Ads Garfield Hated

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Book of Tens: Bob Garfield

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1. JOHN MCCAIN
(FOXHOLE PRODUCTIONS)
The tone -- and foolish strategy -- of the disgraceful McCain-Palin campaign was established early, with an ad claiming Obama's "one accomplishment" was "legislation to teach comprehensive sex education to kindergartners." It was, of course, a lie. What a bunch of foxholes.
NOT FOR PREROLLS

2. SNICKERS
(AMV/ BBDO, LONDON)
A butt-wiggling race walker is just too effeminate for Mr. T's liking. "You a disgrace to the man race!" he bellows. "It's time to run like a real man!" -- whereupon he mows down the terrorized wimp with a candy-spewing Gatling gun. The message: "Get some nuts!" Oh, yes, let's do glorify bullying the un-macho.
3. MOJAVE
(BRADLEY & MONTGOMERY, INDIANAPOLIS)
Take a bunch of dubious potential Vista users, let them play happily with a new computer operating system called Mojave and then lower the boom: "That's not Mojave. That system you like so much is actually ... Vista! We pulled a switcheroo!" Except Mojave sucks too.
NOT FOR PREROLLS

4. NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS
(THE MOST AGENCY, NEWPORT BEACH, CALIF.)
In bubble times, Realtors were too busy raking in 6% commissions to notice the press hyping the housing market. Now they're enraged with The Media for scaring people away with, you know, the news. Are they trusted advisers or salesmen? Well, your CPA doesn't have a magnetized sign on his car door.
NOT FOR PREROLLS

4. PLANTERS
(DRAFTFCB, NEW YORK)
Had to watch this one six times to get it; turns out to be a snack commercial disguised as an Axe commercial. An Ugly Betty-ish girl with a unibrow turns heads all day because she uses mixed nuts as fragrance. Terrible beyond belief.
NOT FOR PREROLLS

6. CHEETOS
(GOODBY, SILVERSTEIN; SAN FRANCISCO)
RAoC stands for "Random Acts of Cheetos," and the idea is to recruit users to perpetrate Cheetos-centric pranks against those who deserve comeuppance -- like tossing a handful in somebody's dryer load of whites at the laundromat. Ha ha! What's cooler than vandalism?!
7. EQUINOX GYMS
(FALLON, MINNEAPOLIS)
The perverse poses are supposed to shock, but they look pretty much like every subway poster in Europe. What's shocking is that this imagines itself to be some sort of creative departure when it is, in fact, just extruded from the Art Director Machine. Contrived, derivative, wildly irrelevant and about as sexy as the wax museum.
NOT FOR PREROLLS

8. RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE
( DDB, CHICAGO)
A lovely Super Bowl tearjerker about an alumna-turned-healthy-mom turns grotesque in the last second when the McDonald's logo and "I'm lovin' it" flash onscreen. This charity long prospered because it never conflated the brand with the cause, leaving viewers to connect the dots. The branding here was shameless, and shameful.
NOT FOR PREROLLS

9. DIRECTV
(DEUTSCH, LOS ANGELES)
The advertiser must have spent $50 million to air this single spot, which uses CGI to make an old Christie Brinkley/Chevy Chase scene seem current. Success. But what in the world does a 25-year-old movie have to do with satellite HDTV? Zilch. It's a total non sequitur. FAIL.
NOT FOR PREROLLS

10. EXTENDED STAY HOTELS
(TOY, NEW YORK)
The tagline: "No place makes you feel more comfortable." So everybody who enters the hotel feels free to fart. Seriously -- that's the joke (or, shall we say, gag). Never mind your sphincter. What was the last guest up to?

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