Archive for the 'Eye of Hell' Category

Choosing An Announcer

Obama coinSo, you’ve come up with the idea for a new product that you believe is going to tap right into the current zeitgeist and really excite the public. Congratulations. Obviously, you’re going to advertise online, since that’s such a cost-effective medium these days. Are you thinking about running spots on the eye of hell as well? That’s going to increase your costs, but it will guarantee a lot more eyes. And don’t forget that you don’t just have to pay for the time your ad spends on the air. You’ve also got to deal with the cost of production, which is likely to be a lot more than your web development budget.

A big part of that budget is going to go to getting a voice-over artist to read your copy. My advice is to spend the money to get this right. Listen closely to the people you audition. Obviously, you want them to convey the right mood. You want them to be able to get your audience excited about your product. But you also want them to sound like they know what they’re talking about. For example, if your product is powerful, and you want to make sure the public knows the product is powerful, be careful to hire an announcer who can say the word “powerful” without it coming out as “parful.”

Let’s say you’re selling a limited edition, uncirculated inaugural coin, layered in pure 24 karat gold. Sounds good? Well, that depends on how your announcer says those words. Don’t make the mistake these folks did.

Innoggeral? Uncirckalated? Those aren’t words. Laird is a word, albeit a somewhat archaic one, but I don’t think you want your potential customers to think they can buy a Scottish landowner who’s been dipped in gold — not from you, anyway. You’re going to have to deal with an awful lot of returns if you make that mistake.

Let this be a warning to you: if you’re going to advertise in a medium that requires voice-over talent, either choose an announcer who can say your words, or choose words your announcer can say. I don’t think that’s asking too much of you.

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Hey, Ralphie Boy

Go fuck yourself.

When I was a kid, you were my mother’s hero.

I’ve always been pretty close to agreement with you on the majority of political issues.

However, I never supported you politically, because I knew you never had a shot at being more than a spoiler, and because, if a miracle occurred and you actually won, I knew that you didn’t have the political skills to accomplish anything — anything once you were in power. A President Nader would be an angry curmudgeon, sitting in the White House and complaining that he was ignored by Congress.

In 2000, I thought it was a mistake for you to run, because of the chance you’d be a spoiler. You insisted that Bush and Gore were more or less the same. Well, you ended up being a spoiler, and nobody believes that a Gore administration could have possibly done the damage that Bush and company have over the past eight years.

When you ran in 2004 and again this year, it was clear to me that it was nothing more than ego. You’ll never even be a spoiler after 2000, and you have nothing to add to the debate anymore. You could have thrown your support to someone else, but no, it just had to be you.

And now, you respond to the election with a statement like that? You can just go fuck yourself.

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Dumb Pun of the Day

Hank and Dean VentureIf you watch The Venture Bros. regularly, you know where the boys came from.

Now, I don’t know whether this silly little pun was intended by the show’s creators, but it occurred to me while watching an old episode tonight that the young Venture brothers could be seen as their father’s Hank-’n’-Dean monster.

Hankandean monster. Get it? Well, laugh it up, kiddo.

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Viva Commerce! (#20)

Mercedes logoDear Mercedes-Benz,

Your latest spot for the C Class on the eye of hell opens with the following:

300 horsepower is fast.
400 will take your breath away.
That’s why we gave it 451.

Sorry, but I’ve just got to ask: why exactly did you give it 451?

Do you want me to lose control of the vehicle and get myself killed?

Are you trying to belittle me? Oooh, I don’t think you should buy this car. It’s much too powerful for little old you. You might hurt yourself.

Maybe it’s your idea of a dare: I just bet you can’t drive this car without killing somebody.

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Maverick



I’ve been saying lately that McCain and his campaign have been lying about Obama and his record, but now I’m having second thoughts. After all, they keep telling us what a maverick McCain is. When I hear the word “maverick,” I naturally think of Bret Maverick, that hero of the wild west on the eye of hell. And Brett Maverick was a gambler! From that perspective, it all makes sense: McCain isn’t a liar. He, like that other Maverick, is just bluffing.

To aid you in thinking the right way — the hard drinkin’, hard livin’, all-American gambler way — about Maverick McCain, I’ve created the file below. Just mouse over it and see if it feels right. Oh, and make sure your speakers are turned up.

Brett Maverick McCain

Convinced? Me neither. On second thought, never mind. McCain is just a liar.

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Waiting for the Great Leap Forward

No, this post is not about Mao, or even Billy Bragg. Rather, it’s about an advance I have to admit I’d waited for all my life, and had frankly given up on seeing come to fruition. Why? Because it’s an advance on the eye of hell, where things change pretty damned slowly. In fact, the advance is in advertising on the eye of hell, where things, for the most part, don’t change at all.

I wrote a couple of years ago (yikes! I’ve been blogging for two years!) that words like “period” and “menstruation” had finally started replacing “time of the month,” although such things are still visually represented by blue fluid. This is easily as big as that.

Hidden Valley Ranch salad dressing bottleI think I was about 10 or 11 when I first noticed the problem. I’d see ads that spoke of a special little town called Hidden Valley, where the kids never complained about eating their vegetables, because they all came with a thick coating of mayonnaisey spoodge that made them oh-so-tasty. I’d be watching these packs of kids happily downing their dripping broccoli, and it occurred to me that they were all white! The happy town of Hidden Valley was restricted!

Well, this week I saw an ad for Hidden Valley in which the veggie-lovin’ local kids were crowding around what looked like an ice cream truck, which in fact, served cones of salad drowning in the glory that is ranch dressing. And among those kids, I was astonished to see one or two of African descent! At last, these children were being judged not by the color of their skin, but of the content of their salad cones! It was beautiful.

Of course, salad dressing is just one example of the long list of products that have been segregated on the eye of hell all these long years. For decades, Madison Avenue has tried to convince us that separate detergents, fast food establishments, shoes, and pet foods could be equal. Those days may at last be gone.

eHarmony logoThink about dating services. For as long as they’ve advertised on the eye of hell, they’ve demonstrated their successes by showing us couples who always just happened to share ethnicity along with chemistry. Was it a decades-long series of coincidences, like the coin flips in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead? I doubt it. I don’t know if they ever had rules regarding interracial couples, and if they did, I don’t know when those rules changed, but on the eye of hell, it had always clearly been a strict “no miscegenation” policy.

A couple of weeks ago, I saw an ad for eHarmony (one of the first, I believe, to do without the presence of Dr. Neil Clark Warren) in which a black man was shown next to a set of three thumbnail images of women, apparently representing the choices picked for him by their computer. Two of them were black, but one was white.

Then, just last week, I saw a spot for the service that showed three happy couples, two of which were of mixed ethnicity. Wow.

I have to wonder what the cause of this long-delayed advance might be. I suppose it’s possible that the fact that we’re (hopefully) on the verge of electing our first mixed-race president might be an indication to the ad execs that we just might be ready for such a radical concept. I really don’t know, but I’m glad to see it finally happening.

Next up: gender roles and sexuality. Don’t hold your breath.

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Bottoms Up, Johnny

Blurry John McCainCollege was a long, long time ago, but I still remember the important stuff, like drinking games. I was always pretty bad at the skill portion of Quarters, but I didn’t really have a problem with that — it just meant I got to drink more. In fact, I rarely bothered with such things as pointing to other players with my elbow. I’d point with my finger and… ooops! time to drink again. Silly me.

Being a vidiot, my favorite drinking games have always involved the eye of hell. Being a vidiot and a Bob, my all-time fave would have to be Hi Bob.

I’ve just come up with a drinking game of my own, and it’s not unlike Hi Bob, which took advantage of the fact that a certain phrase showed up rather a lot in the scripts for Bob Newhart’s sit-coms.

Think about it — what’s on the eye of hell all the time these days, and what phrase does one hear repeated over and over?

I think you may have already figured it out based on the image above. The name of the game is My Friends, and the rules are just like those of Hi Bob: whenever McCain intones that famous phrase, everyone has to down a shot. Be warned, however, that when Johnny Mac is having particular trouble dealing with the text of his speech, he may say it fairly often. In fact, I’ve heard him throw it into a single sentence as many as three times. It’s apparently his version of “um.”

Because of this, the game is often kind of short.

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Say Hey, Billy Mays

Billy MaysOh, that Billy Mays. What can you say about a fella like Billy Mays?

Billy Mays knows how to say “power,” and Billy Mays knows how to say “full,” but ironically, Billy Mays can’t seem to say “powerful” without it sounding like “parful.” And wouldn’t you know it, many of the products promoted by Billy Mays are powerful, so he has no choice but to keep trying to get that darned word right. Poor old long-suffering Billy Mays.

Billy Mays works in the wonderful world of the eye of hell, but happy, innocent guy that he is, Billy Mays doesn’t understand that that thing they clip to his shirt is a microphone, and that they can control the level of his voice. Instead, Billy Mays screams at the top of his lungs about his various and sundry “parful” products. That silly Billy Mays.

For more about Billy Mays, be sure to check out Billy Mays Mayhem, which features a collection of the sounds of Billy Mays! Sadly, the collection doesn’t include Billy Mays saying “parful.” You’ll just have to take my word for it on that one.

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Viva Commerce! (#19)

Dear Hertz,

Hertz logoI was hoping we could discuss your recent spot on the eye of hell. There are a few things in there that I find a bit surprising.

We start off with Mr. and Ms. All-American-Youthful-White-Couple. Ms. AAYWC is in the passenger seat of a little yellow convertible. Mr. AAYWC, from behind the car, runs up to the rear bumper, and launches himself off of it, flipping over the car and into the driver’s seat, then immediately zooms off.

Questions and Comments

  • Those shiny, colorful bumpers on contemporary American cars are really just bumper covers. They more decorative than anything else. I don’t think they’re intended to support your weight, even if you’re Mr. All-American-Youthful-White-Couple.
  • That leap into the car is somewhat reminiscent of the old Hertz ads in which OJ Simpson is carried through the airport and into his rental by the omnipotent, invisible hand of Hertz. In this case, however, there’s no indication that Hertz is helping with the trick. If that’s correct, he’s jumping on his own, and that’s somehow more worrisome than the magic realism you utilized in the past. I sure hope he managed the jump without hurting himself.
  • I didn’t see you (or your lovely companion, for that matter) buckle your safety belts before peeling out. I don’t know what state you’re in, but I don’t think that’s legal.

Back to our exciting commercial. We see the happy couple zipping around in the car. From a bird’s eye view, we see them weaving through highway traffic at high speed — significantly faster than anyone else on the road. They drive by a crowded gas station because Hertz, unlike other car rental agencies, will fill the tank for them for just a nominal fee. Finally, we see them driving past an airport, apparently faster than a jet that’s taking off behind them. And all the while, the car leaves a glowing yellow trail behind — sort of a cross between a contrail and a thick, radioactive lemonade.

Further Questions and Comments

  • I wonder if they’re even bothering to signal their lane changes on the highway. Clearly they’re speeding, acting without any regard for the safety of their fellow drivers.
  • Is that yellow cloud the car is spewing at all dangerous? It doesn’t look like it dissipates very quickly. Instead, it just lays there, menacingly glowing at those you’ve left behind.
  • Can you imagine how those poor souls at the gas station feel? We only get the briefest of reaction shots of them, and they just seem confused, but I’ll bet that within a few seconds at least some of them are bound to wonder if that mysterious yellow fog might explode.

So, let’s see what we’ve got here. You’re performing acrobatics to get into the car, you’re not wearing safety belts, you’re speeding, you’re switching from lane to lane like you’re running a slalom, and you clearly have no concern for the health, safety, comfort, or even vision of other people, be they other drivers or pedestrians.

And at no time do you offer any sort of caveat to the viewer. I’m sure you don’t want your customers to take part in these activities, particularly in your vehicles. Maybe you should consider adding a little note of warning at the bottom of the screen. Something like “do not attempt” ought to get the message across, don’t you think?

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Viva Commerce! (#18)

Ciroc vodka bottleDear CÎROC Vodka people,

I’d be happy to try your vodka, but your adverts on the eye of hell keep insisting that it’s for celebrations. That would be fine, but you’ve got that Diddy Daddy Puffy Puff Puff Daddy P-Diddy Padiddle Puffy Huffy Wuffy HR Pufnstuff fellow sitting there scowling through the whole spot. He’s in a room full of people having a fine time, he’s surrounded by beautiful young ladies who seem to be enjoying his company, but he just sits there, ordering drink after drink, holding it up and putting on that sour face.

If he isn’t enjoying himself, then what makes you think that I’ll enjoy sitting in my underwear, drinking it in the company of my cats and watching cable?

Why is Mr. Diddy so angry? Does your vodka taste bad? Is he upset because of the music playing at the party? It looks like it’s his party. He could get up and change the music. He could even send somebody out to get some Stoly.

Maybe he’s trying to pick a fight with me. Well, I’m sorry Mr. Puffy Wuffy. That’s just not my style. I think maybe you should send your guests home and look into getting some professional help.

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