Commentary

Out to Launch

Ads that make me cry -- and not because I'm happy. More holiday ads. Let's launch!

What would you do for a Titus bike? People did some strange things for Klondike bars back in the 80s, such as cluck like a chicken or bark like a dog. Titus merely encourages its riders to offset the cost of its bikes by landing a lucrative second job as a phone sex operator, nude model or sexy Girl Scout cookie peddler. And with prices ranging from $3,300 to $7,500, it's time to drop trou. Print ads launched this month using the tag line, "It's worth a second job." Each ad shows a cyclist hard at work, earning extra money. The Girl Scout is wearing her biking shoes and the nude model sports classic biker tan lines. See the ads here, here and here. The ads are running in all major mountain biking magazines, except Mountain Bike Action, which refused the creative. TDA Advertising & Design created the campaign and media buying was handled in-house.

Even inactive people can help the environment. So says a print and TV campaign for the Vancouver Aquarium's Ocean Wise program. Here's how it works. Ocean Wise reaches out to participating restaurants and helps them make environmentally friendly seafood purchases. Diners who order the special meals, highlighted on the menu, are doing their part in keeping ocean life healthy and plentiful. Creative matches images of recognizable environmentalists like Jane Goodall, Bob Hunter and Paul Watson with average people eating seafood at a restaurant. See the TV spot here and the print ad here. TAXI Vancouver created the campaign.

It's not easy being funny. Especially when you're known as a serious news anchor. But Jim Lehrer tried. He gets credit for that. PBS launched a nationwide TV spot to promote its upcoming six-part documentary called "Make em laugh: The funny business of America." In the ad, we see Lehrer sitting behind the news desk delivering corny jokes rather than news. "Two cannibals are eating a clown. One says to the other, does this taste funny to you?" See the ad here, created by MGH.

HP launched a holiday campaign promoting its TouchSmart desktop PC and Pavilion dv5 Entertainment Notebook PC. The TV ads are OK, but the viral ads are great. The first TV spot follows a magician placing objects in his magic box: a cell phone, video game controller, video camera, photo album and a flat screen TV. The box melts into a laptop that's multifunctional. Magic. Watch it here. A second ad, seen here, touts a touchsceen computer and the power one's index finger holds. The online virals take place underneath a Christmas tree, pitting an HP product with another gift that's not as versatile and easily forgettable. Like a gift card, white noise machine or dragon holding a crystal ball. McCann Worldgroup San Francisco created the campaign.

IKEA Canada launched an online and outdoor holiday campaign that uses IKEA pieces to spell out holiday wishes. The words hope, love and joy are spelled out in English and en Francais using IKEA furniture and strategically placed family members. See the ads here, here, here, here and here. There's also a 3-D installation on the Gardiner Expressway in Toronto that spells out joy using actual, not photographed,  pieces of furniture. Wonder how long those items will last. See the ad here. Online ads are running on HGTV.ca, StyleatHome.ca, CanadianHouseandHome.com and DecorMag.com. Zig created the campaign and Mindshare Canada handled the media buy.

AARP launched a series of TV ads that document real-life stories of average Americans who had to declare bankruptcy due to healthcare-related costs. In one ad, a daughter stands next to her father and tells the story of her mother, who was diagnosed with brain cancer. All treatments were not covered with health insurance, and the family filed for bankruptcy. The spot ends with a staggering statistic: 1.85 million people will file for bankruptcy due to medical bills. In one year. See the ad here. Another ad shows the faces of people in financial distress because of medical costs. See it here. Both ads direct viewers to a Web site that houses more stories, educational articles and resources about the "Divided We Fail" platform. GSD&M Idea City created the campaign and handled the media buy.

File this ad under "things that made me weepy at work." State Farm launched a TV spot called "Heart" that focuses on helping people who've lost everything to a catastrophic event, like a hurricane or fire. Beth Orton's version of "Ooh Child" resonates throughout the ad, keeping the mood somber. Pass the Kleenex. Watch the ad here, created by DDB.

iPod Touch launched an online version of the TV ad "funnest" that's running this week on Yahoo Games. Cool ad. Whenever the gamer moves his hands and iPod touch, the tabs atop the Yahoo Games site also shake and stir. A cute 30-second distraction. Watch it here.TBWA/Media Arts Lab created the ad.

Brand Jordan launched a football ad called "Simple Math." The ending tag line best summarizes the ad: "Success is not calculated. It's earned." Football players train in rainy, muddy weather, sustain injuries -- I'm glad I ate lunch before I saw the player who lost a tooth -- and work hard to succeed. Watch the ad here, created by Wieden+Kennedy New York.

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