Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A Requiem for a Caveman

For some time now, the Wife has been asking me to post as a "guest blogger," but these requests have always resulted in a standoff: she insists on maintaining creative control over her blog, and I've insisted on posting only objectively interesting topics: my love for firearms; military history; or my list of the best gifts that Barack Obama can buy for foreign heads of state (for the Queen of England, I personally would have gone with a DVD of The Naked Gun. She was great in that movie, and it would have brought back fond memories of the time that Lt. Frank Drebin foiled Reggie's Jackson assassination attempt on her life. An iPod? Uninspired.).

And so all of that has come to this (and explains why this post is so late today): I've relented and agreed to post something that might be of some actual interest to her followers (don't forget to comment if you want to hear something about my other potential topics). I always appreciate genius no matter where it might be found, and because once upon a time I wasted four years of my life studying advertising and marketing, I'm particularly partial to genius reflected in a thirty second ad spot. Thirty seconds is an awfully short period of time to develop and communicate your message, so those that do it well deserve a salute.

Among the best in recent memory is the Martin Agency, which developed the GEICO Caveman, apparently (and sadly) now defunct. Aside from being hilarious while still being intelligent--separating these spots from, say, low brow beer commercials--they skewer political correctness, which by itself gets a warm reception in my book.

The Caveman himself is a brilliant piece of work, and he's terrifically well cast. My favorites:

One of the better Cavemen spots has been removed from YouTube, but you can find it at 2:26 in the below video:

Regrettably, notwithstanding a pretty good run, it looks like GEICO is not producing new Caveman spots, settling instead for the remarkably lame "Kash" spots, which as far as I can tell, were not developed by the Martin Agency (the other ads, including the gecko and Mrs. Butterworth, are pretty good).

After these commercials had been making the rounds, ABC developed a nearly unwatchable sitcom based on this campaign (failing to cast the Caveman in the commercial, among other things), which shows only that the incompetent executives at ABC couldn't find gold at Fort Knox. After all, this is the network that brought us "Cupid."


For quite some time, I've also been fond of the people behind the Old Spice ad campaigns, Wieden + Kennedy (don't confuse this as an endorsement for Old Spice itself--I have little or no desire to smell like gasoline while at work). I think that Bruce Campbell is uniquely appealing to men, so he's a perfect person to cast in an Old Spice ad, but in any event, the below ad is truly inspired:

First, I'm one hundred percent in favor of any ads featuring the work of Duran Duran, and Hungry Like the Wolf is the undisputed champion of this category. Second: why does the piano continue to play when Bruce Campbell makes his hand gestures? This has to be intentional, as it's far too large an error to overlook. So why does the piano keep playing? Because he's Bruce Campbell. And he wears Old Spice (did I mention that his right hand was once a chainsaw in Army of Darkness?). It almost makes me want to head to the store and pay the people at P&G to smell like gasoline. Almost.


I hate bowling and I hate long-haired punk rockers, but bowling AND long-haired punk rockers? WooHoo!

Although this is a commercial for ESPN, the folks at the PBA have to be behind this: there's just no way that the no-talent clowns at ESPN (affiliated, incidentally, with the aforementioned ABC) could put out this piece of unabashed genius. If the PBA Tour actually had its bowlers basking in the air vent of the ball return machine, I might actually watch a few events. As it is, Pete Weber's sunglasses just aren't doing it for me.

What do you think, gang? Does anyone else hold a special place in their heart for the things that we all skip over with the TiVo? If so, what are your nominations? Also, what does the fairer sex think about the over-the-top machismo of Bruce Campbell?

And worst commercials? That would be a considerably longer post.


d.a.r. said...

I am seriously dying laughing reading this. My husband would be so entertained and probably post something quite similar if I ever let him get ahold of my blog!

Elyse said...

This was a hysterical post! Can I tell you, by the way, that Naked Gun is one of my favorite movies?! What a perfect gift for the Queen. I'm requesting a follow up post on bad commercials. Come on, you have to! My favorite commercial right now is the Guitar Hero commercial with Roy Williams and Mike Krzyzewski (it's for the Metallica version). Now, admittedly, this commercial isn't that great, but I happen to be a Tar Heel (meaning, in my book, the commercial is AWESOME)...

Mrs. Smith said...

This is awesome! Welcome to Blogland, Mr. Lucky in Love!

Shannon said...

What a sweet and funny husband you have!

Baker's Cakes said...

I have to admit, you sucked me in with the Naked Gun gift to the Queen and lost me at the commercials... You are a sweet husband to do this!!!

Lindsey said...

What a funny hubby you have!!!

mandy rose said...

I give you props for posting on the wife's blog! Funny and good work...but I have to admit....I want your wife back! haha!

Matt said...

Thanks for your kind words, and I'm glad that most of y'all appreciated the post. And those of you that mentioned it were right: you can never have too much Naked Gun.