If you are a fan of the popular NBC show, The Office you may have noticed on last Thursday’s episode the return of, the “star”, Ed Helms. Some people may have missed his character and some might have thought his sabbatical wasn’t long enough. I objectively ask the question, why did he leave in the first place? Each characters’ role in The Office has had ebbs and flows, but the boss has always been the one consistent star of the series.
Steve Carell decided to take his talents elsewhere two seasons ago, and to be fair, it would be hard for any series to recover from losing that type of star power. However, The Office has been in a complete tailspin since his departure.
The baffling decisions of the shows’ creators go back to when Carell’s character first left the show. (Was it was the terrible decisions that forced him to walk?) They had a 3 episode arc consisting of interviews for Michael Scott’s successor. This is where we saw heavy-hitters such as Jim Carrey, Will Farrell, Will Arnett, Ray Romano, an others. In Season 8, they ultimately decided to go with an existing character, Andy Bernard (Ed Helms). Questionable decision? Maybe, but the creators had an entire off-season to make sure this was the right way to go. Once Episode 1 premiered, there should have been full commitment to this decision. Without commitment and a plan, the writers left themselves open to be swayed by public judgement.
After a rocky start with Helms at the helm and less than desirable ratings, The Office decided to travel to Florida and follow the shows other biggest stars Jim and Dwight on a business trip. This was a clever way to go back to the drawing board on how to fix Andy Bernard. After a month-long brainstorming session-The Solution: Send Andy to Florida. More Jim and Dwight! Upon Andy’s return, was his immediate termination. To change bosses after not even a full season shows instability and inability to adapt to Carell’s departure. But again, if the writers fully committed to this change it may have salvaged the season. Instead of sticking with their original choice, that the show needed less Andy, they decided it would be easier to bring him back, totally throwing internal logic out the window. For those who haven’t seen the show, Dunder Mifflin, the company mockumented in The Office, is bought by their ex-CEO and recent-millionaire thanks to his “toy-sucking vacuum” being bought by the military. The Office was beloved for how authentically it depicted an American workplace (With exaggerated hijinks of course). This stunt, threw any credibility that remained on plane to wherever Michael Scott flew to. It turns out that this millionaire, David Wallace, was a friend of Andy’s (Really? When?) and hires him back. It turns out, millionaires love buying companies producing near-obsolete goods.
The madness didn’t stop there. For Season 9,the series’ creators were a lot more impatient. I don’t know if it was predetermined that the show would end here but it sure seems like they are throwing in the white flag.
If you watch previews for The Office, it seems as if the show is trying to go out with a bang with such story lines as Jim and Darrell getting new jobs at a sports marketing agency, new young characters that possibly lay the groundwork for a spinoff, and most notably the featuring of the tech crew that has “filmed” the mockumentary for 9 years. Due to lack of direction or passion, it feels more like a whimper. This season is filled with recycled romantic story lines and no real progression towards closure.
Back to the character of Andy. No season of The Office with Andy as the boss would be complete without an unrealistic departure, and most likely a return. This season Andy has barely even been present when early on we learn his parents go bankrupt and his brother (Josh Groban) is an alcoholic. The only way for Andy to clear his mind and save his family is to leave on a 3 month boat trip. Tonight, we will see what the repercussions of such a leave of absence will have on his job. It will most certainly result in his firing, because how else would they keep him from being in the sitcom. But don’t worry because I am predicting a far-fetched plot twist that brings him back into the fold right before the series says goodbye forever.
The Office is in its final season. I can’t say I am stunned the show is such a boring mess. Typically, after 2 or 3 seasons a show is never as funny or good and after a 5th or 6th six season a show is dead. Many programs proactively end their series after 5 or 6 seasons to avoid this fact (Why do networks resist HBO and FX so much?). Maybe we should cut the writers some slack for The Office’s twilight years, but I hold it to a higher standard because of how revolutionary it was and how universally liked it was at one time.
With half a season left, who knows what ridiculous turns The Office will take. Regardless, I cannot possibly see it redeeming itself in the next 12 episodes. Especially, if an entire crew of writers repeatedly fail to create funny and compelling story lines with a boss not named Steve Carell. If anything, the show can still survive as a comfortable lead-in to the still-funny Parks and Recreation or a good example of how not to wrap up series for current and future “Must-see Thursday” sitcoms.
Whatever comes of this season or Ed Helms’ character I will still watch The Office begrudgingly and angrily commentate because after nine years its too late to pull out now.
That’s what she he said?…Damn, thought I was setting up for a good one. Oh well, watch this:
Apple and Samsung have been appearing in the news a lot recently. One is said to be falling from grace, while the other is being anointed as the next big thing. There are a million and one articles on the Internet explaining which company has the better smartphone (and brighter future). Bloggers have used any combination of stock price, market share, or product features to fortify their argument. While all those factors can be interpreted differently depending on who you read, I wish there was one thing everyone could agree on, that Apple and Samsung both have awful commercials. Usually, when two companies have as intense a product battle as these two electronics makers, the consumer benefits. Higher competition nurtures innovation, and it does not only apply to products. The advertising strategies must constantly change and improve too. We can see this currently going on with auto insurance commercials. Ever since Geico started pouring massive amounts of money into their advertising budget and introducing character after character, other companies have had to follow suit to stay relevant in our minds. All of these companies feed off each other and copy themes until they are beaten dead, and then they improve things slightly to gain back our attention. Despite the fact that many of these car insurance ads annoy us, ultimately, we are benefiting by the additional hours a creative department puts in to create captivating commercials. WIth Apple and Samsung ads, I see ideas moving in opposite directions. Apple is confident and proper, Samsung makes insults. Samsung shows everyday, real life, Apple has an omniscient voice in a white room. Neither seems to adapt their strategy based off how people receive that of their competitors. For such sophisticated products, I expect smarter advertisements. Maybe in today’s age of more informed consumers, commercials don’t need to educate they just need to entertain, but personally I think that these two smartphone makers are doing neither with their current ad campaigns.
Let’s take a look back at the all the major commercials each company has bombarded our televisions with and find what they are doing wrong and what they could do to make people less likely to hit the fast-forward button on their DVR. This recap and review will touch on every major commercial, dating back to Thanksgiving 2011. That’s when Samsung dropped the Oh Snap! Heard ’round the World ad (below) and threw their hat in the ring for smartphone supremacy.
*Full Disclosure: I have an iPhone. I generally choose Apple products for two reasons, they’re simple and they last.
First up, the pompous new kid in town, Samsung.
It was refreshing to see a company take on Apple, however I still didn’t take Samsung seriously after viewing this commercial. I personally did not see what they were going for here. Are they trying to say they don’t want hipsters for customers and are strictly going for consumers that have yet to buy an iPhone? Because that’s a large demographic to give up on selling to. Or are they saying, “Come to Samsung, we don’t have a line!” After the second time I watched it I was already sick of it, and I thought everyone shared my feelings. Apparently not. It seems there is a lot of people who don’t appreciate Apple’s dominance of the phone market, and were happy to see it mocked. I thought these rebels gave up their resistance efforts after the slide-out keyboard on their Droid broke a couple of years prior. All in all, good job Samsung just don’t get too cocky now.
After coming out with a bang, Samsung stayed quiet on the commercial front and let its Galaxy S2 do the talking and got to work on the S3, along with a new batch of suck-it Apple ads. The most notable commercial I can think of from this period was the one for the Samsung Note, that re-introduced the stylus. So wait, Samsung went after hipsters–a group notorious for their insistence on bringing back fads from the ’90s, and then told America to start using the plastic pen that came with a Palm Pilot?
The iPhone Waiting Line
Samsung’s next biggest commercial came just in time to squash all the excitement of iPhone 5 arrival. This one takes place right where their last one left off: On a long line with a bunch of bearded white men, while the enlightened few stroll by using their superior phone. Instead of an Asian guy showing off his Galaxy, they went with a black guy this time–Is Samsung giving up the white vote?
I absolutely hate this commercial. Its arrogant and unbearably long! In this instant gratification culture, a minute and a half long commercial is an eternity. This commercial sure is loaded. Where as the last one spent most of the time knocking the iPhone fans, this also made sure to stress the Galaxy S3′s most important feature, tap-to-share. For a second you almost ask yourself, how did I send things to friends before this? Samsung even saved some time for a zinger. In a Sixth Sense-caliber twist, it turns out that one of the supposed hipsters wasn’t actually waiting on line but really saving a spot for his parents. Parents! Get it? They’re old and out of touch, like Apple!
The Work Trip [Link]
In Samsung’s quest to overthrow Apple they decided to go with the funny innuendo instead of their opponents confident, authoritative style. In their next shorter– and therefore more tolerable–ad, a man is seen getting in a cab en route to a business destination (White males with beards are Samsung costumers now too apparently). His two cute children have made him a farewell video and transferred it to his phone with the newest tap-to-share feature. This is where the ad would end if Apple made it (albeit there would be a white backdrop). But Samsung is the cool uncle, so forget kids, people need to be reminded that video cameras may also be used to capture nudity. Well his wife must have made him a doozy because she commands him “You probably shouldn’t watch that on the plane.” She would be devastated if some random passengers saw her in such a compromising position. However, the thought of her kids stumbling upon a traumatizing display of their mother (because you know, it was stored on the same device as their vid) doesn’t seem to cross her mind. This commercial provides a cheap laugh, nothing more. As a consumer, I’m really not to intrigued by a phone’s ability transfer data to other models through touching battery cases like some Avatar-esque acceptance ritual. What else does you phone do, Samsung, that makes it the next big thing? Other than the fact that it’s literally big.
Santa Clause Work Trip [Link]
Holiday editions of things are always enjoyable, Right? Appealing to a younger demographic with suggestive ads is one thing, but can we leave Santa out of it. Someone in the Samsung creative department must really be a fan of amateur porn. Who buys cellphones around the holidays? Parents. So let’s try to make an ad that doesn’t put terrifying thoughts in a father’s head about what his 17 year-old daughter might use the S3 for.
Lebron James is a Samsung Guy. Who Knew? [Link]
This ad spot was definitely the best. It had that home-style feel and people always love when athletes are humanized. Here’s the recurring problem though, it’s too long! It’s a phone, not an awareness campaign for hunger in Africa. If Samsung was to air one of these spots during this years Super Bowl, it would cost them $12 million per!
Samsung shouldn’t overstep their bounds, they can say they make a better phone but their business model has been historically based off innovating from existing technology. So as much as you may hate Apple, you need them. Basically, don’t write a check, your R&D department can’t cash.There are legitimate concerns about Apple future and besides the plunging stock price, I think Samsung’s hard-hitting ads definitely played a role in taking away some market share. If they want sustained success though, there ads have to show a solid dedication to greatness. When you take away the sex jokes, and the celebrity guest stars, is whats left a product people can trust?
Remember when a winning ad was as simple as a dancing silhouette…
The Introduction of Siri/The Road Trip [Link]
If you liked Wall-e, you’ll be moderately amused by this friendly digital companion. I took an exception to how Samsung continually harped on one single feature so Apple cannot be spared either. Siri sounds pretty groundbreaking but it is still in a very limited stage. Right now, it’s more of a gimmick than anything. But if Apple created a whole new model (4S) driven by Siri, I shouldn’t be surprised their line of commercials did the same.
Zooey Deschanel and Samuel Jackson w/ Siri
In case you didn’t realize, there’s a torrid love affair between Apple and Hollywood. Apples other big seller, the MacBook doesn’t even need commercials thanks to all the product placement. Like most things Zooey Deschanel stars in, this commercial annoys me. Sam Jackson’s date night is more enjoyable, although I cannot picture him preparing his own meals. It’d be more realistic if he yelled “I need to get this mother fucking gazbacho! In this mother fucking ice!”
Santa Clause w/ Siri [Link]
Much more wholesome than Samsung’s holiday commercial. It’s a little cheesy, can we see practical uses of this voice command feature….
Martin Scorsese w/ Siri [Link] We get it!
Man Apple is riding Siri like ESPN rode Tebow. The more Apple pushes it, the more let down customers are going to feel when thy realize Siri is a glorified speech-to-text search bar.
Cheeeeeeeeeessse [Link] Despite popular belief, people don’t care about a cellphone camera’s higher functions. It’s basically only needed for pictures of food, group shots at a bar, and the occasional funny road sign. Real photographers, get real cameras. That’s why I don’t know why apple and Samsung spend so much time pushing gimmick features. At least it’s short (you can tell I appreciate brevity). Kids always win the hearts of audiences, so while most may agree this is a good commercial I think this panoramic feature would be best left as an App. Then u could save some money on ad production and advertise it on a Words with Friends pop-up.
This is the point when I started thinking Apple was intentionally trying not to recognize Samsung as a legitimate competitor. Why change your advertising style when you’ve been the top dog for so long. It makes sense but you might actually need to start convincing people your entire phone is better not just taking that for a given, and assigning one commercial per feature.
The first thought I had when viewing this commercial was, wait don’t all phones have a silent button? (a close second thought was, whatever happened to Venus?) If I didn’t already own an iPhone 5, I don’t think these ads would persuade me. The features being pushed are so…ordinary. It reminds me of grade school when they’d show videos trying to jazz up bus safety. It’s hard to picture that this is actually someone’s dream. It starts in a room with just you and the Williams’ sisters– Okay I think we’ve had this one after a long day in the gym and a little too much Gatorade. Then you are beating them in Ping Pong… This is as far your imagination takes you? Maybe you need watch more videos with the slut from the Samsung commercial…
Get in the game Apple! You are taking Samsung as seriously as Obama took Romney in the first debate.Just because your advertising style has worked for years doesn’t mean it’s not time for a change. Try taking jabs at competitors if you think your phone is superior. Your suing Samsung right? Why don’t you tell the good people at home why you’re doing that. Apple’s pacifism is forcing fanboys to make their own ads fighting Samsung back. I also think Siri needs some down time, don’t talk about it until it truly does something revolutionary.
I’m interested to see how each company will approach 2013 with their ads. Will Apple go on the offensive and start taking shots at Samsung in the commercials? Will Samsung create another new product worthy of the tag “The next big thing”? Maybe both, maybe neither and instead, both companies will adopt a new ironic mascot that’s always doing something wonderfully random. I hear people are not sick of that at all…
P.S. I wish Microsoft became a legitimate contender in the smartphone war, because I would love to tear more ads like this apart.
It’s hard to believe, but it has been 13 years since we first saw Jared Fogle stretch out a comically big pair of jeans on national television. It was an encouraging story of a man who desperately needed to lose weight but didn’t have the confidence to enter a gym and was too savvy to be swept up by any “fad diet”. He sold America on the idea that just by simply walking several miles each day to visit Subway for lunch and dinner, you could lose weight and not sacrifice enjoying your favorite fast food sandwiches (except you did have to adhere to a six inch sub limit, one meat, and no cheese or dressing for this miracle diet to work). This regimen also gave you the added bonus of barely being around to watch your children grow up, what with all that meal commute time!
“Back in college, they used to call me ‘Double Meat’”
Jared was a staple on the airways for years. Not only was he the official Subway Spokesman, he was usually the star of every commercial. Occasionally, Subway would profile other patrons who lost tons of weight in their commercials, just to add credibility to their walk-endlessly-for-sandwich-scraps diet, but they always turned back to their golden boy Jared.
In 2007, was the first time he had to take a backseat to a new advertising strategy when Subway introduced their line of “$5 Foot-longs”. Apparently the concept of shoving 12-inches of meatball marinara down you gullet for a very affordable rate conflicts with the message of a man who got skinny from only eating three slices of turkey on half of a whole wheat roll. Subway rode the $5 meat wagon until it was no longer financially feasible.*
*Its still around in very limited capacity. I personally think it should be eliminated completely, because who really needs a BLT constructed for them, and the Cold Cut Combo, oh my! Have you ever seen the meat medley they throw on that thing? Its supposed to be ham, salami and bologna yet they are all the same gross peach hue. The tagline should be: Subway: Eat Flesh?)
Subway’s following, and most current, line of commercials are centered around the nations top athletes. The tagline, “Official Training Restaurant of Athletes Everywhere” can be heard at some point during every television program. you have probably all seen them by now. In a few of these ads, if you watch closely after all the athletes vouch for how fresh and nutritious Subway is, you can see our old friend Jared pop up to say howdy!
That’s what brings me to the question today: What is he still doing in those commercials? It was one thing when Americans first saw the before and after pictures of Jared, it was inspiring. Now that he is shown after a series of young athletes at the peak of their top physical shape, his body suddenly doesn’t seem so enviable. Come to think of it, he is one of the most out of shape spokesman for any product I’ve seen, much less for a place pushing being healthy. John Goodman for Dunkin’ Donuts comes to mind but at least they had the good sense to only have him do voice overs. Watching an obese John Goodman tell you to buy a 50 pack of munchkins might make you cut up some apple slices for your son’s soccer game instead…
Yeah Jared it’s cool that you walked to get in shape, but RGIII sprints with a freakin’ parachute strapped to his back.
You don’t use a car, well Blake Griffin dunks over them…
Do I think these world class athletes actually use Subway heroes to their benefit while training? No. But the point is, that’s the image Subway is trying for and it seems like Jared’s simpleton persona just doesn’t fit in the new mold.
Perhaps someday Subway advertisements will highlight the real and most justifiable reason you should go to their restaurants: Because there isn’t a gourmet deli near where you live or work. But in the meantime I think it’s time to send Jared packing. Don’t be hindered by sentimental reasons Subway. He had a good run spanning over a decade, and he’ll still always have that lifetime free sandwich card you gave him–I just wonder if it can be traded in for one quadruple-bypass surgery somewhere down the line?
“Wait! Go back” It is the quick plea blurted out when something enticing flashes across the screen as a friend or loved one continues surfing on. It’s also what your brain shouts to your hand while viewing something alone. At that moment you realize there is something fascinating or unusual that deserves a further look.
The need to say ”Wait! go back” is becoming a more frequent occurrence in today’s society because we are exposed to advertisements, television programming, and many other types of media that are thriving on absurd moments. I for one want to embrace the madness, and analyze just how ridiculous some things are.
A pastime for many Americans is criticizing and joking about what they’re watching with whomever may be around. If something seems especially noteworthy, people take to the social networks to air their opinion. But what if something you watch or read is so ridiculous or so consistently wrong it cannot be fully appreciated in 140 characters? That’s where this blog comes in. I want to breakdown bad commercials, nonsensical advertising campaigns, shows and movies with severely deficient plots,–anything that just makes me shout ‘Why!?’
Shows like The Soup find hidden gems in reality shows and newscasts, and Twitter helps people indulge in the jaw dropping moments of nationally viewed events. I want to shed light on things that subtly offend everyone’s intelligence and are on so often they are practically slapping you in the face.
I recently graduated with a degree in marketing, and I have a sincere appreciation for advertising, so I plan to focus most of my attention on commercials and ads. But my ranting will include, and is not limited to, anything I catch while watching TV or browsing the Internet. I’ll try and steer away from reality shows because they are inherently ridiculous and there is no need to beat a dead horse. Plus you choose to watch those, accepting the risk that your mind might actually turn to goo after being fed too many hours of semi-scripted foibles. I’d rather save my energy for the commercials that we don’t choose to watch, but rather passively view and enjoy. I hope I am not the only one who thinks ”it’s funny cause its random”-ads have worn out their welcome. I’m talking to you, insurance companies and Old Spice!
So in a nutshell that’s Wait! Go Back. To save time we can call it WGB, just please don’t confuse it with GBC (Good Christian Bitches)–and yes, that show was cancelled.
Thanks for reading and enjoy! For more quick hits of media observation or if you want to contact me, follow me @waitgoback