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by Jeff Wilkin

Type A To Z

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Features reporter Jeff Wilkin on pop culture
 

Madmen and Ad Men!

By Jeff Wilkin
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
| 2 comments

I’m going to save HP. I’m going to save Old Spice. I’m going to save UPS.

These three companies, with millions to spend on advertising, are losing public support and global confidence. Here’s why — their advertising pitchmen are idiots.

I guess accuracy in advertising is no longer important. Idiocy in advertising is now the key selling point. And HP, Old Spice and UPS are racking up billions of idiocy points, with every moronic commercial.

The feeble attempts at script are what really come across in the new HP, OS and UPS TV commercials. And the fish heads playing the parts add further insult to the 30-second sufferings we must all endure.

I am willing to step in and deliver company messages in a calm and informative manner. No more bluster. No more dope-speak. No more “Gee, I’m clever” attitude.

The first to go will be the dolt currently on the job for computer hotshot HP, a Hugh Jackman look-alike and sound-alike who plays a real moron on screen. The guy might be a great actor, but the scripts call for this thesp to play an HP suit with an Aussie accent who just comes off clueless. Like a dope ... you just wince at the spots. I was hoping Dr. Dre would just stand up and slap him in the sound-mixing gag.

So I’m also willing to write the HP commercials, for free, in addition to starring in them.

Old Spice must be in crisis. No longer content to be a sort-of-respected, lower-priced after-shave, their new ad guy is a muscle-headed blockhead who uses force to push the finer aspects of Old Spice. He’s no Cicero, as my colleague Carl Strock might say. And I guess Old Spice is really trying to become Axe, that crummy after-shave popular with high school and college kids. That looks like the crowd Old Spice is aiming for.

The UPS “White Board” sap has been on the job for a few years now, drawing perfect circles, trucks and the UPS badge on a giant white board. Just lately, he’s become more and more annoying, an irritant. And while I’m not the brightest balloon in the bunch, even I know that sleaze isn’t drawing a thing. It’s just another cheap computer trick. Certainly, my friend Scott Baker would say this guy is shot, and shot right on down to the bone. But Bakes would be prejudiced ... he works for FedEx, after all.

Another thing about the middle-aged UPS guy, and that’s the Prince Valiant hairstyle. Hey, Flock of Seagulls: Get a haircut. The 80s are over. Men at Work, King Crimson and Tears for Fears are no longer headliners.

I’ll take over all three jobs. I’ll write the commercials, I’ll say the words, I’ll restore public confidence. The current advertising execs — I suspect they’re all 20-somethings who think the talking babies of the E-Trade ads are a riot — can pound sand.

I’m going to give the AT&T guy a pass. It’s true, he’s kind of a clam, but his square face and average Joe personality comes across as King Lear compared to the HP dolt. And I like the fact that the clam took on the tall 6’9 basketball guy in “HORSE” on his front yard hoop court. The guy is not a complete idiot.

One campaign I’m not going to touch is the Burger King series. There’s something appealing — and creepy — about a guy running around in majestic robes and an enormous plastic “king” head and crown. And the King is always smiling ... a unnerving, spooky smile.

Some people say there’s nothing more terrifying than answering the door in the middle of the night and finding a silent circus clown on the front steps.

I think the King would be a lot scarier ... even if he was just dropping off a couple double cheeseburgers with bacon for a midnight snack.

 
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comments

April 7, 2010
3:10 p.m.

[ Suggest removal ]
jslomka says...

Hell hath no fury like Jeff in front of his TV set.

April 7, 2010
5:39 p.m.

[ Suggest removal ]
jwilkin says...

Right you are, Slom!

 

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