If You Liked Cookie Puss, You'll Love Rhett And Link

I am going to confirm what New York Times advertising/marketing columnist Stuart Elliott all but officially proclaimed with his column this morning: We are smack dab in the middle the Annual August Advertising Doldrums. While news-generating brand marketers of the world cavort on Cape Cod and other likely destinations, Elliott grinds it out with an entertaining column on ad-related entertainment headlined, "Summer Diversions to Fill the 'Mad Men' Void."

"For the last four summers, Madison Avenue has been absorbed in 'Mad Men,' the AMC series about the advertising industry in the 1960s," Elliott writes. "But a delay in production for the coming season means there are no new episodes until early next year."

Elliott's alternative fixes range from a BBC series "The Hour" that he says is "evocative of 'Mad Men' despite being set in London in 1956 rather than Manhattan in the '60s." Citing colleague Alessandra Stanley's review, we learn that "this narrative also unfolds through an amber haze of cigarette smoke, whiskey and social taboos."

Then there's a host of old movies you might TiVo, RedBox or Netflix stream, (including a citation of Adweek's "25 Best Advertising Movies Ever Made" by David Griner.

If you're in the mood for lighter fare, there's the likes of "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" on Broadway (if you're visiting the Big Apple or one of the 291 people stuck in town) or "Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?," which is coming up on The Movie Channel.

Speaking of lighter fare, TiVo and being stuck in town, I was vegging out in front of the TV set last night and clicked on the first of a series of shows for which I'd forgotten that I'd taken out a "season pass": IFC's "Rhett and Link: Commercial Kings." I watched the first few episodes. If you appreciate sales and marketing at its grittiest, have any affection at all in your heart for pure schlock, or just enjoy being entertained by clever people on top of their craft, it's a hoot (and a woof and a meow).

Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal, a Mutt-and-Jeff pairing of a high school hoops player and his science fair buddy, are evidently best buddies since first grade in Buies Creek, N.C. While rooming together as engineering students at North Carolina State University, they taught themselves filmmaking. Then, YouTube was invented for people just like them. Their careers as "Internetainers" took off -- their main YouTube channel, as of this morning, is ranked as No. 70 "Most Subscribed (All Time)" and is No. 23 among "Comedian" sites.

Their shtick is making the sort of cheesy local commercials you see on cable TV in dayparts when most people are REM-snoozing away. "The show has revived interest in wacky, late-night television commercials -- the type that are so bad, they're good," Corey Kilgannon wrote in the New York Times' "City Room" blog last week, while covering the creation of a low-budget spot by Nakia Rattray, a Bronx-based entertainer with the stage name Uncle Majic, the Hip-Hop Magician.

Like Uncle Majic, Rhett and Link appreciate "the canon of New York-area low-budget commercials: spots like Crazy Eddie's, or Tom Carvel's for ice cream cakes that featured Cookie Puss or Fudgie the Whale."

The first episode of "Rhett and Link: Commercial Kings" shows them creating spots for a cat motel and a doggy day-care service in Los Angeles that, beneath all the clowning around and cute animal shots that will appeal to the Aunt Millie in you, exhibit raw marketing genius.

Adweek's T'L' Stanley reported earlier this summer that Rhett and Link also had initiated the LoCo Awards & Sweepstakes -- "a contest to honor other locally produced spots. They envision it as the Cannes of kitsch, or the Oscars for small-business owners who gyrate, warble, and overact their way through 30 seconds of airtime."

Rhett and Link discuss the business of YouTube and their transition from the Internet to cable television with Devon Brown on CBS/What's Trending

"We embraced the fact that we needed to incorporate brands and sponsorship into what we were doing so we could make a living. We are communicating with fans all along saying this is how we're going to bring content to you," Neal tells Brown.

Aspiring Internetainers and Social Media Marketers take note: They say that are "EVERYWHERE You WANT To Be":

I don't know about you, but I think it would be a good idea to take next week off.

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