ANATOMY OF AN EFFECTIVE CAMPAIGN
As an old Advertising guy (boo hiss!) I have to say these commercials are remarkable not only because they are genuinely funny - a rarity today - but they harken back to those clever television beer ads of the 1950s & early-1960s. Like this oddball Hamms Beer spot from 1952 - of course, Ferrell used 15 seconds, this spot is 90 seconds, people had what was called an 'attention span' back then.
Most agencies have lost sight of what it takes to create advertising that sparkles, the kind that gets results. You do that by letting one person express his vision, with the support of others of course. It's not about production values, these look like they were shot on an iPhone. What Ferrell achieved in those spots ad agencies have been aiming at for decades but generally what results is some homogenized pale imitation of what passes for spontaneity and cleverness.
The ad people at Old Milwaukee played everything right - when Ferrell called and proposed to fly to Terre Haute and film some free ads for them they jumped at the chance, stood back and let him enjoy himself. Then they ran the commercials only on local stations. I assume they knew the spots would make the news, go viral on the internet, and now they will now reap the rewards for being smart enough to play it low key and astute enough to let talent do what talent does and get out of the way.
Expect to see an enormous spike in sales for Old Milwaukee, Will Ferrell just made it cool to buy cheap beer again. (Actually my young, hipper friends have been drinking OM for a decade. Imagine my surprise - growing up in the '70s that was the choice of rednecks and drunks.) And expect to see agencies scrambling once again to replicate an effective campaign with pointless imitations created by committee. They won't get the real reason the ads took off - it's not about the celebrity endorsement, you unleash the creative.
Friday, December 9, 2011 - 8:07am
HERE'S WHAT'S NEW
Okay, this is why I cooled on Linked In - J. Fred Muggs has a page! So of course I added him to my network.
Friday, December 9, 2011 - 7:37am
Three new Absolutely Fabulous specials will air starting Sunday, January 8 at 10/9c on BBC America.
The glow is coming off Glee - ratings are in a downward trend.
Wednesday, December 7, 2011 - 11:56am
THIS IS INTERESTING
Oopsie! Charlie Sheen’s ex-wife, Brooke Mueller, was arrested in Aspen on suspicion of third-degree assault and cocaine possession with intent to distribute. She should know she's too notorious to get away with stuff like that.
Japan is sending a gift just in time for the 70th anniversary of Pearl Harbor: At least 45 tons of highly radioactive water has leaked from a purification facility at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, and some of it may have reached the Pacific Ocean, the plant’s operator said on Sunday.
Robocop Peter Weller will co-star in the 'Star Trek' sequel, Benicio del Toro will play the villain. Production starts in early 2012 with a planned release on May 17, 2013.
Lord of the Rings' Peter Jackson has announced the completion of Amy Berg's "West of Memphis," a documentary centered on the West Memphis Three, who were jailed for murder and freed a few weeks ago.
Comic book scribe Alan Moore responded to a right wing op ed by comic artist / writer Frank Miller: “As far as I can see, the Occupy movement is just ordinary people reclaiming rights which should always have been theirs. I can’t think of any reason why as a population we should be expected to stand by and see a gross reduction in the living standards of ourselves and our kids, possibly for generations, when the people who have got us into this have been rewarded for it; they’ve certainly not been punished in any way because they’re too big to fail. I think that the Occupy movement is, in one sense, the public saying that they should be the ones to decide who’s too big to fail. It’s a completely justified howl of moral outrage and it seems to be handled in a very intelligent, non-violent way, which is probably another reason why Frank Miller would be less than pleased with it. I’m sure if it had been a bunch of young, sociopathic vigilantes with Batman make-up on their faces, he’d be more in favour of it. We would definitely have to agree to differ on that one.”
The lovely Melanie Henderson from The Electric Company and Michael Goodrow (Eight is Enough) are starring in DEWEY AND LU, described as "a quirky, improvised webseries about a singing duo of 25 years who are at a fork in the road; his life depends on keeping this career going and she's not so sure about it all." The series promises original music in every webisode.
Tuesday, December 6, 2011 - 8:46am
Betty White returns as Sue Ann Nivens in another spot:
Bob Newhart reprises his famous phone call routine for Me-TV:
I'm surprised to see Batman airing on Me-TV, if the rights have been worked out for broadcast what's the hold up on DVDs?
The stars (and producer) of Happy Days:
Monday, December 5, 2011 - 7:56am
Media prankster Captain Janks has struck again, this time on CNN. He's the Howard Stern fan that poses as various 'experts' on news & talk shows so he can say "Baba Booey" on the air. Oooh, that anchorperson looks uncomfortable!
"Every time a bell rings an angel get its wings." The little girl who spoke those words didn't realize she was in the film until three decades later.
What a great idea - a family photographed the stuff their kids destroyed and turned it into a book.
Sunday, December 4, 2011 - 11:56am
GREAT RADIO SHOW FOR CLASSIC TV FANS!
Friday, December 2, 2011 - 9:00am
REDISCOVERING A GREAT SITCOM
Checking out the first season of Designing Women on DVD I wasn't that entertained but the series hit its stride by year five, the scripts were a lot less preachy and more outlandish. This was the last year with Delta Burke, she left by the end of the season in a bitter feud that blew up all over the nation's tabloids. You would have thought World War 3 had broken out. Too bad, her character provided a much needed zing but by this point Burke and co-star Dixie Carter were no longer speaking and the producers purposely stopped giving her much to do in the storylines.
That kerfluffle allowed more screen time for the wonderful Alice Ghostley to shine as nutty neighbor Bernice, she inherited many of the laugh lines Delta Burke was getting. She was more than up to the task, creating one of the funniest little old lady characters in TV history, a big reason why season five is such a winner. Once the writers realized she was such a sturdy player they really ran with the character, the episode where Bernice lands a public access show is very funny. Her character is a template for Betty White's on Hot in Cleveland.
But then Ghostley was already a sitcom vet from way back, she seemed to be the one they always called in to replace another actress - she joined the cast of Bewitched as Aunt Esmeralda when the actress playing Aunt Clara (Marion Lorne) died, she replaced Aunt Bee (Frances Bavier) on Mayberry RFD, and she was the second Miss Hannigan in the original Broadway run of the musical Annie.
Jean Smart, who's career went red hot recently with dramatic roles on 24, Hawaii Five-0 and Harry's Law is a delight, as is the late Dixie Carter. One of the few comedies from that era that holds up well, Designing Women The Complete Fifth Season contains all 24 episodes of the 1990-1991 season. Just two more seasons left to go.
It's nice to see a TV show that doesn't belittle folks because they live down South. If you are considering one DVD set of Designing Women for your collection this would be the one. And it will make a great Christmas gift because it's brand new.
Friday, December 2, 2011 - 8:56am
That style of teaser has become very popular, the kinetic build at the end containing all the best action scenes cut together with the Wagner-esque music blaring. That was the invention of the editing team at Seiniger Advertising in the 1990s. If I recall correctly Cliffhanger would have been the first film to employ that style, I did the title graphics for it in 1993. (I always stick my foot in it when I rely on memory.) That trailer was a game changer and was largely responsible for a big opening weekend:
Notice how similar the trailer for Star Trek was to that one, just slower with added dialogue:
Now the most often used format is teasing bold scenes that go to black; slow it down in the middle; then crank up the Wagner and jam together every great visual in the film in 30 seconds or less. It beats the kind of trailer that tells the entire story of the movie, always a most desperate ploy for a lousy film.
Thursday, December 1, 2011 - 8:37am
GREAT NEW BOOK
I was lucky - while in college I had the opportunity to sample shows from the 1950s / early 1960s thanks to WBTV in Charlotte, on the weekends they would run a 2 hour block of older sitcoms like Our Miss Brooks, Private Secretary and Love That Bob. Around the same time one of our local movie theaters would screen four old sitcoms midnight Saturdays and that's when I discovered Topper.
Back to Eve Arden. She's the subject of a new book by David C. Tucker, it's a detailed look at her professional career. It's not so much a biography - the author acknowledges that Arden's 1985 autobiography as is the go to source for that - instead you get a microscopic examination of the TV, film, stage and radio roles that made her famous. Cast and crew lists, air dates, episode guides, interesting anecdotes, along with a concise overview of the lady's life makes this book a must have for fans.
It's a real pleasure to discover this dynamic entertainer through the lens of David C. Tucker's terrific book, a blast back to the past that also serves as a scholarly examination of one of TV's most loved sitcom icons.
Thursday, December 1, 2011 - 7:49am
HOLIDAY TREAT NOW LOST
This was one year before UPA created their own animated adaptation of the story with their famous character Mr. Magoo for prime time on NBC TV. Sandy Becker performed his own interpretation of the tale for his viewers, using his own warm and unique type of wit, humor and charm, all the while maintaining Sir Charles' important message of "Caring for your fellow man and not fighting for The Almighty Buck."
The show aired previously on Becker's weekday evening kid's show on WNEW TV 5. On this Saturday night edition, however, it was shown without being wrapped around reruns of old movie cartoons.
Sadly, the tapes of this special were destroyed by the stupid station execs at TV 5, hence this unique puppet play and its important moral is lost to the viewers, future TV puppeteers, and to the heads of Metromedia TV.
Wednesday, November 30, 2011 - 11:41am
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