Archive for the ‘television’ category

Liberty Mutual’s “Gym” Commercial…

June 13, 2021

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…

June 11, 2021

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…

June 6, 2021

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…

May 31, 2021

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…

May 18, 2021

  
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…   🐻

  

Progressive Motaur’s “New Shoes” Commercial…

March 30, 2021

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…

 

Progressive’s “Motaur: Interruptions” Commercial…

March 28, 2021

  

Biomechanical organisms can be both freaky and funny at the same time, and Terrence Terrell as Progressive’s Insurance “Motaur” is at it again, this time showing off his light side as he motors down a deserted country road, singing and bopping to Culture Club’s 1980’s hit, Karma Chameleon.  It was a catchy tune, and our Motaur seems to be enjoying himself thoroughly, even getting an arm dance thing going on.  One doubts that a Skynet creation would do this…

…but as fate would have it, Motaur’s free-spirited fun is over when his rear tire unexpectedly goes flat.  Fortunately, our boy has Progressive’s 24/7 roadside assistance plan, and will soon be on the road again.  This commercial is actually part one of a two part series, the second part called New Shoes, and set in a tire shop.

I just never expected the Motaur to be a Boy George fan, did you? And despite my fascination with cyborgs, I’m keeping all of my organic parts, thank you…

   

“The Proof Is Out There” On The History Channel…

March 19, 2021

If you’re like me, you have an approach/avoidance conflict regarding shows on the paranormal and the unexplained.  On the one hand, you love them and feel drawn to them, but on the other, such shows can vary greatly in quality, and leave you feeling unsatisfied.  There goes another hour of my life that I’ll never have back, you may feel afterwards.  Some such shows are so poorly produced and documented as to represent intellectual dishonesty, and be basically hack entertainment.  We are, however, living in a time when fringe conspiracy theories are surprisingly in vogue, so perhaps art is imitating life once again.

“I Want To Believe,” declared a poster on the walls of Fox Mulder of The X-Files series, and this sentiment captured the yearning that many of us feel, but as intelligent skeptics we want to be convinced by proof, hopefully that which can stand up to scientific scrutiny.  Each classic X-Files episode included the legend, The Truth Is Out There.  Playing on this, a new series on The History Channel is titled, The Proof Is Out There.  Hosted by Emmy Award winning Tony Harris, the series is captivating and fast-paced, and it covers several unrelated features, all in the time of half an hour.  The oddball phenomena covered tend to be labeled as credible, not credible, or unexplained.

An episode sampled (S1, Ep5) included segments on the Skunk Ape, whispering sounds heard in a tomb investigation in Egypt, unexplained apparent structures and lines on the lunar surface, and a light phenomena in Texas.  The Skunk Ape segment examined a paw print found on a car window as well as a video supposedly of the creature.  Neither was found to be credible, but the series added that such doesn’t rule out the existence of the creature, but only that the evidence examined did not factually represent its existence.   The “tomb whispers” from Egypt were examined by both a soundscape ecologist and an Egyptologist, but were ruled to be unexplained.  Supposed dome-shaped structures on the moon were found to be consistent with the formation of impact craters, whereas lunar tracks were thought to be from an earlier Soviet rover.  Lastly, blue light found crossing a woman’s kitchen was regarded as unexplained.

With episodes running half an hour, there’s not a lot of inflation, wasted time, or “puffing” of content on the show, which can be so notable on similar features.  There’s economy here rather than padding. There is no unity or theme between the individual segments of it, which can be seen as a strength or weakness.  Overall, the series shows good production values, is intelligently done, thought-provoking if not earthshaking, and generally worthy of your time.  I rather think that Fox Mulder would have approved of this series… 

“The Masked Singer” Season 5 Premier…

March 15, 2021

The Masked Singer has to date been a series friendly to furries, and the new season’s premier did not disappoint in this respect, featuring a raccoon, a cybernetic porcupine, and a couple of mollusks.  Snail (above) was like something one might experience during a bad trip with a recreational drug, featuring a shell adorned with a top hat, eye stalks, and a mouth with teeth.  Something to creep out almost everyone, together with a degree of strange cuteness!  Things got weirder when the Snail was voted off at the end of the episode, revealing the hidden celebrity within to be…Kermit the frog!  I guess that this counts as a double disguise of sorts as a puppeteer was operating Kermit who in turn was supposed to be operating the snail…quite surreal, and exceedingly strange.

More to my liking was Raccoon, who had western stylings and performed a version of Wild Thing by The Troggs.  This was a crowd-pleaser, and Raccoon when leaving the stage foraged through garbage cans that were part of the performance stage setting. It was completely in character, and I give Raccoon added points for that.

Robopine was kind of a cybernetic porcupine with implants on the right side of his body. In addition, he had prominent quills which together with the artificial parts made Robopine a rather formidable figure. He’d fit well into either the Steampunk Universe or the Borg Collective.

In addition to the performers mentioned, there was as a Russian Doll of the nested type most of us are familiar with, and Seashell, festooned with shells and probably a mollusk herself. The costumes alone are worth checking out this series for…

Nature’s Own Commercial, “Goodness:  Three Little Pigs”

March 6, 2021


It’s a charming commercial, with a bit of old world flavor.  The Three Little Pigs of fairy tale fame are busy in their kitchen, making breakfast…and Lordy, they’re making French toast with Nature’s Own bread!  I love French toast, and this looks more than good enough to eat, so gimme, gimme, gimme!  Pleasant low-key European-style dining music is playing in the background.  I’d be on board for this…

But wait…the Big Bad Wolf is also in the background, with a mighty exhalation of his classic breath!  Is he about to “blow the piggies” house down, and feast on the diners therein?!  Nah, not to worry…the wolf is blowing out celebratory candles on a giant stack of french toast thoughtfully prepared by the three piggies for some special occasion.  They all applaud the wolf’s efforts, and then everyone is sitting down around the rustic table to eat hearty.  All appears harmonious and well, but…

Hey, got any bacon?, asks the wolf.  This is followed by silence and blank stares by the pigs, and you can almost hear the crickets.  “Just kidding!,” the wolf then reassures his company.  He was only having fun with the piggies, you see, even if the joke was in questionable taste.  All is well here with the predator/prey breakfast repast, despite wolves having a bad rep.  Don’t kill the cook, I always say…

Nature’s OwnGoodness is in their nature.  It’s “goodness that brings everyone together.”  And even a wolf can be capable of peaceful coexistence, apparently.  It’s the wolves who pretend not to be one that you have to watch out for…