Broderick, Broderick…

Ferris Bueller, you’re my hero.

Except, not really anymore.

Here is the whole, uncut, extendo-version.

It’s amusing. It’s an homage. It’s a clever remake.

It’s pretty much a complete sellout, and delivers a heartbreaking message: Even if you were as cool as Ferris Bueller, when you get old, you have no friends and have to drive a Honda CR-V instead of a Ferrari.

Broderick goes to the museum. Alone.

To the Amusement Park. Alone.

To the Racetrack. Alone.

To the Beach. Alone.

To Dinner. Alone.

Whatever – even without Cameron or Sloane, it’s fun. “The Hangover” and “Old School” director Todd Philips packs the two and a half minute Ferris-fest with many, many, many little pieces of the original film. Cameron’s Detroit Red Wings sweater makes an appearance. The CR-V boasts a “SO CHOICE” license plate. But the ad wouldn’t have been complete without the iconic Ferris Bueller vest. It’s there. Did you catch it?

Nostalgia aside, however, the message is somewhat better than the current Honda “Leap List” spots. Although the people composing such lists do at least seem to have companions in their lives…

Maybe Broderick should have actually called in sick on this one?


Super Bowl XLVI Ad Preview

With a little over a week to go before the Super Bowl, advertisers are busy ramping up the expectations for what promises to be a slew of violence and/or misogyny-themed (Go-Daddy!, anyone?) commercials. Of course, there are always exceptions. A few of the early sneak-peaks have got me intrigued. Yep, I’m a sucker for this stuff. Why might that be?

I’m now the target demographic.

I’m a thirty-something male. I grew up in the ’80s and ’90s. So, naturally, I must be nostalgic for all things ’80s and ’90s, right? Madonna is the half-time show performer. (Disclosure: Borderline is one of the best songs ever, but she’ll instead be singing Holiday) Ferris Bueller promises to return, selling, well, Hondas. And Star Wars will be represented too, sort of. What more could a guy ask for?!? How about those flying cars they were promising us back in the ’80s. Hondas are great and all, but c’mon!

First up: Save Ferris

Please. Save Ferris. He should have taken Sloane and driven off into the sunset. What’s that? He did? Oh, and they had a few dozen kids? And now he’s driving a Honda. Wait – I drive a Honda! I’m just as cool as Ferris! Everything’s coming up Milhouse!

What if I’m anti-Ferris? I don’t want to drive a Honda. Maybe I went backpacking in Europe in the ’90s and learned about sweet, reliable German cars. OOOoooooohhhh! Cute Doggies!!! AND STAR WARS!!!!!

The dogs are barking the song from Star Wars (Nerds: Yes, I know it’s the Imperial March from The Empire Strikes Back) that featured prominently in last year’s excellent and enjoyable Gen-X targeted ad. But now, it’s being rendered by a menagerie of ill-mannered barking dogs, and mini-Darth is nowhere to be seen. VW has produced some exceptional ads over the years, so I’ll reserve judgment on this one. However, this ad is evidently just a teaser for the actual Super Bowl ad, so the eventual ad could stink. We shall see. But if you’re impressed by auto-tuned dogs merely barking… you should see this (it’s not an ad):

Whew, that was fun.

And now a quick look back at my favorite Super Bowl Ad of all time.

Executed with a deep commitment to the bit, “Cat Herders” will always remind me that genuinely creative and smart people are still out there trying to sell me something. The ad is a big metaphor for the many elements that go into providing the services rendered by EDS, and to the dedication that their people have to “managing the complexities of the digital economy.” Little details stand out: camaraderie between herdsmen, an allergic sneeze, the use of a pet-hair roller and a ball of yarn being re-wound. It’s flawless, and never fails to lift my spirits when I see another terrible Go-Daddy! ad.

Now, let the Super Bowl Ads begin!

Mute, Every Time

Confession: I rarely watch commercials. Like many semi-technically adept TV viewers, I’ve got a DVR, and prefer to watch a select few shows on my own schedule. This enables me to fast-forward through the ads plugging up 1/3 of the run time so that I can spend less time watching TV and more time playing Penny Can!

But sometimes I’m curious. I’ll play the commercials. I’ll wonder what clever idea some young ad executive has come up with to lull the drooling masses into giddy submission. And I’ll be subjected to this.

This pig got his start in a prior campaign, in which he was named Maxwell.

Ha ha, did you see? How clever! The pig did go “weee, wee, weee” all the way home. Hence, GEICO can really save you… blah blah blah.

But Maxwell is now destined to become another tired retread GEICO character competing with the caveman and the gecko for most annoying GEICO spokes-creature. Here, he’s on a zip line, for no good reason. He defies physics, passing a guy on a parallel zip line while accelerating and decelerating at will. He’s still carrying the pinwheels from the first ad (although they are now blue instead of green – Maxwell is a big pinwheel collector). Apparently pinwheels are the most fun thing anyone at GEICO can come up with to distract everyone from the annoyance of the pig continuing to go “weee, wee, weee” all the way everywhere. GEICO’s ad team doesn’t even know what to do with him, so they use him to promote their new GEICO mobile app.

Maxwell’s insistence on “weee”-ing everywhere actually undercuts the argument made in the initial ad. Clearly, he’s not on his way home, but rather enjoying some solo recreational time. If his “weee”-ing in the initial ad was actually a quotation taken out of context, GEICO may indeed NOT really save you… blah blah blah. But I suppose no mention was made in the nursery rhyme of the little piggy’s verbosity during times not homeward-bound, so it’s impossible to determine if GEICO can really save you…

Clearly, the boss’s mom really liked Maxwell, and word came down from on high that he better make another appearance. Get a hobby, boss’s mom!


What could be more social than tailgating? Beer, brats, bros – the elements are all there for a wonderful day of sports enjoyment.

If you watch a sporting event on TV, you’ll see an average of 4, 362 ads during the course of the event. At least 200% of these ads will be staged at a tailgate party or at a viewing gathering at a bar or house. The announcers of the game have a 92% chance of giving you 5.2 useless and inane statistics per breath while saying, “…you talk about the X…,” and, “…from the standpoint of…” in 55.8% of sentences during clear weather – unless it’s the playoffs, when the number drops to 44.8%.

But if you’re actually at a tailgate party, surrounded by merry friends, monomaniacal fans and a misappropriated feline, AT&T has a best-practices guide for your behavior. Be a jagoff.

The basics:

Your Friend: “Hey, buddy, I care about you and like for you to feel included. Did you hear this really interesting news I just heard?”
You: “Um, yeah, jackass – heard that already – Where have you been?”

Advanced cases:

Your friend: “Hey guys! I respect your knowledge and would like to learn how to do something. Can you help me?”
You: “You’re dumb – we already know how to do that and won’t help you learn.”


Your friend: “I love you and don’t want you to be eaten by a tig-”
You: “Dude, the tiger is already full.”

All of the sweet, thoughtful people in the ad are dismissed as behind-the-times, and we’re supposed to want to emulate the only two d-bags.

This isn’t the only version of the ad. Though the heroes are now women, the same “emulate the a-hole” dynamics are hard at work here too. Terrible.


Any Pizza, Any Topping, Any Size (‘Cept One)

Ah, the fine print. Destroying good sounding deals for years.

This ad features a customer entrant to the “Top This” contest that Pizza Hut has been running on BookFace.

Here, Pizza Hut offers, “… any pizza, for $10, it’s for real.”

Then comes the snazzy chorus, “any pizza, any toppings, any crust… there’s no stoppin’, you decide – for $10 you can buy…” which repeats a few times to make sure you’re properly earwormed. I am. Though not as bad as with this song from Drive.

If you eat what Pizza Hut is selling, it seems like the best deal since the, “Regular Price, Four Bucks” deal from 1990.

While you’re distracted by the moving text lyrics, there is some mouse type across the bottom. It turns out the deal is not, “for real.”

The text reads: ADDITIONAL CHARGE FOR STUFFED CRUST PIZZA AND EXTRA CHEESE. So, any stuffed crust pizza costs more, as does any pizza ( any crust) with extra cheese as a topping. As they encourage, “you decide.” It’s clearly not ANY pizza, ANY topping or ANY crust for just $10.

Just how much would they lose by including a little bit more cheese in the deal when weighed against the volume of extra business they might pick up? Conveniently, we’ve got a transcript of their last brain trust retreat junket in Plano, TX:

“Pizza margins are very low – we can’t include the Stuffie.” “OR Extra Cheese, Roger, It’s Too Much!” “Guys, guys, is $10 a price point threshold customers will not cross?” “What if we make it $12, throw in no delivery fee and include all pizzas, no fine print?” “That’s crazy talk!” “Blasphamy!” “Whoa, fellas. Let’s not think on it. We’re far better off making people cranky about a B.S. ad promise.” “Besides, our stores get that delivery fee anyway – we don’t give it to the delivery drivers!

I suppose the exception would be hard to work into the song. How ’bout, “Many pizzas, Many toppings, Many crusts…?”

Hit and Miss

iOS, Android, Blackberry and Windows Phone platforms aren’t the only thing being sold by phone manufacturers.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll have seen these two ads for the HTC Rezound, with Beats Audio. Beats Audio is Dr. Dre’s line of headphones, speakers and bass-heavy, “studio quality” audio gear.

In this piece, the Rezound enriches every aspect of the environment of the cab-riding Manhattanite early adopter. Manhole covers quiver with the beat, a crosswalk becomes a Tom Hanks-worthy piano for the feet, and the words “I feel awesome” fill your ears, repeat. Neat.

But something terrible happened on the way to selling the HTC Rezound.

Somebody watched Inception.

This spot’s hero is riding the subway. Inexplicably, he hasn’t been wearing his headphones while on the subway, but plants Dr. Dre’s ear buds deep when he reaches the street. Naturally, the world (which looks to be the set of How I Met Your Mother) starts exploding in slow motion.

This guy is a disaster. First off, he’s a Cubs fan. Really? Unlike his well-mannered co-Rezounder from the first ad, he eschews the crosswalk for a diagonal crossing of the street, all the while oblivious to the Inception outtakes playing around him. And when he gets a call? Yep, he plants his oblivious self in the middle of a street already narrowed by a construction site. Nice. I want to be just like him.

OK, the song makes reference to the world feeling what his beats feel. Great. Actually, no. Horrible.

Summoning Bad Ads from Nowhere

AT&T has been running this wickedBADvertisement since the launch of the new iPhone 4s.

An attractive young couple is getting ready to share a “Romantic Dinner” beneath a canopy of twinkle lights. A fire warms the patrons (and the spirit). Glasses and silverware clink as low, heartfelt conversations are had by all of the smiling and nodding couples in the ostensibly two-top only restaurant that serves hearty meals comprised of bread and water.

Then, we learn that the featured guy is a liar. He’s not paying attention to his lovely date. He’s watching the game on his phone in his lap. Oh, and clearly they’ve spoken about this issue already – he’s defensive at her suggestion that he might be multi-tasking their date. Which he is. So she backtracks, reminding him of earlier issues which have caused her to be a little, “over-sensitive.” Of course, we now know that she was right in the earlier situations too, making it all the more sad that she’s still with this guy. He’s basically lied his way into making her doubt herself all the time. He’s a good liar too – eye contact and all. He might believe his lies. He might not care who knows, so long as he gets what he wants from the situation. He might be a sociopath.

Fortunately (for her), they’re not married (pause at 0.16 to view his ring-less left hand, flailing demonstratively in deceptive protest). This guy is a class-A douche, but… he’s the ROLE MODEL in the ad.

Sales pitch: You too can effortlessly deceive your nagging, attention-wanting partner with our new, fast network.