Monthly Archives: October 2008

ThinkCash Halloween Video

Every quarter at ThinkCash we have a company “town hall” meeting. It’s a chance for senior management to discuss performance, future goals, the industry, etc. with all employees. It is also a chance for us to recognize outstanding performers and celebrate some of our successes. A few town halls ago I produced an opening, funny (or try to be funny) video to help break the ice. It went over really well and the video has become a bigger production with each iteration. The last one was a tribute to the 80s. This time the theme was easy. Town Hall is today, on Halloween, so a horror movie theme made sense.

Kevin and I worked on the script and then I directed and produced the video. This was the first time I actually put myself in one of our videos (no Oscar for me). The video is kind of a mash-up of The Office, Scary Movie and CollegeHumor.com’s Phantom of the Office.

Enjoy and Happy Halloween.

ThinkCash Marketing Team – Halloween Homage to The Karate Kid

Karate Kid Fight Scene - "Sweep the leg"

Karate Kid Fight Scene - So the marketing team at ThinkCash decided to go with a "Karate Kid" theme for Halloween. I think we nailed it. Big props to Michelle for an excellent Mr. Myagi.The fight scene

Cobra Kai

Cobra Kai

Training with Mr. Myagi

Training with Mr. Myagi

Whassup with the election?

Last week I posted about an ad campaign that I like. One of the most memorable campaigns from the last 10 years was Bud’s “Whassup?” guys. The commercials were based on a short film, entitled “True”, written and directed by Charles Stone III, that featured Stone and several of his childhood friends – Fred Thomas, Paul Williams, Terry Williams, and Kevin Lofton.

The guys “got the band back together” recently for one more video (see above). The “characters” are back to show what their lives are like now (8 years later) post-G.W. Bush. Without giving away the ending – the video basically calls for political change by voting for Obama.

Obama has managed to inspire people unlike any political candidate I’ve seen in a while. However, I worry a little bit that people think that a new President will be the solution to all of our problems. There are no “silver bullets” in life. I’ve preached this throughout my professional career – there is no single marketing channel or campaign that will solve everything. Similarly, no Presidential candidate is going to solve all of our country’s problems. It is going to take a lot of hard work and cooperation at every level. I hope that all of the passionate supporters out there (people donating lots of their time and effort to both campaigns) will remain active in government throughout the next 4 years, because that’s what we need to make real change.

What if everything in life was more literal? A-Ha’s “Take On Me”: Literal Video Version

As a member of the MTV generation (I remember when MTV was still all music videos instead of bad semi-reality-show-contests) I have found memories of A-Ha’s “Take On Me”. Regardless of how you felt about the song, you had to admit that the video was pretty cool (and revolutionary for the time). However, the video’s storyline never made much sense . . . until now. With the literal translation it suddenly makes sense – you gotta love a pipe wrench fight. Enjoy.

Ads That I Like – Holiday Inn Express

I don’t just play a marketing/advertising guy on TV, that’s actually my real job – the job that pays the bills (from reading this blog you could get confused and think that I get paid to write about pop culture or ride my bike). I’ve never worked at an agency, but I’ve produced lots of spots over the years and I really enjoy the creative process. Figured I would start sharing some of my favorite spots from time-to-time.

I like the Holiday Inn Express campaign that Fallon created. However, this spot really stands out. Gotta love the pseudo-nerdy-Eminem-like-marketing guy.

Mark Wahlberg – Say hello to your mother for me . . . again. Also, Entourage is back on track.

So last week I posted about the great sketch SNL did poking fun at Mark Wahlberg. Well, apparently Wahlberg was not a fan of the impression.

Wahlberg first criticized Andy Samberg’s “Mark Wahlberg Talks To Animals” sketch of him a week ago, and Thursday told Jimmy Kimmel he wanted to “crack his big f’in nose”.  Apparently it was all a set-up for Wahlberg to promote his new film Max Payne as he stopped by SNL last night. In the Palin-starring monologue he stopped by asking Lorne Michaels where Samberg’s dressing room was, “Are you going to make me bust your head in too? Because I will.”

Several skits later he creeped up on Samberg and claimed the impression was nothing like him, all while speaking just like Samberg’s Wahlberg (including talking to a donkey). All-in-all it was pretty funny and a smart move, considering this episode had some of SNL’s highest ratings every with Palin’s appearance.

So why the Google screengrab above? Well, if you type in “say hello to your mother for me” in Google, my previous post is the fourth result. As my ThinkCash colleague Mike S. would say, “that means you have mad-SEO-juice”. You would be amazed how many people have discovered my blog today by typing in that somewhat random phrase.

On a side note, I want to apologize to Mark Wahlberg about my previous comments on Entourage. #1 because I don’t want him to show up at my office to punch me in the face. But, #2 (and more importantly) because Entourage was really good last night. First time I’ve laughed out-loud during any episode this season. Also like the interesting new plot twist. I’m just going to pretend that the “Shrooms” episode just never happened.

Mark Wahlberg – Fix Entourage and “say hello to your mother for me”

I’m not sure why I find this video so hilarious, but I do. Andy Samberg nails Mark Wahlberg’s voice. I think part of why I like the clip so much is because I’m angry about the current season of Entourage. For a couple years now, Entourage has been my favorite TV show, but this year it may have “jumped the shark“. I hate to say it, and hope the show comes around, but it has definitely lost it’s “IT” this year. Seems like too much focus now on the day-to-day business of getting a movie made, instead of the development of the characters’ relationships. The movie business used to be the canvas for the show – not it seems like the paint. [On a side note: I may have been an extra on an episode of Entourage, since I was at Sundance the year they filmed the Aquaman episodes working for Blockbuster Online. We actually saw some of the shoots].

So as the sketch says:

“You eat apples right? I produce Entourage . . . say hello to your mother for me!”

Top 5 Halloween Specials

I love Halloween. It is easily my favorite Holiday (the perfect Fall weather, getting to dress-up, the excitement of trick-or-treating, haunted houses, vampire movies, etc.).

I think it is my birth-right to love Halloween, since my name graced the box of every Halloween costume everyone, currently 30-45, had as a kid. That’s right. Those plastic-suit costumes you got at the grocery store as a kid (you know, the ones that caused heat stroke) were Ben Cooper costumes . . . no kidding (see above).

So it only makes sense for me to come up with a list of the best TV Halloween specials (similar to my top Christmas Specials here).

So, in no particular order:

Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids Halloween

This 1977 special, includes all the characters from the show who decide to dress up and trick people around town. Their antics result in getting kicked out of the neighborhood theater, and a visit to a somewhat creepy old man results in him eating all of the gang’s treats. They then decide to visit the notorious Old Lady Blackwell’s place, where one of the gang’s sisters disappears. They are convinced she is gone forever. However, they are very surprised to find out that not only is she okay, but happy to be with Old Lady Blackwell. The episode features the ever popular Brown Hornet and Mushmouth. How can you not love Mushmouth and his linguisitic abilities.

Simpsons Tree House of Horrors (all of them)

I am a HUGE Simpsons fan. I have a theory on life – any event/situation in life can be related to an episode of The Simpsons or Seinfeld. Go ahead, try and prove me wrong. Anyway, I won’t dive into the brilliance of the Tree House of Horrors Halloween specials, but I do have one gripe. The episode almost always airs the Sunday after Halloween. This is a travesty since the “magic” of Halloween is gone like so many smashed pumpkins by Nov. 2.

Garfield Halloween Adventure

This one follows the tried-and-true formula of “put the characters in a haunted house”. After some debate, Garfield and Odie decide to dress like pirates, end up talking to some creepy old man (another common Halloween special theme) and have a run-in with ghost pirates. I can’t remember, but I also think there is lasagna in this episode.

Witch’s Night Out

This one is a little trippy. A babysitter is watching over two kids on Halloween night, and they run into a real-life witch. The witch isn’t really a bad witch…not really a good witch…just a witch (I guess that could describe most people). The witch looked like a transvestite, which was a little disturbing as a kid (gender amiguity is a tough concept for kids). The kids and sitter decide to make the witch transform them into their favorite movie monsters, as they’re later going to a costume party.

Frankenstein, the Wolfman, and a ghost (the kids and sitter), head off to the party with the witch as their guest. Everyone at the party ends up begging the witch to turn them into “their” favorite monsters. The results are the least scary, lamest, pseudo-pschycedelic monsters ever (see pic above). Most of them look exactly like they did before – only green or red. The rest of the town, forms a lynch mob to “kill the monsters”. The result? Your typical Halloween-special-happy-ending (I can’t quite remember how they got out of it, or what the moral of the story was).

The Halloween Tree

This one, written by Ray Bradbury, actually won an Emmy. Eight boys set out to go trick-or-treating on Halloween, only to discover that a ninth friend, Pipkin (an unfortunately named child), has been whisked away on a journey that could determine whether he lives or dies (I told you, this one won an Emmy). With the help of the mysterious Moundshroud, they look for Pipkin across time and space – learning about the origins of Halloween along the way. Ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, Celtic Druidism, Notre Dame Cathedral in Medieval Paris, and The Day of the Dead in Mexico are all stops along the way. The Halloween Tree itself, with its many branches filled with jack-o’-lanterns, basically serves as a metaphor for the historical confluence of these traditions. This one isn’t suitable for really young kids (since it does deal with death, etc.)

NOTABLE EXCEPTION LEFT OFF THE LIST: It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

Why was this left off? Because there is no payoff. We never actually get to see the Great Pumpkin. I’m all about the “reveal”

Gallup Poll: Obama Now Has a 11 pt. Lead Over McCain

Oct. 11 Gallup Poll

Oct. 11 Gallup Poll

So I haven’t talked much about the presidential election. I liked Obama’s early use of social networking (although, his campaign sends way to many emails – definitely crosses into Spam territory). However, my true feelings about the election can be summed up in my comparison to The Simpsons – neither ticket really excites me, so I would say that I am the very popular “undecided” voter.

This brings up an issue I’ve often wondered. In the world today, where information is readily accessible via the Internet, news channels, etc. – how do polls actually influence voters? I have a theory. People like to be part of a winner. Whether it is their favorite sports team, the company they work for, etc. no one likes to knowingly jump on a losing team. So when a candidate takes an impressive lead in the polls (like Obama’s current 11 pts.) does that subconsciously influence “undecided” voters? If Obama wins the election by more than 11 pts. – then maybe it does. We’ll see . . .

Walking (or Stumbling) Down Memory Lane

Last night I found an amazing scrapbook my sister put together for me when I graduated high school. She’s amazingly creative (as is evidenced by the trailer interiors she designs for Circle M) and had different themes throughout the scrapbook. I won’t subject you to pictures of my questionable clothing choices or the mini-afro I sported in high school, but there was one little nugget I had forgotten about.

I’ve posted before about my love for writing, but what I didn’t mention is that I was the editor of the high school newspaper – Cougar Prints. Now there were a few perks to being the editor:

  1. Most of the girls that took newspaper (it was a class) were very cute
  2. I recruited some of my best guy friends to also join the class
  3. I got a press pass that got me into all sporting events for free
  4. I could basically leave any class and say that it was “newspaper business” without any hesitation
  5. I got two lunch periods (so that we could “interview” students at lunch)

But the best reason of all was that I got a column in each issue to write about whatever I wanted. My column was cleverly titled “Coop – There It Is!” as a tribute to the hit song Whoomp There it Is by Tag Team (a very popular song in 1993). I was actually very creative in high school – just ask anyone from my graduating class about my Dr. Seuss-inspired posters and speech for student government elections (my speech referenced a promise to a student that didn’t exist, but whom I convinced 50% of the faculty and student body that he did through references in the paper and the school loudspeaker).

So each month I had an outlet to unleash my somewhat twisted sense of humor on the world. Most of the columns were musings on the absurdities of life – kind of like a young Jerry Seinfeld. I think the scrapbook my sister created is the only remaining proof that those columns existed. Therefore, I’m going to put them up on the blog over time so that they can be preserved forever! I will also use the opportunity to make fun of myself and compare my sense of humor/thoughts now that I am a 32 year-old father of two and not a 17-18 year-old ball of raging hormones, teenage angst and sarcasm. Should be fun . . . stay tuned.