Have you ever longed for one of those recliners with a built-in refrigerator, or ogled at those "would-be-cool-to-have" items in a Sky Mall catalog? Somehow, $500 for a Cotton Candy Machine/Egg-McMuffin-Maker combo doesn’t seem like the most practical use of some expendable income. Well, we here at RJW know just the person to introduce you to.
Meet, @GirlBehindSix, our new guilty Twitter pleasure. Who is she? Who knows... but we can tell you this: every day (sometimes twice-a-day) she gives away six, or a multiple of, some thing or another.
Unless someone is doing some clever guerilla marketing, this campaign is its own standalone project, complete with NYC Subway advertisements. In short – an entire game show, operated entirely on the Twitter platform. While television is just beginning to fully integrate their entertainment content with social media, now social media is doing one better by creating the content itself. Is this trend that we will see continue? Has social media killed the TV star?
The prizes are usually completely zany, but this is the perfect way to score the PERFECT gag gift for your office grab bag this holiday season! Since anybody with a Twitter handle can enter, it's worth checking out at least for a laugh. We'd hate to be the cause of anyone's shopping addiction, so this referral is your safest bet. 'Tis always the season for free stuff!
UPDATE: We knew our social media instincts were on point!... After doing some snooping here at RJW, we discovered this remote site, which hosts the Official Rules, required of any sweepstakes or giveaway contest. Not to our complete surprise, there is indeed a corporate sponsor for this promotion!
Sponsor: Wendy's International Inc., One Dave Thomas Blvd., Dublin, OH 43017.
AHA! While the campaign is riddled with copy like this...
Good luck figuring out who I am. #SIX
...we, are problem solvers here at RJW. So we thank you for the challenge, Wendy's! The Official Rules come complete with very specific, detailed, and timed instructions on how to win #SIX's cryptic contests. It's one of the most complex sweepstakes we've ever seen, and we still aren't sure what Wendy's motive is, but @GirlBehindSix, we called your bluff - now, what do we win for that?!
It's post-Super Bowl week. The debate is over. Green Bay holds the title. Luckily, when God closes one argument, he always starts another (or a flood). The Internet is ablaze with "Best Of" and "Top 10" lists for the ads that ran Sunday night. However, in my opinion, the lists (and ads) all seemed to be lacking a certain flavor I would expect from commercials airing during America's most popular competition, which is why instead of another recap of ads you can easily just watch on YouTube, I've decided to pit competing brands against one another to see which ones put out the better ads. Will Coca-Cola steamroll Pepsi? Can Audi overcome Mercedes? Can anyone explain how auto racing relates to domain names?
The answer is no. They can't.
Soft Drinks: Coca-Cola vs. Pepsi
I chose the border ad because furry bear-men repelling a dragon-led orc invasion just seemed in poor taste. Ever since the orcs realized that they didn't need a dragon to slaughter the furry bear-man army which seemed to only consist of women, children, and elderly bear-men, celebrating that initial short-sighted victory just doesn't feel right. In any case, Coke brought both fists to the fight and had a second quirky ad about border patrol officers briefly reconciling their antagonizing nationalism to share a couple of Cokes.
In the other corner, Pepsi seems to have crowd-sourced all their Super Bowl ads this year. A risky move that landed them with 2 out of 3 ads seemingly borrowing from the genius of America's Funniest Home Videos. However, all you need is one good ad to win this battle, and Pepsi came prepared with a nice little "Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus" sketch that featured some refreshing copy that didn't sound like advertising.
Though I actually quite enjoyed the Pepsi ad, with its tongue-in-cheek sexism and refreshing copy, the Coke ad had obviously higher production value, beautiful art direction, and hearkened back to the glory days of pre-war Imperial Militarism (Le Petit Caporal, tu me manques). The Pepsi ad was funny, but Coke maintained its long-standing brand message that a bottle of Coke can bring people together. Pepsi's ad just reminded me of the frustrations of dating.
Food: Doritos vs. Snickers
Just like Pepsi, Doritos crowd-sourced their Super Bowl ads, but with a greater degree of success (IMO). This ad seemed the strongest to me because it hit just the right degree of absurdity without breaking the laws of science. Plus, whoever plays that creepy cheese lover really nailed his role. I'm not sure if that's something to be proud of, but it certainly might win you a non-existent Bill Bernbach trophy.
Snickers decided to continue with their previous "You're not you when you're hungry" campaign, this time substituting Betty White for Richard Lewis and Roseanne Barr. Instead of turning weak, hunger happens to make these burly lumberjacks whiny, which is coincidentally the same effect watching "American Loggers" has on me.
I loved the Betty White ad from last year's Super Bowl, but I was hoping for something different this year. Sadly, Snickers gave me a very similar ad with two people that simply aren't as lovable as Betty White. Doritos on the other hand, has made finger licking an entirely unsettling practice, and that will stick with you long after the Super Bowl.
Alcohol: Bud Light vs. Stella Artois
Bud Light came with a bevy of ads this year (what's new), from which I picked my favorite. This ad demonstrates the immense lift a bucket of Bud Light can give to property values, a nifty trick I'm sure many Americans wish was real; but even if it doesn't work, at least you have a bucket of beer to drown away your sorrows.
Stella Artois released this stylish and moody TV spot featuring Academy Award-winner Adrien Brody as a French crooner in an underground jazz bar, whose emotional performance pivots on the availability of Stella.
Winner: Bud Light
While I'll be the first to admit that the bar in the Stella ad looks like my kinda hangout, I can also attest to the fact that unless you are an Academy Award-winning actor, singing in a false French accent is really more weird than sexy. On the other hand, my girlfriend loves watching HGTV and the gentle ribbing Bud Light gives to the home improvement genre offers some levity to my memories of having to watch actual HGTV, which usually puts me in a dark place.
Services: Cars.com vs. CarMax
Cars.com went the route of Cars the movie (the most underrated of Pixar movies) with anthropomorphised automobiles discussing their respective reviews from Cars.com. The ad relies on humorous copy and a love of inhuman things acting like humans.
CarMax went with a joke built around the classic idiom "kid in a candy store." The ad runs through several absurd scenarios where a noun is in awe of a stereotypically appropriate setting (e.g. mermaid at a swim meet). This chain of absurdity eventually leads back to the car-buyer at a CarMax lot.
Though I loved the movie Cars, I can't condone the use of animated cars as a concept for an online car retailer. Similarly, idioms are usually a corny and cliched concept to build an ad upon. This contest rests in the execution and in that arena, they were very closely matched. CarMax came out on top because the progression of increasingly absurd scenarios is just a stickier idea than inanimate objects that talk. There are already so many ads with talking things. Plus, the copy just doesn't stack up against the awesomeness of Cars the movie.
Cars: Volkswagen vs. Chrysler
Car commercials were by far the most prevalent commercials this year. There were quite a few good ones, which made it very difficult to narrow down to just two. However, because so many car brands are owned by the same parent company, I decided to consolidate those brands to simplify the process. Eventually, I decided that I would go with Volkswagen vs. Chrysler because their respective commercials were probably the most popular and notable of the pack.
Volkswagen's popular "The Force" TV spot had a miniature Darth Vader innocuously terrorizing the Domestic Star with little avail until his Dad (immaculate conception my ass) arrives home in his 2012 Passat.
Chrysler went hard as a- Detroit rapper for their spot in which Eminem closes up a long and gripping voice-over that espouses the virtues of the once automotive capital of the world, breathing life into the promise of a renewed industrial Golden Age in the heart of America.
The Chrysler ad was fantastic. It had inspiring voice-over narration, dramatic music, plus art direction that brought to mind visions of The Sopranos and The Wire, both amazing shows that used their respective gritty settings as integral characters. It positioned Chrysler as a phoenix, poised for a resplendent resurgence lit by the crimson glow of molten steel and the effulgent sparks of spot-welding (see, I can be sophisticated too, Mr. Raspy voice-over guy). It also tapped into American pride and intertwined the Chrysler brand with the hard struggle of Detroit, imbuing the brand with all the semantic highs and lows that come with the storied city. However, when you take a few Prozacs and look past the high-octane emotions of the ad, there are some odd curiosities that arise. For instance, the copy starts on luxury but ends on conviction and experience with a weak transition to tie the two together. Furthermore, the narrative has Eminem walking into a vacant theater where a gospel choir is singing harmony to the ad's backing track (an Eminem song) for a non-existent audience (is this a metaphor?). These are great emotional triggers, but are all obviously contrived scenarios with no reasonable rationale behind them. On the other hand, Volkswagen's ad twinkles with with its innocence, humor, and relatability. The initial camera shot of the white hallway is a perfect recreation of the original introduction to Darth Vader in Star Wars, which was a nice touch. Furthermore, the branding fit perfectly with the fun and carefree personality of Volkswagen. They were able to maintain the core personality of their brand without dipping into a strange world of contrived story-telling and celebrity endorsements. It was a simpler way to show what bearing a VW badge is all about. All in all, the two were some of the best ads of the night.
That's all for now, as I've run out of directly competing brands to match up. Obviously, there were many more ads aired, and many of those are worth watching (some not so much), so go check them out. Just keep in mind that there's more to the success of a brand then their Super Bowl ad (i.e. online integration and social media strategy *cough* *cough*). If you were hoping for a final showdown to determine one commercial champion to rule them all, I'm sorry to disappoint, but there's no reason to compare apples to oranges.
What i found so compelling in this photographic retrospective by James Minchin III was the induction of modern elements into people we typically see as these character from another era. Rolling Stone goes behind the scenes for a great photo editorial depicting the shows creation. This is probably one of the best art directed shows on television right now and these shots really capture the process that goes into the creation of such a great show.