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Freak Week

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Breathtakingly ballsy: Arnell's Pepsi brief
A design brief from the Arnell Group surfaced last week, outlining the "breathtaking" thinking behind the new Pepsi logo. Turns out the redesign was based on "5000+ years of shared ideas in design philosophy," dating to the "Hindu tradition of numerical harmony as spacial organizer" in 3000 B.C. And you thought it was just a funny-looking smile. The only thing more ridiculous than the pseudo-science here was the fact that Pepsi bought it.

Crispy goodness: Canada's Lay's ads
Canadian agency Juniper Park created the most pleasing new campaign we came across last week: and for Lay's potato chips, no less. In one spot, an office drone is liberated by a pack of chips into becoming a giant inflatable doll, and joins a bunch of his fellow dolls in a poignant dance. In another, potato fireworks rain chips down upon grateful townsfolk.

Sunday duffers: 'Times,' Snuggie spoofs
Ninety-nine percent of commercial parodies aren't worth your time. Which is why it was such a nice surprise to come across not one but two pitch-perfect spoofs last week: one sending up the forced-casual, pretentious Weekender ads from The New York Times, and another that reimagined the cult favorite Snuggie as the What the F#%k Blanket. From the latter: "If you're reading the obituary or viewing scrambled porn or clogging your arteries or telling a racist joke, you will look like a tool!"

The freakiest ad of January: Lustgarten Foundation
Our Freakiest Ad of the Year contest was so much fun that we decided to go monthly with it. Last week we presented 10 ads from January and asked readers to vote for a favorite. The Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research won in a landslide with its creepy spot in which a man's cancer hides in the backseat of his car, waiting to kill him.

This ad is money! Maryland's tax spot
Maryland state comptroller Peter Franchot did the unthinkable: He created a so-bad-it's-good "Real Men of Genius" parody called "Real Taxpayers of Genius" to get residents  to file their taxes online. Featuring bad acting and worse production values, it may be the strangest government ad we've seen.

Outline of tragedy: Lowe's ALS print work
Lowe Roche created a gut-wrenching TV spot last year for the ALS Society of Canada. The new print work is just as devastating. It shows ALS sufferers with disintegrating chalk maze outlines that illustrate the destruction of motor neurons that control muscle movement.

BEST OF THE REST: TOP POSTS FROM OTHER MARKETING BLOGS

Old-School Branson: Copyranter
Copyranter dug up this Virgin Money ad by an agency in Sydney, Australia, called Bulldozer. The years pictured do look pretty golden. Copyranter rants: "Putting the CEO in the advertising is often a very bad idea. But, putting a cheesy old pic of the CEO lustfully staring down the cleavage of a blond with pokies (hopefully she's his 2nd and current wife, Joan Templeman) in a money ad during a world recession? I do not have a response." [tinyurl.com/FWbranson]

Before they were stars: Mental Floss
Mental Floss put together a nice list of 10 Commercials Celebrities Made Pre-Stardom. We've covered some of them before. Among the gems: Chris O'Donnell and Jason Alexander for McDonald's (though not together), John Travolta and Safeguard soap, Keanu Reeves and Kellogg's Corn Flakes, Sarah Michelle Gellar and Ben Affleck for Burger King (again, not together), Seth Green and Nerf, Christina Applegate and Playtex, Bruce Willis and Seagram's, and Leonardo DiCaprio and Bubble Yum. Videos are posted for most of them. [tinyurl.com/FWyoungcelebs]