The Trivago Guy Is From Houston, of Course

Houston born and raised
I was a media buyer in another life, specifically for crappy 1-800 commercials and .com start-ups, so I like to keep up to date on the latest whatsiwhosit you can get for $9.99 or some website that promises to fix your computer via the Internet. The secret that they don't tell you about these ads is that the networks and cable channels sell these companies cheap leftover time that they can't sell to anyone else. This is why you may see the same commercial for the Perfect Bacon Bowl three times in a row on the Oxygen Network; they couldn't sell the time to anyone else.

With this in mind, I spent much of this winter watching the NHL network, which does indeed exist, because of my husband's love of the New York Rangers. I have no idea how many commercials these games feature throughout, but it took about four of them for me to realize that no self-respecting advertiser was buying time on this channel. Three commercials played over and over again:, J-Date and Yes, by now you have either seen these commercials and watched in a state of awe or you are now Googling (just follow the link, but then come back!) Trivago, as I gather from the ads, is a hotel-booking site akin to Kayak that finds you the best deals on the web. That's all well and good, but has nothing to do with the appeal of its commercials. Rather, their spokesperson, given the very inventive name of "Trivago Guy," is the real draw.

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This Kay Jewelers Commercial Makes Me Want to Punch Society in the Face

Categories: Commercials

Kay Jewlers
With the Valentine's holiday merely days away, it has officially become Kay Jewelers season. The diamond propaganda machine is working on overdrive to convince all of you men out there that the only thing that ever makes us gals happy is jewelry and lots of it. Every kiss, BTW, does begin with a pair of studs that conveniently fit into a piece of chocolate cake that your lady luckily doesn't bite into as most women do when handed a slice of Tiramisu but hesitantly slides her fork in to find... what... are those diamonds in my dessert?

As this is the age of bitching, one Kay commercial has gotten quite a few people into a tizzy. I will start there and then move onto my own gripe with the most recent Kay's ad that happens to be everything that is currently wrong with humanity.

Last week, Huffington post blogger Lori Holden verbally scolded the jewel giant for its commercial that highlights a successful adoption as reason to buy the wife a heart-shaped pendant. The commercial shows a couple waiting for their new baby, and to celebrate, dad gives mom a necklace. Then baby comes and yay!

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Saturday's Lone Star Bazaar Releases Vendor List, Food Truck Offerings

Christmas is just what, three days away, and I know some of you (even me) still have holes in our shopping lists. Damn you for having so many dear friends and relatives that you want to spoil with gifts.

As reported late last month, the one-day Lone Star Bazaar at Numbers is aiming to fix all this. The bazaar opens tomorrow morning at the Montrose dance club, with vendors indoors and outdoors.

REWIND: The Lone Star Bazaar Invades Montrose on December 22

Local musician Austin Smith will be playing inside the club, plus Banh Mieria and What's Up Cupcake will be posted up truckin' nearby as well. The event runs from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. and admission is free.

The bazaar is a great way to snag last-minute gifts, and to keep it local, too, since the vendors are from Houston. Here's the vendor list:

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Obesity Ads Targeting Fat People and Pissing Them Off

There's been quite a ruckus over a series of new PSA's by the Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Minnesota asking overweight parents to set a better example for their overweight children. In the ads, parents see their bad habits spilling over into their children's lives in the form of Cocoa Krispies and orange soda, basically saying, "Hey, fat mom, it's your fault that your child is fat too."

It's a shaming tactic and it's really making people upset.

The lady-centric site Jezebel has been all up in arms over the ads with a lengthy diatribe about how ineffective this type of mortification approach is. According to author Lindy West, fat people already know they are fat and telling them won't do any good. Plus, telling kids that they are over-weight is just plain mean. These poor kids already have enough to deal with, what with Pillsbury and KFC cutting out trans-fats.

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Obesity, PSA

Who Watches Maury? 5 Types of People, According to the Commercials

Categories: Commercials

Maury cares deeply about your problems.
I love Maury. He's the best. I don't know how he sleeps at night, but I would imagine quite comfortably on mattresses stuffed with crisp $50 bills and pieces of real moon rock.

The only real issue I have with his show is the lack of variety. You used to be able to expect more out of the show than the "Who's the Father?" format. There were "Is It a He or a She?" shows and "Nerd to Hottie" shows, in which desperate, fragile people got to show off their newfound hotness to old high school crushes or bullies. Good, but not as good as the "Out of Control Teens" episodes -- one girl had sex for a cheeseburger!

People often say, "Who watches that shit?" Well, obviously, me, for one. But other than me, who seriously watches Maury? There's a way to tell: the commercials.

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Maury, Top 5, TV

Top 10 Commercials Directed by Actual (Awesome) Directors

The new J Lo Kohl's ad, directed by Darren Aronofsky
In the most bizarre of bizzares, last week it was announced that a new J Lo/Kohl's commercial was being released. The commercial is promoting Lopez's Kohl's clothing line, and it features the singer/actress/entrepreneur/American Idol judge/mother of twins dancing around in her bright and lively Kohl's clothing. Of course, she is also singing.

Not at all surprising is that the commercial is terrible, but that's not what is unusual about it at all. What caught us off guard is that Academy Award-nominated Black Swan director Darren Aronofsky directed the spot. Aronofsky is no stranger to the small screen; last year he put out a series of anti-meth PSAs that were disturbingly brilliant. Creepy PSAs seem more like the director's M.O, but a Jenny from the Block ad? Does he really need the money that bad?

Aronofsky is certainly not the first big-name director to wade into television commercials' waters, but this spot might be one of the first to have none of the qualities of the auteur that created it.

To redeem film directors who have made commercials everywhere, here are the top ten commercials directed by actual (awesome) directors in film.

10. Ruben Fleischer: Zombieland, 30 Seconds Or Less

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Darren Aronofsky's Anti-Meth PSAs Really Don't Make You Want to Try Meth

Last week, the Houston Press's own Richard Connelly posted a list of anti-drug commercials that not only didn't stop any children from doing drugs, but potentially encouraged such abusing behavior. The famed PSA one-liner, "I learned it from watching you," probably made more kids of the '80s wish they were rolling doobies with their dads than scaring them into stopping.

As if the Internet heard Richard's mocking, yesterday four new anti-drug PSAs appeared out of nowhere. The ads were created for anti-meth group The Meth Project and directed by shock and awe director Darren Aronofsky. Aronofsky is most recently famous for his ballet-nightmare drama The Black Swan, but prior to that he directed the drug-abusers nightmare drama Requiem for a Dream. Requiem is a 2-plus-hour anti-drug movie in and of itself, but his new PSAs hit their target in less than a minute each.

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What The Hell Is Going On with Gary Busey?

Photo: AFP
Celebrities rise and celebrities fall. It should be no surprise to anyone when an actor of high status, with a good list of films under his belt is forced to do a role beneath them. But when that actor is Gary Busey and that role is of the spokesperson for Westside Chevrolet, you have to wonder what the hell is going on?

Busey had a lot going for him at one time. He came into his acting chops in the '70s doing stints on the hit television shows "Bonanza" and "Gunsmoke." In 1976, he got a good-sized break playing the secondary role in the Babs Streisand vehicle A Star Is Born. Apparently Busey is/was a talented musician and played drums for likes of Leon Russel and Kris Kristofferson.

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Fashion & Beauty Infomercials: 10 Favorites

I picked up many bad habits during the decade I worked as a bartender: Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, eating junk food and watching La Femme Nikita, among others. But none are quite so shameful as my love for informercials. It's one thing to get home from work and force yourself to stay awake to see the end of a classic film on TCM, but it's another to grab a cup of coffee at 4 a.m. to make sure you don't miss the amazing "after" results of Heidi Klum's "In an Instant" skin care line.

I didn't say I'm proud of myself.

I've compiled a list of some of my very favorite fashion and beauty infomercials for you to enjoy, without having to stay up until 2 a.m. serving drunk people cheap draft beer and cleaning out ashtrays. You're welcome!

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Operators Are Standing By!: The Top 10 Best Ronco Products

Today is inventor and TV pitchman Ron Popeil's 76th birthday, and to honor his being able to stay fresh and tender for these past seven decades, we bring you ten of the best products to come from his Ronco house of kitchen and home appliance gadgets.

He must have a Life-O-Matic sitting around in his dressing room before he films each of his infomercials, because there are few people his age with the same vitality and sheer hucksterism he has going these days.

Since the 1950's when he joined his father Samuel's family business, Popeil has been the face of direct response marketing, baiting housewives with promises of knives that cut cans, pennies, nails, and steaks with butter-like ease. He even managed to sell you things you don't really need, like a portable fishing pole you could put in your pocket, or a can of fake hair you spray on your head to fill in bald spots.

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