Liberty Mutual’s “Gym” Commercial…

Posted June 13, 2021 by vulpesffb
Categories: absurdities, advertising, animal spokepersons, anthropomorphic, Brilliant but twisted, feathered friends, furry, furry commercials, television

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We once again find the LiMu Emu and Doug on a row of treadmills at a gym, where the human half of the duo asks an unfortunate fellow exerciser on a cell phone if he’s using the Liberty Mutual “customizer” tool, so he “only pays for what he needs.” Doug hardly seems dressed for a workout, wearing long pants, his trademark yellow shirt, and a tie. Bad form, Doug…

Putting Doug to shame, however, is the Emu at the end of the row of treadmills, who is running full tilt! “LiMu, you’re a real animal!,” remarks Doug, adding “Who’s got the ‘bird legs’ now?” Cute…

In an expanded version of the ad, the Emu is also shown pecking at a heavy bag in the gym. His beak punctures the bag’s covering, causing sand to pour out.- -Well, there goes their membership! This is one buff bird…

“Grilling Out” with the LiMu Emu…

Posted June 11, 2021 by vulpesffb
Categories: advertising, animal spokepersons, anthropomorphic, Brilliant but twisted, commercials, fantasy, feathered friends, furry, furry commercials, humor, television, twisted reality

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I’m not sure that one would want to date or marry an insurance company spokesman or rep as depicted on TV, where they never seem to be able to talk about anything but insurance, which can get old really fast! So it is at an outdoor cookout for Liberty Mutual’s “Doug” (David Hoffman), the Emu, and their presumed wives. The partners are dressed alike in matching loud yellow floral Hawaiian print shirts, and even their wives are in matching tones. It’s a surreal occasion, their outfits matching the yellow finish of the Liberty Mutual-mobile visible in the background. They’re nothing but thematic here…

When Doug blathers only about insurance, his wife politely asks him to change the topic, it being the weekend and all.- -Give it a rest, dude! In the awkward silence that follows, Doug asks the Emus wife if she would prefer to eat either a hot dog or chicken right off the grill, the latter offering seeming to be at least quasi-cannibalistic for the bird. The Emu vocalizes a brief response which Doug interprets to indicate a choice for a hot dog. It is not clear whether this is possibly because chickens may resemble baby emus in their sight…

For inquiring minds, the Emu memorably depicted in these commercials is a mix of real bird and CGI effects. At any rate, he certainly can rock a pair of aviator shades! Perhaps a future commercial could touch on a sensitive issue, such as The Great Australian Emu War of 1932, where 20,000 emus prevailed against World War I veterans armed with machine guns. They are a resourceful and resilient species… 🦊

Progressive’s Lovable Loser…

Posted June 6, 2021 by vulpesffb
Categories: advertising, commercials, television, twisted reality

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While Flo (Stephanie Courtney) is undeniably the top banana in Progressive Insurance commercials, her sidekick Jamie (Jim Cashman) is often a scene-stealing figure. Originally portrayed as kind of a lovable loser beginning in 2014, the Jamie figure has developed layers of character, almost becoming kind of a mystery man.

At first denied sprinkles by Flo because “sprinkles are for winners,” we have seen different sides of Jamie. He can be a goofy and well-intentioned loser, but as we have learned in other commercials can be boorish (Ride Along), sarcastic (Driver’s Ed), or awesome, with martial arts skills (Jamie’s Trip Review). In 40th Birthday Bash, we see Jamie in his not-so-modest home, where we meet his gorgeous wife and hear him play guitar and sing, quite well! This is not just some guy in a white apron, but rather someone with quite the hidden life, and as many layers as an onion. Jamie may not live his job completely as Flo does, but there’s more to him than meets the eye, too, and there may be a little bit of Jamie in all of us, for better or worse…

Vintage Furry Advertising…

Posted May 31, 2021 by vulpesffb
Categories: advertising, animal elements, animal presence, animal spokepersons, anthropomorphic, commercials, famous furries, furry, furry commercials, iconic, television

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In the past as now, there were furry icons who represented a brand, and memorably served as spokesmen. Back before Esso gas became Exxon, there was the tiger used to admonish motorists to “put a tiger in their tank,” the tiger representing power and performance. A promotion was even done where stuffed tiger tails that could be affixed to gas caps were available to customers as visible proof that they indeed were driving with such a tiger. This was back in the days when fuel attendants would routinely clean your windshield and check your oil without being asked! Don’t hold your breath waiting for such amenities today. The tiger himself was an impressive dude rendered with attitude and fine attention to detail; rather awesome, actually.

The sadly nameless Esso/Exxon tiger was predated by the Kellogg’s product icon of Tony the Tiger, and there were distinct similarities in depictions of the duo. Despite this, the two tigers co-existed amicably until 1992 when trademark infringe wars erupted as Exxon tried to open Tiger Marts. It’s Tony the Tiger who seems to have best survived the Tiger Wars, and may still readily be seen today…

Geico’s “Bear Country” Commercial…

Posted May 18, 2021 by vulpesffb
Categories: advertising, anthropomorphic, cartoons, commercials, famous furries, furry, furry commercials, furry television, television, twisted reality

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Geico Insurance has already featured Rocky and Bullwinkle and Casper the Friendly Ghost in commercials, so we shouldn’t be surprised that they’re punching the nostalgia ticket another time with a crossover commercial featuring Yogi Bear and Boo-Boo.

We’re introduced to some couples enjoying a barbecue while rejoicing that they’ve finally found their dream home in the mountains when the occasion is crashed by the two Hanna-Barbera ursines, first introduced in 1958.  It is bear country, apparently, and while the humans beat a hasty retreat, Yogi and his diminutive partner help themselves to the goodies, all without Ranger Smith in sight.  I’m kind of disappointed in Boo-Boo, who in the vintage ‘toons would kind of serve as the voice of reason to Yogi, or at least try to rein him in a bit, usually unsuccessfully. Here Boo-Boo is an all-too-willing participant, helping himself to the chicken and other edibles, which include corn on the cob and even steak.

Living in bear country may not be easy, but from their safe sanctuary within their house the people are relieved that Geico at least makes bundling their homeowners insurance easy and saves them money…and when Yogi and Boo-Boo have departed, one of the humans, Jack, can be coaxed down from his perch in a tree. We also get to hear Yogi’s trademark boast that he’s “Smarter than the average bear” when he suggests leaving the scene with a cobbler to go.

But hey, this isn’t Jellystone Park, and a barbecue at a house doesn’t constitute a pic-a-nic basket raid!  Call Animal Control, someone…Yogi’s apparently becoming an invasive species, and may become the recipient of a tranquilizer dart or worse if he keeps this up…and why do bears need ties, anyways?!  I don’t even like ’em…   🐻

  

The Coca-Cola Zero Sugar Pinocchio Commercial…

Posted April 27, 2021 by vulpesffb
Categories: advertising, alternative realities, anomalies, anthropomorphic, commercials, furry, insects, twisted reality

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It’s been called “nightmare fuel,” extremely disturbing, and creepy; the Coca-Cola Zero Sugar Pinnochio Commercial, that is!  There is something not quite right about the skin tones, enormous eyes, and jointed arms of our CGI Pinocchio depicted; this is truly something terribly apart from nature.  He may “dance without strings,” but we only want to dance away from him, and quickly. – – Geppetto, how could you do this to us?!   Yes, there’s a bug in this commercial, and for me, he’s the highlight…

Now our marionette-boy is so bowled over by the taste of Coke Zero Sugar that his creator and cricket companion Jiminey don’t seem to believe his raves over the drink, telling Pinnochio that if he keeps lying, he’ll never be a real boy. They seem persuaded, however, upon trying the product.  “I never lie,” maintains Pinnochio. This, of course, is a lie, and causes the would-be boy’s nose to grow to tree-limb length across the room.  We really didn’t need to see this, and the Geico commercials of a few years back handled Pinnochio in a more clever fashion.

Geppetto looks younger and more vigorous than his Disney counterpart in this commercial airing, and I like the treatment of Jiminey Cricket as a fully-fledged anthropomorphic insect, minus the Disney hat, umbrella, and moralizing but complete with the proper number of six rather than Disney’s four limbs. – – This bug could go places if he doesn’t break into singing When You Wish Upon A Star.  So lose the “boy,” but the bug’s a keeper…

 


Nasty Vegetation…

Posted April 11, 2021 by vulpesffb
Categories: alternative realities, anomalies, anthropomorphic, furry, horror

  
It’s one thing to be made as a child to eat your vegetables.  It’s entirely different when vegetation appears to want to eat you!

Plant or plant-like monsters are relatively rare in science fiction, with notable exceptions such as The Thing, The Triffids, and Audrey II in Little Shop of Horrors. Some plant-creatures can even be heroic and self-sacrificing, such as Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy.  

Not so are the allergen creatures featured in recent Flonase commercials. One gargantuan thing emerges directly from the Earth in a park, causing pandemonium among the park-goers. It’s a lawn monster, not to be confused with a lawn mower, and the thing roars and spews pollen, dander, and other debris, equipped with a fearsome set of teeth. The featured guy is not perturbed, however, calmly continuing to eat his ice cream. Such spectacles are just part of the passing parade for him, ’cause he’s had his Flonase…

In another commercial, a flower-monster is terrorizing a city, spewing massive amounts of pollen and roaring while city dwellers take to their heels. I must confess that I’ve always wanted to be an extra in scenes such as this, totally losing it and running terrified away from Godzilla or something similar while screaming!  Here again, a lady is totally nonplussed, calmly reading a book while the floral monster makes mayhem. She even sticks a flower in her hair…take that, allergies!

Allergies don’t have to be scary, you see, if you use Flonase…and just to be safe, eat your veggies and spray your weeds before they eat you! 🦊

In Praise of Dark Bunnies…

Posted April 3, 2021 by vulpesffb
Categories: alternative realities, animals, anomalies, anthropomorphic, furry, icons

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With Easter upon us, it’s easy to think of rabbits as all sweetness and light, cuteness incarnate, the Easter Bunny thing.  I prefer my rabbits to have a dark side, however, with a bit of muscularity and the potential for the unpredictable thrown in.  That’s right…I like my bunnies bad!  

Bad bunnies can play havoc with our expectations of them, like The Rabbit as portrayed by Joey Fatone on Season 1 of The Masked Singer.  He had a wonderful, “fresh from the asylum” vibe to him, and I’ll never hear Livin’ La Vida Loca the same way again after seeing Rabbit’s electrifying stage performance of it.  

  

If you search, you can find rabbits who don’t fit the passive, submissive mold, like Hugh Jackman’s Aussie E. Aster Bunnymund in the Rise of the Guardians movie.  That was an Easter Bunny who was great with children, but could also kick some serious…ahem, tail.

  

The 2001 science fiction/psychological thriller film Donnie Darko featured a disturbing, nightmarish rabbit, Frank, who could certainly haunt your dreams…

  

So with many more examples possible from medieval manuscripts (below) onwards, just remember that rabbits are not all the timid, wimpy, sanitized creatures that we see paraded around at this season, but rather a strong, adaptable, successful, and resilient species…and a Happy Easter, y’all…or else!    

  
   

Of Mermen, Monsters, and Madness: “Cold Skin”

Posted April 1, 2021 by vulpesffb
Categories: furry

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I don’t often review films here, but when alternative life forms are involved, I’m on board! Cold Skin by Director Xavier Gens based on a book of the same name is a French-Spanish collaborative 2017/18 effort that checks off so many boxes that it’s both challenging and astonishing. The film crosses the genres of science fiction, horror, suspense, and is a period piece set in 1914. It’s been compared to Lovecraft meets Jules Verne, kind of a “first contact” film involving evolved intelligent amphibious life.

Now we’ve seen some things in a similar vein, most recently The Shape of Water although you could look as far back as The Creature from the Black Lagoon. In Cold Skin, World War I is brewing as a young British “weather observer” (meteorologist) is dropped off at a remote island in the south Atlantic, his only other human companion the operator of a lighthouse there. “You should have stayed on the boat,” the weatherman named “Friend” is told by the gruff lighthouse keeper, Gruner, who has been on the island entirely too long. We soon learn that legions of humanoid amphibious creatures emerge nightly from the sea to attack the humans stationed there, an invasion which the lighthouse keeper has learned to repel from his crudely fortified lighthouse with firearms, fire, and edged weapons.

His desire to exterminate the amphibious humanoids has not stopped the lighthouse keeper from “taming” one of them and keeping her as kind of a pet who he abuses physically and sexually…yes, mer-rape rears it’s ugly head here! The film chronicles the evolution of the “weather observer” from frightened pacifist to survivalist to sympathizer with the mermen/women, all set against the growing madness spawned by harsh isolation and incomprehensible threats.

The submissive female creature, named Aneris (Spanish for “siren” spelled backwards) is an extraordinary feat of makeup, requiring hours of work to transform actress Aura Garrido into an amphibious mermaid with occluded ears, nostrils, and membraneous eyes. In spite of her full body makeup, our mermaid despite lack of articulate speech projects a greater range of emotion than does her human abuser, raising again the classic question of who is actually the real monster. The film shows us the madness of war through the microcosm of a small yet isolated island where extraordinary things are taking place…

If Cold Skin fails In any way, it may be because the film perhaps tries to be and accomplish too much, but it makes a truly memorable effort. It was easy to miss this film in theaters, but Cold Skin may currently be seen on Amazon Prime, and I give it two paws up… 🦊

Progressive Motaur’s “New Shoes” Commercial…

Posted March 30, 2021 by vulpesffb
Categories: absurdities, advertising, alternative realities, biomechanical, Brilliant but twisted, commercials, fantasy, humor, surrealism in life, television

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In his previous outing, we saw Progressive’s “Motaur” suffer a blowout, and I’m sure that we all wonder how such a biomechanical being responds to such an incident; why, he goes to a tire shop, of course!  Where the rubber meets the road also incorporates elements of the old full-service shoe store, with Motaur trying on a new set of tires, and the older store employee, completely nonplussed by his appearance, offering helpful comments from his perspective to close the sale.  Those full-service shoe stores are hard to find these days; if you were a kid, they would actually measure your feet!  Earlier still, some shoe stores would have an X-ray machine on site so you could see how the shoes fit on your underlying anatomy.  It was kind of, “Hey kid, want a dose of radiation with those penny loafers?”  But I digress… 

When Motaur voices concerns that his new kicks might be too tight, the employee opines that he just might want to break them in a bit, because he sure doesn’t want tires to be too loose!  A disturbing thought here; can Motaur actually feel his inorganic parts, and if so, how?  Anyways, the employee is a helpful and good salesman, and we wind up with Motaur back on the road again, another satisfied customer.  Sure is good that he had Progressive’s 24/7 roadside assistance plan!  Long may he ride to his Culture Club tunes!  Are we in for a Boy George revival?

In future installments, perhaps we’ll learn if Motaur sees a doctor or a mechanic if he gets sick.  Does he change his own oil?  Inquiring minds want to know…