Julian Assange of WikiLeaks will get you, American marketers!

By T.L. Stanley on Mon Dec 13 2010

Imagine my dad's surprise when he unwraps a copy of Everyone Poops on Christmas morning instead of the Mark Twain autobiography I thought I was buying him from Amaon.com. Damn you, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange! It wasn't really the self-professed outlaw Assange who threatened a bunch of American marketers like Netflix, Facebook and Orbitz. It was his Saturday Night Live doppelganger Bill Hader, who appeared in this skit during the weekend show to promise smug, self-satisfied retaliation from his hacker followers for his current stint in a London jail. Forget Mastercard—not even Farmville is safe! (Actually it is, because Assange/Hader thinks it's odious enough on its own.) Check out the skit above, or the whole Paul Rudd-hosted episode on Hulu or NBC.com, and see why some longtime fans, myself included, keep watching.

Disney makes fake pharma, fragrance commercials for 'Tangled'

By T.L. Stanley on Mon Nov 29 2010

Disney's animated movies aren't just for kids. And to prove the point—and maybe to keep up with Pixar and parody-loving competitors—the studio has created a couple of mock commercials for its new animated feature, Tangled. Pretty convincingly produced in the styles of pharmaceutical and perfume ads, Disney aims for the clips to go viral (not sure how that's working out, but the spots are fun anyway). The fake ad for Rapunzhair, above, with a soothing-toned voiceover recognizable from a million drug commercials, aired recently during Saturday Night Live, obviously aimed at an audience that may or may not have kids to take to the 3-D reimagining of Rapunzel. (And it has spoilers!) See the fake fragrance spot after the jump. Tangled, which opened the day before Thanksgiving, had a good weekend at the box office, though it didn't catch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1. Grownups welcome.

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The StunFone isn't real, but there appears to be a market for it

By T.L. Stanley on Tue Nov 16 2010

Just $24.95 seems like a small price to pay to turn your iPhone into a Taser in order to send 90,000 volts of electricity coursing through your two-timing boyfriend's body. But maybe I'm just partial to Jackass-style attacks. It turns out, though, that a product recently marketed as the "StunFone," a handy snap-on device that makes the iPhone a non-lethal weapon, is actually a hoax. (My dumb phone probably couldn't even shoot pepper spray.) The product demo got a lot of ink and views, probably because people could think of a million and one uses for such an item and wanted it to be true. (There was a halfway believable backstory.) In fact, it's a promo for Stun Creative, a boutique ad agency in Los Angeles that recently worked on promos for Conan O'Brien's late-night TBS talk show. Looking forward to the StunFone encore, though it'll be tougher to fool people next time around.

'Machete' spoofs imagine other films based on racial stereotypes

By T.L. Stanley on Fri Sep 3 2010


Since the Mexploitation flick Machete started its life as a grindhouse trailer during Quentin Tarantino's shamefully underrated Grindhouse, it always seemed to me that its own TV advertising should've followed suit. Grainy, cheap, '70s-drive-in-quality spots that would've captured the spirit of its inspiration, a fabulous faux commercial starring Danny Trejo, and promised me it would be a bloody good time. The latter may still be true (fingers crossed), but I've been disappointed by the TV ads so far. The print campaign is slightly better, poking fun at a million action flicks that came before it. "Yesterday he was a decent man living a decent life. Now he is a brutal savage who must slaughter to stay alive. Danny Trejo is Machete." The parodies, on the other hand, are a real mixed (mostly racist) bag. Take a look at some of them here. (OK, the Cricket Bat one's kind of funny.) Meanwhile, a Fandango study found that fans want to see this hyper-violent flick because of director Robert Rodriguez, leathery leading man Trejo, and lovely Latinas Jessica Alba and Michelle Rodriguez (in that order). Nearly 60 percent of fans said they're more interested in seeing Lindsay Lohan play a naughty nun in the R-rated flick because of all her real-life run-ins with the law; 54 percent want to check in on the movie's social commentary on immigration. About that last issue, blog Ugo says the central character is "a badass Mexican sex maniac quick with gardening tools who can brawl and eat a taco at the same time." Decide for yourself if you're offended. The movie opens today.

Norwegian cinema dramatizes Java's battle against Microsoft's .Net

Posted on Thu Jul 1 2010

The debate between Oracle's Java and Microsoft's .Net software is heating up, at least in Sweden Norway, judging by this fake red-band trailer for a pro-Java movie. Java 4-Ever tells the story of a young Swede Norwegian who rebels against his father's strict devotion to .Net and gravitates toward the dreaded Java. Here, Java is presented as a choice akin to homosexuality. His son being queer for Java eventually hastens the father's death and leads to a moment of doubt for the young man, too. ("Maybe you were right, Dad," he says to the tombstone. "Maybe it's easier if Microsoft sets the standard.") But a young hottie played by "Scala Johansson" convinces him otherwise, and soon the two are entering Java code in a highly original way. If you see just one trailer for a fake movie about Java today, make it this one.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

BP executives have an extremely hard time with all sorts of spills

Posted on Mon Jun 14 2010

There are a bunch of BP parody videos out there, but this one, featuring BP execs spilling coffee, seems to the most popular, with 3 million hits and counting. The premise is beyond stupid: A bunch of BPers in a conference room spill coffee on a table and then debate what to do about it. Perhaps the funniest moment is when one pulls out a paper towel ... and proceeds to draw up a plan on it (for a jerry-rigged cup that of course doesn't work). As they grow more desperate, they call on Halliburton execs (who dodge the blame) and then Kevin Costner (whose idea of launching a golf ball at the spill fails miserably). Again, not hilarious, but decent. I'm sure satirists are working around the clock on more parodies, though. They'll get this done. They will make this right.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

BP's man-on-the-street ad testimonials suddenly covered in oil

Posted on Mon Jun 7 2010

In his most recent Real Time broadcast on HBO, Bill Maher questioned the 20 percent or so of the American public who, according to polls, think BP is doing a good job with its oil drilling. Maher wondered what BP would have to do to change those people's opinion and suggested the company go door to door spraying them with oil. According to this video from Second City, even that wouldn't do much. This is basically a spoof of a pre-spill BP commercial, except the people on the street who offer testimonials about alternative energy happen to be dripping with oil (and in one case having crude dumped on his head). As many including Brandweek have noted, it will be all but impossible to take "Beyond Petroleum" seriously again after this latest environmental disaster. Unless BP has a junk shot up its sleeve, that is.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Shake Weight infomercial now available for private DVD viewing

Posted on Mon Apr 19 2010

Last August, BrandFreak's T.L. Stanley called the Shake Weight infomercial "the most unintentionally obscene product demo ever" and speculated that "plenty of non-females with no interest in toning their triceps are ogling this clip." Now, Saturday Night Live has also taken note of the, uh, unintended implications of the ad. A fake informercial that aired on last week's show advertises a DVD of the Shake Weight spot for men's private viewing. Personally, I don't understand what everyone's talking about. This looks like a fine way to tone the arms, and it probably does a good job on the hands, too.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

'Insanely funny' humor site about Apple is not actually that funny

Posted on Thu Apr 1 2010


Any member of the press who's ever tried to write about Apple can attest that the company doesn't have a great sense of humor. The company's Stalinesque grip on information no doubt helps create maximum buzz for every announcement, but it's also at odds with the brand's genial image fostered via advertising. That's why it's somewhat surprising that two TBWA\Chiat\Day insiders have started an Onion-like humor site called Scoopertino that aims to be "insanely funny." Michael Rylander and Ken Segall, two of the brains behind the "Think different" campaign, launched the site with some stuff that so far is, at best, sanely funny. "Apple Board Fractures in Steve Jobs Salary Spat," reads one headline, noting that Jobs is asking for a 5-cent raise over his current $1. "Apple Store Experimenting with Genius Bar Wedding Service," reads another, which is less funny than plausible since a couple did recently get married in an Apple Store. It's humor in that vein—gentle swipes that seem aimed more at the rumors around Apple than at the company itself. It's certainly not the more pointed (and amazingly prescient) stuff like this that The Onion has published.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

After the Old Spice ad hits, suddenly everyone is on a horse

Posted on Wed Mar 10 2010

You knew it wouldn't take long for someone to parody those already-tongue-in-cheek Old Spice ads from Weiden + Kennedy, right? As "I'm on a horse" becomes a debatable catchphrase, and gets at least one loving tribute, one wag has imagined how Apple might appropriate the Old Spice messaging for its own purposes. "Hello, geeks. Take a look at your phone and now back at mine. Now back at your phone," a geeky-looking guy challenges, suggesting that the viewer buy an Apple phone versus "girly phones" from T-Mobile and Sprint. The fake ad then uses a similar sleight-of-hand to show the announcer switching locations without breaking conversational stride. "We're in an Apple Store. In a black turtleneck. With a phone that could be like mine." Meanwhile, someone else has introduced a more entertaining variation on the Old Spice parody with a talking sausage

—Posted by Todd Wasserman



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