Q&A: Brian Huskey on his white-suburban-dad minivan swagger

Posted on Thu Jun 3 2010


On his Twitter page, Brian Huskey presents himself as "comedian and friend to the common man, but not to the little guy. Screw that guy!" Thanks to the success of Toyota's "Swagger Wagon" video from Saatchi & Saatchi, Huskey has shored up his common-man cred and can afford to alienate a potential audience of little guys. The comedian/actor, known for his work with the Upright Citizens Brigade, says ever since "Swagger Wagon" appeared, promoting the Sienna SE minivan, he's had the social-media equivalent of people stopping him on the street—i.e., sending messages to him via Facebook. Huskey, who is also known for starring in ads for Sonic Drive-in, recently spoke to BrandFreak about his newfound celebrity. Check out some excerpts after the jump.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

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Tide to Go cleans up your lovely gray sweatpants for a night out

Posted on Tue May 11 2010

I live in New Jersey, so the idea of going out for a night on the town in sweatpants isn't all that exotic. Yet in this ad for instant stain remover Tide to Go, agency Saatchi & Saatchi mines the concept for comic possibilities with some success. Two guys (one a dead ringer for Eric Bana) dressed up for some clubbing give their friend some grief over his sartorial choice. But in a move that offers encouragement to slovenly guys everywhere, Sweatpants Man stands his ground, insisting they're "sweatslacks." He does, however, concede that an unsightly stain on the pants is egregious, leading to a showcase of the product (which appears to have magical properties). I take issue, however, with the tagline, "Style is an option. Clean is not." Isn't it better to wear a stained suit than a clean pair of sweats? Outside of Jersey, I mean?

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Frontline green-killer gang will destroy your pet's fleas and ticks

Posted on Wed May 5 2010

Pet owners apparently derive a lot of satisfaction from killing bugs that harm their pets. So much so that Frontline, a Merial-owned flea and tick treatment, launched a new campaign that taps into pet owners' killer instincts. Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness conducted research that found "pet owners liken the experience to going to war against the deadliest of foes," the company says. No wonder the new campaign and website, completekiller.com, personify the green liquid solution as a "fighting squad of green combatants." One TV spot, carrying the tagline, "There's killing and then there's complete killing," shows the army of green flea patrols dashing through a forest of pet hair and slicing the enemy, eradicating eggs and larvae in the process. Other brands, the ads claim, attack adult fleas only. "As the brand that has helped pet owners understand and address the issues caused by ticks and fleas for many years, we saw an opportunity to progress from an educational message to one that celebrates our superior performance and the satisfaction consumers get when using Frontline Plus," says Mike Hutton, senior director of Frontline marketing. After all, he says. "a flea- and tick-free pet is a happy, healthy pet."

—Posted by Elaine Wong

This guy will need specially fitted front seat if he wants a Toyota

Posted on Wed Nov 18 2009

There are lots of ways, I suppose, to illustrate how a hybrid engine works, but few get the point across like this Toyota ad from Saatchi & Saatchi Australia. Here's the setup: A guy is reading the paper (headline: "G20 must not forget the developing world"), and then you notice he has an extra pair of hands, which lets him grab a cup of coffee without putting the paper down and put Vegemite on his toast while continuing to read and sip his joe. Meanwhile, a charming a capella tune plays that reminds me of Petra Haden's version of The Who Sell Out. This is one of those ads that make you wonder what's going on for the first 95 percent or so. Is it to raise awareness for Siamese twins? Is it a gay thing? Ah, it's a metaphor for "petrol and electric in perfect harmony." OK. But wouldn't it have been better to have shown the guy working the whole time instead of eating?

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Toyota plants big Prius flowerscapes next to California freeways

Posted on Thu Aug 20 2009


The 2010 Toyota Prius is being promoted with flowers—up to 180,000 of them, to be exact. The automaker is creating nine "harmony floralscapes." The first, which used 20,000 flowers, was unveiled this week alongside the Pasadena Freeway in downtown Los Angeles. Greenroad Media has found a way to recreate images using its "Living Pixel" technology and living flowers. In this case, what looks to be an orange Prius sits within a sun, using 60 feet of flowers. The floralscapes are required to be non-commercial in nature, so the designs are meant to capture the essence of Saatchi & Saatchi L.A.'s "Harmony Between Man, Nature and Machine" campaign for the Prius. Seven floralscapes, in a number of different designs, will be planted in L.A. Two will pop up in San Francisco. Only organic and reusable materials were used for the project, as well as non-potable water and solar electricity. Makes sense. It's not like Prius is going to hire a gas-guzzling prop plane to write "Buy a Prius!" in the summer sky.

—Posted by Kenneth Hein

I could do without the plant-people in Saatchi's latest Prius spot

Posted on Thu May 21 2009

Am I the only one who's creeped out by characters from "It's a Small World," the munchkins from The Wizard of Oz and that Anne Geddes baby "artwork"? They all have this in common: people, sometimes very small ones, dressed like flora and fauna. So, imagine how wigged I was at this new commercial for the third-generation Toyota Prius from Saatchi & Saatchi. It'll probably win a ton of awards, but at the moment it's fueling my nightmares. It stars a couple hundred extras, some of them quite gymnastic, costumed like clouds, babbling brooks, birds, butterflies and all manner of vegetation. Unnatural!
  Beyond that, the overly earnest making-of video, shown here, describes the ad as "high art," using people as "landscape textures." It supposedly shows the harmonious relationship between man, nature and machine, and came together via a little United Nations of talent from Japan, the U.S. and New Zealand. Not knocking the car, but the ad reminds me of the episode of The Simpsons when Ed Begley Jr. spoofed himself while riding on a go-cart "powered by my own sense of self-satisfaction." Wonder why the Prius ends up being the butt of a lot of jokes? I don't.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

Saatchi teaches you how to fry an egg on the hood of a Toyota

Posted on Thu Jan 8 2009


While Alex Bogusky is getting a two-page spread in People magazine to announce his new book The 9-Inch Diet (so-called because it advocates eating off a plate no larger than that size), Saatchi & Saatchi Los Angeles has quietly introduced its own cookbook, Saatchi Really Cooks.
  According to the Saatchi L.A. blog: "We collected favorite recipes from Saatchilians and compiled them along with helpful cooking information, created dividers using photography from all our 'Good' efforts throughout the year, and even had a shoot to film us demonstrating cooking tips and tricks and burned a companion DVD. Isn’t that crazy?"
  While Bogusky will be adding to his fortune, Saatchi's effort is designed to raise $25,000 for charity. No word if the book includes ingredients from various Saatchi clients like Cadbury Crème Eggs and Miller Chill beer.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman



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