• John Hancock's 'Hancock Next' Is Ambitious For A Financial Services Brand
    Every financial-services pitch since the dawn of humanity appears to have been delivered by an old-but-not-too-old man, one whose demeanor suggests a prudent town clerk and whose voice conveys the wisdom of the ages. Perhaps financial companies have research confirming that "venerated white guy speaking slowly, as if to a roomful of impulsive dipsh*ts" remains the most effective attitudinal shading for products of this nature, but really: It's 2014.
  • IKEA Scores High With 'The Time Travel Experiment' And '2015 Catalog' Videos
    IKEA's growth in the U.S. happened to coincide with my buying-stuff adolescence. I was on my own for the first time and, for reasons best explored with a therapist, determined to do everything myself. The delivery of a patented IKEA fltbx packed with almost-wood panels, cryptic assembly instructions and inch-long Allen wrenches gave me a palpable buzz. Two days and nine hours later, when I completed putting together whatever awesomely nonsensically named item I was putting together, I felt complete. IKEA product assembly bolstered my sense of self. My 20s were not a proud decade.
  • Kahlua's 'The White Russian' Is A Brand Video That Leaves You Wanting More
    This time around it's Kahlua attempting to barter its liquid-party-candy image for a little hipster sangfroid. Happily, rather than falling back on either of the two mainstays of alcohol advertising - the dumb dudes acting dumbishly of beer spots or the suave actorly mannerisms of vodka and tequila ads - "The White Russian" settles into an easy western-noir groove, one that pays homage to genre conventions while simultaneously tweaking them.
  • What's The Point Of KFC's 'Real KFC Cook' Series?
    KFC's most recent online video push, in which it introduces us to three of its nicest, proudest cooks, is so baffling. It's the first series in some time that, above all else, poses an existential dilemma: Why is this here? Who is the intended audience? Is there some judgmental subset of fast-food diners that insists on decency and diligence in their restaurant stewards?
  • Gatorade 'Sweat' Clips Overplay A Tired Premise?
    I wonder how many brands -- specifically, how many brands using video to reinforce identities forged long ago -- are quite as gallant, brave, enlightened, thoughtful and special as I am. Along those lines, I call your attention to Gatorade and its oft-stated self-identification as restorative manna for elite athletes.
  • Old Navy's 'Unlimited' Is A Back-To-School Debbie Downer
    I recently attempted to make a citizen's arrest for crimes against humanity. The event that gave rise to this bold act of community self-policing occurred at a birthday party for one of the three-year-olds in my kid's class. For some reason, the host decided to give out the goodie bags well in advance of the party's end. For some reason, she decided to include whistles in said goodie bags.
  • The Little Idea: Aflac Duck As Idiot Savant
    Sometimes a little and barely-funny concept works simply by virtue of being non-offensive and relentless. Aflac's lightly comic duck is ready for a digital upgrade.
  • It Hurts To Lose Your Cool
    Apple ads work best when they follow the brand's traditional spot principle: show, don't sell. Its latest spot for Mac Air adds a pitchy note that suggests a brand feeling the need to remind us it is still "iconic"...isn't it?
  • Montana's Cookhouse And 'The SImpsons' Score WIth Light, Effortless Campaigns
    Meat makes me big (read: fat) and strong (read: fat). "The Simpsons," all these years later, makes me laugh. I can't conceive of a non-coronary-related or -deal-with-the-devil situation that would prompt me to tire of either. And in a wonderful column-facilitating coincidence, both meat and "The Simpsons" launched brand clips into the online ether this week. In an even more wonderful coincidence, they're both pretty awesome.
  • "Levi's Commuter: The Ride" Is Uninteresting, Just Like Your Commute
    Brand marketers need to curb their fascination with young professionals on the go - specifically, comely urbanites zooming past double-parked trucks and yippy unleashed dogs on their well-appointed bicycles. The latest offender: Levi's, which unveiled the first in its series of "Levi's Commuter: The Ride" vignettes earlier this week. The second and third entries, set in London and Oakland, will debut later in the summer.
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