Audio-Technica – “Audio 911”
Audio-Technica knew what they were doing when they brought in Marquese “NonStop” Scott for their Solid Bass headphones ad. The brand is a perfect match for the dance phenomenon whose Pumped Up Kicks Dubstep video has over 35 million YouTube views. Scott and his dancing have already been featured on the Ellen Show and CBS but it was only natural for NonStop to team up with a bass heavy brand like Audio-Technica. We like how subtly and cleverly the brand is used in the Audio 911 commercial. The headphones are perfect as a spoof defibrillator in the E.R., but it’s the music (dubstep to be precise) that is needed to bring Marquese back to life after having “no beat” left in his body. At over 3.5 minutes, this advertisement is meant for the web. There’s a clever introductory plot, but the focus of the video is on Marquese Scott’s dancing, a smart move considering that’s what has made him a success. One YouTube comment sums it up: “Wow, I didn’t even know this was a commercial.”
Dallas ADDYs 2012 – “The Mural”
There was a whole series of ads for this year’s Dallas ADDY awards, each one hilariously “ad obsessed.” It’s not surprising that the advertisements for an ad industry award show were entirely on point, but Dallas outdid themselves. Take a look for yourself at the array of disturbing depictions of our fellow advertising minds here.
We had to narrow it down however and the dad in “The Mural” is just too good … Or too wrong might be more like it. A mom finds her adorable toddler scribbling an interpretive masterpiece on the wall. When daddy comes in the room, we expect him to be peeved about the mess but, while the father is definitely disappointed, he isn’t upset about the wall. He approaches the child seriously, berating his sloppiness and lack of talent at 4 years old. The poor boy loves his daddy but, alas, has no knowledge of print advertising concerns like kerning, ligature, and typeface and so the intensely sarcastic father is sure his son has no future. “Keep it up and you’ll end up a copywriter,” he says. Ouch.
Another gem from the series is “The Sneeze.” It’s a straightforward depiction of a an ad-obsessed woman who desperately needs a tissue (we repeat, desperately) but the only paper she has is a napkin with mock-up notes scribbled all over. She continues to ride the bus, committed as she is, with snot dripping down past her mouth.
Hyundai Azera – “Modern Life”
Hyundai played it pretty low key for the Super Bowl this year. Their Rocky themed ad didn’t receive much attention at all after Chevy, Honda, Kia and Volkswagen pulled out all the stops. This leads us to believe that rather than get lost in the circus of Super Bowl spots, Hyundai waited in the wings for a far less expected Academy Awards debut. They produced a clever and colorful pair of ads for Oscar night that beloved director Wes Anderson shot for the brand. The spots would have been underappreciated by a football audience but they’ve instead been applauded by the film-loving crowd of the Oscars. Both are beautifully shot in the director’s signature style. In “Modern Life,” Anderson’s uses his knack for scenes of perfectly orchestrated chaos to depict a father trying to prepare what looks like a five-course dinner in a house full of rambunctious kids and retro clutter. His wife calmly gives him instructions over the phone whilst a brood of creative children bang drums, slam doors and run around dressed like it’s Halloween. Pan to the serene driveway setting just outside where mom is relaxing in her Azera, pretending to be stuck in traffic as Hyundai muses that they may have made the new car a little too comfortable.
“Talk To My Car” is everything Anderson. We see all of the retro colors, childhood scenery and chopped-up-doll-house camera work for which Anderson is known. Classic imaginary machines like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’s flying contraption, an underwater craft that also serves as a nod to Life Aquatic and a Knight Rider knockoff each play a part in this kitschy commercial for Hyundai’s Blue Link technology that allows drivers to live the dream and finally talk to our cars.
Miracle Whip – “The Village”
We think this brand’s self-aware approach to changing consumer opinion is the best way to go. The ad is a literary spoof on the Scarlett Letter, using the well-known fact that Miracle Whip lovers are often forced to be ashamed of their brand loyalty. Miracle Whip is a brand who doesn’t take themselves too seriously. After Stephen Colbert dissed the sweet and tangy mayo alternative, they bought every ad slot during an episode as if to say “We will not be ignored.” In their Oscar ad debut, Miracle Whip urges viewers to “keep an open mouth” but they also spark up the decades old debate over the differences between mayonaisse and Miracle Whip which is just as successful a tactic. So I could sit here and defend Miracle Whip for the ways it pairs with avocado and bologna like no other, but why fight with you, stubborn, judgmental, fatty-mayo-lover … when I could be at lunch?