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THE HAUNTING: AN EERIE MARIJUANA AD

And Other Current TV Commercials of Note

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The Haunting
Marketer: Partnership for a Drug-Free America
Brand: Anti-Marijuana
Title: "Victim"
Agency: Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, Boston

Moving away from morality to more practical safety concerns, the Partnership for a Drug-Free America's new ads focus on the dangers of driving while stoned. This spot about a young girl being haunted by the elderly man she killed is itself quite haunting.

Dumb Country
Marketer: American Red Cross
Brand: American Red Cross
Title: "Country Singers"
Agency: In-house

Taking us on a quick tour of dumb country, the Red Cross asks six singers, on camera, what the term "CPR" means. Only one of the twangers, Josh Turner, knows it means "Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation." The other five -- Blake Shelton, Sara Evans, Brad Cotter, Buddy Jewell and Julie Roberts -- are clueless. Moral: Don't have your heart attack in an Alabama truck stop.

Chili Heads
Marketer: Campbell's Soup
Brand: Chunky Chili
Title: "Tailgating"
Agency: Young & Rubicam

In a spot lionizing tailgaters -- those crazed fans who gather for beer swills and makeshift meals in sports stadium parking lots -- Campbell's give us this curious picture: A man with his mouth open -- so wide that we can see his back teeth -- shovels in an oozing spoon of chili as he is kissed by a woman wearing a giant foam cheese hat. What can we say but "Go Packers!"

What's a Whataburger?
Marketer: Whataburger
Brand: Whataburger
Title: "Out Whataburgered," "The Drive Home," Too Many Toppings" and "Open 25 Hours."
Agency: McGarrah-Jessee, Austin

Seven years before Burger King's invention of the 'Whopper,' south Texas bush-pilot-turned-lunch-stand-operator Harmon Dobson had the idea of selling quarter-pound hamburgers on custom-made extra wide rolls. He believed the giant size would make customers exclaim 'What a burger!' His concept caught on in the Southwest and continues franchise operations today. These are four of the company's latest ads.

Breasts Next Door
Marketer: Campbell's Soup
Brand: V8 Juice
Title: "Neighbors"
Agency: Young & Rubicam Advertising

This one could easily have been titled 'The Breasts Next Door,' instead of 'Neighbors.' It's the story of a young man who peeps through a female neighbor's window from his kitchen. Simultaneously, he sucks in his paunchy stomach in hopes that she might peep back. A steady diet of V8 helps eliminate the paunch -- get it?

Pitch Black Beverage
Marketer: Pepsi-Cola Co.
Brand: Mountain Dew
Title: "Pitch Black"
Agency: Tracy Locke Partnership (TLP), Wilton, Conn.

You probably have to be a 12-year-old to really appreciate the idea of a pure-black soda. But teenagers will no doubt be drinking tons of the stuff after watching these mock horror-film movie theater ads during the Halloween scare season.

Never Enough Elvises
Marketer: AOL, U.K.
Brand: AOL Broadband
Title: "Elvis"
Agency: Grey London

Based on the premise that one can never have enough Elvises, this British commercial uses an Elvis impersonator competition to emphasize that music stars from all eras are best listened to and downloaded via AOL Unlimited Broadband. A jolly good show of sequined jumpsuits and ridiculous sideburns.

HeroScape
Marketer: Hasbro
Brand: HeroScape
Title: "HeroScape, Episode 1"
Agency: Grey Worldwide, New York

Employing the animated look and feel of a video game promotion to sell what is actually a new board game, HeroScape features warrior heroes and mythic monsters from across a variety of cultures and time periods. Adults may find it incongruously jarring to have World War II GIs, Viking warriors and Japanese samurai all interacting in the same narrative. But, hey, young males are expected to put this one at the top of their Christmas gift demand lists.

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