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My kids each got a package of those store bought Rice Krispies Treats in the goody bag of a recent birthday party. Ian immediately devoured his but Nesslin hid hers away for safe keeping.

This morning Ian discovered her stash and ate it too which, ultimately, led to Andrea whipping up a fresh batch of homemade Rice Krispies treats. I knew it was a fast an easy recipe but even I was surprised at how quickly they came out. It reminded me of the old Rice Krispies ad where the mom is taking a break in the kitchen pretending that she is slaving away. It didn’t take me long to find it on YouTube.

This particular YouTuber, who goes by the handle Internet Lurker, has an enormous collection of old ads so I went down the rabbit hole. Here are a few that caught my attention:

Have you ever wondered why it was named, “Mac”?

In 1979, an Apple employee named Jef Raskin began working on an experimental appliance-like computer project within Apple. In a 2003 interview with ACM’s Ubiquity journal, Raskin described the origins of what he named the project: “I called it ‘Macintosh’ because the McIntosh is my favorite kind of apple to eat. And I figured that if I was going to have an apple I might as well have a tasty one.”

See also these other Tab cola commercials.

Is that Helen Hunt? Yes, it is. Also, if that kitchen looks familiar it’s because after the show was cancelled the set was used for all 7 seasons of The Golden Girls.

I always liked the actor Harry Anderson. When I was a kid I wasn’t allowed to watch Night Court because of the salacious content but I loved him in Dave’s World. I also quite liked Dave Barry.1

You’re not allowed to show kids in that kind of headgear these days. Also, thank goodness for iPads… am I right?

I REALLY wanted one of these when I was kid. Despite my own kids already having gone through several, I’ve still never had my own remote control car.

Duncan Hines used to push these brownies HARD. This commercial was on all the time.

When Top Gun was in theatres, Diet Pepsi was on TV.

When he sings about her never having been this far before, where do you think they are going?

  1. It made my day the time Dave Barry linked to my website []
advertising culture

Did Coca-Cola Invent Santa

My daughter, at age 4, is already questioning the legitimacy of the Santa Claus story. I haven’t been much help in keeping her in the dark because I try and follow a strict radical honesty policy with my kids. She wants to believe so badly though, so despite my inclination, I try not to destroy the façade. When she could tell I was doubting, she explained that she’s a believer because she actually met Santa when she was little. I guess, in a way, she has me there.

Where did Santa even come from? It’s widely known he’s based on St. Nicholas, a fourth century Christian bishop of Myra, hence his penchant for red outfits, but the Santa Claus we think of today was shaped largely in part by Coca-Cola and a 19th century poem((The poem, of course is, “A Visit from St. Nicholas” commonly known as “Twas the Night Before Christmas”)).

advertising ethics

Attack Ad Against WordPress

Matt Mullenweg, the CEO Automattic (the people behind among others) posted a response to the recent attack ad campaign from Wix in which they personify the open source software WordPress as an annoying, neglectful, glitchy father and complain about its problems in a confrontational therapy session.

It’s ironic that they would want to point out WordPress as a father figure considering it’s not a point of pride they copied WordPress’s code but haven’t been following the copyleft terms of share and share-alike that one must abide if you’re going to reuse said code.

From Matt’s post, Wix and Their Dirty Tricks:

I have a lot of empathy for whoever was forced to work on these ads, including the actors, it must have felt bad working on something that’s like Encyclopedia Britannica attacking Wikipedia. WordPress is a global movement of hundreds of thousands of volunteers and community members, coming together to make the web a better place. The code, and everything you put into it, belongs to you, and its open source license ensures that you’re in complete control, now and forever. WordPress is free, and also gives you freedom.

He goes on to explain that Wix itself is more fitting to be personified as an abuser. Their investor presentation explicitly outlines their business model of making it difficult to leave by not allowing users to export their data and consumers complain it’s difficult to get a refund. The for profit company knows that once they’ve got you locked in they can continue to charge more each year.

So if we’re comparing website builders to abusive relationships, Wix is one that locks you in the basement and doesn’t let you leave. I’m surprised consumer protection agencies haven’t gone after them.

Is this simply a difference in opinion between the value of open source versus paid software? He continues:

Philosophically, I believe in open source, and if WordPress isn’t a good fit for you there are other great open source communities like Drupal, Joomla, Jekyll, and Typo3. We also have a great relationship with some of our proprietary competitors, and I have huge respect for the teams at Shopify and Squarespace, and even though we compete I’ve always seen them operate with integrity and I’d recommend them without hesitation.

Here is one of the ads in question it feels like a cheap ripoff of Apple’s 2006 Mac vs PC Campaign. You be the judge.

advertising inspirational

Atoms – A Shoe Company Story

I try not to pay too much attention to advertising in general but this shoe ad at Daring Fireball caught my eye tonight:

Hey Daring Fireball readers, many of you are familiar with Atoms, and a lot of you wear our shoes and the comfortable masks we make. We are currently sold out of almost all of our shoes because Humans of New York did an in depth story on our co-founder Sidra’s personal journey. So this week, instead of ordering with Atoms, we would encourage you to support relief efforts in Texas.

So I checked out the Humans of New York story and found it very inspiring. I think you should read it too.

Now I want to buy their sold out shoes.

advertising Apple

Shot on iPhone 11 Pro Short Movie “Daughter”

The first day they posted it and it has almost half a million views. While I have to admit it’s contrived as a tear-jerker advertisement (for a product that I already bought), but that doesn’t make it any less laudable as a brilliant short film.

advertising books

The Age of Persuasion: How Marketing Ate Our Culture

age-of-persuassion-how-marketing-ate-our-cultureOne of my favorite radio shows has been turned into a book. The Age of Persuasion: How Marketing Ate Our Culture is now available in book stores across Canada!

Authors Mike Tennant and Terry O’Reilly have known each other for about 20 years; they began their career together making radio shows in 1995 with O’Reilly on Advertising. They’ve followed that up with “The Age of Persuasion” and a book based on that show which hits bookstores today.

Last Tuesday I took advantage of an opportunity to talk on the phone with Terry and Mike about the show and their new book “The Age of Persuasion: How Marketing Ate Our Culture”. My questions are in bold text.

advertising Music

Banjo Lessons “Advertisement”

I like the self deprecating nature of this ad for banjo lessons.

Want a divorce? Banjo Ad


advertising crime humor

ShamWow Guy in Prison

Vince Shlomi, the phenomenally successful television pitchman for products like the ShamWow and Slap Chop, was arrested at a swank Miami hotel last March after a violent confrontation with a prostitute.

From The Smoking Gun:

MARCH 27 – Meet Vince Shlomi. He’s probably better known to you as the ShamWow Guy, the ubiquitous television pitchman who has been phenomenally successful peddling absorbent towels and food choppers. Shlomi, 44, was arrested last month on a felony battery charge following a violent confrontation with a prostitute in his South Beach hotel room. According to an arrest affidavit, Shlomi met Sasha Harris, 26, at a Miami Beach nightclub on February 7 and subsequently retired with her to his $750 room at the lavish Setai hotel. Shlomi told cops he paid Harris about $1000 in cash after she "propositioned him for straight sex." Shlomi said that when he kissed Harris, she suddenly "bit his tongue and would not let go." Shlomi then punched Harris several times until she released his tongue.

For those of you that are not familiar with Vince:

[Vince with Slap Chop – YouTube]

Here he is peddling the ShamWow:

[ShamWow – YouTube]

I’ve saved the best for last. Guess what he’s doing now that he’s in prison?

[Shamwow Guy in Prison – CollegeHumor]


The Best Commericials as explained on Uncle Eddie’s Theory Corner!

Uncle Eddie’s Theory Corner! on the brilliance of direct marketing commercials: Best Commercials.

What kills me about this is that it doesn’t pretend to be anything but what it is: hardsell. The announcer looks like the kind of sleazy fast-talker who sells vegetable cutters at carnivals. You wouldn’t think anybody would trust a guy like that, but they do. Why? I think it’s because people react to the skill in the writing and execution of carnival pitches. You think you’re above it, but you’re not. It’s fun to watch a man who, using only words, can invest a product with magic.

You may not be a fan of the slick Billy Mays yelling information about his product, but you have to admire the calculated tweaking these commercials went through to inspire the largest number of consumers to order now!

advertising humor

Tab Cola Commercial

Here’s another one of those Tab Cola commercials from the 70’s early 80’s (previously). Same premise:

  1. hot bikini girl walks on the beach
  2. a man wants to drink Tab Cola
  3. girlfriend pours ice water on the man
  4. the man laughs because he realizes his girlfriend thought he was attracted to the bikini girl and wasn’t just craving a nice cool drink of Tab Cola
  5. Then everything is ok


Hit play or watch Tab Cola at YouTube.