Archive for the ‘advertising’ category

Little Caesars “Bear on Skates” 

August 1, 2020

Talking anthropomorphic bears are a part of my world, but for those for whom they are not this Little Caesars commercial could practically serve as a gateway to the furry fandom.  In it, a man sits on a park bench about to dig into some Little Caesars Cheesy Stuffed Crazy Bread and saying that he “must be dreaming.”  At that point, dreams become reality in the figure of a roller skating grizzly bear, complete in yellow shorts and matching head band, and carrying a boom box that he holds to his head. He clearly is quite comfortable on skates, and hints at some awesome moves on them while groovin’ to tunes of the age on his box.  There’s a great 70’s vibe to the bear, for those of us who remember or at least honor the more simple and carefree spirit of those days.  I’ve had far worse dreams, believe me…

The bear tells our bench-sitter that the cheesy stuffed Crazy Bread is a real thing, and that he should try it because it’s delicious!  The bear then moans pleasurably, and back pedals on his skates, presumably back to his own time and space as the commercial winds up.  One wants to follow this furry time traveler; he probably has some great disco moves, kind of like a furry young John Travolta of Saturday Night Fever vintage.

Although I was never much for the double knit polyester fabrics and “leisure suits” of the day, I’ve still got a boom box.  It’s plastic casing is all discolored with age and the tape player doesn’t work, but the radio is doing just fine…and wouldn’t the retro-cool 70’s Bear be a great meme? Don’t worry, this bear’s more into music and moving than maiming.  Maybe he could hang with Rocket Racoon, and listen to Star Lord’s mix tape.- -He’s got it going on, yeah!                                            



Progressive’s “Motaur: Gym” Commercial…

July 21, 2020


There are advantages to being a cybernetic organism.  In addition to being extremely cool, it’s awfully easy to exercise when your lower body machine components are those of a motorcycle; just roll onto a treadmill, and you’re off to the races!  You can even multi-task while you’re on a roll by reading a book.  That’s right, our Progressive motaur isn’t just a pretty face getting his laps in, he’s improving his mind!  We can all learn from this…

In our latest Progressive commercial, as our motaur hums along, he’s approached by a gym rat who tries to remind our man-machine that there’s a thirty-minute limit on the treadmill.  “Tell that to the rain,” counters our motorcycle/man in a fashion which reminded me of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “Tell it to the hand” line from Terminator 2.  Would you care to argue with a cyborg?  No, I didn’t think so.  Our motaur sets the treadmill faster several times during the commercial, and calmly continues both his reading and his ride… 

Geico’s “Moving House Thing” Commercial

July 13, 2020

Turtles have made inroads into televised advertising, as seen before in a number of episodes of Comcast’s “Slowskys” depicting a turtle family with their technologically-hip son.  Now Progressive insurance has also brought us an anthropomorphic father-and-son turtle duo, who we are shown sunning themselves on a rock overlooking a camper park.  In the near background sits a large motorized camper which piques the younger turtle’s curiosity, prompting him to ask his father about the “moving house thing.”

Turtle-Dad responds that it’s a motor home, a modern invention, to which Junior replies that they’ve carried their houses around with them for “like forever!”   Turtle-Dad chuckles, and then responds that the humans have Geico to cover them if anything goes wrong.  “What could go wrong?,” wonders Junior out loud when a feather drifts down from above.  “Ooh, a feather!” exclaims Junior with child-like wonder.  Looking upwards, Turtle-Dad discerns a vulture sitting in the tree above them.  “Duck, Junior!,” he alerts his son.  Now sharing in the alarm, Junior qualifies his Dad’s response, correcting “That’s no duck, Daddy…that’s a vulture!”

The humans are clueless non-participants in the drama unfolding before them, but I doubt they’d be thrilled to see vultures roosting near their camper; perhaps a Stephen King-esque horror movie is about to begin here.  The turtles as they retreat into their shells will hopefully live to see another day.  They have warm and wonderful human-like eyes and expressions, and make a nice addition to the Geico advertising animal stable that memorably includes an office camel thrilled to see “hump day” arrive…


(…tip o’ the pen to Carycomic!)

Progressive’s Motaur “Herd” Commercial…

July 3, 2020

Apparently, there are others of his kind…Terrence Terrell’s Motaur, that is!  We had previously seen Progressive’s unlikely motorcycle insurance icon in 2019 as a solitary bio-mechanical being appearing to wondering young humans at an isolated gas station.  In the latest commercial, our Motaur appears with a fully-human companion on a mesa, observing with binoculars at some distance a herd of other Motaurs milling about before them.

As his companion babbles about how amazing it is to see them in the wild, he is shushed by our familiar Motaur who just wishes to become lost in the moment…then we hear motor sounds of the dirt-biking Motaur herd, buzzing about like angry hornets.  They individually do wheelies, accelerate, and bound over the terrain.  Terrence Terrell then raises his front wheel in a salute to his “people.

Viewers may find the commercial cool, creepy, or incomprehensible but it celebrates the close bond between many bikers and their “rides.”  I worry that perhaps these cyborgs have something to do with Skynet, soon to be followed by an imposing black leather-jacketed guy with sunglasses and an Austrian accent. Perhaps we really don’t have to be afraid of the Motaurs as those seen in the field appear strangely generic and not especially menacing…and hey, wouldn’t Don’t Fear the Motaurs be a great comeback song for Blue Oyster Cult?  Bio-mechanical beings just wanna have fun, after all, although if their herd passes through my neighborhood noise ordinances may need to be deployed.

The recurrence of Motaurs continues to pose unanswered and troubling questions for me.  Do they both eat and gas up, or is one act sufficient?  Do they see both doctors and mechanics?   How do they sleep, or do they? Are Motaurs born, assembled, or somehow pieced together in some kind of unspeakable Borg-type lab?  Is there a cross-over into the Transformer world, or would Motaurs be their rivals if not enemies? Do Motaurs reproduce, breed only with their own, and if so, how (now there’s a disquieting thought!)?  Anyhow, untold stories reside here, and inquiring minds want to know…



E*TRADE’s “Bear Market” Commercial

June 9, 2020


Bears have not gotten their proper representation or respect in commercials, with the toilet paper obsessed Charmin bears a case in point. One cannot readily imagine them functioning in a species-specific parallel world either, as the Chantix turkey appears to do so effortlessly in a number of memorable commercials. That may now change, as at long last, we are finally given a peek into a world where bears have meshed into the trappings of human civilization, courtesy of E*TRADE.

These bears calmly prowl the aisles of a supermarket on their hind legs, sniffing at cantaloupes and filling their shopping carts with generous amounts of honey, appropriately in those little bear-shaped clear containers. A bear family stops at the fish counter where they’re waited on by one of their own; there’s even a disabled bear who whizzes by in a motorized shopping cart! The cashier is likewise a bruin, calling for a price check on a honey container that stubbornly refuses to scan while the customer moans his annoyance.

“If this is your idea of a bear market,” we hear in the closing voice over, “maybe trading’s not for you.” We’re advised not to get mad, but rather get E*TRADE, and get more than trading…and I’d like to get more glimpses into the universe of these very relatable bears! They’ve evolved so far from the days of Yogi…

The Chantix Turkey at the Fair…

April 10, 2020

In the strange world of evolution gone awry inhabited by the Chantix Turkey, we are gradually being introduced to other individuals there, and familiarized with their social activities.  A recent episode takes us to their town fair, a rather folksy event at which our hero is apparently functioning as a worker.  Nice guy or bird that he is, the turkey takes the plunge in a dunk tank before donning an apron, working thereafter at a ring toss game booth (above), a ticket booth, and even a cotton candy stand.  This turkey does it all…

There are some subtle and cute touches in this ad, such as when the titular turkey walks past a fun house mirror, and we get to see his slenderized reflection in the mirror.  It’s a delight to see the turkey’s distinctive walk here, as well as his trademark heel click out of exuberance at kicking the smoking habit.

The turkeys don’t seem to be socially distancing, so they’ve apparently avoided the Coronavirus.  In their friendly and serene world, however, one wonders if the turkeys might someday have to deal with some variant of the avian flu, or perhaps just a hostile invasion by Elmer Fudd wanna-bes…oh the horror, the  horror! 

Oh, and by the way…a Happy Easter, y’all!

“The General Skunk” Commercial

April 3, 2020


      When a woman in a commercial for The General insurance appears about ready to drive a newly-purchased vehicle off a car lot, she is met by the unlikely duo of Shaquille O’Neal and The General, the latter a cartoon pipsqueak in military attire sporting an enormous white moustache.  

        You’re not ready to drive without insurance,” cautions Shaquille.  “That’s as crazy as starting a skunk farm in your backyard!”  The admonition seems to trigger a traumatic memory in the woman. We flash back to an image of her apparently in her yard being advanced upon by over half a dozen skunks.  The woman extends her palms at the advancing skunks in an effort to keep them at bay.  “Easy, Petunia!,” she cries to one, “Back up!,” she beseeches…but her efforts are in vain, as we are shown a fleeting image of the skunks raising their tails, about to spray the woman.

        Flashing back to the present, the woman is now happily engaged in procuring insurance from The General.  “Smell you later,” she says to those bad memories as she departs…


        Dashlane’s “Password Paradise”

        March 24, 2020

        In our scary times, perhaps we’ve all been thinking a bit more about Charon lately…you know, the dread boatman who ferries souls across the River Styx to the afterlife in Greco-Roman mythology.  He looks a lot like the grim reaper, clad in a cowled, all black,  shroud-like garment.  Charon would be perfect as a goth or performing in a heavy metal band.  In our Dashlane commercial, the River Styx is a suitably forboding, mist-veiled river where strange birds cry out mournfully, and our nameless “Everyman” passenger is none too happy about being ferried on his final journey…he even attempts to bribe the Boatman with money!  But then, things brighten up, and a radiant light breaks through the darkness in the distance…this looks like an afterlife possibly worth going to, and our voyaging soul smiles in anticipation for the first time!

        But wait, there’s a catch for our departed soul…Charon, who as per tradition never speaks but only looks grim and spectral, prompts the man for a password by holding up one of those whiteboards that you can write on with marker.  As the boat’s passenger struggles to recall his password, Charon even thoughtfully gives him prompts via the board, such as “Name of kindergarten teacher,” and “Name of first pet?”  The man fumbles trying to recall his password, even giving the spectral figure the name of a later pet, causing Caron to try to redirect the man through gestures and underlining to the fact that the password response requires the name of his first pet…but alas, all is in vain as the guy has utterly forgotten his password, and no amount of prompts are going to help him, otherworldly or not.  After three tries, Charon dramatically throws his board into the River Styx, for the man has exceeded the number of his allowed prompts.  The man gives off an epic cry of “Nooo!” when realizing the gravity of his plight; yep, it’s password purgatory, baby, and abandon all hope ye who enter here.  Too bad our hapless lost soul didn’t have a password manager such as our advertiser Dashlane would provide.  Eternal damnation is a high price for a bad memory, and many of us know that special Hell.  I can certainly relate…


        Carfax TV Commercial, “Shrubs”

        March 22, 2020

        Our Carfax television commercial begins with the Car Fox, a personal hero of mine, standing in front of a pleasant, tidy little house with an attached garage and a car in the driveway. A large shrub is alongside the Car Fox, but all is not as it appears. Before the Fox can say a word, the shrub sprouts feet and a face, an adult male inside!

        Is the guy heavily into camouflage, early to test out a Halloween costume, or seeking to hide from the Coronavirus? – -Nope, nope, and nope; he and his family are simply so ashamed of overpaying for a used car that they are afraid to show their faces in public! Alas, if only they had looked up a Carfax first to determine an appropriate price for their used vehicle! His wife and two kids are also clad as shrubs, and amble off with the gentleman as the ad concludes. I do hope that there wasn’t any poison ivy lurking amidst their assumed foliage!

        I’m reminded that shrubs may be of great significance. In Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the Knights of Née could only be placated by shrubbery, so perhaps such outfits may be of value after all…and Car Fox, you’re unflappable and lookin’ good as always! Don’t you just want to scritch his head?!

        Chantix Turkey Commercial, “Snow Turkey”

        February 26, 2020

        The Chantix Turkey is at it again in his Eddie Bauer-type winter finery, engaging in a genial snowball fight with another turkey that appears to be a juvenile and in some sources is referred to as being his child!  I never thought of this turkey as having a mate; he seems too happy and care-free for that, but I’m not programmed with the dynamics of turkey-bonding, and prefer not to go there.  The presence of another turkey and perhaps turkey-unions also expands the notion of a universe inhabited by turkeys, as was glimpsed in a previous commercial that showed a journey by our hero into a city where he interacted with other turkeys.  Perhaps this turkey race refer to their planet as “Butterball” or even more darkly as “Fowl World,” but that’s pure speculation…

        At any rate, following a brief snowball battle conducted from snow forts, the turkey selects a wingful of split logs from a neatly-stacked pile, and moves inside with them through his tidy garage.  The wood is to fuel a nice fire going in the turkey’s fireplace, and the turkey even selects a good book from his shelf to aid his cozy repose before those comforting flames.  Before settling down in his comfy chair, the turkey even performs one of his trademark heel clicks to celebrate his liberation from the cigarette habit through Chantix, for the only thing smoking in his home will now be the fire…

        Perhaps one of the contestants on The Masked Singer will someday be costumed as a turkey, and give us a smokin’ performance of Turkey in the Straw, or something similar…and I look forward to more glimpses of how evolution has run a strange course on this Planet of the Birds, perhaps one of the supposedly many parallel universes existing alongside our own…