critical acclaim for everyday advertising

while my blog is not up and running yet, i can still weigh in with some pass, fail and the occassional out-there observation.

hip hop and hamsterdam

nothing screams "buy me!" like a catchy tune and memorable graphics. the detractors who say using cute animals to sell autos are totally missing the point. i LOVE this ad. everything from the music to the imagery to the subtle details. for those of you who have not experienced the 2010 Kia SOUL commercial, let me lay it out for you. it's urbanite (aka city dwelling — inner or outer is your call) hamsters walking the streets of their city neighborhood sporting hoodies, jerseys and Timberland boots, rapping the chorus lyrics from the black sheep's 1992 "the choice is yours." they compare (read poke fun) at a variety of "box car" designs including a silver toaster, a washing machine and a cardboard box with front fender flames. basically you can have the same old same old or you can have an inexpensive, tricked out vehicle (it has glowing speakers, a bumping system if it's accurate and silver rims). their tag line? "KIA Soul – a new way to roll." genius i say. think not you say? let me tell you why:

  1. they are walking down a street called "hamsterdam." – pot is legal in amsterdam and a huge part of hip hop culture.
  2. there is a guy on the corner playing bucket drums – common to see on city corners.
  3. there are a lot of head phones and boom boxes – common to the club scene.
  4. there is a record shop – can't rap without 'em.
  5. there is a basketball court and a pick-up game – common to the inner city.
  6. they pass affluently dressed hamsters who peer disapprovingly over their sunglasses – implies elitests need not buy.
  7. there are city scenes, including subway signs, indicating it's new york – the black sheep are from queens, new york.

see? genius! oh and it's a pretty tight ride. literally. it's pretty compact — perfect for cramped city streets and limited parking.

PASS. for reals.

annoying children pushing cars they are not old enough to drive

when TOYOTA debuted the 2010 Sienna, i was blown away. suddenly my ex-boyfriend's dream car was hip — the must have four–wheel accessory for today's busy family. the "swagger wagon" is, indeed, something to be envied. the casting is amazing. they are believable as a couple and individually likeable. bring them up at a party and people know a) who you're talking about and b) think they are the type of people they'd hang out with. like the old International Coffee ads, each commercial is a snap shot of their life. their hipness is relatable and that's what sells this ad.

total PASS.

then came the 2011 Highlander ads. where to begin? the young hipster mouthpiece pushing their vehicle comes across as a smug little brat. his lack of respect towards his peers and his parents, not to mention his elitest attitude, is extremely off-putting. don't get me wrong, there are some amusing points – the uncool kid in the turtleneck trapped in the uncool car with his parents belting out Bonnie Tyler's "Angel of the Morning" – but the humor ends as soon as the focus shifts back to the spokesboy. if FB and various party patter can be believed, i'm not the only one who changes the channel when he comes on.

all that said, i'm sure this ad resonates with a certain demographic. mainly the "have nots" who were never cool growing up and now struggle with the adult side of things — keeping up with the joneses. praying on an individuals feelings of inadequacy while disagreeable is still connecting emotionally with a buyer and therefore finds a common ground. and for this reason alone...

PASS. with reservations.