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maryann johanson, striking from a hidden base

watch it: “Michael Bay Verizon FiOS Commercial” and “Tea Partay”

I’ve been resisting posting advertisements as web videos of the day, because even when they are pretty cool, I’m trying to make this about video that doesn’t get seen enough, or video that is breaking barriers, or video that is doing anything other than what corporate video has been doing for the last half century, which is trying to part us from our money.

But I’m making an exception today. Because I came across this article at Advertising Age, which indulges in a lot of hand-wringing about how to get people to watch ads when it’s so easy to avoid them these days. The answer is supereasy, at least conceptually: Make ads that people want to watch because they’re clever little films. The execution of that may not be easy — it’s tough to make films of any length that people want to watch, and probably tougher still when those films are trying to sell us something. But still. As a goal, as an overarching philosophy, it’s not all that tough a call.
Advertisers need to make ads like these two. This first one features Michael Bay touting the benefits of Verizon’s new high-speed Internet service, and it makes me laugh out loud every time I see it. And I see it a lot, because if I happen to come across it while fast-forwarding on the DVR, I will stop, rewind, and watch it. Maybe more than once. (That has got to be what advertisers shoot for now: ads so fun we don’t want to fast-forward through them.) It’s that hilarious. Plus, I’ve now watched it on YouTube like a half dozen times in a row. I can’t get enough of it:

I’ve been a huge and vocal anti-fan of Bay’s, but that ad tells me he’s got a sense of humor about himself, and that does a lot to improve my opinion of him.

This one came to me via my friend Bonnie-Ann Black, which she saw on TV the other day, and also found a reference to on a tea blog from a while back. So it’s been around for a while:

It’s hardly a secret, except that most advertisers act like it is: Ya gotta made a commerical that is so entertaining that it doesn’t matter that it’s trying to sell you something. Ya gotta make an ad that people pass around on YouTube because they gotta share it. That’s a hard thing to do, but, hey, we’re all suffering these days. Consumers are no longer a captive audience. Deal with it.

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