Mexican actress Ana de la Reguera shines in latest Kahlua ads

By Todd Wasserman on Tue Nov 9 2010

There were a couple of things I didn't know about Kahlua before this campaign from TBWA\Chiat\Day: 1) It's from Mexico, and 2) It has a sense of humor. The new ads feature Ana de la Reguera, a "prominent Mexican actress," according to the press release, who, as it happens, looks a lot like Penelope Cruz. Bringing a bit of Old Spice-style absurdism to the proceedings, de la Reguera takes aim, like that old Saturday Night Live "Nicaragua" skit, at Spanish over-pronunciation. Thus, Robert is Roberto!, shoes are zapatos!, and Kahlua is deliciouso! Another ad (posted after the jump) notes that in Mexico, they often combine things that don't go together, "like this couch in this field" or a boombox that also makes toast. Silly. I don't know how much Kahlua this will sell, but it did sell me on de la Reguera, who looks like she'd be hilarious in a Naked Gun-type farce, especially after you've had a few Kahluas.

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Absolut gets zesty with 'Lemon Drop' homage to 1970s movies

By Todd Wasserman on Tue Sep 7 2010

Quentin Tarantino is back with this short film Lemon Drop, a 10-minute webvertainment venture by TBWA\Chiat\Day on behalf of Absolut's lemony brand. The video features all the hallmarks of the director of Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill, including anachronistic fashions, odd music choices, cameos (in this case, Martin "Sensei" Kove, of the original Karate Kid) and that weird shot where the camera zooms in on something for a bit to long, eliciting unusual sound effects. In addition, the star, Ali Larter, sports a yellow outfit very similar to Uma Thurman's in Kill Bill. Oh wait, this isn't Tarantino? Oh well, it's the closest you'll get until his "slavery-packed Western" hits screens.

Starburst spokescontradictions argue with undead on city buses

By Todd Wasserman on Mon Aug 16 2010

Why does every candy commercial these days have to be an exercise in absurdity? Is it just too boring to say "Mmm, this tastes good"? The latest confectionery ad to get the Samuel Beckett/Luis Buñuel/Monty Python treatment is this one from Starburst, which plays off the fact that the candy is juicy yet solid to riff about other seeming paradoxes. The Scotch-Korean father and son (whose contradictory nature is up for debate) reappear in this latest TBWA\Chiat\Day ad to converse with the living dead. (Now there's a real contradiction.) The living dead guy is, of course, mordant and deadpan but also quite rude. "You're boring me to death, and I'm already dead," he says. "You're boring me back to death." The living dead, in short, is kind of a dick. All the more reason to eat your vegetables and avoid candy like Starburst.

Pepsi Max remakes classic Pepsi diner spot with a modern twist

By Todd Wasserman on Mon Jul 19 2010

Ask the average corporate exec to comment about a rival and you'll usually get a blanket statement like, "We don't comment on competitors." But those same upper-management types, it seems, have no trouble putting their rank-and-file employees on the firing line, at least in advertising. Aside from the long-running Verizon-Comcast spat, which features a feckless cable guy squaring off against an obnoxious FiOS rep, there's the on-again, off-again rivalry between the guys who drive trucks for Coca-Cola and PepsiCo. In this latest campaign for Pepsi Max from TBWA\Chiat\Day—an update of a famous 1995 Super Bowl ad by BBDO (with the original Pepsi guy now playing the diner cook)—a Pepsi rep persuades his competitor to try the drink. As the Coke driver admires Pepsi Max's no-calorie sweetness, the Pepsi guy snaps a quick video and uploads it to YouTube. A brawl ensues, but when the dust clears, it's hard not to sympathize with the Coke guy, who may (in the story, at least) lose his job. On the other hand, perhaps Pepsi research has identified a weasel-ish psychographic that responds well to betraying overtures to friendship.

Nicorette Suckometer knows how much it sucks to quit smoking

Posted on Mon Dec 7 2009

The New York Times recently noted that the term "douche" has gained wide currency, but what about the word "sucks"? I'm not sure you could have run a commercial in, say, 1990 that used the word, but in 2009, it's apparently OK. This Nicorette ad from TBWA\Chiat\Day not only adds "sucks" to the script, but makes a device called a Suckometer a central character. (Could this be an offshoot of the Clash's famous Bullshit Detector?) The Suckometer is activated when a haggard young man is caught in traffic and looks enviously upon another driver's cigarette. "Man, quitting sucks," he thinks to himself. Nicorette, meanwhile, gets somewhat faint praise. It's not a miracle drug, but it "makes quitting suck less." Maybe other marketers could follow this approach. Starbucks can tout its ability to make waking up suck less. And it's only a matter of time before Scope boasts that it "makes your breath smell less like shit."

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Kate Beckinsale, Zooey Deschanel dolled up in an Absolut world

Posted on Thu Dec 3 2009

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In an Absolut world, women look glamorous and flawless. In the real world, women like myself wonder what the vodka brand's ads are trying to tell us. Absolut and TBWA\Chiat\Day this week unveiled a new set of ads shot by photographer Ellen Von Unwerth featuring actresses Kate Beckinsale and Zooey Deschanel, who personify signature Absolut drinks. See the four ads here. Beckinsale is in three of them; Deschanel is in one. In the ad for Absolut Bloody, Beckinsale dons a crimson dress and stares through a broken mirror—a scene that portrays a well-known ghost tale, which inspired the Bloody Mary. The ad for Absolut Cosmo has Deschanel (who is practically unrecognizable as a platinum blonde) dressed as a retro hipster in a pink room with a pink Cosmopolitan. You'd think Absolut were targeting women with these ads, telling us, like cosmetics ads do all the time, that if we drink Absolut, we will somehow morph into these sexy women. But the ads are set to run in male-oriented magazines like Maxim, GQ, Details, Esquire and Sports Illustrated, among others. It seems any reader of those titles would steer clear of a pink Cosmo. Still, whatever the goal may be, the ads are pleasing to the eye, indeed.

—Posted by Elena Malykhina

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The Michelin Man's a serious badass, whatever he's trying to say

Posted on Tue Nov 24 2009


Michelin wants to make a hero out of Bibendum, aka the Michelin Man. However, I have to say, I was a little thrown trying to figure out what was going on with this giant billboard from TBWA\Chiat\Day, running in Los Angeles through Dec. 20. It appears the Michelin Man (who is starting to remind me of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man) is tossing tires at a gas pump like they're ninja throwing stars. He's pulling the tires from his body like ribs. (Is this a biblical reference?) The press release clears it up. The idea behind this ad, as well as one in New York, is that Michelin tires can provide superior fuel efficiency as well as other benefits. I'm not sure I'd get that from this billboard (though it is pretty cool looking). Either way, it is an upgrade over the scary French mummy from some of the brand's early ads.

—Posted by Kenneth Hein

Apple's banner ads are cute, but could they survive bad news?

Posted on Mon May 18 2009

The problem with (or virtue of) most banner ads is they just sit there apart from the content, like wallpaper. No wonder so few people click on them. But Apple and TBWA have been playing with the medium a bit in recent online ads that show John Hodgman and Justin Long (PC and Mac, respectively) interacting with the copy on the page. Not real copy—it would be weird to see them talking about prosecutors blocking access to DNA testing for inmates on, for instance—but planted information, like a banner in the newest execution showing that Apple ranks No. 1 in customer service, according to Forrester Research. Hodgman also interacts with an ad for a toupee company way over on the left column, but tells the "Before" guy to pipe down after he goes on about how easy Macs are to use. As a stunt, this is pretty clever stuff, but the context may be a bit off. Would you want to hear Mac and PC's cutesy banter if The New York Times were reporting some horrible event on its front page that day?

—Posted by Todd Wasserman



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