What’s funny? Stalking.

Everybody loves a nice, lighthearted joke about stalking right?

All. Day. Long. Stalking jokes.

Yep, everybody is going to love our new stalker-themed Jeep ad.


Except, maybe, the 6.6 million people who are victims of stalking every year. So what if, you know, roughly a quarter of women experience stalking at some point in their lives. Those people might not be able to take a joke. Whatevs. So what if stalking is a crime in 50 states. It’s not like it’s always a felony. Can’t people take a joke?

See, when funny and cute girls are the stalkers, it’s super funny and cute. It’s comedy gold! So memorable; so much less edgy than those rape jokes we eventually decided not to use after that killjoy focus group. Plus, it’s only like 7% of men who’ve been stalked. Well, at least that’s how many wusses admit it. Women would never stalk other women, duh, so it’s not like this could upset anybody. Hell, most men would totally be excited if they had a stalker. Amirite?

Better idea: let’s put a stalker joke in a promoted tweet so it’s effectively stalking people too!


Is Mankind Terrence?

I’m a huge Terrence Malick fan. So, this ad feels very familiar. Tone, lighting, angles, rising music, disembodied possibly subconscious stilted yet poetic internal dialogue leaking out, etc., all are Malick-esque. One of Malick’s recent films was called, “To the Wonder,” which could easily have been (and maybe should have been) the title of this ad.

As a consequence, my experience of this ad is that it feels borrowed. Which might be perfect for AirBNB.

The pull to the great unknown bright light beyond the window isn’t merely impossible to resist, it’s also the aspiration. It’s growing up. It’s meeting the unknown with an outstretched hand of friendship. It’s empathy borne of direct experience. It’s the enormity of possibility we never fully grasp. It’s the richer life cultivated through better understanding others. It’s completely up to us to define.

These themes are lovely, and might work for AirBNB if they were permitted to emerge without the action-step suggestions in the dialogue (and tweets) that seem to be distracting to so many viewers. They’re limiting, and seem out of sync with the breadth of the visual possibilities. The turns of phrase meant to sound profound come across as gross underestimations of what it would take to make them truly meaningful.

“Go look through their windows, so you can understand their views.” Yuck. This doesn’t mean the panoramic vistas beyond the glass, it means the potentially different belief systems deeply held by those living on the inside. Those whose belongings you’re renting. And with whom you may never interact personally.

How will I find out if Man is Kind by slurping a latte while planted at someone else’s breakfast bar in Toronto? If I’m using the portion of AirBNB that’s all about sharing a room when the owner is also home, I could see it. But it’s a real stretch to connect, and if I’ve never heard of AirBNB, I’m not going to know anything more about it after this spot. More importantly, the people who share the ethos of the best possible take-away messaging of this ad are probably already AirBNB users. AirBNB needs retirees and Baby Boomers and non true-believer/ dreamer/ travelers to start using the service. And some AirBNB providers just want more bookings, not self-selected opt-ins for transformative cultural exchange. So they’re not optimally served by the ad.

Why is using AirBNB instead of a hotel or time-share or all-inclusive resort any more likely to fulfill the ad’s goal of discovering if Man is Kind? It might be faster to learn that “no” is the answer by observing the poverty surrounding the gates of a Dominican Republic destination resort. Some of that is up to me, and what I’m willing to see. No matter whose windows I’m looking through.

Hey, Must Bee The Misogyny!

The Cheerios Bee is back with a new look. He’s trying to get all the young hip-hop kids to choose Cheerios.

Upon reflection, it seems he’s trying to get that average white couple to ditch their milquetoast brunch and eat cereal instead.

Singing a cute, sanitized version of Nelly’s “Ride Wit Me” from 2000, the blinged-out bee encourages viewers to “take something tasty and healthy.” Apparently there is a “party going on in your cereal bowl, aaaalllzzz can have lower cholesterol.”

I’m going to interpret “aaalllzzz” to mean either, “y’allls” (which means seriously plural y’all), or “allz” (which means something like “all so” [you]). Either version leads naturally into “can have lower cholesterol,” so it’s hard to be sure. In any case, the reason for these health benefits “must be the honey.” Because that makes sense.

About as much sense as it makes to use a song and attendant cultural references from 2000 to market your product in 2014. How did that original song go anyway? (explicit)

Don’t worry, you need not read too far. Within the first few lines (thanks AZ Lyrics), you get:

If you wanna go and take a ride wit me
We three-wheelin in the fo’ with the gold D’s
Oh why do I live this way? (Hey, must be the money!)

If you wanna go and get high wit me
Smoke a L in the back of the Benz-y
Oh why must I feel this way? (Hey, must be the money!)

In the club on the late night, feelin right
Lookin tryin to spot somethin real nice
Lookin for a little shorty hot and horny so that I can take home
(I can take home)
She can be 18 (18) wit an attitude
or 19 kinda snotty actin real rude
Boo, as long as you a thicky thicky thick girl you know that it’s on
(Know that it’s on)
I peep something comin towards me up the dance floor
Sexy and real slow (hey)
Sayin she was peepin and I dig the last video
So when Nelly, can we go; how could I tell her no?
Her measurements were 36-25-34
Yellin I like the way you brush your hair
And I like those stylish clothes you wear
I like the way the light hit the ice and glare
And I can see you moving way over there

It gets better, later. If by better you mean more misogynistic and riddled with sex. And N-words aplenty. All the kinds of things you want people to fondly remember when you try to sell a product today. One might similarly consider re-purposing Jimmy Buffett’s “Why Don’t We Get Drunk and Screw” as “Why Don’t We Build Stuff With Screws” in a hardware commercial. Drinking, more drinking, sex. All the things you’d want people to remember when designing a new deck.

But wait, there’s more. It’s a complete series of commercials, all featuring slightly different lyrics. “So much crunch, can you handle this?”


And, of course, the remix.

The Bee does look a bit sheepish in a few sections. Maybe he hasn’t quite mastered the dance moves, or perhaps he’s is peering into the audience for his mother’s reassuring smile. You can hear his internal dialogue if you try. “There, was that good enough?” or “Did I do OK?” But really, he’s got to be thinking, “I really hope they don’t remember.”



Canada’s part of America, right?

Wal*Mart has a new campaign highlighting a new focus on a “pledge” to buy American products while “honoring” the (ostensibly) American workers who make them. Whatever “honoring” means, it must not include encouraging unionization. But hey, classic rock and some vaguely Monday Night Football-esque scenes of hardscrabble steel workers screams AMERICA!

The problem is this: the person and band screaming AMERICA! in the classic rock anthem “Working Man” selected for this “Made in the USA” jingole (that’s a jingoistic jingle) is Geddy Lee and Rush. Rush, the band from CANADA. See: Wikipedia even covers Canadian Bands.

But Canada is part of America, right?

#Never Forget

The anniversary of September 11, 2001 continues to seem like a golden opportunity to cash in on the raw emotions felt by many Americans. If you’re tone-deaf and completely idiotic.

This tweet went out on AT&T’s account this morning. Naturally, it’s subsequently been removed.

AT&T 9/11 Advertisement

Thanks to the Huffington Post for the screenshot

“Never Forget” requests the tweet.

I’m willing to bet someone forgets how bad an idea this is before 365 days have elapsed.