Rob Strasberg, CCO, Doner
Marshall Ross, CCO, Cramer-Krasselt
Swedish Fish: Cat Sandwich
RS: "Ja." I was thoroughly disturbed by the sound of the mayo being slathered, the man's dirty socks made me sick and the kitten's head in his mouth didn't give me feelings of optimism, yet here I am, saying "Ja." I guess I'm a sucker for stupidity well executed. Keep it simple, stupid. And indeed they did. Four stars.
MR: I'm conflicted on this. It's crap of course. But so are Swedish Fish. Starburst and Skittles started this re-marketing trend, taking beloved, kid staples and pushing them older with strange but brilliant films about magic rabbits and factory idiots. Those are some of my favorite spots ever. This doesn't hit those highs. It's flat-footed, like the packaging. And gross plus food is always weird math. Then again, that guy almost got that whole cat's head in his mouth. Two stars.
Alzheimer's New Zealand: Restaurant
RS: I'm enacting the comedy rule of "Too Soon." I love making fun of old people as much as the next guy but old people with Alzheimer's gets a gong until there's a cure. The laugh track seems particularly out of place. I think the idea could've been much more interesting if it was done for real—small pranks on young people to make the point. Sad old people ain't my thang. One star.
MR: What was the strategy here? "Let's share a laugh with those hilarious Alzheimer's patients?" "Let's trivialize a nightmarish killer?" "Let's prove that Kiwis can't dress?" I know this was an attempt to use an Alzheimer's joke to dramatize the pain. I can see irony even when it's disguised as the The Benny Hill Show. And I agree that humor can help us face the horrible. But this doesn't work. And the ham-fisted sound design knows it. No stars.
GE: What's Your Lighting Style
RS: I like it. Trying to breathe some life into your everyday light bulb decisions should be applauded. The functionality was simple and the lighting style quiz fun. Will I be spending my Saturday night with the host developing dramatic moods for my library? Nope. But my wife might be, which means I will be too. Three stars.
MR: It's hard to get people excited about light bulbs. So I like the approach: lighting matters. The sweeps is a smart way to grab some data. And in classic Firstborn form, it's loaded with finesse. But damn that video tour guide! (Can we stop those now?) He's forever in the way. And dopey. Even the slick moodometer frustrates by changing the whole interior design instead of just the lights. A game would have been cooler. And might've taught me more. Two stars.
Comedy Central: 30 Rock Toilet Paper
RS: The ole' wipe your ass with the face of someone you hate toilet paper gag. I still have half a dozen rolls of Bin Laden two-ply in my bathroom. That said, even with a language barrier the site was fun to play with. The problem here is that you'll be compared to the show itself, and that's hard to beat. Three stars.
MR: I love this idea. Alec Baldwin on toilet paper seems right on all kinds of levels. It's spot on the brand character and super simple. If the new world is about engagement, this idea makes it easy for people to snap in and stay there. The picture upload app on the site is old already and primitive, but I think that's part of the charm. It's crude. And in many charming ways, so is 30 Rock. Four Stars.
Alex is a freshman at Pace University
Swedish Fish: Cat Sandwich
I think it's pretty good; funny to say the least. I especially liked the empty fridge giving that 'I'm desperate for food, let's resort to a cat' touch. It would totally appeal to people my age. The dry humor catches you off guard. Swedish Fish, I know I love them, but I forget about them because there are no advertisements out.