Monday, March 28, 2011

In a perfect world...

This past week I've been searching for an ad that I think is done poorly. The most significant theme I found within ads that I deemed to be unworthy of airtime were ones that involved sub-par acting.
At first I thought of that obnoxious "I'm going to school in my pajamas" commercial, but then I thought no--too obvious. All of those low-budget infomercial type ads are likely to be terrible. Especially local ones.
So I dug deeper.
I saw an ad during the BYU game when I watched it online streaming live from TBS. It was for the Motorola Xoom tablet. And it was really bad. But I couldn't find it anywhere when I looked for it later.
So I racked my brain for the commercials that make me want to throw my over-sized remote at the TV every time they come on.
And I thought of this man:

The horribly annoying State Eddie Matos.
I thought that maybe I was alone in my fuming hatred for this man and his commercials, but then I found articles like this one, and noticed that on the youtube videos featuring him there were about 90% dislikes and 10% likes for each one.
I don't know what it is about this spokesperson that gets under everyone's skin. Is it his teenager-in-the-90s hairstyle? His cocky, smiley demeanor? His racial ambiguity? His eerie resemblance to Tom Cruise?
I'm not quite sure. But there is definitely something about him that strikes an off chord with the public.
In his commercials, Matos is filmed in very casual, everyday settings. Like this coffee shop scene:

(Notice the man's face outside the shop at the beginning, haha)
I can understand the appeal that State Farm was looking for when they started this campaign. They found what they thought to be an average looking guy who could state facts about their company in a friendly, confidant way. They put him in the middle of urban scenes surrounded by "normal people" going about their business. I can imagine the vision State Farm had for it all. They hoped to send a message that State Farm is made up of friendly, normal, relate-able people that are easily accessible and quite literally, your "neighbors".
They did not however, anticipate the unfriendly, bizarre, and distant vibes that Matos would exude in his scenes. Instead of making the audience feel comfortable, he manages to isolate them by not making eye contact with anyone around him, and giving the overall experience a very staged feel.
If I could rescue this campaign I think I would start with either replacing Matos, or exposing the public's distaste for him.
State Farm has evidenced their sense of humor with their new "magic jingle" campaign.
Perhaps they could "kill off" Matos's character in an obviously comical commercial.
(Excuse my stolen graphics from the rage comics guy)
Say we start off with a Matos look-a-like (by this time the real Matos has been fired, and there's no way he would agree to filming his own death sentence). This doppleganger is obnoxiously stealing lines from one of his "agents" like he does in that one commercial:

In the next frame, all the agents from past commercials gather around fake-Matos wielding bats and other threatening objects, giving him the stink-eye:

Next, there is a close up of one of the agents saying the jingle to fake-Matos:

And then, simply, the next frame is of all the agents standing around happily as they pitch their information about State Farm:

So there is my brilliant idea on how to right the wrong that is Eddie Matos. If it seems a bit extreme, we could always just have him throw on a snuggie and some pajama jeans and I'm sure his likeability would increase tenfold...
(Or maybe they should just stop running his commercials and stick with those funny ones where Bob Barker shows up.)

Friday, March 11, 2011

"I can help you compose a tweet...if you like...?"

Lately I've been thinking about writing a screenplay for a smash hit movie.
I was thinking about the way in which my characters would converse and get to know each other. I want two people to fall in love--obviously-->

And I want the movie to be realistic to some extent. Like relate-able to the world right now...

But guess what.
The way people interact and get to know each other most of the time these days is through texting and facebook. Like how do people make new romantic comedies without facebook?! That's just not real life for this generation...
Of course I wouldn't want to write all that social media into my movie. It would be so cliche and boooring. Right?

Which got me to thinking about advertising.
It is very clear that advertisers now have to communicate using a huge number of resources. Facebook, aps, twitter, television, internet television, youtube, radio, billboards, website banners, ETC.
But does using all of these social media and cluttered technology as an actual subject in ads take away from the credibility of them, the way that it might in the use of films?
When used with humor, integration of social media into the subject of ads seems to be successful. Like this one:

Makes me laugh every time. Or maybe this one:

Also pretty funny. But these ads are both related to cell phones...
Does discussion of social media have a place in ads otherwise? Like an ad for oreos or a furniture store...?
I think I'm rambling now and confusing myself.
It's just so strange to think about social media becoming such a big part of our lives and society that they are now normal parts of our everyday conversation.

I would think that a really truly effective ad would be able to convey its message without discussing aps, or robots, or facebooks, or tumblers. A really great ad stands the test of time.
Coke time.

Monday, March 7, 2011

All kinds of crazy.

Ads have to be created creatively. Thus, there are certain delivery techniques that can be used. Here are two of them:

1. Demonstration:
Almost every acne cleansing face wash commercial uses the demonstration method. How many times have you been grossed out by watching the liquid rush into a pore full of mysterious green and brown substances...? Too many times. But certain campaigns need demonstration in order for their product to be convincing and to sell.
Another good example of this strategy is in dental hygiene advertising. Take this whitening commercial for example:

It's attractive because it shows the viewer not only how to use the product, but the results that come with its use.

2. Slice of Life:
Initially I thought of the Celtrixa commercial that is currently on TV. "Girl, don't get all offended, but what happened to your stretch marks?!" Unfortunately this ad is not to be found on the internet as far as I can tell...
In this structure people discuss their problems and then the product is introduced. This is pretty much the formula for every infomercial. Also all those life insurance commercials where a loved one is convincing another loved one to try this new life insurance. I feel like this style of advertising is being used much less now than it once was. Consumers don't seem to buy into the staged feeling that these ads give. Here's a slice of life ad that actually uses two perspectives:

It is more effective because not only do we see the subjects discussing the problem amongst themselves, they also didactically address the audience in an interview setting.

In conclusion...