E*Trade babies are back and are as world-weary as ever

By David Kiefaber on Mon Oct 25 2010

E*Trade's precocious CGI baby concept has reached its third year, and the TV spots just keep on coming. “Time Out” explores the limits of infant resourcefulness, while the two tykes in “Documentary” are more interested in the, ahem, circle of life than investing. I'm gonna leave that one alone. Either way, both ads, from Grey, New York,  seem more interested in the baby gimmick than E*Trade itself, and that preoccupation has gotten them into trouble before. Plus, the necessary disclaimer about having to be 18 to open an account runs counter to their logic, such as it is. Regardless, a lot of interactive E*Trade Baby stuff was rolled out back in March, and the company seems happy with the response. Their chief marketing officer told the press that “the babies that are featured in our campaign are incredibly popular and enabling users to interact with and personalize them is yet another way to engage our audience.” This is assuming, of course, that interaction with the promotional material carries over into increased use of the product or service it's promoting. Haven't seen any figures on that, but I do hear a lot of rumbling about E*Trade being a terrible company with funny ads. Probably not the reception they want.

Clean sheets prompt spasms of joy in new ads for Downy

By Elaine Wong on Tue Aug 3 2010
BrandFreak loves it when her sheets are smelling fresh. (We just cleaned ours this past weekend.) Turns out, though, we’re not the only ones. Sixty-four percent of Americans wash their sheets at least once per week and they usually celebrate with some small (and quirky) act of happiness. As some new TV spots from Grey and this longer Web video, via Digitas, show, that can range anywhere from making a “snow angel” on the bed to parachuting with the (freshly cleaned) sheets. The ads promote a new formula upgrade available on Ultra Downy April Fresh and Sun Blossom, which purport to deliver a week’s worth of clean sheet freshness, all in one wash. (The technology lies in new scent pearls, per P&G.) Yippee! That equates to one week of cart wheeling and back flips, which is usually how BrandFreak rejoices on “clean sheet day.”

Downy is so soft, it will cause you to act like a homeless person

Posted on Mon Oct 12 2009

Downy

Soft, cuddly things never seem to be in abundance (unless you own a thousand stuffed animals), and a new Downy spot from Grey, New York, reminds us to appreciate the softer things in life—things made soft by Downy, that is. This spot from the Procter & Gamble brand shows people reveling in the fabric softener's softness in unexpected places. The opening shot shows a woman wrapped in a soft blanket, then pulls back to reveal that she's in an elevator, not her comfy bedroom. Then there's a guy all snuggled up to his Downy-softened pillow … on an airplane. (Needless to say, the guy next to him is annoyed.) "Maybe we could all use a little more softness," says the ad, which features a backdrop of relaxing, chiming music. Grey says this is "the highest-scoring base Downy spot" it's produced in four years. The ad, a continuation of Downy's "Feel more" campaign, marks a return back to advertising the product's softness as opposed to the traditional category focus on scent.

—Posted by Elaine Wong

Fathers likely to act like total morons around Girl Scout Blizzards

Posted on Mon Jun 29 2009

Sorry guys, but you can't have a Girl Scout Blizzard unless you're a girl. That, unfortunately, is what this father finds out in a new TV commercial for Dairy Queen by Grey, New York. The trouble starts when Katie shows her daddy what she drew today: a family trip to DQ. Except, as Daddy points out, "Hey, wait a minute. Why doesn't Daddy have a blizzard?" "They're Girl Scout Cookie Blizzards. You're a boy," Katie replies matter-of-factly. The man walks away and returns with a freshly drawn Blizzard on a Post-it note. When his wife chides him for his silly behavior and tries to take it from him, he grabs it and stuffs it in his mouth. "Mmm," he says, satisfied. Voiceover: "Everybody wants one. The new Girl Scouts Tagalong Blizzard. Creamy DQ soft serve and real pieces of peanut butter cookies." Yum. Is there going to be one for Boy Scouts soon?

—Posted by Elaine Wong

Febreze gives filthy slackers reason to not actually clean rooms

Posted on Tue Jun 16 2009

Febreze, which freshens everything from smelly carpets to deodorant-stained undershirts, is now the quicker cleaner upper for when friends come over. That, at least, is the premise of this new spot now airing by Grey, New York. The 30-second ad shows a frustrated mother asking her son to clean his room. Not only is it messy, but it "stinks," Mommy says, wrinkling up her nose. "You've got to wash this whole room," she insists. "Are you kidding?" the mess maker, Karl, says in disbelief. Moments after Mom starts spraying the room, two lady friends come over and commend Karl for his impeccable cleanliness. "You know, I like to keep things fresh in here," he says. "For all the things you can't wash, wash it with Febreze," the voiceover concludes.

—Posted by Elaine Wong

Americans refuse to shut up, except when they visit the doctor

Posted on Thu Apr 16 2009

"We ask questions everywhere we go," but not at the doctor's office, the one place where we really should indulge our nosiness. That's the theme of a new campaign from Grey, New York, for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (part of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services) that urges patients to be more forthcoming when visiting their docs. The ads show people in everyday scenes—placing an order at a restaurant, buying a cell phone—firing question after question of ridiculous inquiries. Then they clam up in the doctor's office. What's wrong with you people, can't you be obnoxious at the right time?

—Posted by Elaine Wong

You have to accept that you'll never be as awesome as Mr. Clean

Posted on Fri Feb 27 2009

He's bald, and he's bad. Who wouldn't be jealous?
  A pair of new commercials from Grey, New York, feature various second-string cleaners bad-mouthing Procter & Gamble's Mr. Clean from the safety of a supply closet. In the first spot, they turn green with envy over Mr. Clean with Febreze. "Hey, world, he cleans great, and he helps eliminate odors, too," one bottle says sarcastically. "Oh, wow," replies another. "He's like a guy that's, like, a good actor but then he's also a musician, too." In the other spot, the peanut gallery is flabbergasted by the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser: "Dude, dude, he's got these, like, micro-scrubbers," one spray bottle remarks. Another has teardrops welling up at his nozzle at the end.
  Michael Collins, creative director on the Mr. Clean brand at Grey, says the cheeky humor is meant to loosen up the brand's stiff image, in a departure from the classic old product demonstration ads. "Rather than hitting women over the head, we wanted to go ahead and delight them and tickle them," he says.

—Posted by Elaine Wong


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