Current television advertising contains soldiers, elephants, autos, mirrors, and balls. According to marketing guy Scott G, some of the campaigns are quite good while others are puzzling, inane, harebrained, obtuse, weird, and a wild waste of money.

I watch TV for the commercials. There. I’ve admitted it. Of course there are some programs that intrigue me, like “Studio 60,” “The Simpsons,” and the smart news (A.K.A. “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”.) But being in communications, I use TiVo to see the commercials. And here are some of the ones I’ve been watching.

Alphabet Soup
Texas Instruments is attempting to convince consumers to ask for something called DLP Technology when buying a high definition television screen. So they have come up with a campaign that cleverly explains what dee-el-pea is all about, right? Nope. Instead, they have a little girl and an elephant. Cute kid, but why is she in the commercials? She talks about “the meers.” She means “mirrors,” but that isn’t explained, either. Rating: Silly and a waste of money.

An Army of Strong
After the ridiculous campaign of “An Army of One,” almost anything would look good, and with “Army: Strong,” this comes out of the box looking like a winner. True, the campaign TV spots offer standard imagery of soldiers in training (but not at war) and the music is horribly clichéd, but the editing is excellent and the copywriting is brilliant, especially in the sixty-second version. After hearing my father’s stories about being in the Army, I can tell you that I won’t be volunteering, but so far this campaign makes me feel good about the organization. Rating: Solid start and a great foundation for a long campaign.

Epson Steals Sony’s “Balls”
Man, I have been dying to write a like that for a long time. Okay, here’s the situation. Last year, Sony unveiled a beautiful production called “Balls” for their Bravia flat-screen. Or for their new TV screen technology. Or whatever the hell it was for (that was a big part of the complaints about the campaign). It was a rip-off of a David Letterman sketch about sending tons of balls bouncing down the street. Now, Epson printers have animated the balls to show how globules of color come together to make printouts of girls in bikinis appear vibrant and attractive. Rating: So-so execution of a potentially good idea.

Listen to the Aura
To introduce the Saturn Aura, an intelligent-sized sedan, the TV spot has fine production values and strong direction. The images are well photographed yet fairly mundane, but the spot has a nice pace to the editing. It also features something I always admire: great music. Some marketing folks have knocked the tag line (“Like always. Like never before.”) but it seems fine for a company that has always maintained its independence despite being part of the humongous soul-sucking General Motors corporation. Rating: Best of the bunch for one primary reason: it made me want to go check out the product.

[tags]G-Man, Scott G, Communication Nation, advertising, marketing, ad rants, TV spots[/tags]