Weird is the new black. At least in terms of advertising… or at least in terms of fast food advertising. Remember the crowds of lemming-like red-headed ‘Wendys‘ running through the fields? Pretty weird. Or Checker’s gangsta feline, Rap Cat? Hilarious, true… but weird. And of course, the literal and figurative king of them all, Burger King’s bulbous-headed, mono-expression-wearing monarch, ‘The King’. Weird beyond belief.
So what? Apparently the new trend in fast food advertising is head-scratchingly amusing creative. That’s funny right? Well apparently some people aren’t laughing.
The King’s latest spot, in which he’s accused of being a lunatic because of his ‘crazy low’ deals on flame-broiled burgers, has mental health organizations up in arms.
“I was stunned. Absolutely stunned and appalled,” said Michael Fitzpatrick, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. “We understand edgy, but this is beyond edgy. Way beyond.”
Okee, we know that advertisers have to be sensitive to unfortunate conditions (thank god they didn’t claim he had athlete’s foot). But to be fair, the King isn’t exactly drooling from the mouth and babbling like an idiot. If you ask me, this is just another Lohan-like outburst at a funny commercial for the sake of hyper-sensitivity. I mean, look at the Wendy’s commercials. It’s not like red heads around the world are protesting…
Okee, we’ve seen it before – nay – been hit over the head with it repeatedly with a 100% post-consumer-material bat: companies that are going ‘green’ and shouting it from their solar-paneled rooftops. Now, like all good upstanding Americans, we do our best to recycle and not litter and yada yada yada, but a lot of times this ‘green’ advertising ends up having the opposite effect that the company intended – putting off consumers because they’re sick of being lectured to by crunchy ad execs just trying to make a buck.
But, to be fair, there are a few companies that have found a green thumb when it comes to advertising their earth-friendly tendencies.
The first is SunChips, which has built its brand on being a more healthy and conscientious alternative to your usual couch potato crap. And now the company isn’t just fighting junk food, they’re also fighting junk – with the introduction of their new biodegradable packaging. The television ad introduction is a little hackneyed and doesn’t make complete sense (shouldn’t the characters be picking up the trash rather than just hiding it?), but it fits their brand and we’ll let it pass – even if the bags now sound like there’s a thunderstorm in your kitchen every time you open one.
The second option is by Audi – who actually recognizes how sick consumers are of being lectured and plays it off in a lighthearted way. The near-Reno 911 type ‘Green Police’ satirize just how blindly obsessed some companies – selfishly touting their green ways only to earn extra greenbacks. By contrast, according to Audi, you could just change your ride and help Mother Earth. Hmm… I just might use that excuse in order to justify buying a brand spanking new R8.
“Honey, won’t you please think of the environment!”
We all know a carefully sculpted Franz Joseph can bring the damsels running, but can facial hair also sell hooch? According to an interesting trend in liquor advertising, the answer is an emphatic “Affirmative, good sir!”
Dos Equis boldly set the standard with its silver-whiskered spokesman in the “Most Interesting Man in the World” campaign and that fearless, well-cultured scruff scored a resounding success.
But now another storied brand has thrown its Remington into the ring – this time in the high-risk, high-reward environment of the premium vodka wars. Kettle One continues to up the ante, casting carefully coiffed chin hairs in the the recent “Table”, “Street” and “Bar” campaigns, adding a further sophisticated element to the five o’clock shadow club.
It’s as if the liquor industry is telling us that grizzled beards are no longer just for 40 oz. swilling hobos anymore – but have their place in refined masculine culture. Then again, isn’t that something we’ve known all along?