Maybe when you think of ads, you think of that annoying fake-redhead on the Wend’ys commercials or a handsome, generic doctor smiling in a magazine spread about a hospital. A good ad is difficult to come by, it seems. Every week, though agencies churn out truly great- if not at least memorable- work that reminds us a) what tricky work the ad business requires and b) how creative and clever you have to be to create a GREAT ad.
This week HBO made us cringe and Smirnoff made us want to drink cheap booze.
HBO GO’s spots were right on. Stars of this series of commercials had to be: “HBO GO: Game of Thrones: First Cousins” and “HBO GO: Girls: Y0ur Body, Your Choice.” The premise is something we’re all familiar with. Watching HBO with your parents is awkward. The sex, the nudity, the language, the bluntness, the pushing of the envelope… that all makes for great TV but not to the people who grew up with “The Brady Bunch.” The agency, SS+K, appealed to the younger generation and the “television gap” they feel with their parents. The results are hilarious. For example, in “First Cousins:” a boy and his parents are watching game of thrones. A sex scene comes on screen. That’s already awkward enough, right? The family watches in silence. At the very end, the mother says, “You know, grandma and grandpa were first cousins.” And now this kid is going to get HBO GO. Cringe-inducing? Hell yeah. Still funny? Of course. It’s a commercial. Of course it’s going a little overboard to make a point.
Smirnoff also appealed a a TV-obsessed audience by featuring hilarious, underrated superstars Alison Brie (of “Community” and “Mad Men”) and Adam Scott (“Parks and Rec,” “Party Down,” “Step Brothers,” etc.) in this longer ad. They are wonderful comics. The fact that they could be friends in real life is heartwarming. But, enough about that. I already knew that Smirnoff was for everybody. I once believed it was only for poor, partying college girls, but then I saw a bottle of the pomegranate stuff in my parents pantry. That was my advertising education (ad-ucation!?).
This 72andSunny ad is great because even though it’s at a pretty awkward length, it always holds your attention, for a number of reasons that I will sporadically throw at you. We can all relate to that one really uptight friend and that one really chill friend. Does anyone ACTUALLY like the V.I.P. area? The best drinks are the simple ones, not the ones that take longer to say than to make. That’s why a “Gin & Tonic” and a “Rum & Coke” will always be staples but (in a different drunk sector) a decaf, low-fat, sugar-free caramel dark chocolate mocha with whipped cream, easy on the ice is too ridiculous to be memorable. Simplicity, people. It’s underrated. Finally, Adam and Alison really bring it. I’m always amazed at how Adam Scott, the chameleon actor, can play everything from stressed out to cool to douchy and at how Alison Brie can play uptight or elitist so well even though she’s probably so cool in real life.