Tuesday Throwback: Cadillac And Neal McDonough Can’t Believe Other Countries Take August Off

It’s now July 31, which means that other countries (i.e. European ones) will be taking long vacations really soon. Maybe…gasp!…even the whole month of August off. But here in ‘Merica, as Neal McDonough explains in this 2014 Cadillac ad, we don’t do that. We’re too crazy driven for that. This was a hugely polarizing ad, and your opinion of it probably lies with your political outlook. If you’re a conservative, it seems more likely that you’d agree with the spot’s consumerist and capitalist viewpoints, and argue that this is why the United States has historically been an economic and innovative powerhouse. If you’re a liberal, you might argue that this commercial underlies why Americans are so deeply in debt, stressed out, overworked, and generally have a lower quality of life than other developed nations. What’s my opinion? I think this ad is smarmy as hell. Ford made a good response to it too.


Tuesday Throwback: DirecTV’s Russian Guy Who Has The Opulence

Yesterday’s disastrous Trump-Putin summit made me think of this hilarious DirecTV ad from the summer of 2010. “Opulence, I has it” will go down as one of the decade’s best advertising lines. Our opulent hero is surrounded by luxury and beautiful women. But he still likes savings the money, so he’s attracted to DirecTV. And you can’t forget his little giraffe friend either. This spot became meme-worthy soon after its release. The decidedly Irish, not Russian Timothy V. Murphy plays Mr. Opulence.


Tuesday Throwback: Liberty Mutual’s Beautiful Commercials Featuring The Music Of Hem

I remember these great Liberty Mutual ads debuting around 2006. They focus on people witnessing acts of kindness and then “paying it forward” by performing good deeds to those around them. I love the ads on their own, but what really puts them over the top is the beautiful music of New York band Hem. This particular Liberty Mutual campaign had a lot of spots, but I’ve just included a few of the classics, which feature the songs “Half Acre” and “The Part Where You Let Go.” It’s a campaign that seems like it could be even more apt now, considering our polarized and hostile political climate.

Tuesday Throwback: Alka-Seltzer’s Infamous And Award-Winning Lifeboat Commercial

I hadn’t seen or heard about this Alka-Seltzer ad until now, as it just randomly popped up on YouTube for me. But wow, this one is memorable and darkly hilarious. Two men are stranded at sea in a lifeboat for apparently quite a long time. Then, we see some Alka-Seltzer being plopped alongside the voiceover “when you’ve eaten something you shouldn’t have”…and there’s only one man in the lifeboat. Oof. This spot from London agency AMVBBDO won the Golden Lion at Cannes in 1997.


Tuesday Throwback: Sony Bravia’s Bouncy Balls

This is a fantastic Sony Bravia ad from 2005. It’s visually stunning…I mean how could 250,000 colorful super balls bouncing down hilly San Francisco streets not be? And the beautiful song playing throughout the commercial is Jose Gonzalez’s “Heartbeats.” It’s one of those spots where I wish I was writing this blog when it was released.

Tuesday Throwback: State Farm’s “And Can I Get A Hot Tub?”

Much like its famous Jake commercial, State Farm had a long-running hit with this spot. I believe it debuted back in 2010, and it had already been playing for a while when I started the blog. I wonder what exactly the black dude was talking about (“snatching stuff takes…”) when the baseball went through the window. It looked like he was in the middle of a good story. Then the State Farm agent appears! And the State Farm jingle magically brings a sandwich, the girl from 4E, and of course, a hot tub. “And can I get a hot tub?” was a fantastic line which this ad is best remembered for. Mane Rich Andrew plays the “snatching stuff” sandwich lover, Graham Rogers is the hot tub guy, and Holly Lynch is the attractive girl from 4E. Anyone know the identities of Dave the State Farm summoner or the agent?

Tuesday Throwback: Heroin Is Bad, And Rachael Leigh Cook Destroys This Kitchen

After starring in She’s All That, Rachael Leigh Cook had a brief period of being the “It Girl” of the late ’90s-early 2000s. But her first real claim to fame came in 1997, when she appeared in a Partnership for a Drug-Free America commercial. In the ad, she smashes an egg with a frying pan to simulate what heroin does to your brain. And then she goes much further, ultimately destroying the kitchen to show heroin does to the lives of users, as well as their friends and family. Was this spot effective? Who knows? But it was jarring, memorable, and honestly…strangely sexy. Last year, Rachael Leigh Cook and the Drug Policy Alliance created a remake for the 20th anniversary of the ad. It focuses on the disproportionate effect the War on Drugs has had on people of color.

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