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By Ryan

I hate advertising that directly attacks the competition.  Subway’s ads are notorious for taking on McDonald’s, which seems extremely silly, because Subway’s main contention is that their food is healthier, a fact that almost everyone already knows and agrees upon, but still chooses to eat McDonald’s over Subway’s anyway.  To me, it’s a huge imaging mistake for Subway to acknowledge McDonald’s, because to do so is to remind everyone that McDonald’s kills Subway in sales and does so without acknowledging that their competition even exists.  Judging by their ads, McDonald’s is all the Subway folks think about.

Of course, if McDonald’s were to suddenly start making public claims refuting Subway’s attack ads, it would seem petty and childish.  Even though Subway drags their image through the mud, McDonald’s would only do it worse by acting publicly offended by that lardass Jared.  This is a lesson that AT&T hasn’t learned.

If you haven’t heard, AT&T is suing Verizon over ads that the latter ran comparing the 3G networks of both carriers.  The ads point out that Verizon has five times more 3G coverage in the continental United States than does AT&T, a company that dominates the smartphone market on the basis of its iPhone-exclusivity contract.  AT&T claims that the ads are misleading, because they say that viewers may think that the white areas on the AT&T map have no coverage, when in fact most of it is covered by the 2G (“Edge”) network.  This might make sense if not for the fact that the ads are explicitly about 3G coverage.

The bigger problem here is that AT&T has a notoriously bad 3G network that is too small in coverage and often overcrowded in areas where there is coverage.  And instead of devoting energy to improving their coverage (the best option), or responding to the ads by claiming they are continually improving coverage and leave it at that (second-best option), they draw attention to their horseshit network by making a national story out of a petty lawsuit (the second-worst option, the worst being hiring a guy because he used to be fat and never second-guessing that logic).

Most people don’t pay attention to television commercials, but many people do pay attention to news stories involving two of the biggest telecommunications companies in the country.  Doesn’t anyone at AT&T realize this?  Take a page from the McDonald’s playbook next time: take the high road by ignoring the petty attack ads, and instead get revenge by dominating in sales.  Or do it your way: make a little problem a big problem, and deflate your own branding and image in the process.  Grow up, AT&T.

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Compiled by Ryan

Before I get to an admittedly-weak version of the usual load of links I pile on here on Fridays, I want to apologize for the lack of updates this week.  My internet was down for half of it, and I spent the other half of it recovering (read: retro-actively updating my Twitter) as well as attending to some personal matters.  We’ll have normal updates next week, and a return to form with all new columns from your favorite contributors (the only contributors).

The links:

-Merge Records is turning twenty this year, and they’ve got all sorts of self-congratulatory stuff planned to celebrate.  You can stream the first of said stuff (cool sentence, Ryan), a covers comp, here.

Dan Deacon needs your vegetable oil.

-Bill O’Reilly was complaining this week about having his column dropped by the Chicago Sun-Times, and even went so far as to put the entire paper in his “Hall of Shame.”  On a side note, I think my new goal in life is to get inducted into Bill O’Reilly’s “Hall of Shame.”  Anyway, Sun-Times staffer (and noted film critic) Roger Ebert took Bill to task in a letter he wrote on his website.  All great, great stuff.  For the internet’s sake, let’s hope they keep this going for a while.

The YouTube highlights:

I still can’t believe that this BK commercial is for real:

New Man Man video for “Rabbit Habbits” featuring appearances by Fred Armisen, Martin Starr, and Charlyne Yi:

New music spotlight:

Casiotone for the Painfully AloneVs. Children

I really love Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, the music project of Owen Ashworth.  CFTPA is a little bit electronic, a little bit singer-songwriter, and a hint of emo.  It doesn’t sound like it should work, but hear you me: it does.  I think CFTPA is one of those artists where you can sample about two minutes of their work and come to a pretty fair conclusion as to whether or not you enjoy them.  This song is less than two minutes, so, you know, give it a chance:

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone – “Optimist Vs. The Silent Alarm (When the Saints Go Marching In)” from Vs. Children, out now on Almost Tomlab

The Hold SteadyA Positive Rage

With My Morning Jacket already having a kickass live album, I can’t think of a band who needed o put out a live album more than The Hold Steady.  For anyone who’s ever been to a show, you know Craig’s trademark line that, “There is so much joy in what we do up here,” and, on A Positive Rage, it shows.  It’s a nice snapshot of them at the very end of the Boys and Girls in America cycle, and the accompanying DVD is a nice treat for fans.  Here’s the live version of “Ask Her For Adderall,” a song they played live leading up to Stay Positive, but only included as a B-side on that album:

The Hold Steady – “Ask Her For Adderall” from A Positive Rage, out now on Vagrant

By Anna

We’re nearing the end of March and you know what that means: the women stop celebrating and the men take the year back over. With that said here are my final thoughts about our patriarchal society:

Commercials

  • Verizon Wireless: The muscular jock needs an English tutor, and although they’re playing into stereotypes for the whole commercial, why is it that the tutor is a guy? Aren’t the majority of English majors at colleges girls? Although I expect nothing but sexism and stereotypes from commercials, they missed the boat on this one.
  • Rose Petal Cottage: Yes it’s from our youth, but no wonder so many girls of my generation are now “playing house” with real cupcakes and children, fulfilling their “big dreams.”


“You guys”-Although this is something I find myself saying (mostly because I don’t possess enough drawl to say “You all”). It’s a good example of the institutionalization of sexism. We can’t help but say “You guys.” Everyone imagine if you will, what it would be like if it was institutionalized to say “You gals.” Right! It sounds ridiculously weird and offensive to guys, so now you know how we gals feel.

“Mankind”-I had a roommate who lost ten points in a paper because she kept using gender exclusive grammar. She ranted and ranted about how ridiculous losing those points was, but she was wrong. Try using the word “whitekind” in replace of humankind sometime and see how your professor reacts.

The Prince Charming notion-Nearly every mainstream television show and movie applies the ideal man. Granted I don’t condone going to films where the girl pines for the guy in the end (even though he was the one not giving her enough space to be an individual), plenty of American movie lovers are going to these shows and promoting the self-deprecation that apparently comes with being a female.