Sunday, March 27, 2011

Greek Yogurt + Green Goblin + Dr. Seuss = Magic

This is what it's like if Willem Dafoe reads you bedtime stories.

(There's a video here. It's short. And, if you ask me, it's worth watching, so if you can't see it, click here.)

Thank you, Mullen (an agency in Boston) for this treat. Their own Brian Tierney (@BCTierney) wrote the copy.

Looking forward to seeing (and hearing) this ad again? Check.
Remember the product it's shilling? Check.
Spectacular? Check.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Sundays are ad days

For me, commercials fall into two categories: "spectacular" and "not".

What, you say? What about the terrible? The awful, the egregious, the outrageously bad? Settle down, I'm with ya. That is, you see, the beauty of the word "spectacular"— could be spectacularly good or... not.

Sometimes it's a whole campaign, sometimes it's just one ad... but I find it fascinating how much money is spent on advertising, and how many sadly mediocre commercials are produced.

Because a spectacular fail is better than a "play it safe and bore 'em to death." Don't believe me? Do you remember what Bjork wore to the 2001 Academy Awards? Bet you do. How about Julia Roberts? Or Catherine Zeta-Jones? No? See? Spectacular fails can still be marketing successes (along the lines of that old chestnut: "no publicity is bad publicity").

Spectacular Sundays are born: my weekly personal homage to the Clio (or Razz) worthy. Don't all clap at once.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

God has another most beautiful angel

When Audrey Hepburn died, Elizabeth Taylor said, "God has a most beautiful new angel."

Elizabeth Taylor died this morning, and as my friend Amy would say, "that's some heck of a team God is putting together up there."

If you're not an old movie buff like moi, your idea of Liz Taylor is probably incomplete. Husbands out the yin yang, weight gain, weight loss, weight gain, pills, rehab, crazy hair. Perfume shiller. Maybe you even think of her as an AIDS research advocate and fund raiser extraordinaire.

Personally, she was also known for being an extraordinary friend. By all accounts, she saved Montgomery Clift's life after his car accident near her home, climbing through a back window because the doors were too mangled to open and reaching into his mouth to pull out loose teeth that were blocking his airway. She continued to care for him, renting a suite at the Chateau Marmont for his recovery and doing her part to see that he continued to work in Hollywood.

Indelibly linked to AIDS and AIDS research, she was inspired to campaign for the cause when another friend, Rock Hudson, announced he was suffering from the disease. Against the advice of friends and publicists, Elizabeth went ahead and became the face and voice for a disease that at the time, no one wanted even to discuss, let alone acknowledge the scale of the threat it posed.

Professionally, Elizabeth Taylor won two Academy Awards for acting (for "BUtterfield 8" and "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"). One of the last fixtures of "Old Hollywood," she was almost so un-really gorgeous, it's sometimes hard to see her performances past her face, but they're there. Everyone has their favorites, but for me, it's

National Velvet (I don't care, I love that movie)
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Paul and Liz in the same movie? Need I say more?)
A Place in the Sun (when Montgomery Clift was almost as beautiful as Liz)
Suddenly, Last Summer (though really, it's Katherine Hepburn in that movie who is so riveting — can you say twisted and obsessed? Brrrrr.)
and Giant. Not because I should, but because I actually do. And also because in it, Dennis Hopper plays Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson's son. Who knew?
(By the way, the average RT score for those movies? 94.4. Nice going, Elizabeth.)

Albert Einstein said "Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. THAT'S relativity." Feels like Elizabeth Taylor was here not even a minute.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Caution: Keep crust away from flame

Wow. Talk about learning something new every day. I can't wait to try this trick.

In my search for the simplest pie crust recipe to make with the fabulous E, I found a new secret to flaky, sublime, no-fail pie crusts. Vodka.

Ya, no kidding. Vodka is evidently all that stands between you and the perfect crust. This trick comes straight from Chris Kimball's epicurean mouth itself, and while Cook's Illustrated may not be the source for exciting or sexy new recipes, it is for sure the resource for perfected versions of your tried-but-not-yet-so-true cooking staples. You know, like pie crust.

According to the folks over at The Kitchn, "this baked dough (we had some scraps we baked and ate immediately) was the tenderest, flakiest crust we'd ever used in a pie. Delicious! (And no taste of alcohol, in case you were wondering.)"

That's enough to make me want to bake a pie right now. Or at least the crust. Besides, the way I see it, if the pie doesn't turn out, at least you can still get your guests drunk. And then no one will care about the pie.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

You've seen the commercial, now see the original

Gene and Donald...
They're sitting.
They're dancing.
They're sitting.
They're dancing.
They're sitting AND they're dancing.

(Yep, video here. Like dance? Can't see the video? Click here, it's worth it.)

And... if you haven't seen the commercial:

(Another video - only 30 sec. Check it.)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Q: what channel is Mike Tyson's TV show on?

A: Animal Planet.

I laughed so hard when I heard that, I fell off my couch. Because, really, what other channel would his show be on?

But it got me thinking... slightly tangentially, as per usual. I'm not a reality TV show fan, at all, but perhaps, if some of them were tweaked just a bit?

Announcing this season's all new Reality TV shows!

Survivor, starring Donald Trump, hosted by Donald Trump, and guest starring Donald Trump. Guess who's not getting voted off the island?

The Amazing Race
, with Sarah Palin. "It's not how far she gets... it's what happens along the way!" (With guest appearances by Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee).

The Biggest Loser
, hosted by Bill Maher and featuring Glenn Beck, Mel Gibson, Dr. Laura, John Galliano, Michael Vick and several surprise guests. "After years of being themselves, eight people begin a journey together to become people worth knowing."

Desperate Housewives
starring Mrs. Spitzer, Mrs. Clinton, Mrs. Ensign, Mrs. Letterman, Mrs. Gibson, Mrs. Sanford, and Mrs. Woods, hosted by Jesse James.

Maybe reality TV isn't so bad, after all.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Form + Function: The Light Dawns

The good news is that this seriously good-looking light bulb is actually an eco-friendly little fellow, using 80% less electricity to produce the same amount of light as a conventional bulb, and lasting 8 times as long.

The bad news is that it's currently (ha!) only available in the UK. But reports indicate that it's coming to the US... soonest.

In the meantime, congratulations to "plumen 001" for winning UK's Design of the Year award.