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.”




Stupor Bowl XLVII Champion: Goats

There is hope for the future, but the present is largely lost. Colin Kaepernick outplayed the Ravens, but early troubles and late no-calls (referees) and bad calls (coaches) doomed the 49ers hopes at a comeback victory. Much like aging fossil and erstwhile deer antler aficionado Ray Lewis, the tired baby boomers on Madison Avenue failed to deliver even one meaningful contribution to the biggest day in television advertising.

Budweiser earned some sniffles with the life cycle of a Clydesdale with separation anxiety. It’s nice that the horse bonded with the trainer, but the ad doesn’t speak very highly of the living conditions for Clyde as a member of the pulling team. Or for his safety in their care. Unless galloping freely down city streets is a good idea. I can’t be sure.

It’s an ad focused on a compelling story. But pair this story with the latest and greatest “upscale” Budweiser product, “Black Crown” (which follows “Platinum” and “Select” and on and on as inane attempts to take upscale a nasty beer), and A-B has seriously missed the mark on trying to get people to buy their products. Hint: start making regional craft beer. That’s what people drink. Stop trying to make yet another beer with “more taste” that perfectly multicultural rich people in immense houses will exclusively sip while being toasted by a man in an apron. What’s that? Those people don’t exist? Oh, right. No wonder A-B marketshare is tanking. Must be time to buy up some more competition.

The best ad of the evening was from Doritos. Naturally, it came from their crowd-sourced ideas campaign. No major agency = no terrible misogynistic ad campaigns. Audi’s attempt at youth empowerment yielded a sexual assault and a young driver speeding. Classy. (A huge fall from their tow truck driver “QUATTTTTRRROOOOOO!” goodness from last year.) GoDaddy aims for the bottom deliberately, so they don’t even merit a mention. Someday, the fact that women comprise more than half of the adult population will penetrate the brains of Madison Ave. Until then, expect the trash to continue.

So, on to the winner. A single white guy (I’d have used Bjorn Johnson) wanders aimlessly through a neighborhood only to come across a goat for sale. Disregarding the neck brace of the seated single white guy offering the goat for sale, our bearded hero (let’s call him, “Beardy”) sees nothing but good times ahead, and proceeds home with the goat (I’ve named the goat “Nacho”). What to feed the goat? Doritos! Convenient, because Beardy also loves Doritos. Not, it seems, as much as does Nacho, who loudly devours every chip in sight. The empty cupboard elicits a human shriek from Nacho (then another), which, along with Nacho’s understated neck-brace wearing prior owner, combine to deliver the spot to first place this year. Diversity disclaimer: only single white guys would consider a goat pet and a Doritos diet, so it’s OK for the only humans in the ad to be white men (sort-of men). How’d they make it? Here is how.

Too Sexy (Obese) for My Shirt

W. K. Kellogg, founder of the Kellogg Company, would be quite proud of the latest round of advertising for Pop Tarts. After all, he pioneered both nutrition labeling and inclusion of toys for kids in his packaging. Pop Tarts are a natural culmination of his work: food with less nutritional content than the packaging, marketed as toys!

The ad is amazingly straightforward and honest.

Colorless tubby blobs wander aimlessly through a monochrome world. Parents, these are your children. Yes, this ad is directed at you, because “I’m too Sexy” by Right Said Fred was released 21 years ago.

Boom! Bright colors and patterns! Bright things must be foods, so eat them! Woooo, look, when I eat all of those artificial colors, my pasty self turns colors too! Just like inside me really does! And I get a sugar buzz – naturally – ’cause there is at least 16 – 18 grams of sugar in these things. It’s listed on the label as High Fructose Corn Syrup, but I know it’s really just Corn Sugar.

“Pop Tarts. How good does your favorite flavor make you feel?” (Implication: pretty f’n great!)

“Introducing new wild fruit fusion.” (No actual wild fruit or fusion ingredients)

“Try on the latest must-have flavor.” (Prediction: obesity awaits)

“Pop Tarts. Joylicious.”

Pretty soon you’ll be too “sexy” for your shirt too. It will no longer fit.

Drive-Thru Diet

Taco Bell has a long history of fairly fun, interesting ads. Some are funny, because they’ve engineered them to be funny.

Some are funny because, well, c’mon – Drive-Thru Diet?

Christine, imagined as a hipper counterpart to equally unimaginative fast food dieter Jared Fogle of Subway, somehow found a way to eat taco bell food and lose weight. What’s that, you say? Visit the informative Drive-Thru Diet website for more info! Sure Christine! How soon can I click?

Ah, the details. She lost half a pound per week for two years by eating only 1250 calories per day, down from her previous apparent gluttony of eating 1750 per day. But she didn’t have to give up that yummy fast food! What else Christine? What else?

I am totally on board now. I can make a FRESCOLUTION! That’s a Fres-Co-Lution, or FRe-SCol-Ution – no – FRESCO-lution. Maybe they’ll tell me how to pronounce it when they start sending me my “e-couragement” cards!

But I find my eyes wandering. What’s that up there beside the Drive-Thru Diet?

OK, I’m thinking outside the bun. What, pray tell, could FOURTHMEAL be? It’s right there beside the Diet, but eating a fourth meal doesn’t seem to be consistent with the idea of a diet. Let’s click on over.

Aha! FOURTHMEAL is the meal between dinner and breakfast. Surprisingly, no Drive-Thru Diet items are available at FOURTHMEAL. Because, of course, if you’re on the Drive-Thru Diet, you’ll have already consumed your daily ration of calories by the time you’re having SECONDMEAL.

The Drive-Thru Diet campaign could not be more cynical. Taco Bell food cannot reasonably be considered a part of any healthy eating plan. Sure, if you ingest two ounces of neon volcano nacho cheese daily, forsaking all other foods, you’ll soon lose weight. And friends. You’d need some severely delusional rationalization skills to believe you’re likely to lose weight while making a run (for you, fatty, that’s drive) to the border.

Taco Bell’s FOURTHMEAL campaign is, by contrast, the most sincere pitch they can muster. When you have no other options, because sane places are closed, here is something to eat. Oh, and you can also buy it for lunch and dinner, but we won’t pretend it’s healthy.

Honesty. How reFrescoing.

Brand Power

You’ve seen these ads.

You’ve wondered if they were Saturday Night Live sketches.

Nope. They’re for real.

But wait. There’s more.

This company has successfully convinced various manufacturers that their 1950s schtick will actually attract customers. But everything about these ads is bad. The awful supermarket set, the plastic Stepford wife spokesmodel and the small-market TV news graphics package combine to make for 30 miserable seconds of viewing.

But if you listen closely, you’ll hear what makes these ads transcend mere weak fluff. While informative “facts” are written across the screen, hear the attending video game machine gun typewriter sounds. This is an action-adventure movie trick usually used to provide small details of the setting of a scene. It’s most frequently employed when the director is too lazy to provide contextual details sufficient to inform the viewer of the setting. You’ve seen it – a computer-y sounding printout at the bottom of the screen: “08:00 GMT Scotland Yard” or “Moon Base Delta – 3 Days Before Impact.”

You’ve been trained to hear that noise and make sure you don’t miss what’s being written on the screen. So you perk up, and find out that Brand Power is dropping some of their sausage “Facts and Value” on you. What facts can be learned about sausage? Well, did we mention that Johnsonville Chicken Sausage (which one can rightly assume is made by Johnsonville Sausage Company) has 100% Johnsonville taste. Whoa. Profound. So glad I tuned in.

Fortunately, Brand Power has been lampooned properly all around the world. Here’s my favorite, from Australia.

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…?”

Start with a Classic

In world in which all problems have been solved, Jason Alexander offers the solution to the problem nobody has been having, spawning a major branch of future advertising more frequently associated with pharmaceuticals.

The McDLT. It could be the best tasting lettuce and tomato hamburger (pause for skeptical look) ever!

Accosting eager passersby with a delicious solution to the apparently ubiquitous problem of mushy, warm veg on their (ostensibly) “beefy” meat patties, Alexander sings and dances his way to wickedBADvertising glory.

This is a wickedBADvertisement for several reasons.

1. The song: “Beefy” isn’t a word to sing. Let’s get that out in front. The McDLT is for adults only, based on the childless world in which it is being offered. Everyone is sterile and there are no more children. They have all clearly given up on their hair and wardrobes. All of the non-whites in this town have lost all self-respect (and rhythm), Ronald McDonald is nowhere to be seen, and there is no PlayPlace under the golden arches. The horror. However, people do seem to be awfully chummy and agreeable (despite the intolerable circumstances of rampant soggy lettuce), so maybe the no-kids world isn’t so bad. Interestingly, only a few years after the McDLT was discontinued, McDonald’s introduced the Arch Deluxe… which they marketed directly and explicitly to adults. It flopped. Clearly adults need to be stealthily marketed to with a sneaky strategy such as…

2. Ad Solves a Problem Created by Advertiser: Burgers only previously had the condition of soggy veg due to McDonalds’ habit of having burgers prepared (hours?) in advance and tossed down a tin chute into a heating area. In the ozone-busting Styrofoam confines of the burger clamshell, irony would kick in to create a micro-greenhouse effect – steaming and reducing to flaccid mush the flavorless iceberg and unripe beefsteak. Buuuuuuttttt…

3. Blame the Customer: Clearly, this two-chambered container can’t be necessary due to McDonald’s product or practices being flawed, so it must be your fault, loyal customer. It’s during transit that everything gets all gross – so we don’t serve McDLT sandwiches to customers who sit in the dining room. Except that we do. Ooops.

4. Global Slogan Tie-in: Yep, you remember it, “It’s a good time, for the great taste, of McDonald’s.” This was one of many jingles McDonald’s has used to poison your childhood memories, and it couldn’t be left out of any ad. “Big Mac, fillet o’ fish, quarter pounder, french fries…” Earworm planting is a cardinal offense. McDonald’s current slogan, “I’m lovin’ it!” has been etching itself into your brain since 2003.

Sum: I actually have a fondness for this ad. It’s set in a post-apocalyptic yuppie universe in which Cop Rock is a perennial winner of all Best Drama awards. Bankers and joggers, tradesman and minstrels join in the communal joy, welcoming each other with song and dance and showing no class barriers. I’m lovin’ it.