Thursday, December 27, 2007

Top Commercials of the Year

I love commercials. I love advertising in general, and I really admire the brains behind the spots for Jeep, AT&T and a number of others. When TBS ran it's annual "Best Commercials of the Year" countdown last night, my eyes were glued to the TV.

But I was disappointed this year. Sure, the program gave Jeep and a nod--but the vast majority of "funny" commercials were about sex and bodily functions. I chuckled, but I was not really impressed. Although they played my favorite from this year (an ad for Jeep Liberty), ads from AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon were completely disregarded. Even the Ad Council (love those guys) produced a series of smart ads, which were also completely overlooked.

I think what really appeals to me as a consumer are not the one-shot, shock value commercials, but the series that tie into an extended campaign. We learn about integrated marketing, repetition and reflecting the company's ideals in class, and a squirrel passing gas to save his forest just doesn't do it for me. On the other hand, Verizon has found a great theme and ran with it for the past five years. The original "Can you hear me now?" commercials evolved into "the network," and now Verizon doesn't even need to say the company name for viewers to recognize their brand. Their commercials tell stories about how great, even life-saving, the Verizon network is.

Jeep, on the other hand, took a completely new direction than other car commercials (yeah, a semi recent trend, but Jeep really pulled it off). No anonymous stunt drivers down mountain-side roads--we get an average Joe rocking out in his Jeep on a mountain-side road. But Joe and his Jeep get even better: Joe's car is so environmentally friendly and fun to drive that woodland creatures, natural enemies even, join Joe in his crooning. Joe and his Jeep are one with nature AND one with the road.

Speaking of "Joe," I love how commercials have started to use "quirkier" actors. T-Mobile's "Secret Lovers" is one example of two average looking guys who could be my neighbors. (Even better, the guys make a second appearance in "I'm like your Uncle." Consistency and storytelling FTW.) Dove's powerful "Real Beauty" campaign began this trend by using women of many body types, but I love how non-beauty-related spots have also caught on. Good commercials like these attach the brand or company to a story or idea and keep it in your head. Man, If all commercials were as good as these, I don't think I would mind sitting through them during my House, M.D. and Journeyman.

Included below are a few of the commercials mentioned above.

The "sequel" to this spot can be viewed here.

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