Via the Nation, Wal-Mart strikes back against its critics in a mind-bending new advertising campaign:

As activists continue to organize demonstrations at McDonalds, Walmart and other low-wage firms, big protests are planned against retailers for mistreating their workers this Black Friday. In response, consultants are ramping up efforts to marginalize them.

Last night Worker Center Watch, a new website dedicated to attacking labor-affiliated activist groups, began sponsoring advertisements on Twitter to promote smears against the protests planned for Black Friday. “This Black Friday, just buy your gifts, not their lies,” instructs the narrator.

Parquet Public Affairs, a Florida-based government relations and crisis management firm for retailers and fast food companies, registered the Worker Center Watch website. The firm is led by Joseph Kefauver, formerly the president of public affairs for Walmart.

An eerie and fascinating commercial of the moment from European banking and mortgage giant Santander acknowledges how corporate messages have become a deluge pervading our lives. There is no resistance. Via Potlatch:

It is one of the most unsettling pieces of film that I’ve ever seen, reducing advertising to a set of blank and bland facts, to be recited out of the mouths of an apparently arbitrary collection of sports stars. What are the celebrities doing in other people’s houses?

The ordinary people, trying to go about their days in peace and privacy, exude a sad resignation that capitalism now drops (real? hallucinatory?) celebrities into their bathrooms and kitchens, to talk at them uninvited. Is this a warning of some kind?

Corporations seem to be all about irreverent ads, yet get surprisingly sensitive when the joke is on them. Via the Electronic Frontier Foundation:

In the wake of a major pipeline spill in Mayflower, Arkansas, Exxon has launched a campaign to prevent Little Rock television stations from running a political ad titled, “Exxon Hates Your Children.” To try to keep it off the air, Exxon is circulating a memo to television stations claiming that the commercial is “defamatory toward ExxonMobil’s employees.”

The ads, which were paid for through crowdfunding, were scheduled to run on local ABC, NBC, and Fox stations this week, but were taken off the schedule when the stations got the memo. In February, Exxon pulled the same stunt when Comcast was set to air the ad during the president’s State of the Union address.

If you want to understand our culture, watch our commercials. Via Salon, Michael Shaw writes:

With the West in an endless struggle in the Middle East not just for resources but mindshare, we see the Coke bottle — the symbol of globalization and American commercialism — sitting there in the hot sand, the object of desire for, first of all, a hapless Gulf prince/camel jockey. Resonating with [the looming] immigration debate, we then have a Hispanic desperado evoking the desert as if the province of thirsty Mexicans looking north.

It’s funny but not-so-funny when you consider that what America has to offer is, in fact, a mirage. What the ad people realize I’m sure is that, after more than a decade in Iraq and Afghanistan, the idea of “quenching” — no matter how much you “put down” the Arabs and Islamists — couldn’t be more ironic.

The Denmark-based multinational Danske Bank is one of the world’s largest, with assets worth about $600 billion. Its new marketing campaign, fascinating in much the same fashion as a train wreck, is based around the slogans “Occupy” and “A New Normal”:

The strategy is intended to restore trust in the Bank and ensure that we live up to our new vision of being “Recognised as the most trusted financial partner.” In order to reach that objective, we must set new standards for banking operations.

Yeah, it’s a commercial for Litter Genie, but give the bastards props for a clever concept (and a clever product, not that I’ve been able to afford one). If only someone would put this much effort toward legalizing…um…People Nip. FAR MEOWT.

This coming fall, Colorado residents will vote on whether to legalize possession and cultivation of marijuana statewide, via the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act. The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol is running a series of television ads urging legalization — their first spot, in honor of Mother’s Day, encourages young adults to let their parents know that they prefer pot:

The Hunger Games? Nope, this year’s hottest dramatic depiction of our nightmarish future is Rick Santorum’s ‘Obamaville’, a look at a ‘small American town two years from now if Obama is reelected’. What will 2014 under Obama be like? The playgrounds are empty, rusted, and littered with children’s abandoned shoes, signs are painted in blood, the numbers on clocks are printed in Soviet-font, and the sun rarely shines. No joke, a campaign spokesperson said this teaser is the kickoff an eight-part miniseries:

Putin pushes the envelope, and points the way towards the future of political campaigning, by making pulling the voting lever seem to be some sort of sex act. Via Politico:

In a new ad for Vladimir Putin’s United Russia Party, the weirdness of that country’s fake democracy is on full display.

The ad conflates voting and sex in a way that makes no sense but has great production values and a compelling beat. The slogan: “Let’s do it together.”

In this youth-targeted television spot celebrating “self expression” and “putting it out there”, teens make their voices heard by creating art, decorating and personalizing their skateboards and guitars. But the most intriguing moment is the quick cut midway through showing kids demonstrating and waving a colorful banner (created with their new Sharpie markers) which reads, “Stop Protesting!”

Is it just a throwaway gag from an irreverent commercial? Or a perfect example of how corporations attempt to de-claw youthful unrest by channeling it into consumerism?

The first Peanuts TV special followed six years of animated advertisements selling Ford motor cars, and originally, even “A Charlie Brown Christmas” featured two scenes advertising Coca-Cola!

One of the deleted scenes still appears in a YouTube video, which shows Snoopy tossing Linus into a sign which reads “Danger.” (According to Wikipedia, that sign originally read: “Coca-Cola” — and the hymn at the end of the program was interrupted by a voice-over thanking “the people in your town who bottle Coca Cola.”)

Maybe “A Charlie Brown Christmas” was ultimately the cartoonist’s own silent protest against the commercialization of his work…

The message of this television spot for Pamela Gorman, running for a seat in Arizona’s state congress, seems to be, “Vote for me, or I’ll shoot you.” It actually seems like an imitation of militia/Al-Qaeda training videos, but with more puns thrown in — she has my vote.

AFP reports that the Super Bowl on Sunday will include commercials from venomous conservative Christian organization Focus on the Family. The spots star Heisman Trophy-winning college quarterback Tim Tebow discussing the amorality of abortion.

CBS is supposed to have a ban on advocacy commercials during the Super Bowl. The below ad, produced by the United Church of Christ, was previously rejected for its message of tolerance of gays…but in tough economic times, you take all the ad money you can get.