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February 28th, 2010:

The best and worst Olympic ads [Olympics]

Now that the Olympics are officially over, (we won! Go USA!) it is time to take a look at won the advertizing contest. Cutting an ad for the Olympics is kind of hard.  NBC insists on presenting the Olympics as a sort of kumbaya, brotherhood-of-man event instead of the epic content between nations that it is.

So advertisers try to focus on producing something upbeat by not jingoistic. Needless to say, not everyone pulls it off.

The honor for the worst ads of the Olympics goes to VISA. Their “GO WORLD” campaign consisted of about 20 different ad spots, each of which tried desperately to be sentimental or inspiring. None of them succeeded. Ever ad concluded with the tagline “GO WORLD.” Go world? These aren’t the intergalactic games. Cheering for everyone is about the least interesting thing possible. What happened to the old badass VISA who used to taunt American Express at every opportunity?

The second best ad campaign definitely goes to McDonald’s. They did bit of the Olympic brothood stuff in their McNuggests ads, but at least they pulled it off. Besides, any ad campaign that features a bobsled going through the drive-thru gets my vote.

By far the best ad spot of the Olympics was for Coca-Cola. Their “Ceremony” commercial managed to take the entire feel-good mood of the Olympics and make me feel like I made it possible—just by drinking Coke. Pure advertizing genius.

New Yorkers oppose soda tax, prohibition [poll]

20070120 Liquor StoreEarlier this week I wrote about Governor Patterson’s effort to overturn some of New York’s absurd blue laws and allow wine sales in grocery stores.

Unsurprisingly, the proposal seems popular. According to a new poll out by Siena College, 58 percent of New Yorker’s support the plan. 38 percent of respondents opposed the idea.

The poll also found that the same proportion of New Yorkers (59-38) opposes taxing soda and juice drinks.

So the takeaway is that about 60 percent of New Yorkers are completely reasonable. As for the other 40 percent, well… New York has more than its fair share of neo-prohibitionists and food police.


A sensible solution to snow removal [American pragmatism]

NYC Garbage/Plow truck on Broadway at Astor Place

In much of the country, garbage collection is preformed by a giant corporation like Waste Management, or if you live in New Jersey, the Mob. But in New York City the trash is still handled largely by the City’s Department of Sanitation.

This setup seems to work well enough during most the year (garbage does not tend pile up in the streets as it does in Italy), but it has a serious benefit the one or two times a year there is a big snowfall.

Since the city already owns enough garbage trucks to regularly service every street, it simply slaps a snowplow on the front of each one when needed, thus eliminating the need to maintain a redundant fleet of plow trucks.

American pragmatism at its finest.

USA wins Olympics!

Child Saluting American FlagThere is one more day of games, but for all intents and purposes the Olympics are over. We won! We are officially the Greatest Country in the World.

It is the first time we have won the Winter Olympics since 1932 (we tied Germany in 2002).

As of this morning, Team USA had already amassed an insurmountable lead in the medal race. There are a few more contests tomorrow, including an epic showdown between Team USA and Canada for the hockey medal. Hopefully we will triumph again. Defeating Canada a second time at their national sport after already thwarting their “Own The Podium” efforts would make the perfect coup de grâce.


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