23 November, 2009

Where's BIlly Mays: I Didn't Even Make It Past the First Round

Halloween is nearly a month old, but I'm finally getting around to recounting the results of the Where's Billy Mays "HallowClean" contest. And Sadly, yours truly didn't even make the top 500. A travesty I'm sure. If you weren't aware of the contest, you probably should leave your cave once in a while, or at least use the wi-fi in your cave to visit some other websites. I heard about it through WOM, but the contest was covered by a variety of media outlets from TMZ to the Huffington Post to People. And according to his son, Billy Mays III, the contest received more than 1500 entries, including this, that I took in our pristine Renegade men's room.

The awesome thing is, I was planning this costume since last Halloween. And the Kaboom, did I buy it at the grocery store just for this special day? No, I took it right out from under my counter. And the next day I used it to clean my shower, which had turned a lovely shade of black from the combination of hairspray and mascara I used to get the full Billy Mays effect.

You can view the finalists at wheresbillymays.com. I'm not quite sure what put those 3 winners over the top. Personally, I loved the Billies who paired themselves up with full-sized bottles of Kaboom and tubs of Oxi-Clean. But I am jealous I won't get the autographed picture to frame and put on my bare office wall. Too much time being brilliant, no time to decorate. On the bright side, I did win our office Halloween contest, and the costume was a huge hit at the Halloween wedding I attended the next day. And no, at no point did I consider putting some white powder under my nose as was recommended to me by about a dozen people.

But to make sure I got the details right, I looked at a few pictures of Billy and watched a few of his informercials. Aside from the obvious blue shirt (which he didn't always wear) and the khaki pants, I noticed a few things I'd never realized before. He always rolled up his sleeves. Did that give the viewer the subtle message that Billy was a man who wasn't afraid of hard work and getting dirty? In both the Ding King and Dual Saw spots (two of the few where you see his feet) Billy is wearing sneakers. Not fancy dress shoes or loafers, regular sneakers.

And the beard. The beard has had its ups and downs throughout history, but in many circles, beards equate to strength and manliness. My old roommate frequently laments how after a month he still can't grow more than a sad attempt at a 9th-grader's stubble...and cries just a little. Sorry, Adam. Yes, I'm sure there are many arguments on both sides of this point, and you can feel free to tell them to King Leonidas or any Hell's Angel you run into. I'm simply saying Billy's Paul Bunyan-esque beard and powerful delivery could both be received by the viewer as signs of strength.

Now granted, this all may simply have been Billy's style, but, much like watching Pitchmen, it shows me Billy Mays was more than a guy yelling about cleaning products. He knew plenty about how to sell.

Anyway, this Halloween I paid tribute to an ad-man I very much admire. And here's another tribute from a Billy fan. Enjoy. And Billy, I hope to continue seeing the Dual Saw, Ding King and Mighty Mendit infomercials for a long time.

--George Convery, Copywriter

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20 November, 2009

Friday Ad Haiku: Bumper Stickers

Passed someone on the highway the other day who had at least a dozen anti-Obama bumper stickers on their car. And I'm sure I've seen cars with at least as many anti-Bush stickers in the past. But regardless of your political affiliation, what will 12 bumper stickers about the same topic do for you that 1 or 2 about the same topic won't? Because if someone isn't convinced by "No-bama" or "The Audacity of Hype," surely, "Why work, the governement will keep your money anyway," will convince them that your political views are obviously correct.

So this Friday Haiku revisits a topic we all know and love.

Your Friday Ad Haiku: The Bumper Sticker

Highway billboard, blah.
I bludgeon your cul de sac
With my opinion.

Last Week in the Friday 5-7-5: Intern Sweatshop: Dueling Haiku

-George Convery, Copywriter

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13 November, 2009

Intern Sweatshop: Friday Ad Haiku: Kudos to Muppets

This week our interns present dueling Haikus. And no this is not a competition. They just got done something really fast and I scrambled to find something they could work on. You'll be happy to know they spent the rest of the day working on research and transcriptions.

Today, I’m going to appreciate the Muppets by dedicating this blog entry to the Muppets’ endurance and foresight to keep up with recent trends and make people of all generations love them. Kudos to the writers, who do not flinch away from having our favorite monsters dabble in various forms of pop culture.

In celebration, I present to you their excellent blooper reel, released in 2008, featuring the musical talents of the bodacious Beaker. Please, enjoy:

Your Friday ad haiku:

You just got rickrolled!
But it would have been better
If Swedish Chef sang.

- Hannah Cheng, Muppet Loving Creative Intern

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Intern Sweatshop: Friday Ad Haiku: Funny Happy Hour

In my consumer behavior class, we have been looking at various ways to successfully reach your target market. My professor brought up one Heineken commercial in particular for its usage of humor appeal that would attract the "beer drinker."

After viewing this commercial many times, I still couldn't understand what was being said, so eventually I found the English version. It makes me crack up every single time I watch it (although I still think it's funnier in Dutch) and makes me a little thirsty -- just in time for Friday Happy Hour after work!

Make sure your volume is up --just not too loud!

What are some of your favorite humorous commercials?

And now for your Friday Haiku: Cheers!

Five PM Heine-
Why does Dutch equal funny?
Like my beer closet?

-Amanda Gazi, Closet Jealous Creative Department Intern

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11 November, 2009

Sesame Street was brought to you by the letter Scotch.

I've been in meetings that've played out a lot like this. Wouldn't mind if they all went this way.

Anger. Tears. Laughter. And dead-on creative. All in less than 3 minutes.

Now, get me a glass. No ice.

(Tip'a the highball to ad diva, Angela Natividad).

Our obsession with Mad Men runs deep: Deja Vous; Mad Whale; Sterling Cooper, Eh?; Lucky Stroke.

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06 November, 2009

Intern Sweatshop: Friday Ad Haiku: Hot Chocolate for the Soul

At an early point in my musical education, I was introduced to Hot Chocolate’s “I Believe in Miracles (You Sexy Thing),” but I wasn’t really told who the band was until much later in life. All I knew was the song, and it was a great song, a groovy song, a song that could set me off into a fit of giggles.

This is how a 10-year-old (or so) first encountered the unforgettable lyrics, “Now you’re lying next to me, making love to me!”

Trust me, I had no idea what the song was actually about. Now that I look at that mouse, though, he’s surprisingly creepy. Just goes to show that Hot Chocolate is likable, even to a ten-year-old, and even if sung by a funky-looking mouse wearing no pants.

And believe it or not, Hot Chocolate got even better when I encountered a more radically re-contextualized version from Ryan North's cult favorite, Dinosaur Comics.

Click it to big it.

Some things never stop being awesome, even when the presentation keeps changing. So while you enjoy the original song, here’s your Friday Ad Haiku:

Since you came along
I believe in miracles
(Now it’s a haiku).

- Hannah Cheng, Creative Intern

Previously in the Friday 5-7-5: The Hoax - Part 2

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04 November, 2009

Hell Just May Be Shamwow: The Club Mix

So I fell asleep on the couch watching Colbert last night and woke up at three in the morning to this commercial on Comedy Central. I was hoping I was tripping on a combination of undercooked steak, week-old salad, Countrytime lemonade and handfuls of leftover Halloween candy. Because if I wasn't, I was pretty sure that I'd died and gone to hell. I dare you. Just try and look away.

Needless to say, it took me a while to go back to sleep. Like I said, I saw this Shamwow Jam (also referred to as "Jam Wow"), by Steve Porter as an actual paid advertising television commercial. Apparently it's been running for a couple weeks now. And a search on youtube revealed what's noted as the original version, intercut with scenes from Fresh Prince and House Party, as well as this one for the game Audiosurf. And yes, there's one for the Slap Chop, too.

In all honesty, if you played this at a bar/club, I think people would go nuts for it--which is both very cool and very, very sad.

Thoughts? Have you seen something worse?

--George C. Convery, Copywriter

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