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Guest Critic

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Marilyn Manson once said that music critics shouldn't be taken seriously because they get their records for free. I'm reminded of this every time I go home and hear what commercials my family and friends think are great. Rarely do they appear in award shows or best-of critiques. That's probably something to think about from time to time. Regardless, here are the opinions of a guy who does it for a living.

Ask.com: The client managed to get the agency to include a laundry list of every single feature of the site in this spot. And it's still not awful. But will it work against that 800-pound gorilla called Google? I suspect it will take much more than a funny spot that checked off a bunch of boxes on a brief.

Burger King: "Did they just say what I think they said?" What's not to like? It's low-fi, memorable and funny. I keep waiting for the franchisees to raise their ugly heads and revert to doing beautiful food shots. I won't hold my breath, though, 'cause CP+B is a machine.

Comcast and Milk: I don't care for the TV spots, but the Web work that accompanies both campaigns is tight. They give both ideas breadth, are produced very well, and they actually make me like the spots better. That either means I'm bored with traditional advertising or whoever is doing the Web work for these things knows what the heck they are doing, or both.

Diet Snapple: Simple and funny. Sometimes all you need is a funny idea and someone to turn on the camera.

Doublemint: I think these are very good. It's a smart way to update the one thing everyone remembers about the brand. The casting is great. It might just be me, but I think the original Doublemint twins (who appear at the end of each spot) were way hotter in the '70s.

Juicy Fruit: I just can't imagine anyone racing out to buy Juicy Fruit after this one. The execution reminded me of Them, one of the coolest of the post-atomic bomb big-bug movies ever made. The effects were about as good, which is cool when watching a B-movie from 1954. Go rent it if you don't believe me.

PlayStation Portable: It's a constant battle to show all the game footage the client wants and still create something better than a glorified movie trailer. Yet, these guys found a template that allowed them to do both. The writing bugged me a bit. "I'd hit that." "Marry even the ugly ones?" No doubt the target will find it funny, but I wouldn't want to be the guy who wrote it. That might make me officially old.

Skittles: This spot creeped me out. I laughed, but in that uncomfortable I-need-a-shower way.

TLC: In general, a spot can only be as good as the assignment. And there are some assignments that you just can't do much with. A tractor-supply store, for instance. There's nothing good you can do for a tractor-supply store. But a promo for a TV show that spoofs bad '80s clothing? That's a lob, and someone probably could have done something funnier than this.

TNT: I like this stuff. The entire campaign is funny. But, let's face it, Ali G is just funny. It must feel good to be Spike Lee. Ali G will return your call. There's a writer credited, but it sure sounds like Ali G's voice to me.

Tractor Supply Co.: Someone's smoking crack in the heartland. These have to be the funniest, most bizarre spots I have ever seen for a tractor-supply store. I would never have thought you could do anything good for a tractor-supply store. Go figure.