Friday, May 28, 2010

Social Networking (now with s'mores!)

Coleman camping supplies is running a very charming series of ads where they declare themselves to be the "original social networking site."  It's a refreshing look at how people come together in the real world, augmented in the digital world by the company's presence on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Having lived abroad for quite some time, I'm immensely grateful for the ability of online social networking sites to keep me connected with my friends back home.  That being said, I think that using these sites from time to time for inviting friends to a live-action get-together is a fantastic idea.  So, keep an eye out my lovelies.  I see a Facebook invite in your future.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Your Nerd Friends...

For more hilarity, check out Brevity at

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Unlikely Celebrity Endorsements

Advertising often utilizes the celebrity voice to push products, and for good reason.  These are easily recognizable figures who are larger than life.  People who could eat anywhere in the world, but they choose McDonald's.  People who could wear anything, but they choose to shop at Brooks Brothers.

Sometimes these endorsements make sense (like getting the cast of "Mad Men" to hock the new suit line of the same name), but lately I've noticed more and more celebrity ads that just don't seem to make any sense.  They're not wrong, per se, just a bit non sequitur.  I think lean economic times are affecting Hollywood too.

I'm sure by now you've seen this series of ads with Luke Wilson, the content of which I'm not even going to begin to debate here (the whole Verizon vs. AT&T thing just makes my blood boil).  I've been searching the depths of my brain trying to figure out what Luke Wilson has to do with cell phones, and I keep coming up empty.  I guess he's sort of awkwardly personable, but there's no real connection other than his celebrity status.

When you think of Wyclef Jean, what comes to mind?  His music?  His roots?  His commitment to charity work?  Nope.  Flaky, buttery crackers and a marching band.  While I understand that there is a vague musical connection to the commercial, I don't see the connection to the product.

This last one is particularly perplexing to me.  Throughout the run of Sex and the City, the only thing that was more constant than the girls' brunch dates was SJP's use of Mac computers.  From the very start, Carrie typed up her snappy relationship quips from behind an Apple.  Whenever Mac came out with a new model, Carrie started using it.  So, when I saw Sarah Jessica Parker in a computer commercial, I instantly assumed it was for the iPad.  When the HP logo came up at the end, I was flabergasted.  Also, I was still thinking about the iPad.  Not exactly the greatest brand development.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Diet Diaries: #4 (Strawberry Pretzel Pie)

If you haven't noticed already, my main diet obsession has become finding ways to eat dessert without feeling guilty.  I don't eat it all that often, but when I meet up with Ryan and Laura for Survivor night we have a cooking system.  Laura makes a fabulous dinner and I make a fabulous dessert.  It's a good system, made even better by the fact that we are both happy to taste each other's experimental creations.  Lately, my experiments have all been in the realm of healthy sweets.  For the most part these creations have turned out well, with the exception of a soy-cappuccino "custard" that came out more like coffee jello.  They were thankfully forgiving and we all had a good laugh.

To make up for the custard disaster, this past Thursday I spent all day whipping up a culinary masterpiece.  In all fairness, the recipe doesn't actually take all day, but my close friends know all too well that I am the slowest chef on the planet.  This is mostly due to my inability to multi-task in the kitchen, not because I lack the ability to multi-task, but more because I am a hopeless clutz who is terrified of injuring herself (again).  But that's a story for another day.

I found a recipe on Recipezaar (my favorite cooking community) for something called "Makeover Strawberry Pretzel Dessert."  After reading over the ingredients I knew not only that it would be delicious, but also that I could probably trim it down even more.  I swapped out all the sugar for Splenda, including the frozen sweetened strawberries.  I just bought unsweetened ones and tossed them with a little extra Splenda after they thawed.  The end result, I'm pleased to say, looked exactly like the photo in the recipe and was phenomenal.

Full credit to Audrey M for the recipe, but here is my slightly altered version:


For crust:

2 cups crushed pretzels (I used Utz's extra thin)
3/4 cup light margarine, melted
3 Tb Splenda

For filling:

8 oz fat-free cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup Splenda
8 oz Cool Whip Free, thawed

For topping:

20 oz unsweeted canned crushed pineapple
2 small boxes sugar-free strawberry Jello
20 oz unsweetened frozen sliced strawberries, thawed
pinch of Splenda

You can follow Audrey's recipe instructions exactly, just swapping in my ingredient list, and it comes out slimmer and just as tasty!  Full instructions can be found here:

Sunday, May 16, 2010

You're standing on my neck

What have I been doing since Tuesday afternoon?  This:

Huzzah!  Not to sound like a super nerd, but I've been waiting for this for years.  All five seasons, the two movies, and a slew of bonus features.

The only thing missing is most of the original music clips used in the show, which is a major bummer, but I understand why they did it.  They had to let it go because of copyright issues; in fact, trying to include all of the music was the main reason the release of the series has been delayed for so many years.  While it would have been a nostalgic romp through 90's radio hits, I would much rather have the series sans music than no series at all.

La la la la la....La la la la la...

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Advertising Twilight Zone

Now in month 10 of unemployment, I have taken up a new pastime: commercial heckling.  I often find myself screaming at television ads, or more specifically, screaming at the creative teams behind the ads.  "What the hell were you thinking?" is the most common jeer, but in a close second is the ever-popular, "I could do better than these jerks!"

 While I stand behind my criticism (and the firm belief that I could write circles around plenty of the mysteriously employed copywriters out there), there is a special segment of the commercial population that exists in a realm beyond my imaginative abilities.  It is what I like to call the Advertising Twilight Zone.  I can see the brand identity in these ads, but I can't even begin to explain how these ideas came to be.  I'm not even sure I understand them, but they are mesmerizing nonetheless.

The nemesis of new Cheetos Mighty Zingers?  REO Speedwagon.  Naturally.  Who hasn't sat up late into the night pondering this universal truth?

Ohhhhhhh, so that's what Old Spice Odor Blocker does.  I thought it was science or something, but obviously I was wrong.  Good thing that's all cleared up.

I can't decide if this is stupid or brilliant.  I'm leaning towards brilliant, but only because I wish I had been in the meeting where that space cadet copywriter suggested "unnoticed shark attack" as an option for selling Nicorette.  Either that, or I wish my brain worked in such a way where I would think to suggest it myself.  I hope it's the former.
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