Adios, Amigo


There are very few things on television, let alone television advertising, that I can honestly say I enjoy.

Sitcoms? Not so much. Dramas? Bo-ring!

Reality shows? Don’t get me started.

I’m just not into watching television. In fact when faced with the task of simply changing the channel, I get lost because I don’t even know where the Guide button is on the remote. Seriously – I have to inspect it for at least 15 seconds before I find it, and I kind of like it that way.

However, there’s a certain character who was a perennial favorite of mine and today I found out he’s been given a send-off only he would be worthy of receiving.

He’s the fictional spokesperson for Dos Equis beer or, as we all came to know him, The Most Interesting Man in the World.

This advertising campaign was just brilliant. Commercials were simple montages of his believable adventures with voiceovers that described his traits or persona, which only led to his mystique:

  • His blood smells like cologne
  • Sharks have a week dedicated to him
  • If opportunity knocks and he’s not at home, opportunity waits
  • He gives his GPS directions*
  • Mosquitoes refuse to bite him purely out of respect

And today, he embarked on his final journey: to Mars, never to return.

“His only regret…is not knowing what regret feels like.”

Ugh. This was the perfect way to end this campaign and I’m not afraid to admit that watching it sort of made me a little weepy inside. Hearing him utter his catchphrase one last time as he was being propelled deep into space really effed with my head, man.

But my attachment might go a bit deeper than most.

When this campaign first started some nine years ago, my family all went nuts. We had reason to.

“My God, that’s Uncle Lupe,” I recall many of my cousins saying. They weren’t far from wrong.

Uncle Lou, rest his soul, was our version of The Most Interesting Man in the World because of his lifelong habit of being adventurous and unpredictable:

  • He’d randomly show up at your door because he was in there area, even though he lived on the other half of the state
  • He wrote a book while sailing to the Galapagos Islands during hurricane season

There’s much more to the man than just those anecdotes, both of which were absolutely true. My family will attest to the fact that he lived a life that was pretty much parallel to that of TMIMITW and, to top it off, he sort of resembled him.

Now, sadly, the real adventurer and his doppelganger are no longer one with this earth.

Dos Equis, your campaign succeeded in doing what not many could: they made me care, and I don’t even drink beer** regularly. I couldn’t even care about Clara Peller, Homer and J.R., or the J&R Whiskey Liquor Lads the way I did about your character. And seriously, they were the only commercials that would make me go silent just so I could watch his latest adventures and catch up on the newest witticisms about him.

And honestly, I completely forgot what he was advertising at times.

So in closing, I raise a glass to The Most Interesting Man in the World and wish him much luck on his journey to Mars which, given his history, I’m sure he will turn into an inhabitable place.

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¡Adios, amigo!

—–

*This was my own contribution
**When there’s beer at the office for Social Hour, I’ll have one

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Blogging 365, Day 62: I Got Praise!


Don’t let this dog-and-pony show of a blog mislead you – I actually do have what it takes to create effective social media buzz that will drive customers to your door.

At least that’s what the people at Pizza Today have said. Here’s why.

Every now and then, I will write Facebook posts for my friend’s pizzeria advertising their current or upcoming specials and for the most part, they are written and forgotten. That’s not to say that they are worth forgetting, no. I collaborate with him, come up with a few ideas, then send him the draft to see if he likes it.

Then the agonizing begins over what sounds best and why, talk pricing if applicable, delivery or take-out, etc. There’s much more to it than what’s going on here at this blog, something I make no money from and pay into by means of annual domain mapping fees and name registration.

But I create the Facebook posts free of charge because I simply like to do them and love getting down and dirty with the details of what can’t be said and why. The blog? Oh, anything goes here as you can probably tell.

And apparently, it’s that kind of attention to detail that caught the eye of the people over at Pizza Today.

On Friday, I got a text from my buddy to let me know what he saw in the latest issue:

IMG_20130301_165436.jpeg

It’s a little hard to see so here’s a clip from their website:

ciceros

We created this post to promote their 12/12/12 special, something that they also did on 10/10/10 but with results that were…well, they were beyond what we both expected. Let’s just say ovens are limited to their capacity and when you advertise a $10 pizza with no limits on quantity or size restrictions, things will get ugly.

But this was a good thing and something we both thought about for the 12/12/12 promotion (there was no 11/11/11 special). We got together and brainstormed to come up with an idea that would prove both beneficial to he as the owner and the customers as well.

The Facebook post you see about was the result and from what I know, it was not a bad day for his business.

It may be long gone and down at the bottom of their Facebook page now but according to Pizza Today, this post hit the marketing nail on the head in terms of everything – and I’m glad to have been a part of it.

Commercial Music That Works


Remember the days when commercials still had snappy little jingles? Yeah, like this Sparkletts one from years ago*?

Back then, just about every commercial had one and I’m pretty sure if you’re anywhere near my age range, you have your favorites. In fact, just out of memory, I can recite another Sparkletts commercial that I can’t seem to find anywhere (which was also voiced by the same guy in the spot above):

This thirsty man is Harvey Hood
Whose drinking water never tasted good
He used to sneak up on his glass to get him a drink
So he called Sparkletts
And bad taste problems are over, here’s why:
Sparkletts water is the best you can buy
That sparkling smile means Harvey Hood agreed: “Whoop-dee-dee!”
The name on the shirt says Sparkletts, friends
It means good taste and it makes good sense
Me and Sparkletts water making friends
Yes, me and Sparkletts water making friends
Sparkletts brings good-tasting water to a thirsty world!

You see that, ad agencies? I remembered every stinking word even after over 30 years! So what happened? You seem to have strayed away from the memorable jingle and moved on to using songs from my younger years. Is it so uncool to be a little creative and make up something that can be downright silly but in the long run, memorable enough to be whistling decades later?

I guess so. Sorry, but no amount of Human League or Thomas Dolby songs are going to persuade me to buy a kitchen sweeper. It’s just not happening.

That said, I have to admit that not all commercials with songs you know by heart are worth criticizing. No, there are a few that have had just the right song for the right situation, and that made me laugh out loud each time I saw them. So without any further ado, there they are.

Continue reading

Mark, Dan, and Wayne


WTEwayne If you live anywhere in the Los Angeles area, those three names instantly ring a bell. You’ve heard them all before, and in that exact sequence, but you can’t remember where.

They are almost like an L.A. version of Mount Rushmore, localized to the mudflaps (see left) of trucks sold at Western Truck Exchange (WTE), a business specializing in the sales and service of, well, commercial trucks.

And all my life those three heads have haunted and taunted me, leaving me wondering just who these three guys really are and, most importantly, how I could get that logo on a shirt for all the world to see.

And today, after years of wondering, I got to meet one of the Floating Heads Three. But let’s go back a bit.

Last week I sent an e-mail to WTE explaining myself: seen the logo all my life, cool to have on a shirt, blah blah blah. I enquired about merchandise they might have for sale such as shirts or hats.

I got my reply yesterday from Dan Holtzman, or as the rest of L.A. knows him, The Dude in the Middle of the Mudflap. In the e-mail, he explained that they didn’t have t-shirts but…

We do have some hats left though.  If you would like one just come on down and ask for me and I will make sure you get one.

I just about shit my pants. Not only do WTE articles of clothing exist, the missive came from Dan himself. My life was just about complete at this point.

I replied to Dan’s e-mail, telling him that I would be by sometime this week to pick up my hat(s). Turns out I couldn’t wait—I made the trek down there today right after I dropped Anthony off at school.

So I get on the 405, sit in traffic for a while, get on the 110, sit in more traffic, then finally get to the Manchester Avenue exit. This was so going to be worth the trip.

Western Truck Exchange—along with the Floating Heads Three—can be clearly seen off the west side of the 110 freeway. But upon further review, it seemed that this building was the parts and service department and I wasn’t sure if this is where I would finally receive my Los Angeles cultural equivalent of frankincense and myrrh.

0216100905 So instead of stopping there, I went east on Manchester to their sales lot. I parked the truck, entered the building and BAM! see that the logo is emblazoned on the wall behind the reception desk—and the logo is gigantic, probably larger than their actual heads. I should have taken a picture.

I was met by a kind gentleman at the door and told him I was there to see Dan. He then said that Dan spends his day between both buildings, the mornings at the parts and service building. Not an issue.

0216100920So I head back to the truck where I’m almost certain a drug  and/or prostitution deal was going down right on front of where I was parked. (This is L.A., people.) I get in, get the hell out of that area, and mosey on down to the parts department.

I walk up to the counter and ask for Dan. He’s busy but tells me to hang on and finally, after years of wondering, he greets me. I tell him who I am and we then shake hands.

Dan runs off to the storage area and promptly comes back with two hats, which I am all too happy to pay for. As he was ringing me out, we began to talk about the popularity of the company’s logo on t-shirts.

wte-lo You see, I’m not the only one obsessed with this logo. Check out this LosAngelous article and interview with Wayne in which they discuss this very topic. And if you Google “western truck exchange shirt” you get tons of results and as matter of fact, Dan pointed out that one of the first times he saw his face on a shirt was when his daughter saw a store on Melrose Avenue selling WTE shirts. He also stated that he saw a character wearing one in a movie (which one, I don’t know).

All of this from just having your head on a mudflap. Amazing when you consider they’ve been in business since 1922 and that the phenomenon gained momentum before this Intarweb thing even existed. Viral marketing be damned.

Just as I was ready to leave, I mentioned that Anthony is a truck freak: fire trucks, UPS trucks, etc. Dan then told me that I could bring him down one day and he’d be glad to show him around the insides of some of the trucks on the lot. Now how fucking cool would that be to a 6-year-old boy?

So there you have it; one of my childhood goals has been fulfilled. And oh, my hat? I’m wearing it as I type (and yes, it is a trucker’s hat):

wte-crop

Thanks to Dan (and Mark and Wayne) and all at Western Truck Exchange for being so cool. If you need a truck or parts or service, you should definitely hit them up. If they treated me—some dumbshit, idiot blogger who just wanted a fucking hat—with this kind of respect, you’re pretty much assured to get the same treatment if you’re looking to buy a truck.

Keep on truckin’, guys!

Big City Slider Station


HEY, BILLY MAYS! YOU YELL TOO MUCH! I REALLY WISH YOU’D TAKE IT DOWN A NOTCH BECAUSE YOU DRIVE ME FREAKING CRAZY! AND YOUR MIGHTY PUTTY DOESN’T WORK FOR SHIT!

Ahem, okay. I’m done yelling for now. But by now, I’m sure you’re familiar with “that loudmouth” as The Kid calls him, pushing his wares on just about every channel. And for the most part his products smack of the typical informercial over-the-top claims, like the fact that Mighty Putty is strong enough to hold two plates together and not break even when being used to pull a truck.

*cough*bullshit!*cough* My father-in-law bought some and that shit couldn’t hold anything.

But ah, Billy Mays, you hit the nail on the head with your Big City Slider Station, which Ann picked up today while out shopping. (She had been wanting one since she first saw them–and so did The Kid.)

You can’t really go wrong with this one as, well, all you do is stick the meat of your choice into the little compartments and grill for a few minutes. Once done, you slide those suckers out, grab some buns and condiments and you end up with oodles of these things:

sliders

The patties aren’t that big but I guess that’s the whole point of the thing. I opted for ground chicken on King’s Hawaiian Bread rolls, barbecue sauce, red onions, tomatoes and relish. Very, very tasty and quick! It looks like Billy Mays’ little griller could give George Foreman’s line of cookers a run for their money.

Next on Ann’s wish list: a Snuggie. Oh, I don’t want to hear it, Kimberly… 🙂

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