In February of this year, Google launched the YouTube Kids app, specially designed for “little thumbs” to get kids hooked on devices and videos as soon as they can hold an iPhone. They assured parents that the app was completely […]
The real competition at the Super Bowl is for the commercials, right? This Snickers ad is a hoot.
Which one are you looking forward to?
Phil Hall has a delightful collection of “before they were stars” television ads featuring Brad Pitt, Keanu Reeves, James Dean, Morgan Freeman, Matt LeBlanc, Steve Carell, and more. Here’s one I love that he left out, with pre-“Laverne and Shirley” […]
I love this ad! What an invigorating, empowering, life-affirming video. Thank you Sports England.
The world’s youngest citizens, the first babies of 2015, star in this new ad from Fisher-Price.
Bravo Target! An adorable 2-year-old from Minnesota named Izzy Bradley is featured in this ad for Target. She has Down Syndrome. Thanks very much to Target for understanding — and spreading the message — that all kinds of beauty are […]
This reminds me a little of the depiction of a child’s world in The Complete Calvin and Hobbes and Barnaby. Many thanks to Slate for this and the others on its list of the year’s best ads.
Remember when I explained how movie theater lobbyists created a loophole in the rules requiring places that serve food to let you know the calories and fat content of your purchases? I don’t think it’s likely to happen, but it’s […]
Always brought in Lauren Greenfield, is an award-winning American artist, and documentary photographer and filmmaker, to create their #likeagirl videos. What do we think of when we hear “throw like a girl,” “run like a girl,” or “fight like a girl?” […]
Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o and “Game of Thrones” star Gwendoline Christie have been added to the cast of the new “Star Wars” film. Very exciting news!
My friend Robert Elisberg always has a delightful selection of treats on his blog, almost always items I never see anywhere else. I loved his post about a new series of ads for Travel Wisconsin from the zany guys who made […]
I love this commercial for TNT!
Many thanks to Jezebel for highlighting these great new ads. Honey Grahams emphasize their wholesomeness with an ad that pays tribute to a range of happy, loving families. And Betabrand has women with PhDs modeling its line of “smart fashions.” This […]
Surprise guest appearances? Check! Funny? Check! Self-deprecating? Check! Making a key point about the brand? Check!! (And that’s the one most of these ads overlook.) Well played, Radio Shack. And looking good, 80’s icons!
The 90-year-old lovebirds Morty and Lee are adorable, but this new couple, the Rukavinas, is even more heartwarming. Zack Rukavina is from South Dakota. He lost part of his arm to cancer. If he looks familiar, you may have seen […]
Dreamworks is teaming up with Fuhu, the maker of tablets for children to create the first tablet in which the content provider controls what the user sees. In other words, it’s more like a television. While Amazon sensibly makes sure […]
Kevin Bacon’s adorable parody commercial has a lot of heart — and a great idea. You can support local businesses and your own favorite charities. Shift Your Shopping For Good involves hundreds of local, independent businesses, including dozens with […]
Hurray for Goldieblox for knowing that girls want to think and invent and problem solve and that they don’t always want everything to be pink and princessy! The company was created by Debbie Sterling, a female engineer from Stanford University. I […]
It is great to see girls and their families and teachers talking back to corporations who fail to understand their courage, strength, curiosity, and range of interests.
We’re used to measuring movie success by box office. But it’s intriguing to look at the data on social media. Before you click — which movie of 2013 so far do you think has had the most viral impact?
This one is a smile-through-tears of the week. Just lovely.
This beautiful animated film promoting Chipotle’s new game features Fiona Apple singing a haunting version of the “Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” song, “Pure Imagination.” So, a song that once paid tribute to a candy factory is now being used […]
Most beer commercials are about male bonding by watching sports or ogling pretty girls. But this Guinness ad is about real men and real friendships.
The tooth fairy is one of childhood’s most treasured myths, a lovely tribute to a bittersweet rite of passage that allows each family to crate their own traditions. (Our tooth fairy left a book.) There’s an awful movie with The […]
Trailers are so accessible these days that we sometimes overlook the power of a really great movie poster. I like this list of the greatest movie posters of all time because it is a great reminder of some iconic images and […]
“The Last Exorcism, Part 2″ looks pretty bad. It’s a “cold open” (not shown to critics in time for reviews), which is always a bad sign. But its recent amendment to add a reference to appear to tie the resignation […]
It may not sell any beer, but it was as touching as the farmer ad.
Families who want to enjoy the Super Bowl together might want to turn off the television during the ads. The commercials now get almost as much press as the game itself. But Common Sense Media reports that this year’s ads […]
For those who wait patiently for the football to be over so they can see the ads, there is Hulu, which has previews of the ads for Super Bowl XLV online already.
Cameron Russell admits she won “a genetic lottery”: she’s tall, pretty and an underwear model. But don’t judge her by her looks. In this fearless talk, she takes a wry look at the industry that had her looking highly seductive […]
Mitt Romney’s comment about cutting funding for PBS at the first Presidential debate has made Big Bird one of the most popular costumes for Halloween this year. But that’s not all good news. The Children’s Television Workshop, producers of “Sesame […]
Did you see those commercials for a product that would help you teach your baby to read? Well, I hope it does not come as too much of a surprise to find out that it was a fraud. The Federal […]
Percy 3D lets you “put yourself in the picture. And I spoke to founder and president Julie Steiner about what it is and how it does that. What is Percy 3D? We take either existing video or new video that […]
Illustration expert Leif Peng has a gorgeous blog post about Howard Terpning, the illustrator who created many iconic movie posters, from “Gone With the Wind” to “Doctor Zhivago,” “Cleopatra,” and “The Sound of Music.” Today movie posters almost always feature […]
The Federal Trade Commission has an excellent website to help kids be smarter consumers. It’s always a challenge to teach children to identify and challenge the bombardment of advertising messages they get every day. You Are Here’s West Terrace explains targeted […]
The Federal Trade Commission is proposing new rules to better protect kids online, closing loopholes that still permit companies to gather personal information about kids despite a 1998 law that was supposed to prevent it. According to the Wall Street […]
Thanks to my friend and fellow critic Cynthia Fuchs for leading me to this list of marketing tie-ins for “The Amazing Spider-Man.” It’s funny that the Pez dispenser was the first reveal of the movie’s villain. I am not surprised by […]
The New York Times reports that: The Walt Disney Company, in an effort to address concerns about entertainment’s role in childhood obesity, plans to announce on Tuesday that all products advertised on its child-focused television channels, radio stations and Web sites […]
It is not unusual for trailers to have slightly different takes than the final version of the movie or even to include moments that do not actually appear in the movie at all. Trailers are prepared before the movie is […]
Many thanks to my brother-in-law, Rob, a great dad, for sharing this tribute to moms.
Newsweek salutes the long-awaited return of “Mad Men” with a special issue this week, including examples of real and unabashedly sexist ads that ran in the magazine back in the 1960’s. These are what the real Mad Men of the […]
This really made me laugh.
Thanks to my friends at the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood for pointing me to this look at the different way Legos are marketed to boys and girls. I love the way the website lets you make your own mash-up. […]
Dr. Seuss wrote The Lorax in 1971, around the time of the first Earth Day and the creation (by Republican President Richard Nixon) of the Environmental Protection Agency. It is the story of the “Once-ler” who chanced upon a place filled […]
The most talked-about Super Bowl ad of the year has to be Matthew Broderick’s reprise of his most famous character, Ferris Bueller, in a Honda commercial. How many references to the movie can you spot?
The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood has released their annual list of the toys that most outrageously over-advertise to children. These are the products that clutter the channels most watched by children and the CCFC recommends parents not reward their […]
“All-American Muslim” is a TLC reality show about five Muslim families in Dearborn, Michigan. According to TLC, “Each episode offers an intimate look at the customs and celebrations, misconceptions and conflicts these families face outside and within their own community.” […]
Hank Stuever has an excellent piece in today’s Washington Post that addresses an issue that has really been bugging me. But first, he recommends a documentary premiering tonight on Oprah’s OWN station called “Becoming Santa.” It is the story of […]
The late Jim Henson, founder of The Muppets, made this adorable commercial as a part of the American Express “Do You Know Me?” series of ads from the early 1980’s.
I try to maintain a sense of humor about ads, but I really do not like the new series of commercials for Tide with people explaining how they get their clothes dirty. I know they are intended to be funny […]
USA Today has an important article on new technologies for marketing to kids. With the use of new, kid-enchanting technologies, are savvy marketers gaining the upper hand on parents? Are toy marketers such as Ganz, food marketers such as McDonald’s […]
I really like “How I Met Your Mother,” and am delighted that older episodes are running in syndication. But it is jarring to see that background shots have been updated to insert new advertising material. NPR’s Monkey See blog reports […]
Lady Gaga loves her fans and they love her. An ad for a browser brought tears to my eyes.
Do you want to appear in the trailer for “Bridesmaids?” Upload photos of you and your friends or celebrities from your computer or Facebook to make your own version of the “Bridesmaids” trailer and see what you’d look like getting […]
The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood reports that esteemed publisher Scholastic is sending out “teaching materials” to schools that amounts to a commercial for coal power. The coal industry, through the American Coal Foundation, has hired Scholastic to produce The […]
Renée Loth writes in the Boston Globe this weekend about Ralph Lauren’s new “book” for children — really a thinly disguised catalog. They’re calling it “The first ever shoppable children’s storybook.’’ “The RL Gang: A Magically Magnificent School Adventure’’ is […]
My friend and fellow critic Alan Zilberman has a great blog post on how trailers trick us. He uses examples like “Battle: Los Angeles” to illustrate the way that trailers “use clever obfuscation to make our imaginations work against us.” […]
I love this commercial! Thanks to my friend Sammie Young for sharing this with me.
Does anyone think it makes sense to have a commercial with a child telling you which SUV is cool? The only thing the Toyota Highlander ad makes me want to do is call child protective services to kidnap that kid […]
The FCC has issued a call for public comment on the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood’s petition that the upcoming Nicktoons children’s television show Zevo-3 violates the public interest. It is the first children’s show to feature commercial spokescharacters; the […]
The LA Times reports that back to school reports on a number of national and local newscasts have included commentary from “a young mother and ‘toy expert’ named Elizabeth Werner,” described as “perky and positive-plus” in her demonstration of seven […]
I love the idea of “offlining,” asking families to take a pledge of device-free time to focus on real-life communication. More than 10,000 people have signed their pledge to have at least 10 device-free dinners between now and Thanksgiving. I […]
I’m glad to see I am not the only one who is sorry to see Target use the classic “Free to Be You and Me” song in its ads. The song from The New Seekers is a special memory for […]
Elizabeth Gilbert’s journey to Italy, India, and Indonesia became a wildly popular book, endorsed by Oprah and beloved by book clubs. This week, the movie starring Julia Roberts opens in theaters, and fans will be able to see the story […]
The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood is asking McDonald’s to stop giving children Marvel comics toys that promote violent PG-13 movies. The fast food giant’s latest giveaway for preschool boys features eight Marvel comic action figures, including The Human Torch, […]
How do you advertise a scent on television? And how do you make a product that was around in your grandfather’s era and has no connection to a celebrity or fashion label seem cool? You do it with charm, wit, […]
It’s a shame that a movie about the enduring pleasures of imagination and re-purposing and recycling treasured toys is also one long infomercial for more than 300 new products specifically tied to “Toy Story 3.” Susan Linn of the Center […]
I loved the new Shrek Forever After movie. But I was very sorry to see that the lovable big green ogre is not just living happily ever after over in Far Far Away. He is all over the mall selling […]
The Federal Trade Commission has a terrific new online game for kids that will teach them to understand the difference between someone trying to tell them something and someone trying to sell them something. It’s called Admongo. The FTC’s message […]
The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood has announced its nominees for the TOADY award (Toys Oppressive And Destructive to Young Children). Anyone can vote to select the worst from candidates that include a Halo toy for children promoting a violent […]
I often hear complaints from movie-goers who think that the trailers run before the movies they bought tickets to see are inappropriate. This has become even more important now that the MPAA has made the rules about content in trailers […]
Good work from Common Sense Media, whose complaint led to Microsoft’s decision to pull an promotional video that seemed to endorse “sexting.” An ad for Microsoft’s new KIN smartphones showed a guy reaching the phone up inside his t-shirt to […]
TV.com has a quiz to see if you can identify celebrity voices in commercials. And if you have not taken the one I posted earlier from Slate, give that a try, too. Whose voice is that? Â» Quiz Question Maker
So, what did you think of the Super Bowl ads? Missed any? Want to watch them again? Check out Hulu’s AdZone where you can vote thumbs up or down on any of today’s ads. I liked this one. Here’s a […]
On February 7, the Saints will take on the Colts in Super Bowl XLIV. And the ads are as high-profile as the game. Companies and groups must pay CBS more than $2 million in addition to the cost of producing […]
Slate has a great collection of ads with celebrity voiceovers. How many can you identify?
Ellen Besen has written a worthwhile article about how to use the avalanche of holiday season advertising to give children some important lessons in media literacy and critical thinking. Many thanks to Ms. Besen for permission to reprint it here. […]
Following my phone meeting with Joan Graves and Marilyn Gordon of the MPAA and the FTC’s report (citing my article) criticizing the motion picture industry, the MPAA has informed me that it will be making some changes to its rules […]
Is anyone as bothered by the Target Christmas commercials as I am? They have a series of commercials reflecting tighter economic times by emphasizing their low prices. Great, I’m on board with that. But these commercials would be sour and […]
I thought there was nothing that the awful movie “Couples Retreat” could do to be more offensive. I was wrong. According to the Huffington Post, the blockbuster comedy has eliminated one of its four couples in its non-US posters. It […]
Forrest J. Ackerman is credited with coining the term “sci-fi” at UCLA in 1954. It is the perfect way to describe the wide range of astonishing, imaginative, mind-expanding works of fiction that are grounded in some element of science, often […]
From the Parents Television Council: The Parents Television Council condemned Burger King, Carl’s Jr., and Hardee’s for a rash of new advertisements that are taking sexual innuendo to the next level. PTC slammed the companies for their gross irresponsibility and […]
My friend Liz Perle has a wonderful piece at Common Sense Media about the latest efforts to market PG-13 movies to young children. The first Transformers movie, which was rated PG-13 but lent its brand to Happy Meal toys aimed […]
What kind of lunatic would try to improve on Jessica Alba? Apparently the folks at Campari felt that the beautifully curvy star was just a little too curvy and they retouched her photo to make her look slimmer. It is […]
A teacher whose budget would no longer cover the expense of printing out his math tests has resorted to selling ad space on calculus quizzes and exams. Rancho Bernardo teacher Tom Farber says that his budget for print-outs is $300 […]
NPR has a great series about political firsts, including the first woman candidate for President (Victoria Woodhull, who ran in 1872, 48 years before women got the vote) and the impact of television on political campaigns in 1952, when Adlai […]