With computerized fakery now common, this year's best "special effect" was reality — as used by Toyota tm to tout the power and brakes of its new Tundra pickup.
In one "over-the-top" Super Bowl ad, the truck tows a 6,400-pound trailer up a giant "seesaw," then the brakes haul it in as the ramp tips down on the other side. Another ad — which also aired in the Super Bowl — shows the truck racing toward a cliff, then stopping just feet from dropping into the abyss.
The stunts were the real deal — did you notice ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi, L.A.'s "actual demonstration" disclaimer? To back it up, Toyota has sworn affidavits of authenticity.
Made me want to buy it now:Apple iPhone
An ad ahead of the iPhone's June 29 release that showcased the functions of Apple's aaplflashy new gadget stirred lust for the product in hearts far beyond those of famously loyal Applephiles. The ad, created by TBWA/Media Arts Lab simply showed a close-up of the phone's touch screen, with a hand demonstrating how the device shows pictures; organizes, displays and plays your music; shows video; and makes calls.
"Apple gets it," says William Ward, a marketing professor at Alfred University, Alfred, N.Y. "The ad clearly demonstrates the benefits. Most companies aren't able to do 'simple' — but Apple takes a pretty complicated product and makes it simple."
Biggest hoot:Jack Link's beef jerky
Readers were all over the map in what they thought was funny, but clear favorites were new ads in the ongoing "Messin' with Sasquatch" series for Jack Link's beef jerky by ad agency Carmichael Lynch. The humor is sophomoric — OK, maybe that's generous — but done with great slapstick timing.
In the ads, hikers who happen upon the legendary Bigfoot dare to pull old-fashioned practical jokes on him and discover why you don't mess with the humanoid fur ball. Examples: Lighting a bag of dog-doo on fire at the entrance to Sasquatch's cave. In another darkly comic ad, a guy slides a "joy buzzer" into his palm, then asks the beast to shake hands. A shocked Sasquatch (Yikes!) pulls off the pranksters' arm.
As one reader, Russell P. Castaneda, posted: "(They're) off the cuff and just plain funny."
•Watch 'em at: messinwithsasquatch.com
•Honorable mention. The Ad Team may be showing its age, but laughed out loud at Kia Motors America's parody of the 1983 film Flashdance. A nerdy car salesman (no Jennifer Beals, the welder/exotic dancer) dances madly to a revision of the movie's anthem Maniac: "He's a maniac, maniac, on the floor. And he's selling like he's never sold before." Ad agency davidandgoliath closes the ad with a takeoff on a signature Flashdance scene when the disco fool is drenched with water from above.
Most offensive/annoying:Pfizer Viagra
No contest, just surprising consensus here.
We admit it's tough to sell a product used for something your potential buyers don't want even to hear about: erectile dysfunction. But Pfizer's pfe latest ad, by agency McCann HumanCare, left readers and ad pros alike scratching their heads.
In it, a rock band of middle-aged guys praises the product by belting out a version of Elvis' Viva Las Vegas— rewritten as Viva Viagra.
Eric Webber, managing partner of Webber/McJ marketing and public relations agency, was among the crowd panning it: "If I had an erectile dysfunction problem and Viagra solved it, I'd probably celebrate too, but not by hosting a jam session with my friends."