Friday, May 31, 2013

Target and other summer themed commercials - Creative Excellence Fridays

Flicking on the air conditioning for the first time this year. Putting on my first pair of shorts and hoping my white legs don't scare small children or set off any Nasa warning alarms.  And remembering tennis court etiquette such as being discrete when you bring a coolie on to a public court. All signs summer is here.

In years gone by there have been seminal summer commercials that make you realize there's more to life than punching a clock or pulling weeds. They are just feel good summer commercials.

To start off this week,  an ad from Canada's newest large retail corporate citizen.  Target has come to Canada. Just in time for summer.  I heard rumours Walmart has a picture of the Target pitbull up in their boardroom covered in darts.  But then, that's just a rumour.  Out of the gate, Target appears to really have their act together.  They're hoping to avoid the negative press that Walmart deals with regularly in large urban areas. Walmart has taken on a bit of a reputation with social environs to be a vacuum of independent merchant culture. Petitions go out when a Walmart attempts to open in a Toronto urban centre that is already being served by small merchants. Target hasn't been tagged as the spoiler ... yet.   There's an interesting story behind who a shift in agencies for Target.   Wieden + Kennedy were dropped this year when there was a management change.  Target has been known for using a variety of shops to create their now iconic look, including PMH Minneapolis.
In Canada, hotshop KBS+ is shepherding the brand.

Here's a great summer themed ad from 2011.



Maxwell House released this commercial around 1967. Nothing says summer like...coffee? Okay Starbucks might argue with their 400 vanilla bean creme cappa beta calorie iced coffee drinks.



They say if you are good in one life, you are rewarded in the next. Now we know who the "they" is...Volkswagen.


Enjoy your weekend. Go ahead, have the gazillion calorie iced coffee frapachocolicious. You can always justify it by pulling your bike down off the hooks in the garage.  What do ya mean now I have to ride it?  Wasn't the effort to lift it to the floor enough for one day?


With over 30 years experience, Tim McLarty  currently works out of Toronto Canada as a writer/voice performer, producer and media strategist producing advertising and entertainment content.

Ontrackblog is a division of OntrackCommunications Inc.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Arrested Development sets the bar for modern humour - Creative Excellence Fridays

Double entendre.  As described in Wikipedia -- double entendre is a figure of speech in which a spoken phrase is devised to be understood in either of two ways. Typically one of the interpretations is rather obvious whereas the other is more subtle. The more subtle of the interpretations may have a humourous, ironic, or risqué purpose.


Does the term big ass constitute as risque in this day and age?  According to Kmart it does. 
Okay, not exactly sophisticated humour.  But the editing is tight and the performances perfectly straddle the line of believable and etherial.  




Humour is always a gamble. And humour is not a constant. What we laughed at a hundred years ago is certainly different than 2013.

Society has changed and so has its' concept of humour. Even in the last 10 years we've adjusted the dial a bit in what North America considered humourous. Take Arrested Development for example. In a Rolling Stone interview given recently by Ron Howard to promote the Netflix revival of the show, he explains how the humour was a bit ahead of the curve in 2003.


Then along came Ricky Gervais "The Office" to North America followed by "The Extras". Right behind it was 30 Rock and the Steve Carell version of "The Office".

I personally attribute it to cable. And now internet channels.  A late friend of mine, James Graham said a few years back, I don't watch anything below channel 30.  He was referring to the mainstream networks verses the Showtimes and HBO's of the world.  Those networks programmed "intelligent" and edgy humour to an audience that was forced to grow up watching censored, filtered, generic episodes of the Brady Bunch where Greg Brady showing the top band of his fruit of the looms was considered sacre blue.

Once cable networks reached critical mass, larger budgets attracted bigger talents, and creatives yearning to express themselves with real humour that was previously revered in lonely wreckrooms with George  Carling's "7 dirty words" spinning off vinyl.

Now we're blessed with choice.  If you find Leon's cursing vitriol too much to handle on Curve Your Enthusiam, you can flip over to The Bachelor and slowling listen to the sucking sound of your IQ slipping like wax from your grey matter.  Don't get me wrong.  I have my limits of what's personally acceptable.  Louis C.K.'s stand up is too much.  Two minutes on fecal matter is never going to do it for me.  But his show "Louie" is shear brilliance.

My ambiguity about loathing and loving the same stand up must drive programmers to the edge.  What?  An inconsistency?  But the psychographic demo we pulled on your from your Facebook and google foot print shows you clearly should like both.

We shouldn't and hopefully never will be so predictable, our emotional culture becomes predicated by algorithms.  Throw us a curve every now and again.  The David  Finchers and Cronenberg's of the world will hopefully always keep executives guessing, and the not so lowest common denominator entertained.

With over 30 years experience, Tim McLarty  currently works out of Toronto Canada as a writer/voice performer, producer and media strategist producing advertising and entertainment content.

Ontrackblog is a division of OntrackCommunications Inc.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Abercrombie and Fitch get schooled on rebranding

Budding LA film maker Greg Karber seized an opportunity. His mission? Self promotion. His process? Jump on a story and take it in a bizarre direction. I applaud Karber's initiative. Abercrombie and Fitch made headlines around the world this week when CEO Mike Jeffries announced he didn't want overweight women wearing his clothes. In a sense, Jeffries policy is not unique. He is the only one who bald faced came out and admitted it. That was his tragic mistake. Because now his brand suffered far worse damage than Karber's stunt of handing A & F clothes out to the homeless in LA.

With over 30 years experience, Tim McLarty  currently works out of Toronto Canada as a writer/voice performer, producer and media strategist producing advertising and entertainment content.

Ontrackblog is a division of OntrackCommunications Inc.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Land Rover brands with beauty - Creative Excellence Fridays

Four young men, running through the woods. A ballet of balance and abandon. What does this have to do with Land Rover? Absolutely nothing. Or does it?

A hamburger and a glass of sparkling wine would fill the gap.  But wouldn't a plate of 200 dollar Kobe beef and a $2000 bottle of Dom Perignon 1966 be better?   The answer is obvious. The question is, can you afford it.  Have you arrived.  Are you Land Rover "worthy"?



If you're willing to spend Land Rover money instead of Hyundai money on transportation, that's your mindset. And that's what Land Rover's creative team at Y&R NY had in mind when they called on director Noam Murro to pull these images to life.  Young men  demonstrate Parkour, a military training exercise that utilizes running, jumping and balance to over power the enemy in combat and traverse over difficult terrain. Difficult terrain? Beauty, balance?  The connection of art, beauty and excellence has always been a powerful motivator to the set who could choose anything, but choose, in this case, Land Rover.

This blog is dedicated to creative excellence each Friday. And this commercial lifts itself above the dull roar of mediocrity with brilliance, with a simple statement;  we're about excellence. Yes, it's just a commercial. But as Andy Warhol proved fifty years ago, an ad can be art. Art can be an ad. This works. This is beautiful.

With over 30 years experience, Tim McLarty  currently works out of Toronto Canada as a writer/voice performer, producer and media strategist producing advertising and entertainment content.

Ontrackblog is a division of OntrackCommunications Inc.