Is there a PuppyMonkeyBaby in my future?

Would I ever have thought of this?

Would I ever have thought of this?

I’ve been creating ads now for well over half of my life. During my time, I’ve come up with some rather unusual creative solutions. But I must admit, I have yet to ever be part of selling a client something as outrageous as Mountain Dew’s PuppyMonkeyBaby used to sell their Kickstart drink. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ql7uY36-LwA

Yes, I know, this is old news. The commercial made its debut this past February on the Super Bowl. But I saw it again last week and for some reason, it really stuck with me this time.

BBDO out of New York was the agency that created it. I have no idea who the writer on it was. Amazingly, I think the ad is very strategic. The team knew they were creating an ad for the Super Bowl so it had to stand out. Kickstart is a combination of three things – Dew, juice and caffeine. On the Super Bowl, everyone loves commercials that have a baby in them – or a puppy – and yes, there have been quite a few memorable commercials featuring a monkey.

So someone had the very simple thought, “Hey, why not combine all three into some really weird creature with a dog’s head, a monkey’s upper body and a baby’s lower body walking around in a diaper?” It’ll be a Puppy Monkey Baby.

It makes no sense. It makes brilliant sense. It’s weird. It’s disturbing. It speaks – in a very strange voice. It dances. It carries its own little bucket full of Kickstart and it makes its grand entrance through a kind of little trap door in some guy’s apartment where three slackers are just sitting there chilling when the PuppyMonkeyBaby arrives.

Later commercials play up the tag line “It all starts with a kick”. They’re fun, they’re crazy. But they’re nothing like the PuppyMonkeyBaby.

So the question I ask myself is this – “Is there still a PuppyMonkeyBaby waiting inside me, just yearning to come out?”

Yes.

Unfortunately, I don’t get to create TV commercials all that often anymore. It’s my biggest lament of running my own business that caters to a client base that most times, simply do not have the budget nor the need to do broadcast advertising.

So that PuppyMonkeyBaby stays locked up in my brain, just waiting to be unleashed.

It’s in there.

And it wants out.

Flush the Rams and prepare for some Super Bowl commercials

The St. Louis media has hyped the loss of the Rams about as much as they can. Sure, we’re down an NFL team and about $16 million in fees on top of the yearly bill to pay for the soon to be nameless dome that will be home to more tractor pulls and monster truck races in the near future.

We loathe Stan. We will continue to loathe him for as long as he is around to be loathed.

But it’s also time to move on. Time to forget that there is no longer any conceivable way for St. Louis to end up in the Super Bowl. Those days are over. The way the Rams were run, they may never get back there again, anyway. So it’s time for the national hype to pick up on Peyton vs. Cam.

It’s going to be a good game – I think. It should also be a good year for a whole new crop of commercials coming from a whole new crop of agencies.

Yes, the big boys will be there – Pepsi and AB (I don’t like to acknowledge the InBev part) and I assume Coke as well. Wieden + Kennedy will be unveiling their first work for Bud Light introducing ‘The Bud Light Party’. Doritos is back with their Crash the Super Bowl commercials and the one they have out as a tease called “Ultrasound” is lots of fun.

New movies will be touted. The automakers will step up with a variety of approaches that are meant to be memorable and hopefully will have some semblance of day after recall.

But get ready for some new entries as well.

Have you ever heard of Bai? Sorry, but I hadn’t. And have you ever heard of Barton F. Graf? That’s the agency that produced Bai’s new Super Bowl commercial. I checked out their previous “None of this makes sense” campaign and it’s pretty darn good and has a really nice overall positioning. I don’t know what their spot is going to be about but I look forward to it.

SquareSpace will be using the comedic talents of Keegan-Michael Kelly and Jordan Peele. I’d say I’m looking forward to that but in reality, I never heard of either one of them before I typed their names – showing how hopelessly out of touch with who’s hot and who’s not.

Sorry.

So, am I going to actually share anything? Yes.

Pokemon, of all things, is celebrating their 20th anniversary and they’re still going strong. Some agency named Omelet out of Los Angeles (maybe they’ll get the Rams account) produced this awesome, fun to watch, and highly unexpected commercial.

Brilliantly shot. Great editing. Great music.

Enjoy.

That’s all I’ve got for now.

Is advanced hype taking the air out of Super Bowl commercials?

A recent poll said that 89% of people don’t like seeing Super Bowl commercials in advance.

I have no idea of the validity of this poll but I do agree with it. There’s something special about seeing a commercial for the first time on the Super Bowl. You look forward to each commercial break and if you’ve already seen the commercial before, there’s a little bit of a letdown. It’s even worse than throwing an under-inflated football.

Advertisers are trying to get a grip with the whole pre-release notion. Some are smart – and only dole out online teasers.

I’m already looking forward to seeing what Snickers is going to do in this year’s game. They have an online teaser telling us about a very special episode of “The Brady Bunch” – and no, it doesn’t appear to be about Tom Brady and his under-inflated balls, but rather, some very weird spin-off of the old Brady Bunch TV show. My appetite has been whetted.

Anheuser-Busch tries to play both sides of the, “give them something to see, but don’t give them your best shot”. They have a “Lost Puppy Dog” commercial that’s supposed to be this year’s tear-jerker – I assume the Clydesdales somehow help save the day but we won’t know how until next Sunday evening.

They’ve already released a 60-second spot that will be airing on the big game (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9A1NowrnGI) involving their on-going up for whatever happens next campaign. In this one, a guy gets to be a live contestant in a giant Pac Man game. The whole thing seemed kind of stupid to me but it was very watchable.

Carl’s Jr (Hardee’s in our area) is out with another sex-driven, loaded with innuendo spot featuring Charlotte McKinney who seemingly appears ‘all natural’ throughout the commercial, and in the end, takes a bite out of an ‘all natural’ burger. It will be hated by women everywhere and probably loved by the 18-34 male target audience that they are trying to reach. Since I’m no longer in that target age, I refuse to comment (though I did watch the commercial three times to make sure I got all my facts correct).

Dove has already released their Super Bowl commercial (http://www.superbowl-commercials.org/34893.html). It’s a tribute to dads and yes, I liked it quite a bit – though I don’t think I’ll be buying their line of skin care products any time soon.

We’ll be seeing a number of movie trailers, too. Star Wars will be there. And a new trailer for Jurassic World, directed by Steven Speilberg looks like it will be a fun one to watch.

There will be plenty of duds – plenty of commercials trying to be outrageous with virtually no product tie-in whatsoever. They will all quickly fade into oblivion, $4.5 million dollars for 30 seconds washed right down the toilet, bathroom breaks or not.

Victoria’s Secret has their super models playing football. Sorry, I’d rather see them parade around in their angel costumes then suit up and simulate toughness on the gridiron.

Car commercials always have a tough time making a real impact. Toyota featues paralympian, Amy Purdy, skiing, dancing and doing remarkable feats with her bladerunner feet and somehow, that’s linked to buying a Toyota. I liked the spot enough to write about it but I won’t be in any Toyota showrooms any time soon.

But that’s enough of a tease.

If I revealed everything I’ve seen, it would just be deflating when you see it next Sunday night.

I’m sure that every football will be fully pumped for this game.

Hopefully, you will be, too, whenever the commercials come on to give us a break.

Enjoy.

My 5 personal favorite Super Bowl commercials

I attended a Super Bowl party and was busy running the squares contest and getting that all arranged so I missed the first two commercial breaks of the Super Bowl. But after that, I saw each and every Super Bowl commercial – not always with the best audio available as there was quite a bit of conversation going on in the room but still, I watched the Super Bowl commercials like most other Americans do – semi-paying attention and just waiting for something to stop everyone in the room and create a little buzz after the commercial aired.

Day after recall has come and gone.

It’s day after the day after recall and that’s what matters.

So here were my top five and the reasons why I rank them slightly differently than USA Today did.

#1. Tide – Miracle Stain – ( ttp://www.youtube.com/user/tidelaundry?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=tide%20miracle%20stain%20commercial&utm_campaign=Tide_Search_Desktop_Brand+Awareness.Super+Bowl&utm_content=sQU8lLI1d_19096944916_e_tide%20miracle%20stain%20commercial)

– Just to honor each spot a little more, I’m posting the YouTube link from each company’s website so you can see the full social media effort behind the commercial. Congratulations to P&G. They delivered the ultimate product demonstration and managed to do it in a way that was over the top, fun, involving and even tied in to the two teams that were playing. The tag line is awesome. The commercial tells a great story in 60-seconds and makes me want to see it again. I guess due to the nature of the 49ers-Ravens tie-in, this commercial may not be aired many more times. That’s okay. It makes it all the more special.

#2. Taco Bell – Viva Young – (http://www.youtube.com/tacobell) Our geriatric nation gets to one-up today’s youth, doing all the late night antics that eventually lead to a Taco Bell run – (and quite a few that I never had any part in). Great soundtrack, fun story with lots of vignettes that you can’t quite catch all in the first viewing. Mr. Goldblatt rocks and the whole commercial makes me like Taco Bell a little more after viewing it.

#3. Ram Trucks – Farmer – (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMpZ0TGjbWE) Copywriters can’t compete with Paul Harvey and the copywriter who came up with this concept should be saluted. He (or she) will win oodles of awards for this game stopper. No motion pictures. Just photography. I didn’t know who was saluting the farmer until the logo came on at the end but when it did, it all made perfect sense. I went to the Ram Trucks website but couldn’t download the commercial from there but they have a huge social media movement behind it supporting the American farmer. This is advertising at its best – even if it is using borrowed interest. I think it may have been the most compelling spot of the Super Bowl.

#4. Anheuser-Busch – Clydesdales/Brotherhood – (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zq05zILv7-c) You have to like this commercial. It’s a love story. It’s nicely directed. Everyone loves the “Landslide” song by Fleetwood Mac. Does it make me want to drink any A-B product? Sorry, it doesn’t, but I do have a high regard for the classiness of the spot and the time-honored tradition of the Clydesdales. The rest of the A-B ads were less than inspiring and the new Black Crown or whatever it is, was a disappoint and to me, a late-comer to the dark beer category that did little to differentiate itself.

#5. Oreo – Whisper Fight – (http://brands.nabisco.com/oreo/index.html) This was a first quarter commercial. There was a lot of talk going on when I saw it but it still grabbed me and I loved the simple concept of everyone whispering in the library about the cookie vs. creme debate. Totally product focused, totally over the top and with a dynamite social media aspect that will make the debate continue on well after all the Super Bowl hoopla is over (I guess it’s now over).

Those were my top five. It remains to be seen what the end sales results will be. But with the most captive audience television can possibly provide, the potential marketing power of a well-done Super Bowl commercial, tied in now with developing an equally strong social media presence, can indeed work wonders for sales. Look at the free publicity these five commercials just generated. I wish I could say my blog was read by a Super Bowl-sized audience.

But I know in that regard, it’s quality over quantity.

Thanks for reading and please share your favorites or let me know what should have been on my top five.

Let the hype begin

Super Bowl Sunday is now less than a week away. The hype began the minute the Patriots beat the Ravens and continued as the Giants edged the 49ers. Vegas installed the Patriots as the early favorites, intent on revenging their last loss to the G-men.

But I’m not here to talk about the game or who’s favored. I’m one of those people who takes their bathroom breaks during the game. For the big money is being spent between breaks. Three-and-a-half million dollars for 30 seconds of air time – that’s the going rate for this year’s commercials during the Super Bowl. Spots in the first quarter always cost more than those in the last – that’s to help cover the potential of a blow-out where viewers might change the channel. Or perhaps it’s due to the fact that by the 3rd quarter, many of those who are watching the game at Super Bowl parties are completely oblivious there’s even a game still underway. Who cares, just pass me another Bud Light.

Speaking of Bud Light, I’m proud to say that Cannonball, a local St. Louis agency has a contestant that will be trying to top the Ad Meter. I hope they do. I read that Joe Bishop, a friend of mine who has worked on many a spot for the brewery was on the recent shoot and I’m sure was in on the concept stage. I hope the spot rocks.

There’s a lot of pressure to perform. A-B In-Bev has six commercials airing, including two, 60-second versions for the flagship Budweiser brand. That’s four minutes of air time at roughly $7 million a minute which by my estimation comes out to around $28 million to sell some beer.

That’s a lot of beer that Mr. Brito is expecting to be sold. Of course, the key these days is to drive people to the website or the Facebook page or the YouTube channel showcasing the commercials. Still, visits don’t necessarily mean sales. You’ve got to get people at the 7-11 or the grocery store or local liquor retailer or your neighborhood Applebee’s to buck up at the cash register.

The new hero brand for A-B is apparently Bud Light Platinum. Something tells me that brand is not targeting me as a customer. I’m not sure what it is that makes the Platinum brand so platinum. Surely it can’t be that they’ve added a dash of the mineral that goes by the atomic number of 78 to the brew. So what is it? I guess we’ll find out on Sunday.

At least those of us that aren’t too drunk to know or who happen to be depositing some of said brew down the drain.