Adobe’s Super Smart Post-Super Bowl Ad

Another Super Bowl has come and gone. On the football side, we saw a dominant start by the Ravens, followed by a blackout and a spirited comeback by the Niners that fell just short. On the music side, we got a reignited debate on who is hotter/more talented: Beyonce or Alicia Keys (both excellent, but I’m going Keys). And then the commercials. If you were paying attention online, you probably saw a lot of them beforehand. There were great ones (Budweiser, Tide, Audi), crappy ones (Coke, MiO, Priceline) and ones that I wished I actually watched more of instead of being drunk and chatty (Ram Trucks).

But overall, there were very few transcendent commercials. And I think the Super Bowl isn’t the best showcase of creativity…it’s more a way for corporations to flex their muscles and show how much money they have to throw around. As I was putting off writing a best/worst list for this year’s Super Bowl, I started to realize that it was boring, since pretty much everyone has one and they mostly contain the same commercials.

Then I saw this ad today. Adobe does make a great point with a talking chimp and a talking horse. In the words of the chimp: “”Can you believe they spend millions of dollars on these things? For what, 30 seconds? You know, it’s way cheaper to run it online, ’cause then they’ll know who sees it and whether it works.” So very true.

Happy Birthday, Commercial Society!

One year ago today, I started Commercial Society. I began to write a long, in-depth post, but quickly realized that it was lame and boring. So I’ll do something simpler. The blog has changed a lot since last April. But I love where it’s gone. It’s more interesting and relevant. I also feel like my writing style has improved…both in structure and in knowing how to put together the elements for a good blog post. So thanks for reading! Tell both your friends and enemies about Commercial Society. Keep on rocking, everybody! And I’ll just keep on writing…

Spotlight: State Farm Is ALWAYS There

Insurance is quite practical and necessary. Selling insurance also seems like a very boring job. It’s a respectable job, and I’m sure you can make good money…but it just doesn’t seem interesting to me. So I find it notable that the insurance industry had created some of the most memorable and innovative advertising campaigns in recent years. Think about some of of them. Geico has toed the line between amusing and stupid with its caveman/gecko spots. Allstate’s spokesman Dennis Haysbert (who I’ve always thought looks like Denzel. Anyone else?) comes across as the world’s most trustworthy man. Liberty Mutual ran a campaign emphasizing the importance of social responsibility and altruism, which featured the beautiful music of the band Hem. Progressive has scored a big hit with Flo, its enthusiastic and upbeat fictional saleswoman.

And then, we have State Farm. State Farm’s current commercials make prominent use of its jingle “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there”, which was written by Barry Manilow in 1971 (Really? Thanks, Wikipedia!). They depict State Farm agents as always available simply by people using the jingle. The agents also have some sort of genie-like power, where they can give anyone anything they want (Can I get a hot tub?! One of my favorite commercial catchphrases in a long time). A common element of successful advertising seems to be wish fulfillment. The viewer knows that these portrayals aren’t real, but maybe there’s something better about the product being promoted. Here’s one of State Farm’s latest offerings.

First off, these guys seem so laid-back about a car theft. Why? Because the State Farm agent will take care of everything. She’ll also bring an intern when boss man comes calling (as someone who will likely need a internship in the near future, is this what I have to look forward to? Doing bitch work for my lazy/stoned superiors?). They also magically get casual Wednesdays, which are probably more casual than the typical office. And the magical ability to sass the boss with the fratty and confrontational “what?!”. This is a pretty good commercial. It’s not my favorite of State Farm’s campaign, but it’s one that I should get used to seeing endlessly in coming months.

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