Tag Archives: commercials

Redesigning the College Snuggie

Let’s face it. There’s been a lot of talk about Snuggies in pop culture this year. “The blanket with sleeves” came out of nowhere and gripped the nation. From themed bar tours to the Washington Post’s annual Peeps diorama contest, you’re never far from Snuggie’s influence.

And if that weren’t enough, the brains that brought you the outstanding three-color collection have upped their game and expanded their product line to include… collegiate licensed Snuggies!

If you haven’t seen them in their full glory, take a gander:

Picture Source: Blanket Wars (Even better, this picture is from a blog post entitled “OU Will Choke Versus Texas.”)

How does one make an eyesore like the Snuggie even more hideous? Make it look like it was made from the contents of the clearance rack at the fabric store. That fabric ain’t just for pajamas anymore!

Though I’m not (yet) a member of the cult of the Snuggie, I understand why people would buy them. Who doesn’t like being warm? And being able to eat whilst wearing a blanket? Or the ability to change channels without exposing bare arms to the draft of a room?

I also understand why people would want collegiate Snuggies in particular. Every sports fan relishes the opportunity to show off a little team spirit. I mean, if I got a Snuggie, you’d be darn sure I’d get a college team one. (Looks like I’d have to get Texas though, because the makers of Snuggie don’t offer a UVA one. Good research on that one, I must admit. They know their audience, and UVA alums likely wouldn’t bother with a Snuggie: it would clash with their ties or pearls.)

Well, instead of continuing to mock Snuggie, I’ve decided to turn over a new leaf and offer a design suggestion: K.I.S.S. (Keep it simple, stupid.) Good design should be minimalist, simple and straightforward. Not cluttered.

How should Snuggie go about this? Pretend to make team sweatshirts, just with tons more fabric. Like this:

Or this:
Yes, UVA can have its own Snuggie after all!
Texas should prominently display the Longhorn logo on burnt orange. Carolina the interlocking NC on its signature Carolina blue hue. Virginia Tech would use the interconnected VT. Florida: the Gator. The Jayhawk for Kansas. You get the picture. Make it simple. Make the primary team color the star, not the blinding repetition of several logos.

How would you redesign the collegiate Snuggie? Would you make them like replica jerseys with the ability to personalize a name and number on the back? Add a belt in a contrasting color? Build in a foam finger at the end of one sleeve? Share your ideas in the comments section!

Final two pictures edited from this image.


Filed under ACC, college basketball, college football, commercials, fashion, graphic design, marketing, mascots, sports, Texas, UVA

Ice Cream and Cake and Cake!

Every few months I find myself falling in love with a commercial that the majority of the ad industry (or at least industry press) vehemently hates.  A few months ago I was gaga for the quirky Geico googly-eyed stack of cash commercials while much of the rest of the world expressed intense displeasure. Did I love the concept behind them?  No. Did I think they showed smart and strategic marketing genius? No. But did I love the catchy “Somebody’s Watching Me” tune and find myself getting off the couch to dance along? You betcha.

Knowing this, it should come as no surprise to anyone that the new Baskin Robbins ice cream cake spot is my favorite commercial of the moment:

And what a shock, the critics find it irritating. One even called it “brain-drilling.”  Well it definitely gets me off the couch and dancing, even if it’s just a 15-second spot. But then again, I’m definitely in the it’s “a funny and joyous celebration of ice cream and cake” camp.

Besides, shouldn’t ice cream and cake be fun?  Frankly, I have no interest in ice cream or cake commercials that snub their nose at silliness and humor.

You know who has it exactly right?  Heather McLane at FresnoBeehive.com.  Glad to hear her reaction to the spot was the exact same as mine:  a dance party with an abrupt stop for a drooling trance.

Besides, the commercial is darn good advertising!  Good thing most of the commercials out there don’t entice me into that “must have now” urgency.

And at $9.99?  I’m a little concerned about my willpower — I live a mere block away from the closest BR.


Filed under Uncategorized

Roy and Coach K rocking out… together?

Just when I thought I’d seen it all, what comes across the screen?

Wow. Coach K jamming on guitar? In his undies?  Really?  And with Roy Williams (and Bob Knight and Rick Pitino) sans pants, no less.

I thought Michael Phelps rocking with A-Rod, Tony Hawk and Kobe was the peak of ridiculousness this campaign could hit:


What stomachache-inducing combo will DDB (and H.S.I. Productions) come up with next?

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Music in Commercials

When the Martin Agency first started making UPS Whiteboard commercials, their ironic choice to use the music of The Postal Service was well documented.  While I thought the song choice was a perfect selection for the quirky UPS ads, I also had a hard time getting past the band’s name to sell the services of USPS’s rival.

Music is a powerful ingredient in advertising.  And just like any kitchen recipe, the amount and intensity of an ingredient should be dependent on the balance of all the elements in the composition.  It can carry the recipe, or can complement it.  And of course in failed concoctions, it can overwhelm or underwhelm to work against the intended message.

Here are two commercials that ensnared my attention lately due to the musical components:

“Victory” McDonald’s spot for 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing
Music: Os Mutantes – A Minha Menina
Agency:  DDB Chicago

I downloaded this song within ten minutes of seeing the commercial.  That pretty much tells you all you need to know about the music: it was arresting, catchy, and put me on a mission to listen to it more.  I also love that the music tells the story completely and that there was no need for dialogue whatsoever.  Despite the strength of the music, I don’t think it overpowered the message.

Visa commercial
Music: Smashing Pumpkins – Today
Agency: TBWA

The Smashing Pumpkins have been getting a lot of flack for “selling out” this week by letting Visa use their music in this commercial.  Maybe they are selling out, maybe they aren’t, but the point is, TBWA picked a ’90s anthem which not only cuts through clutter, but also drives more attention to their brand because of the debate.  Plus the agency chose Morgan Freeman, who an AdWeek columnist names “the official voice of God in this age of mild Depression,” to narrate the commercial, making it even more memorable.  I think the song is an interesting choice and empowering, which I believe was TBWA’s and Visa’s intention.  I think the bad press is more catastrophic to the band than the brand, but I also believe that most of the general market will like or dislike the song while caring little about whether or not Billy Corgan and his band sold out.

I think both commercials successfully incorporated the music they chose and adequately conveyed their brand’s message, but the first one was a far better and more memorable commercial overall.

What songs have you seen in commercials lately that grabbed your attention?  Did they work for or against the brand?


Filed under advertising, music

Remember the Slowskys?

The other day I was talking to a friend about using animals to make funny ads, and I mentioned how much I loved “The Slowskys” campaign for Comcast from a few years ago. I was shocked to find out that she hadn’t seen the commercials, and I figured that this was preposterous and necessitated an immediate remedy.

For those also unfamiliar, the commercials featured Bill and Karolyn, a married turtle couple, more fondly known as The Slowskys. The turtles liked things just so, at their own, slow pace. They found the high-speed of Comcast internet overwhelming and instead opted for a more comfortable alternative for them, in the form of slower DSL service.

My favorite thing about the commercials were the subtleties. One of my favorite lines was when Karolyn piped up that they “felt rushed” by Comcast’s high speed. Another commercial has a strategically placed coffee mug that says “Decaf for life.” These fine details really add up to the atmosphere and overall humor of the spots.

Here are a few of my favorites. Enjoy:

A good introduction to the Slowsky family…

“I didn’t know you could read!”
“There’s a lot of things you don’t know about me.”
(Great banter between Bill and Karolyn)…

Love Karolyn’s sass when she quips about Bill’s middle name:

All these and more are the great work of Goodby Silverstein & Partners out west in SF.

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Q: What do Dodgeball and Planters have in common?

A: One terrifying, icky, unibrowed female.

Left: “Fran” of the Purple Cobras in Dodgeball
Right: The new “starlet” in Planters Peanuts commercials

Four years late on the craze, last night I finally watched that movie Dodgeball. Though the movie was about as entertaining as I anticipated, the plot wasn’t much like I expected. I just figured Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller were professional dodgeballers in some sort of dodgeball league. I had no idea that the premise was Vaughn’s character playing dodgeball in order to use the prize money in order to save his bankrupting gym. (Which now that I think about it, isn’t this the same as Happy Gilmore, where Adam Sandler’s character takes up golf in order to win enough money to save his grandma’s house from foreclosure?)

Regardless, Vaughn plays dodgeball for a team called Average Joe’s (also the name of his gym) and Ben Stiller heads the rival gym’s team, the Purple Cobras. The Purple Cobras are saturated with testosterone-injected males and one exceedingly frightening and masculine-looking female named Fran.

I couldn’t help but notice that this scary woman looked surprisingly familiar. Finally I figured out the resemblance. She looks just like the gross creature that is presented on the new Planters Peanuts commercials. Originally aired during the Super Bowl, this commercial also utilizes a gross, irksome unibrowed woman.

If you want to throw up in your mouth a little, check the Planters girl out here:

Decent commercial, but EWWW.

So question of the hour… was the Planters commercial inspired by Dodgeball or is it merely a revolting coincidence?

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UPS Whiteboard – What happened to you?

I was a huge fan of the UPS Whiteboard commercials when they came on the scene. They showed an “actor” (actually a Creative Director at The Martin Agency in Richmond) drawing fascinating little doodles on a dry-erase board that could somehow be partially erased or slightly manipulated in order to explain a B2B shipping task, like routing or freight.

These ads were so simple and yet so attention-grabbing. Maybe it was the quirky, long-haired artist, or the irony of using a song by The Postal Service to sell UPS shipping, but I found these ads catchy and couldn’t watch them enough. Here’s an example:

Unfortunately, at some point during March Madness, I saw that these Whiteboard commercials had adopted a new look. Before, all of the UPS capabilities were demonstrated in 2-D on a dry-erase board. Now, these ads use some sort of animated component in order to demonstrate the same messages as the older commercials, but in a slightly more complicated way. I’m curious to find what others think of about the renovated strategy. Here’s one of the newer ads:

I wasn’t even sick of the old ads yet, but I feel like The Martin Agency should have opted to execute more of the traditional-style ads but with different graphics and “lessons.” If it were my decision, I would have opted for a new soundtrack… perhaps a different tune by The Postal Service, or even a new band all together that shares a similarly interesting yet soothing electronic quality.

Maybe UPS advocated for the new approach as opposed to vice versa. Either way, whenever I see one of the new commercials I am saddened that it isn’t one of old.

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