All Articles Tagged "commercials"

Was That Really Necessary? 10 TV Commercials That Took It Way Too Far

January 21st, 2014 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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Shutterstock

Shutterstock

Ever watch a commercial and find yourself wincing, cringing, or averting your eyes away from the TV? Or has an advertisement been so awful that you’ve had to change the channel. Yeah, we hear you. We understand that advertisers love adding a little “shock value” into commercials — no matter how heinous, awkward, or gross it may be — to have people talking. But do they really have to sully our viewing pleasures just to reach our wallets?

Here’s a list of commercials that have taken  a left turn. As we are on threshold of the Super Bowl, hopefully this list will make these big brands reconsider some of the revolting ads they have in store for us. If only…

The Worst Commercials of 2013

December 17th, 2013 - By Tanvier Peart
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A still from the Geico "Hump Day" commercial, a favorite for the year.

A still from the Geico “Hump Day” commercial, a favorite for the year.

In thinking about the most memorable commercials of 2013 and the advertisements that enticed us to use that product and/or service, you almost have to stop and think about the ones that failed. Can you remember changing the channel when you saw a particular ad appear that made you roll your eyes and say whatever? Or perhaps there was one that stirred up a little anger as to why companies would think it would be okay to run such marketing tactics? While there are probably tons that are out there, here’s a look back at some of the worst commercials of 2013.

The Most Memorable Commercials of 2013

December 9th, 2013 - By Tanvier Peart
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super bowl bruno marsWith the year soon coming to an end, many advertisers have their eyes set on one of the biggest campaign opportunities of the any year, Super Bowl. Already sold out and going for as much as $4 million a slot, one can only imagine what companies have up their sleeves to get our attention and capture our business.
But until that time comes, it’s kinda fun to think about the commercials that left a lasting impression on us throughout the year. Are there any that come to mind? If so, what was it about the ad that kept you glued to your television? Here is a look back at some of the most memorable commercials of 2013. Of course there were many but these instantly came to mind.

K-Mart ‘Yo Mama’ Commercials, Rap Video Receive Backlash From Viewers

July 31st, 2013 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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kmart-yo-mama-commercialThe latest K-mart commercials that feature grade-school children making quick-witted “Yo Mama” jokes about their classmates’ fashion-forward choices and another with a tween rap crew  is causing a raucous. While some find no harm in the ads, others are furious about the commercials’ “racist” undertones, reports Clutch.

“Did yo mama get that hoodie at K-mart?” one grade school kid asks another. “Yeah dawg!”, a young Latino boy replies. “Well yo mama must have cavities because that hoodie is sweet!”

“Well yo mama is so fiscally responsible, she got all that on free layaway!” a witty African-American girl jokes.

“Ohhhhhhh!” the kids in the schoolyard yelled.

“Your commercials are racist and disgusting,” one commenter says in all-caps on the K-Mart Facebook page. “I won’t be shopping here!” Admittedly, K-Mart is attempting to market these commercials to the budget-conscious and/or urban consumer. But I don’t think these slapstick, all-in-good-fun commercials are racially charged.

The joke is that the “Yo Mama” jokes are unexpected compliments, not insults. Yet, a large wave of television viewers are not tickled by the satirical wordplay. One viewer likened the Yo Mama jokesters to street kids or gang members. “They’re babbling and you can’t understand a word they say,” another person complains. “Very very poor example for kids to see.”

A K-Mart representative replied, “This commercial is a playful take on Kmart Layaway. We regret if it wasn’t your style.”

The Nine Most Anticipated Super Bowl XLVII Commercials

February 1st, 2013 - By Blair Bedford
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AP Photo/Julie Jacobson

AP Photo/Julie Jacobson

If you’re not into NFL football, Super Bowl parties or even Beyonce for that matter, Sunday’s big game might not be a highlight for you, but the multi-million dollar commercial advertisements might be!

You might have already seen a few ads here or there gearing up for the Super Bowl between the Baltimore Ravens and San Fransisco 49ers and the record-breaking audience it will receive, including Beyonce’s Pepsi ad for her sponsored halftime show, but there are many more to come. From big household names like Toyota to smaller, but well-established products like Mio drinks, we are anticipating some of the biggest Super Bowl commercials ready to premiere this coming Sunday evening. Are you?

Oh No They Didn’t! Super Bowl Ads Try To Profit From Controversy

January 30th, 2013 - By C. Cleveland
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A still from Kate Upton's Super Bowl ad for Carl's Jr.

A still from Kate Upton’s Super Bowl ad for Carl’s Jr.

The Super Bowl is more than a football game. During commercial breaks and on YouTube, companies are playing a Super Bowl of their own, competing to capture the world’s attention without embarrassing themselves. Any Real Housewives Of Atlanta fan can tell you how difficult that game is to master.

First possession of 2013 goes to Volkswagen. If you haven’t seen their ad featuring a proud Minnesotan talking like he works weekend shifts at the Jerk Pit, you clearly don’t work in a cubicle. Catch up, so you can engage in one of America’s favorite pastimes, a round of “Is That Racist?”

Does it matter that 100 Jamaicans are okay with the ad? Would it make it better if White Jamaicans existed? Do they exist? (FYI, they’re 3.2 percent of the country’s population. Yes, I Google’d and YouTube’d it. I was intrigued.) None of this really means anything. Some people find the commercial offensive. They may or may not be Jamaican.

Volkswagen knows their happy little commercial has a little edge to it. Edgy enough to talk to 100 Jamaicans. And make a back up ad. But standing out this time of year sometimes requires taking a little more risk. Success is determined by a simple premise: If the controversy outshines the product, you lose.

When the controversy puts an ad at the top of the news hour across the country, and the world collectively says, “Oh, that’s not so bad.” Companies like Volkswagen win. Bonus points if a few people say, “I love this ad” or “That’s a nice car he was driving.”

Here are a few attempts from Super Bowls past where companies have pushed the envelope to varying degrees, with varying levels of success. Is it a touchdown, or did they fumble the advertising budget?

Have the Changes at the Judging Table Backfired? ‘American Idol’ Is Losing Value

October 23rd, 2012 - By Ann Brown
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AP Photo/FOX, Michael Becker

We’re sure this isn’t what the producers of American Idol hoped when they added Nicki Minaj to the judging table… for $12 million. Mariah Carey was also meant to be a big draw, with her reported $18 million salary. Instead of commercial time for the show becoming more valuable, ad prices have actually gone down.

Commercial time on the number one televised talent show was the most expensive around at one point. Not so anymore. According to Forbes, “After five years of owning the most expensive real estate in prime time, Fox‘s American Idol has fallen to No. 2 on Advertising Age’s annual list of shows with the highest ad rates.”

The average cost of a 30-second spot on Idol  has fallen by a full third, to $340,825. Idol lost to NBC’s “Sunday Night Football,” which is now the most expensive place to buy commercial time. Last year “both ‘SNF’ and Idol were charging about $500,000 for an average 30-second spot, this year the NBC show is commanding $545,142,” reports Forbes.

So it appears the cat fights between Mariah Carey and Minaj didn’t boost the value of the show. And to pay those salaries, they can use all the ad dollars they can get. Let’s see if the talent can do the trick.

The New Look of Weight Loss

January 4th, 2012 - By Brande Victorian
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No more than a week after I saw Wendy Williams throw shots at Jennifer Lopez for her lack of talent and numerous endorsement deals, saying “Mariah Carey would never be caught in a Fiat,” news broke that my favorite singer of all time was the newest spokesperson for Jenny (Craig that is). My heart sunk a little because I knew the sort of gimmicky promotions that come along with the territory, and her first “Make it Happen” campaign confirmed my worst fears.

But Mimi is hardly alone in the new trend of black celebrity weight loss spokespersons. Jennifer Hudson set the stage for this, and undoubtedly crushed Weight Watchers’ competition with her catchy tunes, slim physique, and more publicity than the Southside Chicago native could’ve ever dreamed of. So what were Jenny and NutriSystem to do? Hire even bigger celebrity names like Mariah Carey and Janet Jackson to draw in the masses.

My main concern with the latest weight loss campaigns was how they would affect each divas image. While the opportunity boosted J Hud’s career to unexpectedly new heights, for Mariah and Janet, I’ve likened the endorsement deals to offers to appear on “Dancing with the Stars” or any other reality TV show. It’s a sign that they’ve lost their spark and are vying for ways to stay relevant in the media.

Fred Mwangaguhunga, editor of MediaTakeout.com, expressed similar sentiments in an interview with The Daily Beast. “I was really surprised when I saw Janet Jackson doing a weight-loss commercial, he said. “I don’t think this is something she would have done five years ago, given her personality. But times have changed and the way you have to sell yourself has changed, so you use what you have.”

More important than these star’s careers, which have had an excellent run thus far by all industry standards, is the question of what these campaigns mean for black women. Presumably, seeing three black female celebrities successfully shed pounds with these programs would serve as a role model for black women as obesity continues to stake its claim in our community. Kirstie Alley and Marie Osmond may not be relatable to us but these women should be, right? Not necessarily.

Many have criticized Jennifer Hudson as being disingenuous about the way she dropped 80 pounds, but while her story is believable to me, I can’t say the same about Janet Jackson. Janet may have struggled with her weight as a young woman first on the music scene but it’s been some time since we haven’t seen the singer without chiseled abs (sans her appearance in “Why Did I Get Married Too”).

Composer Wendell Hanes On The Business of Jingle Making

May 16th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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Music has superstars with household names and others who are relatively obscure but perhaps no less talented than the Kanyes of the world. The anonymous superstars of music exhibit profound influence on our lives, functioning as society’s Pied Pipers — composers whose TV soundtracks put us in a mood to spend money. Wendell Hanes has composed the tracks of more than 700 TV ads. Here he divulges the inner secrets of the ad-music business, clues us in on how he composes his own “hit tunes” — and says he can “smoke” one of the best-known artists of the day. Watch for yourself.

The Anonymous Hit Makers

April 25th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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"dunn pearson"

by Steven Barboza

Rihanna. Bruno Mars. Beyoncé. Will.i.am. Jay-Z. Alicia Keys. All have an intriguing musicality that makes us want to buy their CDs and attend their concerts.

But there’s another category of talented stars whose tunes may be even more influential: the composers and arrangers whose tracks persuade us to shell out hard-earned money on cars, window cleaner, burgers, mobile phones, or drugs that treat erectile dysfunction.

These musicians are not just unheralded; they’re anonymous, and yet they’re superstars in every other sense of the word. They’re heard by millions each day. Their biggest fans occupy c-suites, and while their tunes may not top the charts, they result in billions of dollars in consumer sales by tying product to a catchy tune.

Some promo musicians are as talented as the superstars we all know. Some are even more versatile and show depth in a range of musical genres. One day, they might compose a hip hop score for a burger ad.  The next, they might create music for a symphony orchestra.

“I love Kanye West’s music, but put me up against him and I will run circles around him musically any day,” said Wendell Hanes, a young black composer and TV promo arranger.

In a sense, they’re Pied Pipers of commerce, musicians whose tunes convey a message: buy this now! Consider the old-time jingle “Call Roto-Rooter, that’s the name!” Or the classic “I Can See Clearly Now,” famously covered by Jimmy Cliff and re-purposed to sell Claritin. Or infectious tracks such as “Days Go By,” the Grammy-winning electronica tune used in a Mitsubishi Eclipse promo.

Fortune 500 corporations are willing to bet big bucks that the soundtracks of TV (and radio) commercials will convince you to buy their products or services. It’s a bet made by corporations tens of thousands of times each day. This becomes evident whenever you watch television.

There are an estimated 25 black composers in the promo business. The best-known are the legendary Bernard Drayton, who blazed a trail in the 70s for black musicians in the ad business; Dunn Pearson Jr., a musician and arranger who has worked with The O’Jays and who is known professionally as the Black Beethoven for his ability to mesh classical and pop music; Nile Rodgers, a member of the R&B band Chic; John Forté, who wrote and produced songs for The Fugees; Stanley Brown, who composed music for Wal-Mart and Piggly Wiggly Muffin Mix commercials; and Hanes.

Much of their work forms a catalog of African American-focused commercials, in part because they are often branded as black artists and relegated to doing ethnic commercials for black ad agencies.

But most of these artists have crossed the racial barrier to do mainstream work in an industry where creative directors often demand edgy new sounds. “It’s very competitive,” Hanes said. “It’s not just you. [The agencies] have got two and three music houses they can use; and not only that – you’re competing against Kanye West, or any of 20 other options. They put a million dollars into a commercial, and then at the end of the day must find a piece of music that stands up. It’s an honor.”

Hanes graduated from Brown University, worked as an unpaid intern at Spike Lee’s film production company, 40 Acres and a Mule, then worked briefly in the record industry before transitioning to commercial advertising.