrito. It's looks like snot!! People dancing with the slimy cheese coming from their mouth, ewwwww!!
The worst commercial out there right now is the one for the pregnancy test that looks like something out of a Star Wars movie. You know the one... They talk about how its the most technologically advanced thing you'll ever pee on... and then has the stream of liquid come down on it!

I HATE that commercial! It was clearly designed by a MAN who knows nothing about women!!
Gosh! whoever made those "achieve great cabinocity or "welcome to rondoism" commercials for the Kia cars really had to have done it gratis otherwise it wouldn't be so bland with very little thought going into in other than matching sweaters of people singing and waving. I instantly change my channel whenever it comes on and always wonder how professionals can come up with that. I clearly wasn't in the target population.

Another unbearable on is the Astelin commercial. I almost promised myself never to use Astelin even if I got it for free.

The cingular commercials on the other hand,
"...you are speechless right?... way to step up there Rick..."
now that's what I would call... Priceless.
Ann Arbor, MI
In addition, I loath...no, that's too soft of a word...despise the Coors Light ads where you have the "we're funny, but come off as being extremely arrogant" boneheads in the press conference room where they are interviewing NFL head coaches. Seriously, funnny the first time, not funny the second time, ready to destroy my TV the 800th time. Guess it's time to read more.
The beauty of my DVR is that I never have to watch annoying commercials again!! I did have the great misfortune of seeing the male enhancement ad (crazy grinning Bob). It is AWFUL.

Madison, WI
I realize that ads are necessary evils to pay for the programming but 4-5 ads between each "break" in the program is a bit much! Are the ad people just wanting to make money, or are the programmers wanting more? Help! Limit the ads.
Now THAT'S funny! The comment about the "scary old guy" on the Ameriprise commercial. That commercial, my child, is aimed at what's reffered to as an "upper demo". In other words, those with money to invest and who would recognize an ICON of our generation. Go back to the TeleTubbies. They won't be over your head.
Irritating commercials are nothing new...'Ring around the collar' for laundry detergent...and the Shake n Bake commercial with the girl who says "and I helped". Advertising is trying to get you to buy something you wouldn't buy if it wasn't for the ads. Too bad we can't choose a product just on its quality or price!
I agree with the comment about the Visa commercials that make it appear that someone who dares to pay in actual cash has committed an unspeakable crime agaiinst humanity. They're not funny and they insult my intelligence. And in response to the poster who mentioned the use of "Brazil" in one of the commercials, the song of that name is NOT the theme song to the movie of the same name.

I also am in complete agreement with the poster who said that the Geico caveman commercials were stupid. Whatever became of that series about them that ABC was putting on Tuesday night? Can you say "dud"?

And finally, to the person who penned a defense of the Energizer bunny commercials: nice try pal. Fortunately we don't see them very much any more, but I hated them. Curiously the Energizer batter people and their lawyers were quick to shut down or sue anyone who dared to make any sort of parody or satire of their commercials, yet they certainly didn't mind lampooning commercials for other products such as those cheesy "greatest hits" record collections. In short, the Energizer people could dish it out but they couldn't take it. I guess that's what happens when you produce the lamest TV ad campaign of all time.
I am glad I found you avid ad watchers together here. There is one ad which I am tyring to place but have been unable to. It is a stunning ad. The storyboard goes thus: young lad spiked hair, on skateboard, iPod and ears plugged, racy lound music you can hear through his ear plugs...at signal lights...implying that the whole world does not exist for him...presently elderly lady with the most beatific smile comes by, firmly and confidently links her arm through his and says : Can I acocmpany you across the street? The startled lad looks at her briefly, then smiles and says sure why not...(or words to that effect)...then came the web address of the movement that put up this ad -- somehting to do with right living, good manners, awareness or somehting...
Can someone please help with this? I have spent 3 hours on the net and sent 3 mails to CNN asking about this. This is part of a research I am working on, need this real fast.
OK America wake up. Minus the abundance of over-inflated car ads you have the most uncreative ads in the world for a huge capitalist country. The ads in the UK are by far the most creative ads in the world which is why they win the most awards annually. I have lived in this country for 7 years and the best ad in that time was an ad for Jamican red stripe.

OK Americans your comments welcome ...oh and if there is a creative ad director reading this, more creative ads pleaase
Those new Charmin commercials with overdone choir music, and angry Red and Blue bears are really terrible... I think their ads are going down the toilet!!!!
I think the RBS ad campaign is ingenious for two reasons.

1. You're still talking about it [a.k.a - it's still on your mind, and that's the point].

2. The commercials adequately illustrate the absurd nature of simply talking about the issue and not actually doing anything to remedy it.

Sure, some people might be disgusted by the sight of someone choking, but it can happen to any one of us. In short, it's a fact of life - get over it. By showing how bureaucracy can be not only irrational, but comically absurd - they have shown that actions speak louder than words. A worthy lesson among the plethora of pathetic ad campaigns out there.

At least the medical community has seen fit to honor RBS with an award for that commercial: http://goliath.ecnext.com/coms2/gi_0199-776985/Heimlich-Institute-Honors-RBS-for.html
the range rover ads with sounds of gasping people inbetween shots of the vehicle-does it make a lot of smog or something?-or are they alluding to a special use for the back seat?

would make a tie-in ad with the spiriva ads with people holding placards with their commentys on them - maybe they lost their voices
due to range rover smog?
Contrary to Todd Leopold's comment about the RBS commercials, I find them especially on point.

I'm an IT consultant and one way I increase productivity is to replace meetings with task lists.

There are too many unnecessary meetings filled with bloviating poseurs expounding on the stages of a project rather than implementing them.

Bravo to RBS and to those who make things happen.
Occasional musings and gab about the world of entertainment.
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