2014: Make It Happen!

Google Chrome’s inspiring video from 2011 still rings true. Make it happen! I’ll see you next year.

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Internet Explorer Beckons Children Of The ’90s

It’s 2013, and ’90s nostalgia is in full effect. Internet Explorer, once the top web browser worldwide until being overtaken by Google Chrome (and challenged by Firefox), is getting in on the mood with this sentimental video. It’s been garnering a lot of buzz around the Internet, with more than 4,000,000 views on YouTube in three days. The ad taps into wistful memories of us ’90s children, what with Oregon Trail, Super Soakers, L.A. Lights, Hungry Hungry Hippos, and Pogs. The message: you’ve changed and so has Internet Explorer. There’s even a site which takes the Domino’s-esque route of “we know we sucked, but now we’re good.” So will it work? Probably not. Both IE 9 and 10 have gotten positive reviews, but there seems little incentive to change once one is happy with a web browser. It’s a nice try though.

2013: Make It Happen!

Google Chrome’s inspiring video from last year still rings very true. Make it happen!

The 2012 Joshys: Part II

The WTF? Award: The commercials that I watched numerous times to figure out what just happened.

Winner: Brad Pitt and Chanel No. 5

Ridiculous and pretentious. Brad Pitt’s wistful acting is decidedly not Oscar-worthy. And primed for parodies.

Honorable mentions: Henry and Aaron’s Central Institute of Technology: This Aussie video is WTF? worthy for an entirely different reason. It’s just awesome and totally unexpected. Probably a great recruiting tool for kids who would want to go to tech school.

Oxy’s Exploding Pimples: Yeah, it’s disgusting. And yeah, these are probably cysts which are more serious and should get medical attention. But the juvenile side of my personality is quite amused.

The “Aww” Award: Simply put, commercials that will make you say “aww.” A decent amount of overlap with The Field of Dreams Award.

Winner: Google Chrome’s “Jess Time”

Google can really pull at the heartstrings. Here, a father and daughter help each other adjust to life’s changes. Sweet, genuine, and just nice.

Honorable mentions: Subaru’s Rainbow and 200,000 Miles: Both ads from Subaru’s “Love” campaign, which seems like it could be a constant contender in this category. The rainbow commercial (titled “Looking for Gold”) captures a father and young daughter in a whimsical and adorable moment. “200,000 Miles” is also cute, but has a deeper meaning about random events and how they can change our lives.

Nike Free “I Would Run To You”: This one had some mixed reviews, as many thought it relied on the formula of an incompetent man (who reminds me of myself) and a super-competent woman. But personally, I find it cute, romantic, and funny. Love will make people do silly and irrational things…maybe even run cross-country. The song is very catchy too.

Purina’s Rain Rescued Cat: If you love cats, you’ll love this one.

The Beautiful Award: Most beautiful visuals in an ad.

Winner: Getty Images “From Love To Bingo”

Sometimes the best stories don’t need any words at all. Love it. From Brazil.

The Explosions in the Sky Award: The most epic of the year. And yeah I know, “epic” is totally overused now. Sorry.

Winner: Audi’s “Ahab”

The first time I saw this commercial, I was like “Well, that was cool, but I feel like I’m missing something.” Then I realized that the whole ad is an homage to Moby Dick (it is called “Ahab” after all). The wide-open vastness of the landscape and lonely narration of the forlorn truck driver makes this one a winner. Manly as hell, too.

Honorable mention: Canadian Paralympics “Unstoppable”: Unstoppable is the right word.

Google Chrome’s Sweet “Jess Time” Spot

I usually love Google’s videos, but I wasn’t a fan of Google Chrome’s lame Mark Potter commercial.  Judging from the fact that I got clobbered in the comments section, a lot of people did like it though. Luckily, Google is back on their game with this one. “Jess Time” tells the story of a daughter (Jess) and her father (Elliott). We learn that the mother in the family has recently died. Losing a parent seems like an incredibly tough matter…something I don’t want to think about. Even harder would be losing a parent soon before moving to college, a huge transition time. Through various Google Chrome applications, Jess and Elliott help each other adjust to life’s changes. Sweet, genuine, and just nice. The song is “Broken Chair” by Chris and Thomas. And Jess is played by Celeste Arias.

Google’s Mark Potter Needs To Let Go And Move On

I like most of Google’s commercials. They’re always sentimental, but they do a great job of showing the sometimes overlooked roles that Google plays in modern life. But this one for Google Chrome is just awkward and creepy. Some might think Mark Potter’s attempt to win back his old girlfriend is sweet, but it fails on a number of levels for me. It comes across as too private…dredging through personal events in their relationship. Why did he document so much of their relationship anyway? At the same time, broadcasting his desperate message to the whole world looks as lame as a Jumbotron marriage proposal. So…how about that coffee? Not this time, Google. And in case you were wondering, the song is “Porch Song” by The Meemies.

6/25 update: Heh, here’s Jen’s spoof response created by UCBComedy. Good stuff.

Super Bowl Retrospecticus: Google’s “Parisian Love”

The Super Bowl is one of the few televised events that cuts across demographic boundaries. Unlike other sporting events whose television ratings largely depend on star/market power, the Super Bowl always gets a huge audience regardless of the teams involved. So it’s not a surprise that it’s the biggest (and most expensive) night of the year for advertising. With that in mind, I introduce the Super Bowl Retrospecticus, where I discuss notable commercials of Super Bowls past. I’m limiting this only to ads I actually remember.

Google was long known as a company who did not advertise. In 2010, they aired their first national commercial, “Parisian Love”, during Super Bowl XLIV.

“Parisian Love” was actually created months before the Super Bowl as part of Google’s “Search Stories”. These involved the intriguing, yet extremely simple concept that people search for things of current relevance to them, and when put together in linear fashion, the search terms tell a story. In the case of “Parisian Love”, it was the tale of a romance starting in Paris. The unseen guy is charming…he misspells Louvre, wants to find out about truffles and Truffaut, and searches for advice to cope with a long-distance relationship. Soft and inviting music plays throughout. We discover that the couple ends up getting married and the final search “how to assemble a crib” puts a heartwarming end to the story (with a baby’s giggle). Elegant, romantic, and beautiful, it was a hit which ranked #4 in ADBOWL 2010.

The success of “Parisian Love” led to Google stepping up its advertising. And Google has done a great job. There was a similarly heartwarming Search Story called “Graduation”. Last year’s “Dear Sophie” was a huge online hit for Google Chrome. The Muppets did a Google+ commercial, and who doesn’t love the Muppets? And I just saw the seriously inspiring “Make It Happen” spot. This is just a small sampling of Google’s awesome commercials/videos, and I’m looking forward to what they’ll have for the Super Bowl.

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