Freak Week

Headshot of Tim Nudd

The Burger King likes square butts and he cannot lie. A new BK spot from Crispin Porter + Bogusky caused heartburn last week by showing the King mascot rapping manically about the virtues of an angular female backside-part of a kid’s-meal tie-in with amply square-rumped SpongeBob. Some felt the ad was clearly sexual in nature, and thus inappropriate for what it was selling-whether aimed at children or their parents Still, the lyrics were inspired: “When a sponge walks in, four corners in his pants, like he’s got phone-book implants, the crowd shouts!”
Speaking of bizarre fast-food commercials, McDonald’s unleashed a doozy in the Czech Republic that showed the acronymous elements of the CBO sandwich (chicken, bacon and onions) defending a cityscape against an aerial assault from killer watermelons. Um, what?! It’s possible the chain was simply saying it hates fruit, in which case the apple pies on the menu might be in trouble.
Also in Europe (in France, to be exact), we saw a racy campaign by TBWA for Hansaplast “long-pleasure condoms” that hinted, via inopportune tan lines, at episodes of extended outdoor romance. Just as amusing are the literal-minded reactions to ads like these. As one reader complained at Ads of the World: “You would never have sex in just one position.” Darn condom ads, always stretching the truth.
Back in the U.S., Britney Spears was seen in new print ads for the fashion brand Candie’s. Remarkably, it’s the first apparel endorsement ever for the pop star, and she looks great in the ads-perhaps too good, some suggested. (Stretching the truth again!) Candie’s has been hosting exclusive backstage video footage of Spears’ Virgin-sponsored concert tour, and the ads will appear in magazines, on TV, online and in Kohl’s. Spears joins previous famous Candie’s girls including Fergie, Hayden Panettiere, Kelly Clarkson, Hilary Duff and Ashley Simpson-Wentz. Given Spears’ recent history, though, the brand is probably just hoping she doesn’t have another catastrophic meltdown.
Finally, we had the pleasure (or not) of running across these Viagra “gift fans” made by Pfizer Korea and ad agency Cheil Worldwide. The promotional materials humorously showed a photo of a doctor using the fan to cool himself-seemingly unperturbed by the fact that his thumb has been drafted into the service of a crude, even obscene visual metaphor. There’s a guy who could use a little help with his bedside manner.
Apple sleuths take apart Microsoft ad
Microsoft’s “Lauren” ad — which shows a young woman trying to find a good laptop on a budget, and happily choosing a PC over the much more expensive Macs — is the best spot from the software company in quite some time. But was it in fact staged? BrandFreak posted a video last week, created by a few Apple sleuths, that argues (somewhat convincingly, it has to be said) that Lauren never actually entered the Apple Store to research its machines at all. When she appears to leave the store, the same two people are seen on the street as when she entered — which implies that she walked up to the doors, pirouetted and walked away. The way ads are shot, this wouldn’t be surprising — and it doesn’t prove she never went in. But it doesn’t look great. Kudos to the videographers here, who give the spot the full Zapruder treatment, complete with slo-mo effects and arrows pointing at the key players.
Also last week, American Laser Centers launched a fun contest that offers a full skin-rejuvenation package (laser-hair removal, cellulite reduction, etc.) to the person who tells the best story about how he or she got laid off. It’s miles better than most of the economy-themed promotions going on, and it won’t hurt to have that fab new bod when you run into your ex-boss in the neighborhood.

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.