Friday, November 30, 2007

New Mexico, Shut Up!

Apparently, New Mexico has a problem with genius.

in response to USA Today's Article: Some Not Laughing at New Mexico's Ugly Alien tourist ads All of the quotes in this entry are from this article.

" "New Mexico has a lot to offer — we don't need to bring our standards down," said Ken Mompellier, head of the convention and visitors bureau in Las Cruces, the state's fast-growing second-largest city, which has refused to use the alien ads to bolster local tourism pitches, as it normally would. "

Right, so having a hilarious campaign is bringing your standards down? Comedy sells. It's not like the new campaign features a scantily clad woman lying in the beautiful New Mexico desert with the tag: "New Mexico, Hottest Place In The Nation"

"...And the things I'm hearing from people, some of it is very negative." -Mompellier

There are people who will say negative things about anything.

List of The Famous and The Historical about which "people" have said "negative" "things":

  • Lord Byron
  • Steven Spielburg
  • Ernest Hemingway
  • Frank Miller
  • Martin Luther King Jr.
  • The Cotton Gin
  • The 13th Amendment to the United States of America's Constitution
  • Eating Food
  • Using Electric Instruments (i.e. guitar, piano, organ, violin, etc.)
  • Freedom of Speech
  • Taichovsky
  • Dancing
  • and, yes, your mother

But this is what bugs me most:

" Chris Stagg, a marketing executive at Taos Ski Valley who serves on the commission, said Saatchi's creative team might come back to the panel's next meeting with a "less harsh" version of the campaign.
Aliens are fine, he said, but do they need to be creatures "that look like they're going to suck your brains out?" "

Okay, that is the reason that these ads are funny and attractive. The juxtapostion of the tourism scenes and the hideous aliens. In an interview by Ben Kharakh at Gary Rudoren, Author, Rudoren, an author of the book Comedy by the Numbers is quoted:

"Absolutely! Adding surprise and juxtaposition in your design as well as your comedy keeps the audience on its edge. If you telegraph humor or if you make your architectural moves obvious, you lose a great creative opportunity in my opinion. I love visiting a building that reveals itself to me more as I move through it and observe it. I love humor that keeps me guessing and takes unusual choices."

There's a good point! Also, consider Gary Larson's ingenious comic strip The Far Side. Much of the hilarity of Larson lies in brilliant juxtaposition. As in the episode where ketchup bottles are watching a horror film. The film shows a ketchup bottle broken with its contents spilling out. A mother kethup bottle is turned, talking to her young son saying, "Don't worry, it's not real ketchup." THAT'S funny! and THAT'S Juxtaposition and THAT'S why these aliens are ingenious.

These alien ads have won an award for a good reason. They are great. They remind me of Super Bowl ads that usually feature some sort of rediculous juxtaposition. To spell it out: a tourist bicycling through New Mexico is not funny; a hideous alien sucking the brains out of astronauts is not funny - but a hideous alien bicycling through New Mexico, THAT'S funny!

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