Tim Washer. Keynote Speaker + Event Emcee
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  • James Corden @ IBM Think 2019

The Hole in Whole Foods Market’s “Whatever Makes You Whole” Campaign

The Hole in Whole Foods Market’s “Whatever Makes You Whole” Campaign

I like overpaying for groceries just as much as the next guy.  I’m a big fan of Whole Foods, especially the Austin location’s taqueria, but a few of the new campaign ads are missing something.  I’m always grateful when any brand invests to bring laughter to its audience, but it feels like the brand didn’t fully commit.

Preexisting Conditions 

In one of my early classes at the Upright Citizens Brigade theater,  I opened a scene as a pool guy who was meeting the homeowner for the first time.   It fell flat.  My instructor Armando Diaz told me that the scene would have been much more interesting if I had made the choice to reveal a history between the two characters.   We could have explored a universal truth of how two different points-of-view need to work together through conflict, or how they avoid conflict.   Otherwise, we’re stuck in a transactional scene, which is boring.

In “Meat Santa,”  the first half of the scene is the Whole Foods butcher preparing the customer’s order.   The customer creates the awkward moment, then the butcher calls him “weird.”  I’m no marketing expert, but I would avoid ending a commercial by insulting your customer.   Instead, we could have witnessed a playful conversation with inside jokes that reveal the butcher remembers that this customer used his grandmother’s recipe to brine the turkey for Thanksgiving and anticipates what the customer might need to prepare the Christmas meal.

Here are the winners of the series, and the comedy approach that makes them work so well:

“Just One Item”

“Backup Thanksgiving”

Another very relateable pain point, as we’ve all suffered through a turkey day at the crazy in-laws’ house, where they’ve tried to be overly innovative with the stuffing recipe.  The backup concept is hysterical, and I love the direction and the actors’ performance.


This one hits a little too close to home.  I receive this exact same response from my daughter at least three times a day.  I love, love this young actor’s performance — she cracks me up.  Bravo!

Whole Foods wouldn’t even need to advertise if they would bring back breakfast pizza.


3 Funniest Ads of Super Bowl LII

3 Funniest Ads of Super Bowl LII

The biggest disappointment of the Super Bowl was that there won’t actually be a Crocodile Dundee sequel.   But Tourism Australia didn’t leave us with only a 60 second Super Bowl commercial.  It produced a full-length fake movie trailer that doesn’t rely on Danny McBride’s rugged good looks to convince Americans to make the 22-hour flight.

The spot features every Aussie A-lister except the Tasmanian Devil.  Chris Hemsworth, Hugh Jackman, and Best Actress Oscar-nominee for her role as Tonya Harding —  Margot Robbie will make surely make this Oz’s most successful campaign.   That title is currently held by Paul Hogan’s 1984 campaign, responsible for a 54 percent increase in holiday visa applications from the U.S. (Slate).

Now more than ever, I think people want—no, make that need—to laugh a little,

– Dan Kelleher, Chief Creative Officer at Deutsch ( Adweek)

It’s a Tide Ad

Stranger Things’ sheriff Jim Hopper moonlights as Mr. Clean in a wonderful campaign that delights us with surprise, well-executed parody and comedy’s cornerstone of strengthening rapport with an audience — the callback.  The lawman even brazenly satirized the legendary Old Spice commercial — what fool what attempt that?

Alexa Loses Her Voice

Rarely does a brand produce a spot funnier than the SNL sketch that mocks it.  Well played, Jeff Bezos.

Possibly JB Smoove’s best work since “Bent” with David Walton.  (available on Amazon).

And from the Super Bowl archives:  coffee and contemplation

Super Bowl commercial- Dunkin Donuts “Off the Press”

See you down under.

Dundee sequel movie poster

Bill Hader Retires from SNL, Joins T-Mobile

WSJ All Things Digital reports that comedy actor Bill Hader, who recently announced he’s retiring from Saturday Night Live after his ninth season, will be the new spokesman for the mobile telecom brand.  Hader got his big break when Megan Mullally saw him perform at an improv show and introduced him to Lorne Michaels.  For his SNL audition, Hader relied on the ol’ standby scene — James Mason ordering donuts with an expired gift certificate.

The funniest commercial in the series is “Rice,” which co-stars Brian Huskey, who was in my first improv class at Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theater.

I say bring back Catherine Zeta-Jones.

T-Mobile Mobile Makeover Commercial w/ Catherine Zeta-Jones.


The Best Real-Time Marketing Cookie in the Jar

I’m often asked which cookie has the best track record in real-time marketing.  The BuzzFeed headline “Oreo Again Dunks The Competition On Twitter” tells the story.  Not only is this brand quick with the retort, but it is hilarious.  If I were a cookie and wanted to know how to use humor in social media and marketing, I’d ask Oreo to be my mentor, and watch it’s Super Bowl commercial again (below).  I’d also read David Meerman Scott’s book on the topic, which might be a challenge as the literacy rate among cookies is notoriously low.  As Ann Handley and I recently debated on our new series Better Marriage Through Big Data, this brand has raised the bar for all marketers to get on board with real-time marketing.


Super Bowl Commercial: Off The Press

In honor of this weekend’s Super Bowl, here’s a repost of a Dunkin Donut commercial I was in with Matt Oberg (Onion SportsDome, 30 Rock)

Off The Press

Director Harry Cocciolo was able to fit a :20 script into a :07 scene.  Even under that duress, there was no lip-synching.   It ran during Super Bowl XLV in limited markets.  Advertising agency: Hill Holliday.  Click on the photo to view the ad, or click here.

Onion Sports Network: GOOMF



A-Rod Past Prime, Unable To Match Asinine Public Embarrassments Of Years Past

I played Senior Baseball Analyst Jim Ridgeway on the Onion Sports Network’s new series Get Out Of My Face — such a blast to work with this team.  I had the chance to work with one of the SportsDome anchors on a Super Bowl commercial for Dunkin Donuts.



8 Seconds

I was cut short of my 15 minutes of fame. A few shots we filmed that didn’t make it into the final edit of this spot included my character yelling “HEY” then running along the printing press, and Matt’s character in safety glasses and ear muffs, speaking at the crawling dude-cadence.  The ad ran during the Super Bowl in the Boston market.


Click image to view the spot.

B2B Comedy Classics

The age of the curator seems like the perfect time to assemble a collection about something, so I put together a list of the Top 10 B2B Comedy Videos for a guest post for the Social Media B2B blog.  Above is a bonus video for Valentine’s Day.  Thanks to Jeff Cohen for the opportunity, and for his virtual tour of North Carolina wine.  His Biltmore photos compelled me to plan a return trip to my favorite vineyard in the Smokies.

Advertising Age: IBM’s Zany Viral Video Chief

Earlier this week AdAge reported on the case study I discussed on the use of humor in corporate web video.  I showed a few clips including one from our Smarter Planet campaign.  “Mainframe: The Art of the Sale” earned some great press coverage.  The San Francisco Chronicle blog “What are They Drinking in Armonk,” ZDNet compared it favorably against Microsoft’s broadcast ads with Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates, industry luminary James Governor blogged “Selling big iron the David Brent way,” and Comedy Central selected it as a finalist in its Test Pilot’s contest.

View all six videos in the Art of the Sale series here.

I am NOT a Horndog

In David Griner‘s post on ADWEEK’s blog, AdFreak, “Horndogs hit on Zeta-Jones in T-Mobile ads” he writes:

I know I shouldn’t encourage the “Husbands are ugly imbeciles” ad cliché, but I laugh at the T-Mobile spot above every time I hear the guy tell Catherine Zeta-Jones, “I like it when you say things.”

While I’m tired of being labeled by the Press as a “horndog” (Wall Street Journal, Poughkeepsie Democrat, Christianity Today)  I can’t really argue against the “ugly imbecile” tag.