Summer thoughts from here and there

A child of a cousin of mine once, while under driving age and therefore without a driving licence, took his father's car from the driveway one night in an upscale suburb of Toronto.
He then proceeded to drive it into someone else's driveway so fast he hit a parked car so hard it rammed into a minivan parked between it and the garage door, so hard that the minivan blasted through the garage door and hit the vintage Cadillac lovingly stored inside. Almost a decade later, the litigation with the insurance companies is still in progress.

A child of a cousin of mine once, while under driving age and therefore without a driving licence, took his father’s car from the driveway one night in an upscale suburb of Toronto.

He then proceeded to drive it into someone else’s driveway so fast he hit a parked car so hard it rammed into a minivan parked between it and the garage door, so hard that the minivan blasted through the garage door and hit the vintage Cadillac lovingly stored inside. Almost a decade later, the litigation with the insurance companies is still in progress.

I recalled this incident upon seeing a new Metropolitan Life TV spot. A woman is sewing together a gigantic red ribbon, which she finally arrays across the hood of a car (I think it’s a Porsche Boxster) in her garage. It’s a surprise gift for her husband. Cut to husband arriving home, hitting the automatic garage door button and driving in just like he always does, and demolishing the Porsche. Seems Met would cover this kind of disaster, no questions asked. In fact, Snoopy, dancing wildly across the screen, appears un-rattled, nay elated about all this. Clearly, my cousin chose the wrong insurance company.

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I strive to imagine the exchange of ideas which triggered the positioning thinking behind the Labatt’s 50 billboards now up.

Client: How are you coming along with finding a position for our Labatt 50 re-launch?

Agency: Damn, you know what? The last available position for beer was snapped up just last week by Brava Cerveza, the pseudo-Mexican beer made in Canada. It’s now beer for people who love ‘moon’ meaning the female buttocks revealed when thong bikinis are worn. There are simply no more beer positions left.

Client: Well I’m not one of you CREATIVE GUYS, BUT I was thinking about the relationship between a cold beer and a beer coaster – what if the beer coaster got a HARD-ON in anticipation of having a certain brand of beer sit on it…

Agency: Great idea, but it’s taken…there’s a beer now that makes beer coasters ‘horny,’ and that’s a little too close.

Client: It’s all so sliced-and-diced brand image-wise out there with beer now. Used to be when Labatt 50 was the beer big-breasted girls in short shorts and their guys got together to drink when they’d finished painting somebody’s boat!

Agency: Hey, maybe that’s it! Maybe Labatt 50 is for guys who don’t want to be labelled as boat-painters or butt-lovers! Maybe Labatt 50 is for guys who (are you ready for this?) DON’T WANT TO BE LABELLED!

Client: It’s uncanny, but if I recall correctly, WE’RE NOT EVEN PUTTING a paper label on the new 50 bottle! WE’RE NOT LABELLING IT!!!

Agency: You NAILED it! ‘Cause you know, in every focus group we do, there are guys who RESENT being labelled by beer brands. I think those guys are going to be VERY TURNED ON by the opportunity to sit in a bar and be CLEARLY labelled as the kind of guy who won’t be labelled by his choice of beer!

Client: Label yourself as the kind of guy who won’t be labelled by beer by drinking the beer with no label only a painted-on thingy. Cool. But hey, that’s why you creative guys pull down the big bucks!

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Barry Base creates advertising campaigns for a living. He creates this column for fun, and to test the unproven theory that clients who find the latter amusing may also find the former to their liking. Barry can be reached at (416) 924-5533, or faxed at (416) 960-5255, at the Toronto office of Barry Base & Partners.