Hi, time to kick off a monthly installment in which I recognize ads that are in my personal and professional opinion, either 1) especially good, 2) especially UN-good, or 3) an embarrassment to the industry. Here are my November honorees.
A new-ish spot for Charter Spectrum and its fast internet. A young couple brings home groceries and begins to prepare a web-guided gourmet meal. That is, until the still-alive “guest of honor” (an octopus) wraps a tentacle or two around the husband’s little finger. This quickly leads to a change of plans, and the next Google search is for “Keeping a Pet Octopus.” Very watchable and charming; and personally, I prefer to think that such warm sentimentality lives.
You may not agree on this one, but I am not a fan of the current Arby’s campaign “We have the meats.” I recognize the marketing point of difference Arby’s is trying to claim, and it makes sense on the surface. But I don’t love the testosterone-slathered tone and carnivore worship going on here. And what bothers me most is – James Earle Jones? Really? What’s next, Morgan Freeman for Candy Crunch? JEJ has been Mufasa…Darth Vader…and that guy in Field of Dreams. He’s even performed the BIBLE, for, uh, God’s sake. He was fine in those Sprint commercials, where the oddity of his classic voice reading inane text message worked beautifully. Not here. At least for me.
Rob Lowe for Direct TV. Sorry, to me it’s just stupid. It makes no real point on behalf of the product. All it does is confront the viewer with a steady stream of alter-Rob-Lowe-egos that you wouldn’t want to meet. The “Awkward Rob Lowe” version is already drawing fire from people who suffer from shy bladder syndrome, since that scenario is in the spot. The characters are all unpleasant, but the most repulsive to me is ‘Crazy Hairy Rob Lowe.” Won’t bother describing it further – you’ll see it. (And it’s hard to watch.) Strategy for this campaign? Nothing very deep, that’s for sure. Creativity? Holding non-customers up for ridicule isn’t an idea – it’s apparently what you do when you don’t have one.