Category: Television
April 26th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, The Preezy of the United Steezy.

Here at Mortar, we love us a good slow jam. And we’re not talking about Grandma Jean’s twice-boiled apple butter. We’re talking jamz, real sloooow. Takes us back. Which is why we loved Jimmy Fallon on Tuesday, when he got the Commander-in-Chief himself to perform spoken word artistry over buttery smooth tracks laid down by none other than The Roots. The result was a match in hit factory heaven. We’d love to see Obie slow-jam the State of the Union, unemployment reports, or maybe a nice recipe for mushroom chicken piccata. We’re pretty sure the world would be a happier place.


April 11th, 2012

Ashley Judd Joins Conversation; Proceeds To Kick It In The Nuts.

We’re always conversing about the Conversation here at Mortar – whether it’s TIME making our brilliant clients sound appropriately brilliant, or an anchorman pantsing a brand’s strategy in the high school hallway. So naturally, it struck our fancy when Ashley Judd decided to get all up in it.

The media’s rampant disparaging of female celebrities generally renders them helpless as a field mouse caught in a boa constrictor’s death grip. Though Judd says she typically turns the other cheek to what the world says about her – she doesn’t read any of her interviews with news outlets – her friends alerted her that this time they’d gone too far. So-called legitimate publications were attributing Judd’s recent puffy face to plastic surgery, instead of to steroid medication she needed to fight a month-long sickness.

It sucks, but you can’t control the conversation about yourself. What you can do is deliver an intelligent, pointed response that upholds your integrity, and exposes your attackers’ douchebaggery.

Judd opted for the latter, and pulled it off with surprising grace. Her rebuff is critical, yet respectful, and definitely worth a read – even if just to soak in Judd’s cunningly elegant phrasing and deft vernacular. (Ashley, if you’re ever looking for a new gig, we’d love to have you. Operators are standing by.)

Talk amongst yourselves.



March 6th, 2012

Industry’s bacon saved by bacon. (Not Kevin.)

If you’re a newspaper, by now you’ve recognized that the paper news format has been fully overthrown by the force of digital media, and is lying helpless on the floor in a puddle of defeat. The gut reaction to this humiliating coup d’etat would be to curl up and weep while listening to Phil Collins on repeat. But is that what the Guardian is doing? He-ell no.

No. Instead, they decided to give us one of the smartest pieces of work we’ve seen in a while. One that goes a long way toward proving that newspapers aren’t dead at all — they’ve just relocated. And what a rich platform the web makes for discussing timely, controversial issues.

By casting doubt on a centuries-old story we thought we knew, BBH found a captivating, entertaining way to explain the new way to news. While the print ads (below) tell a less interesting story, they’re bold, intriguing, and focus on the conversation (which we’ve always insisted is far more important than the medium).

Yes, paper is dying a slow death. But format, schmormat. There’s not an ounce of doubt that we will always need news, and someone to deliver it to us through an all-seeing, unbiased lens.

Via Adweek.

February 10th, 2012

Delay Of Game.

"You're a little late, dum-dums."

This is the Great Gazoo. A minor character from The Flintstones, capable of magic.

"What am I gonna do with all these gaudy rings?"

This is Eli Manning, quarterback of the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants, who bears an uncanny resemblance to the Great Gazoo, and is also occasionally capable of magic, although not enough magic to get Mortar to do a Super Bowl Ad Recap on time. The man was busy last week, as were we. Sorry. Let’s get right to it.

Three We Liked:

Toyota – “Reinvented”

“Reinvention” as an idea is more beaten-to-death than the New England Patriots’ hopes and dreams. (Yeah, we said it.) But in this spot, we can almost hear the creatives saying, “You want “reinvented?” Oh, we’ll give you reinvented…” and off we go into a magical land where curtains are pizza and Toyota Camrys are actually interesting. Well done.

Chevrolet – “Camaro/Happy Grad”

User-generated stuff usually makes us insecure and bitter. Like the New England Patriots. (Pow!) But this Chevy spot is an exception. The (amateur) actor’s beautifully over-the-top reaction equates owning a Camaro with ridiculous amounts of joy, which is never a bad idea when you’re selling a completely impractical muscle car these days.

Side note: We had more than one viewer ask us if it bothered us that the kid was getting a mini-fridge for graduation. Wouldn’t you give that to the kid when he was entering school? Just sayin’.

Volkswagen – “The Bark Side”

There is almost nothing good about this spot. Kinda like the Patriots’ defense. (BA-ZING!) It employs the same level of creativity as The Singing Dogs’ version of “Jingle Bells,” which is universally recognized as the Most Hated holiday song.  But if you can watch this without smiling, we’ll pay you $542 bucks.*

Two We Hated:

Go Daddy  – “Body Paint”

We love gratuitous nudity as much as the next shifty-eyed person in a raincoat, but the on-purpose tastelessness of Go Daddy’s schtick was bad the first time, and has somehow managed to get worse.

Career Builder – “Business Trip”

Recycling. Good for the planet. Bad for ideas. And it’s even worse when it starts to affect the credibility of the Mortar Monkey Theorem, i.e. “Monkey=Funny.” So this recycled idea that was only moderately funny the first two times, is really getting stale at this point, which annoys us. What we’re saying is – “Don’t use chimps in sucktastic ads, you hacks. You’re ruining it for the rest of us.”

And One We Really Loved That You Probably Didn’t See Because…Canada.

Our goody-two shoes brother Canada, all jealous because they get a stupid Grey Cup instead of an awesome Super Bowl, went and did this wonderful Budweiser spot that you had to live in Canada to see. We are not crying because there is no crying in hockey, but…look. Just give us aboot a minute, eh?

(Whatever, Canada. You’re perfect. But we’re still behind America bald eagle percent.)
Honorable mention to Chrysler, who you’ve probably heard enough about by now.

E*Trade and Coke, even the Great Gazoo can’t save you dum-dums from lame overuse of characters. (And if there’s anyone who should know from lame characters, it’s him.)  See you next year. Probably about a week late.

Congratulations, Giants.

 *By “we,” we mean “Mark.”
June 22nd, 2011

Football Cops!? Football Cops.

Oh. Hi. Didn't see you there. How's things? Busy? We feel ya, dawg. Speaking of busy, some NFLers have been keeping busy during the lockout…presenting the Manning Brothers in Football Cops.

Wow! That was like one of those busted plays where you're going "No, NO, NOOOOO…wait a minute...YES!" Well done. Honestly, we think we'd rather watch Football Cops than the NFL. But here's hoping they end their lockout…and we promise to drag the mighty Mortarblog off the couch and back to the gym, too.

Via Deadspin.