Advertising Mayhem

I was downstairs this morning, on the treadmill, feeling sorry for myself and watching TV.  I was feeling sorry for myself because: 1) I was on the treadmill and not sleeping, 2) my calves love to cramp up when I’m moving, 3) last night’s debates didn’t go as well as I’d hoped, and 4) according to the ads I was watching, the advertisers thought I was a bleeding heart liberal who needed a lawyer, a 4 hour erection and a catheter (hopefully not at the same time).

Having a TV on the treadmill is a wonderful thing, in my humble opinion, and I thank the person or company who first introduced the concept.  I enjoy concentrating on a TV show instead of only concentrating on staying upright or on the hairy guy at the free weights trying to amaze me with his manly strength.

When I’m watching TV on the treadmill, versus in my living room with its various distractions, I’m a completely captivated audience for advertisements of all kinds.  I’m just glad advertisers haven’t figured out a way to bombard my treadmill with commercials.  I understand the concept of targeting commercials for specific groups you think are watching specific shows, but it’s a little annoying when you don’t fit into that little box.

Just so you know, I was watching NOW with Alex Wagner, so the ad agencies knew, generally, who they were dealing with but it seemed like they couldn’t tell if more women or men watched Miss Wagner’s show.  The ads started out geared toward women in the beginning showing long, tear inducing commercials about atrocities in the world aimed squarely at children and animals designed to get the checkbooks out.

About half way, I noticed more commercials specifically for men: Viagra commercials and a lot of showings of an ad dealing with self lubricating catheters for men.  Apparently, they come in discreet sizes you men can slip into your pockets and we’re none the wiser!  I wish TV ads were site specific and had a Hulu-like question:  Is this ad showing an older man and his wife in bathtubs relevant to you?  No, it is not.  Thanks for the input!

I don’t dislike every ad I see, I must admit.  Ever since I saw the little Darth Vader magically starting up the VW, I have marveled at the ability of an ad to give me a warm fuzzy feeling about a particular product.  That ad made me realize a great commercial doesn’t even need to really be about the product to be good.  The little Darth Vader could have been promoting anything: electric fireplaces, stereo systems, fans, etc.

Ever since little Darth Vader made his premier on Super Duper Sunday, I’ve been paying attention to ad campaigns and there are quite a few out there I really enjoy.  Why?  Probably because I’ve always thought it might be fun to work in the advertising business.  Here are a couple I enjoy:

Mayhem:  Hands down, my favorite series of ads.  Dean Winters, BKA ‘Mayhem’ puts himself in hysterical and perilous positions to mimic accident causing detriments.  From a filthy rich executive in a $90k car, to the young girl ‘OMG’ texter, to a raccoon chewing up the house, to (my favorite) the blindspot mayhem yelling, ‘you’re good!, these Mayhem commercials make me laugh out loud.

Allstate must have a million of these commercials in their arsenal.  All they have to do is look at their claims, right?  Allstate has made a seriously funny attempt to explain how one must be prepared for crazy stuff because, just look, crazy stuff does happen.

VW: Not only is little Darth cute, but most of the ads for VW are interesting and entertaining.  From the ‘is it fast’ guy (Janet and I have talked about putting flames on the Prius) evolving over his lifetime; the commercial with everyone, from young to old, laughing called ‘it’s not the miles, it’s how you live them’; the ‘rockin’ out’ commercial where the guy is stopped at a light playing the air drums; to our new favorite commercial of the moment: the ‘bad dog’ commercial where a guy’s dog eats his keys.

These ads are trying to depict owning a VW as more than just owning a car to get you from A to B; owning a VW is as much a part of your life as laughing, and growing up, and evolving.

Play Madden NFL 13: featuring Ray Lewis and Paul Rudd.  Okay, I might like this group of ads because I’m a football fan, but I find them really funny.  Ray & Paul make me laugh out loud, especially when Paul is taunting Ray.  I’m glad these are scripted because I’m pretty sure Ray Lewis would stomp on Paul Rudd in real life.  I love it when athletes can make fun of themselves and Ray giving Paul credit for teaching him the ‘squirrel’ made me grin from ear to ear.

Another great example of athletes making fun of themselves is Peyton Manning.  Peyton is such a serious football player, everything on the field is so by the book, so, when I see him in his commercials and he’s poking fun at himself, I just love it.

Do these ad campaigns work?  Who knows.  I don’t own a VW or a Madden NFL game, nor do I have Allstate as my insurance carrier.  But if I was in the market for a car or new insurance and two companies were in a virtual tie…I might lean toward a company whose ads make me laugh and feel good, even for a fleeting minute.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a couple of checks to write.



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