Deciphering LD's Notes to Self

The selection process for the brand videos featured in this space is characterized by cerebral rigor and monastic discipline. I go on the Internet to do stuff and, over the course of my wanderings, scribble down bits of potential column fodder on torn-off corners of paper. I then place those scraps on my desk, which has nothing at all in common with a Superfund site.

Alas, I waste a lot of time on the Internet, which means the pile o’ pulp gets unruly in a hurry - think the hair on the back of an old man’s neck two weeks after a visit to the barber. When I arrived at my desk this morning, it was so overrun as to suggest the immediate wake of a ticker-tape parade. The risk of wildfire remains very real.

In the twin interests of safety and hygiene, then, today’s column will be an interpretive exercise of sorts. I will sort through the scraps on my desk and attempt to make sense of the jottings thereon. Then I will vacuum. Let’s do this.

Note to self: “Wrangler - Favre/Dale Jr/Brees - who wears?”



What I might’ve been thinking: Clearly that the pantaloons I happened to be wearing at that moment felt a little unforgiving. But also that Wrangler’s strategy of allying itself with white sports-type guys feels oddly uninclusive, especially given the placement of the videos in/around mainstream web destinations that, one imagines, appeal to men and women of all ethnicities.

Theclipsthemselves: They feature slo-mo perambulation and sly grins in equal measure, with a narration that cues viewers to the desired takeaways (“comfort comfort football comfort America comfort tough/rugged comfort comfort comfort”). The Brett Favre video features both power tools and a husky family dog, rendering it but a well-attended family BBQ short of a rare white-dad-demographic trifecta. Another announces the virtues of Wrangler’s U-shaped crotch cut, as opposed to the standard V-shaped one. I took this to mean “our jeans won’t inhibit your dangly man-parts.”

Video Critique worthiness on 1-to-10 scale (with 1 being “not worthy, fiend!” and 10 being “please stop whatever you’re doing and watch this video, even if you’re mid-shower or performing an emergency splenectomy”): 2

Note to self: “Raid for VC? - also call ext. TODAY”

What I might’ve been thinking: That I might be able to run with a “death-spray company has a sense of humor about its mission” angle. Also, that if I didn’t remember to call the exterminator about the death squadron of kamikaze hornets squatting under our deck, I would be morally culpable for any love nips they chose to lavish upon my wife and kids. You can probably guess what happened next. The welt on my ankle subsided after a mere eight hours of icing and elevation.

Theclipsthemselves: Cute. Clever, even, especially the one in which bugs were placed in a vessel suggesting the Roman Colosseum and blasted with both Raid and a competitor’s product. At the same time, none reframe the product or the brand; it’s more of the “Raid kills bugs dead” messaging the company has conveyed as far back as I can remember. On the other hand, for a product designed to rid basements and breakfast nooks alike of bugs, you’re probably not going to play up the spray can’s ease of operation. Whatever.

VC worthiness: 3

Note to self: “Dell Home”

What I might’ve been thinking: Hey, I used to own a Dell computer! I wonder how those crazy kids are doing nowadays. Let’s kick it 2002-style.

The clips themselves: Not terrible, somehow. The campaign has something to do with Dell and Intel attempting to counter the perceived diminution of their brands by getting cool young people to say, “Hey, I’m a cool young person and I use a Dell computer with Intel Inside to do cool young-person things… No, really, I use a Dell computer with an Intel chip… No, I wasn’t given this computer at work… No, I’m not related to Michael Dell. Stop looking at me like that.” There’s a 14-year-old fashion designer and a quirky physicist and a DJ-slash-tech-entrepreneur who “likes all kinds of music.” Did I write about this one before? I feel like I wrote about this one before. Anyway, while the videos are nicely paced and blessedly hipster-free, I still don’t see how anything short of the revelation that Apple is a front for a global dogfighting ring will prompt young folks to transfer their brand loyalty to Dell.

VC worthiness: 4.5

Note to self: “ about MIT-wine?”

What I might’ve been thinking: I have no earthly idea. Google, can you do a guy a solid and set the train of thought chuggin’ down the tracks once anew? Oh Google, you totally get me.

The clip itself: There is no clip. Never mind.

VC worthiness: N/A.

Note to self: “Tums - meatball/taco thing???”

What I might’ve been thinking: That I needed to share with the world a recent discovery that tuna fish only stays good in the fridge for three or four days, in the hope that one of my readers works for the Nobel committee or at a poison-control center.

Theclipsthemselves: Tums sent an anthropomorphized taco and a meatball to a bunch of summer-ish events (ribfests, beer-B-Qs, REO Speedwagon/Night Ranger double bills at state fairs, etc.) to determine which of the vittles hawked at said events are Tums-worthy (excuse me - “#TUMSworthy”). Taco and Meatball were up to the task, supplementing their tasting sessions with attendee interaction and BFF activities - getting customized t-shirts, etc. Fun! My only worry: no small percentage of state fair visitors are drunk or otherwise self-medicated, which could prompt any number of freakouts when they come face-to-face with a talking, walking taco. Both costumes seem to have ample padding, though, so it’s all good.

VC worthiness: 7.5. “Tums-Worthy is Video-Critique-worthy!!!” = the headline that writes itself. If you ever see something like this on/around one of my stories, please have me arrested for crimes against humanity.

Note to self: “Goose Island Beer Co. - 9/25 announce”

What I might’ve been thinking: Bourbon-ized beer? Sure, why not. We live in a time of bacon-themed dating apps. Anything and everything seems possible.

The clip itself: It’s not a video so much as a tease for a video that will arrive on September 25. Sometimes my notations have meaning and power beyond their humble appearance. Meanwhile, this would appear to signify that there are now coming-attraction clips for brand videos. Suck on that, you wheezy 1960s nostalgists. What a glorious time to be alive.

VC worthiness: TBD. Check back in a few weeks from now, maybe.

1 comment about "Deciphering LD's Notes to Self".
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  1. Roger Darnell from The Darnell Works Agency, September 17, 2015 at 12:47 p.m.

    Great reading - thank you!

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