Thursday, July 26, 2007

Let's Try This

For most all the other weekdays I have like a gimmick or a dedicated posting, like Best Band Ever* on Tuesdays, but I haven't found anything thats stuck for Thursdays, so we're going to see how well I like this.
Anyway Thursdays (used to be) or maybe still are the most important night for commercials and advertisement on primetime; thats why Thursdays have generally been so hotly contested over the years. From Must See TV, to CBS's C.S.I. inspired dominance to ABC's recent Ugly Betty and Grey's Anatomy. But since movies used to come out only on Fridays, not so exclusively anymore, studios would throw tonnes of money to advertise their films on Thursday night. So with that history I thought Thursday's would be a perfect or nice enough day to show some commercials that I think or thought were hilarious, innovative or just really really cool. Well for that reason and the fact I don't think I have any thing else. has a slideshow about the 12 different type of ads, which is pretty enlightening. They list the 12 types of ads as

The Demo:This is a visual demonstration of a product's capabilities. You've seen hundreds of demo ads on late-night TV, for things like kitchen knives (watch it slice through that tin can!) and stain removers (it can't possibly erase that red wine blotch—and yet!). Some of the ads introducing the iPhone are just straight-up demos, pointing out the product's features as the viewer looks on.

The second format is "show the need or problem." First, you make it clear that something's not up to snuff in the consumer's life. Then, you introduce the remedy—which is, of course, the product you're selling.

The third format is a variation on showing the problem. This time, you employ a "symbol, analogy, or exaggerated graphic" to represent the problem. In this Theraflu ad, for example, the problem is that a man's flu symptoms make him feel like an ogre. Thus, the ad portrays him as a literal ogre. When the man takes Theraflu, he returns to human form.

The fourth format is "comparison." Here, the spotlight's on the claim that your product is superior to those of your competitors. In this Charles Schwab ad, a man complains that he hates his current stockbroker's hefty commissions. At the end of the spot, Schwab promises a better deal.

The fifth format is the "exemplary story." These ads weave a narrative that helps illustrate the product's benefits. In Gunn's words, the key is to create "a situation where you'd use [the product] and be very glad for it."

The sixth format is "benefit causes story." You conceive the ad back-to-front, by imagining a trail of events that might be caused by the product's benefit. In the example Gunn uses, a man on a safari screams when a lion charges him. It's then revealed, to the amusement of the man's friends (and also the viewer), that he's been looking through the powerful zoom lens of his Olympus camera. The lion is, in fact, hundreds of yards away.

The seventh format is "tell it"—also known as "presenter," "testimonial," or "A-tells-B."

The eighth format is "ongoing characters and celebrities.Think Jared for Subway. Or the Energizer bunny. Or the Geico cavemen.

The ninth format is the "symbol, analogy, or exaggerated graphic" demonstrating a benefit of the product.

The 10th format is "associated user imagery": The advertiser showcases the type of people it hopes you'll associate with the product. Often these will be hip, funny, or good-looking people. But sometimes the associated users are goofy or geeky—it depends on the target market.

The 11th format is "unique personality property." These spots highlight something indigenous to the product that will make it stand out. It could be the country of origin (a sports car boasting about its German engineering). It could be the product's unusual moniker ("With a name like Smucker's, it has to be good")

The 12th and final format is the "parody or borrowed format." This is a popular approach these days, perhaps because pop-culture references have become our common language.

But besides all the info, it included a lot of my favorites commercials and reminded me of a lot of great ones of the past. Speaking of great ones from the past, here's one of the first ones that I can remember actually thinking was really smart and funny and actually made me feel really really bad for the guy. I think this was among the first ads for the California Milk Board (or something like that) and their brilliant "got milk?" campaign.

Ah, milk...

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