Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Bear With Me

We first saw the Three Bears tv advertisement when we vacationed last September at Emerald Isle North Carolina (a.k.a. The South Outer Banks, or SOBX). Since we consider ourselves F.O.B.s (Friends of Bears), and as a result had our own ursine triumvirate with us, we paid particular attention.

Apparently it also caught the notice of the folks at AdWeek magazine who named it a "Best Spot" for the week of September 19, 2005. (I don't know if they also had an Ursidae advisory panel.) Here's their summary of the commercial from their web site (

"Goldilocks and the Three Bears fairytale is updated for the Hummer generation. The Bear family returns home from vacation to their rather upscale home, only to find that it's been occupied in their absence. Someone's been watching TV, drinking coffee, doing the crossword puzzle, cooking, and sleeping in the Baby Bear's bed. In horror, they waddle out to their 3-car garage. Mama and Papa are relieved to find their vehicles still in place, while Baby Bear is inconsolable to find his H3 missing. The spot ends with Goldilocks out on the open road, her hair blowing in the wind. "The New H3. This one's just right."
Agency/Location: Modernista!/Boston
Principal Talent: Goldilocks: Sarah Jane Morris.
Papa Bear: Robert Daly. Mama Bear: Lori Mellmon. Baby Bear: Arturo Gil."


We thought that it was clever, amusing and entertaining, virtues perhaps enhanced because it appeared amidst the real and televised tensions of hurricane Ophelia which caused us to temporarily evacuate.

And, unusual for us, we also found it memorable. Tv ads in general don't stick with us - we often don't remember them at all, and when we do we usually forget what product was being advertised.

That is partly because we frequently watch programs that we have taped rather then viewing them "live" at their scheduled time. Then we simply fast forward through the commercials. When we are not watching a copy we usually mute the sound during advertisements. Mars reads while she watches television. I can pore over some magazine and newspaper articles while viewing, but for "serious" reading I need the tv sound off. Therefore I do a lot of my reading during the silenced product plugs.

There are exceptions of course - for example AFLAC. (Full disclosure: in addition to the three bears we also have an official stuffed AFLAC spokes-duck which, along with several other stuffed pets, did not make this particular trip with us to the N.C. beach. But we enjoyed and remembered the ads long before we got the bird. We still do not have the actual AFLAC product.)

AFLAC of course has the advantage, which they fully exploit, of being able to embed their product's name into the essential dialogue of the ad. We will actually "unmute" the tv when one of these commercials comes on - at least until we've seen it three or four times. We find out about a new AFLAC commercial either by catching a glance at one flying by in fast-forward mode, or by seeing a "live" one finishing up - we do have to look up every so often to know when to revive the sound.

We're also kind of taken by the Target ads - enough so as to only mute them about eighty percent of the time, but not enough so as to not fast forward through them.

But none of these commercials actually had us talking about them while we were away from our television sets. The Three bears did. Mars and I even added some of our own personal touches.

As we drove around the South Outer Banks we would scan the road for Hummers, pretending to be on a search for that "blonde bitch" who stole poor Baby Bear's H3. When we saw a Hummer we would check out the driver to see if it might be the "Hummer Harlot" (or alternately the "(W)Hummer Whore") who ripped off the beloved bears.

I envisioned an entire series of ads with the "b.b." tooling around the country and viewers being asked to identify her whereabouts in order to retrieve the purloined vehicle. And to win their own Hummer as a "reward".

When we got back up North in October we looked for the Three Bears commercial but only saw it perhaps two or three more times. That was it - haven't seen it or thought much about it since.

Then, on a recent morning, Mars spotted a Hummer and wondered if the "H.H" could have been driving.

I started Googling and found the stuff that I quoted above. I also found some still photos from the commercial. But to my surprise the video itself wasn't available on either the Hummer or Modernista! web sites - particularly odd since that ad agency did another tv spot for Hummer and that one is available in both places. I kept looking and finally found the video at, a video sharing web site independent of Hummer or Modernista!.

The video is available, but still it seems darkly suspicious to me that H.H. and the Three Bears have disappeared from the very media places that they were designed to be a part of.

There is definitely something afoot here! Something that requires good old-fashioned shoe-leather detective work, not just idle Googling.

So we are going to keep searching for that villainous vixen on the highways and byways of our nation. I think that maybe she really did take the Hummer and run, and now she's actually out there somewhere on the lam. That explains why the ad isn't being shown on tv or on - although it does seem tailor made for America's Most Wanted.

And while we're hunting for our favorite blonde bitch I'm also going to be on the lookout for a small stuffed Sarah Jane Morris bed-pet to add to our collection. I mean after all, we already have the three bears and AFLAC. It just makes perfectly good sense to complete the set and have our very own miniaturized Advertising Hall of Fame - in fact it actually seems "just right".

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