If Art Attack has learned anything from watching Mad Men besides that working drunk is a perfectly viable business stratagem, it's that there is some real money and art behind marketing.
Then there are techniques that are just plain baffling. Maybe they're really modern art that we're just too un-hip to understand. After all, we did once describe the works of Jackson Pollock as evidence that Rainbow Brite had been executed by gray scale extremists. Regardless, here are our favorites out to lunch sales pitches.
The other day we powered up the Wii and decided to see if the Kid With One F would enjoy the Princess and the Frog streamed from Netflix. She did so most thoroughly, but before we shut off the Wii we read the synopsis with some real puzzlement.
Princess Tiana is turned into a frog and must go up against snooty debutante Charlotte.
Wait. What? Not only is that not the plot of the movie, it isn't even fair. Charlotte is Tiana's best friend, and even offers to not marry a prince so Tiana can have him instead. Sure, Charlotte's spoiled and probably more than a little inbred stupid, but she does nothing but support and encourage Tiana throughout the movie. The description on the website is better, but still has this...
But with the help of her mother (Oprah Winfrey), a crooning alligator and other friends, Tiana's fairy-tale dreams may come true after all in this Oscar nominee.
For the record, we don't remember Tiana's mother having any significance to the plot. Obviously Netflix was trying to push the Oprah fan base into watching. The question is, "Why bother?" Why should Netflix care which movie you watch at all? As long as you keep paying for the service it shouldn't matter to them if you ever use it. With the first one, we're guessing somebody was aiming for the high school drama crowd, but even then we're puzzled. What is the purpose in trying to trick us at all? Why manipulate the marketing of a product we've already paid for?
We understand that drug companies are under some very strict regulations when it comes to their advertising, and we're not saying that those regulations aren't a good idea. But think about what kind of box that puts an ad agency in. When they finally deliver the product, it's basically three different short films shown simultaneously.
In the first film, a narrator tries as charmingly and soothingly as possible to walk you through the most important legalese associated with the product, such as whether or not it will make a fetus grow a third arm.
Then below that is a set of subtitles that link to what the narrator just said, but generally call bullshit on every fact he stated. It's like Stephen Colbert's word segment, but with anal leakage and exploding spleens.
Finally, there's what would otherwise be the commercial, and because the other two films are horror films, they generally try to balance it out by showing you the happiness stock photo models and situations they can possibly find. Unless your problem is depression, in which case they try to make you feel even worse.
Oh, and they all end with "See our ad in Golf Digest." They advertise an advertisement. That is just weird.
Actually, we're not baffled as to why this happens, we know why. It is actually cheaper and easier to hire people to stand on the side of the road and hold signs than it is to brave the application process and fees needed to put up signs on the side of the road. So it's not so much confusing as sad.
What does puzzle the hell out of us is how energetic those people are. We've seen them breakdance holding their signs, do a jig in a chicken costume in the middle of August, and never once have we seen a person not smiling with complete sincerity.
Where on Earth do you find people who are basically told that they are worth less than paperwork, shove them outside in a job that is only one step above being a homeless man with a marker and cardboard plea, and still they have more enthusiasm than we do for a job where we get free video games and concert tickets? Hell, if everyone was like these guys communism would work.
Look, we're a man, and men's understanding of the menstrual cycle has barely changed since the Book of Leviticus. However, we've cohabitated with a female for almost a decade now, and we do have a pretty good understanding of what a woman wants in a freakin' tampon and it's not the ability to stand under a damned waterfall (Though that wouldn't be the stupidest superpower we've ever heard of).
Here's how every tampon and pad commercial should go. Pan across a bathroom floor where you see a nice pair of slacks without any bloodstains. Focus in on a woman in a bubble bath. Have her look at the camera and say, "[Brand Name Here] is such a good deal I had enough left over for some wine and chocolate. Plus, they easily fit in my purse and the labels on the box aren't so ridiculously infuriating that my husband was able to pick them out from my directions with no problems." Pan back across the bathroom to the bedroom where her husband is calmly beating the person who invented the slogan "Have a Happy Period" with a baseball bat. Collect money.
Warning, this last one has an image that will make you wish we were still talking about periods.
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That. Picture. Is. Real. It was in the Daily Mail. We swear to whichever god you fancy.
Back when God of War 2 came out, Sony decided to throw a party in Athens to celebrate. Now, anyone who has played the God of War series should have expected something a little more R-rated for the event. After all, the first game had you dragging a captured Athenian to an incinerator to be sacrificed, a sex minigame, ripping the skulls off of corpses to use as puzzle pieces, and frontal female nudity. Still, this got a little out of hand.
The event was supposed to represent a Roman orgy. Topless women served drinks and grapes with latex badly attempting to keep their modesty intact. In one corner people were invited to pull live snakes from a pit, and a decapitated goat was on display. You could also reach inside the goat for a serving of soup. Despite some early reporting, the goat was not decapitated live in front of an audience that included children. It was killed by a butcher beforehand.
Let's be clear, if you're the kind of person who attends a party like that, you're not sitting home playing video games no matter what the content is.