The ‘Hot’ Spots of August

NEW YORK August. That’s when the real summer heat takes effect. Exhaustion sets in. Everyone takes a vacation. Relaxes a bit. Gets a little lazy. Which would explain the vibe I got from these ads—lazy days of summer meet the lazy ads of summer.

In some cases, this mellowness was a good thing. For example, Nike’s PR man wannabe, Jim Mike, is so lazy, the tape he makes of himself pitching for the job includes an unprepared speech (read from cue cards) and a lame sales pitch. He makes you laugh, well, chuckle. Come on, U.S. women’s soccer team, hire Mike!

Sticking with women’s soccer, the Adidas spot with Kristine Lilly is warm and tingly, like a good romance novel on a humid night—not that I would know. It’s just a good simile that works for me. The flip side to this is the IBM BladeCenter spot. Our poor IT guy can’t handle the heat. He can’t take it. He needs a vacation. Lucky for him, he’s got Mr. Cool, Calm, Geek guy to save his butt and make sure those servers don’t fry.

Now, you’d think a party would be a great way to escape the heat and relax. Think again. Burger King spicy chicken boy learns the hard way that all good things come to an end when, at a party, his seduction of a teenage burger girl is interrupted by her father. As cliché as this spot is, it still works. Good casting and stupidity save it.

When it comes to summer parties, you must have beer. How about Beck’s? No thank you. After seeing the latest Beck’s ad, I have sworn to shred and throw away any of my spots written late at night while under the influence and preoccupied with dreams of sexual improprieties, thus preventing long-term ill effects to my career incurred by the aforementioned type of dreck. Although I must give kudos for using the trifecta of hot chick, plus fat guy, plus mile high club initiation to punctuate the blatant cliché beer ad. That’s genius. Verdict: no summer sizzle here. I can’t let the lame casting slip by either. FYI, if you’re going to do the hot chick beer gag, make sure she is smoking hot.

Maybe some Lite beer will get the summer party going. Maybe. It’s got taste. Or so they say. The MTL, a.k.a. Miller Taste League, is starting up just in time for football season. This could go either way, bada bing or bada bad, it’s too early to tell.

Or perhaps you don’t need beer for a summer bash. Maybe you just need candy that makes you feel like you’re drinking beer (and turns your party into a feast!). What better way to turn up the heat than have your good buddy the Viking round up some of your other pals to eat Snickers? I like this spot, in which a weird mix of people get together to eat candy bars, mainly because it’s so over the top. Candy is the new beer ad. And once again, stupid funny prevails.

OK, so a manly candy party may not be your thing. What about something with a darker, Goth edge to it? The new M&M dark chocolate parody of the Addams Family, starring M&Ms, is a nice spot, and they seem like they’ve got some flavor.

One guy who has his own flavor is John McEnroe. The over-the-hill tennis superstar is back in an AmEx spot that, while typical for the brand, has a genius moment when McEnroe decides the umpire is no longer “evil.” Evil is an odd word choice, but it works really well.

Forget the party. Levi’s shows us sex is the best way to relax on a hot and humid day, especially as part of a sex life that lasts from year to year and involves wearing Levi’s while the chorus, “some kind of strange love” plays in your head. On second thought, August ended up not being so lethargic after all.