It’s that time of year again. We commemorate Pilgrims (code word: “Puritans”) who supposedly shared a turkey dinner with Native Americans before they banished them from their land and doomed them to the eternal fate of caricatured logos for sports teams and cigar stores. So in honor of such blatantly celebrated misanthropy, we bring you our first edition of the Turkey Awards — in recognition of all that is lowdown in our industry.
Just so you know, nobody likes a feel-good story more than me. I really did cry when Ol’ Yeller died. I look for good news every day. As they say in Missouri, “Show Me”. I’m all eyes and ears. But I’m not easily fooled by all the wolves in sheep’s clothing who have hopped on the Cause/Environmentalist/Phony Baloney Bandwagon. Maybe I’m naive, but I find it hard to believe that tire and carpet manufacturers, for instance, can make credible sustainability claims. Or that any QSR chain can credibly align themselves with any health initiative, whether it’s breast cancer or whatever. They manufacture death. It’s like the old subliminal messages in beer and cigarette ads — except there is nothing subliminal about them. You’d think some of these charities would tell our robber baron companies to bug off and “we don’t really want your blood money”.
This was the most hostile politically charged election year in history. Why? Well, beyond the actual politics of the candidates — media has enabled any cracker with political ambition and an HD camcorder to become a creative director. So we’ll begin the inaugural edition of the Turkey with the worst of a very bad lot. These are the lowest of the low, the bottom of the barrel, the seeds and stems, the outhouse of our industry. And we proudly bring them to you. Mikey, roll the tape.
Clinging Scoundrel Turkey — Let’s start with the worst commercial of the year, political or otherwise. One that supports violating our constitutional rights — and our true freedoms (all in the name of “freedom”, though). Don’t get me started on the war on terrorism. We lost that one in 32 minutes nine years ago. Anyway, enjoy this spot — it’s what happens when you put patriotism in the wrong hands.
Turkey Farmer — Let’s go right to the most notorious ad of the year. This guy in Alabama scares me. And he ran for Agricultural Commissioner. The last thing you want to do is piss this guy off — he’s liable to spray Agent Orange on your crops. Go ahead, make my day.
Uncle Turkey — Okay, I’ve got to admit, I laughed at the next spot. The visual is pretty funny, Uncle Sam as a profligate pig. It’s so ironic, it warrants an honorable mention. You are what you eat, and we eat a lot of humble pie.
Turkey Jingles 1 and 2 — Let’s exit the political arena with a song, well, actually two songs. Here’s two candidates with their own jingles (can we say they are “jingle-istic” patriots?). How blatantly gratuitous (and therefore condescending) to the youth and minority vote can you get? Take a look at Mike Weinstein, doesn’t he look like a hip dude? Isn’t that tune rockin’? I bet he smoked pot once.
Hold on, I need to jump in the shower, I’ve got all this sleaze all over me — be right back.
Okay, let’s move on to the to the Private Sector. There’s plenty to be ashamed of outside the political arena.
Shoo Turkey, Shoo — Skechers is a pretty cool shoe brand. Well at least I thought so until I saw this spot. Can somebody say, “disconnect?”. Enjoy this one, it’s awful.
No Flo Zone Turkey — Flo from Progressive Insurance? Come on. Do we really need to dumb down dumb? Isn’t dumb dumb enough? We don’t need to show the link — she’s ubiquitous. You know her and you hate her. How can testing produce this kind of spokesperson?
Souse Grouse — If drinking Svedka Vodka makes me act like this, then I will definitely need another drink. Thank you.
Turkey Sushi — Okay, we know them as a Japanese car company for the consumer who lacks the need to drive a pretentious vehicle. And I know this is a dealer spot and not a brand spot (I admire that there is any concept at all, actually). But forgive me if I don’t recognize the connection between this “Paparazzi” spot and Honda‘s target.
Singing Turkeys–Time for another song. Although this is not a jingle — it’s an opera. A really bad opera at that. Where’s Pete Townsend when you need him? Try not to spew your stuffing and gravy over this one.
That’s enough Bad TV for one post. Let’s move on to the new frontier, Digital. Everyone talks about Social Media like it’s the salve that heals all marketing wounds. The good news about Digital? It’s viral. The bad new? It’s viral. If you run a bad spot, or a controversial print ad — you can just pull it — you’ll get some bad press, along with the requisite bad karma and in a few weeks — it all goes away. But if you fuck up Social Media, you’ve created a monster that might not ever die — it will take on a life of its own.
Chocolate Turkey — Get a load of Nestle’s foray into Facebook, a cautionary tale for the Media Socialists.
Epcot Turkeys — Just so you know that the US of A doesn’t corner the market on Social blunders, here are the five worst International Social Media Campaigns.
So, that’s about all I can handle for one post. There’s so many Dishonorable Mentions that we could post from now until New Year’s Eve, but we need to put a governor on this exercise. Have a Happy, y’all.