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Test Pattern: Front-runners in the ad contest

Loving the magic fridge, hating on the Big Cluckin' Chicken

Front-runners in the commercial contest

I’ve veered off into individual genres of commercials pretty quickly this year, talking already about commercials with animals and commercials that make us laugh.  But let's get down to business and start naming some of the front-runners in this year's contest.

Thousands of ads are nominated each year, but only a certain few come up time and time again in your e-mails. Here are some of them. And can I just say: Either you're all in good moods this summer, or the number of bad ads is decreasing. I've received at least three times as many nominations for GOOD ads as I have for BAD ones. Come on, you know there are some stinky ads out there...send in your nominations, make 'em pay for insulting our intelligence.

BEST ADS“My favorite commercials are from Citibank — the two ladies sitting on the couch discussing their new motorcycles and the guy sitting in the gym singing “Unbreak My Heart”—both make me laugh out loud!”    --Sherry[Editor’s Note: Though there are new ads, , and isn’t eligible again. But obviously people are still enjoying it.]

“The funniest commercial so far this year is the caveman Fedex ad where the poor man didn’t send the package by Fedex because it wasn’t invented yet. He gets fired and then gets stepped on by a dinosaur. Just not his day.”    --William

“My favorite commercial right now is for HP. You see someone nicely dressed from the shoulders down, using his hands to make everything that he would do on his Laptop appear like a hologram. He plays chess, checks stocks and travel. At the end he says “My passport says Shawn, but you may know me as Jay-Z.” The end just ties it all together for that “Ohhh!” moment. Love it!”    --Megan

“I always liked the Dairy Queen commercial where the guy eats a flamethrower burger and when he coughs, everything catches on fire. Then he screams because his desk is on fire, then the curtains catch on fire. Too funny!”    --Kathy

“Come on, no one else has said they like those iMac commercials? They’re the best! Justin Long as the hip iMac plus John Hodgman as the dorky-yet-adorable PC plus hilarious banter between the two equals LOVE!”

“One of the best commercial is for Windex. The two birds saying “watch this,” when he rings the door bell and then flying over to a door and closing it. A person then walks towards the door thinking it’s open and smashes into it....then the birds start laughing. I crack up every time I see it.”    --Shay

“My favorite tv ad is the magic fridge, when a movable wall is shown reversing into the apartment next to his only for four young guys to start empty it out, then starts praying for the refrig to return.”    --Michael

“The commercial that gets me laughing the most is the current Dairy Queen Blizzard ad with the guy getting on the airplane. I wish someone would bring a blizzard on my next flight.”    --Mark

“Two Vonage commercials make me laugh every time. In one, the “man on the street” is talking to the camera about how easy Vonage was to install, while behind him a guy in a giant lobster outfit is trying (unsuccessfully) to go through a revolving door. Even funnier is the one with the wife talking directly to the camera about how easy it was to install on the computer, while in the background her husband is doing the moonwalk and the robot! Don’t know why, but I laugh every time!”    --LH

“My favorite commercial is the phone commercial where there’s 2 guys at a computer and one guy comes up and asks what they’re doing... and they’re watching “dots.” My favorite part is when another man comes up eating a piece of cake and asks “Who’s aggitatin’ my dots? You aggitatin’ my dots?” If you’ve seen it, you know what I mean.”    --Ben

WORST ADS“Worst commercial series ever? — Big Cluckin Chicken by Burger King. They really need to fire the ad agency they've been using. It's been a steady string of losers with the creepy king head guy, the whopper family arguments, and now the mutant chicken with the horrible theme song.”    --Brad

“The one commercial that they have to get off the air is the Ford commercial with the guy who won the most recent American Idol competition. Please, Please Stop the Music!”    --June

“I absolutely hate the new Sprite ads with what they call “Sublymonal advertising.” Especially the one where the girl is laying on some steps like she is parched and a tiny ambulance comes to rescue her with their limon and lime defibrillator. Then all these weird lemon and lime images are shown rapidly across the screen. I especially hate the image of the person covered in lemon slices in a room also covered in lemon slices. Then the girl wakes up refreshed. Those commercials are so creepy that they make me not want to drink Sprite at all.”    --Katie

“I really hate the ad for Activia. I don’t know about you, but I never refused to go out with my friends in college because I hadn’t had a bowel movement! The way the friend smugly says “I eat Activia. EVERY day.” just makes me want to punch her.”    --Christy

“All the “pop a pill” for everything commercials. Blue pills, purple pills, bone pills, hormone therapy, good grief, the biggest drug dealer of all is the television set. I hate that guy “Bob” who dives into the pool and comes up short.”    --Cathy

“Do we really need all the Kotex and Tampon ads? They have a pantyliner that doubles as a pinball layout, and the lady dancing and the all you see is the pantyliner dancing around, I guess your suppose to have this image of her wearing it while she dances. How stupid and gross they all are. It scares me what they might think us women need to know about next..”    --Jeanne

“I HATE with a passion the Wendy's commercial for the "Sensational Salads." Wendy's couldn't have provided me with a better option to NOT go there. That woman is beyond annoying. Her voice made my skin crawl. I would turn the channel or mute it every time it came on.”    --Katy

California cows offer mooooooving commercials

I asked you to send in your comments on ads that feature animals, and it's given us a new front-runner for this year's best commercials — or perhaps, best series of commercials.

An early favorite: The Happy Cow ads from Real California Cheese, in which cows turn out to be much more outstanding in their field than we ever guessed. You can . (Click on the site, then on Happy Cows, then on Happy Cow TV.)

In addition to the bovine beauties, here are some of your thoughts on other animal-related ads.

MOOOOOOOVING ADS“The California cheese cows are priceless! My favorite is the one where the bulls can’t get their football back until the cow says, “Who rules?” and the bull grudgingly answers, “Cows rule,” and so on. That’s funny, but when the cow kicks the ball back and the bull says, “She’s on our team!” it cracks me up!”    --Julie

“There is the one with the cows getting their picture taken with the baby and the cow says “cheese” when the camera clicks and they think the baby said her first word is just hysterical! And then the cow says “that never gets old”! My whole family just cracks up every time we see one of these commercials!”    --Glora

“I love the commercial with the “happy cows make happy cheese”. The questions the cow keeps asking the bull, “Do you like cows?” “Are cows pretty?” “Do you want to marry a cow?” just crack me up. There’s something about the tone of the voice for the cow that is perfect.”    --Annette

"One of my favorites is the one where the two bored cows in the field ring the man's doorbell, and when he comes to the door noone is there, and when he closes the door you can hear the cows laughing, what a hoot."    --Jeanne

"I can''t help myself, but I really enjoy the cheese commercials with the "Happy Cows". I think my favorite is the one where the cow is taking a shower in the sprinklers."    --Pam

"The Cows in the California Cheese commercials are brilliant! I watch everyone and hope for more. Bessie making a run for it was hilarious!"    --Teresa

MORE ANIMAL ADS“I always chuckle over the ad where the squirrels give each other high fives after the car crashes trying to avoid one. I live in a neighborhood with LOTS of squirrels, so this is a very amusing ad, but a little closer to reality than it seems.”    --Judy

“The California Cheese cows are priceless. Advantix puppies are so cute and my husband and I find ourselves singing along. The Budweiser Clydesdales are another super entertaining ad.”    --Katherine

“I recently spied a car commercial (sorry, can’t remember the brand!....perhaps VW?) showing in a car passing a number of other cars that each have a dog’s smiling head poking out of the open window. At one point, the (VW?) driver looks down at his own dog’s smiling face, saying something like, “You’re disgusting!” The camera view returns to the outside of the car. Out of the open window is the other(!) end of the smiling dog, butt out the window, tail briskly wagging. All this time he’s been mooning all of the other cars they pass. Haven’t seen it again yet, but eagerly looking forward to it.”    --Chris

“Someone puts down a bag of groceries on the counter and the dog sees his treats sticking out of the bag. He gets all excited, but he yells he can’t read! It’s BACON, bacon...bacon...bacon. Don’t see these much anymore, but a classic!”    --Angela

“I think that the commercial I will refer to is for Fresh Step cat litter. There is no odor and the cat cannot find its litter box. So a big doberman shows up at the door and the two try to sniff it out around the house. It cracks me up! Big dog, little kitty.”    --Eileen

Ads that make us laugh

Half the time actual TV shows and movies that are billed as comedies don't make us laugh, so it's a real treat when a 30-second commercial actually manages to do that. Really funny ads are rare, but there are out there. Here are some of your nominees for good ads that really do make you laugh — more so than that awful "War at Home" show, anyway.

Today I'll share a batch of your descriptions of the ads that made you laugh. Keep on sending in your best/worst ad nominations, but as for a new topic to focus on tomorrow, how about animals in ads? Lots of people love seeing our furry, feathered and finned friends in commercials -- at least one animal ad is mentioned extensively every year. Yet some folks are appalled that animals are used in commercials at all, and object to even the mildest animal-starring ad. Send in your thoughts, and let me know what new animal ads are out there this year.

“I love the Coca Cola commercial where there is a girl sitting on a bench and a guy sits down next to her. Then he starts making a sound like that default ring tone that’s on a million cell phones: “do do do, do do do, do do do do do.” He makes the sound over and over again while looking around and searching for the origin of the ringing. He finally pulls a coke out of his bag, opens it, holds it up to his ear and then hands it to the girl and says, “It’s for you.” I have a dvr and rarely watch commercials, but I caught this one day and actually rewound to watch it again!”    --Michelle

“My favorite commercial is the one from Sprint/Nextel (I think) where there are two guys in a locker room talking about how great their phones are and then one of the guys mentions that he has theft deterrent on his phone, and then to show how it works, chucks the phone at the other guy’s head. I laugh every time i see it. And then to watch the guy get up after being hit only to have the guy throw it at him again. It’s hilarious every time, and never gets old.”    --Chryshele

“The one I love the most is the Dairy Queen blizzard commercial where the guy on the plane is trying to load his bag into the overhead compartment, but the guy sitting next to him keeps eating his blizzard and the first guy keeps dropping his bag on this ladies head and it just cracks me up how he just can’t keep this guy from eating his blizzard. I watched it a million times during Wimbledon and laughed hard every time and had tears in my eyes telling my husband about it.”    --LaurieAnn

“I am so surprised no one mentioned the Wendy’s commercial with the raccoons. I swear I almost peed my pants the first time I saw this commercial. This is the one where the raccoons are bored with the food from the garbage can and they steal an SUV, backing up through a garage door. The best part was the raccoon in the passenger seat screaming as the SUV makes a sharp turn through an intersection. The whole commercial runs pretty quick and I couldn’t stop laughing.”    --Jeff

“I can’t get enough of Ted Ferguson - Bud Light Daredevil and his death defying stunts such as staying at work 5 minutes late on a Friday or avoiding looking at a table of hot chicks while on a date with his girlfriend. Makes me laugh everytime.”    --Matt

“The absolute best commercial on television is the one with the Aflac duck and Yogi Berra. Berra is in a barbershop zinging his witticisms left and right and the expressions on the guys around him are just priceless. I’ve seen the commercial dozens of times and I laugh out loud every time. It’s a great, great ad!”    --Holly

“Love the UPS Truck commercial where Dale Jarrett comes in off the track for a tire change! The guy has only what seems like a hundred lugs to remove and then takes the wheel off to find another another one behind it! Just caught me off guard the first time I watched it and I laughed till the tears ran down. Now I watch for it to come on just so I can see the funny look on the Dale’s face. Love a commercial that can really give you an old fashioned belly laugh.”    --Maureen

“Best Commercial: The one with the cat making copies of charts by painting with its paw in the conference room. The meow gets me laughing every time.”    --Karolyn

“The best commercial is for Windex. It is a bird saying “watch this” and then flying over to a door and closing it. A person then walks towards the door thinking it’s open and smashes into it....then the birds start laughing. I crack up everytime I see it.”    --David

“I think the best commercial I’ve seen is a Beef Jerky ad... It’s called Messin’ With Sasquatch. These three young guys spot Sasq. asleep and leave their binoculars on a stump for Sasq. to find them. Mean while they sneak away to hide, chew on Beef Jerky and watch what happens. Sure enough Sasq. wakes up , spots the binocs., tries them and when the binocs are off, there are two big black circles around Sasq. ‘s eyes. The three guys are laughing like hell ( and so was I ) as chasing them.”    --Theresa

“I absolutely love the Career commercials with the chimps (I forgive them for saying “monkeys”—given the IQ of the average TV watcher, I can let them use shorthand to make the point). My wife comments about how I smile whenever one comes on with chimps in cubes and suits... very clever.”    --David

“My favorite new commercial is the Snickers commercial where a guy with a guitar comes and sings the “song of satisfaction” for the worker eating the Snickers bar. The song is really catchy and amusing, and I love the way the man eating the Snickers gets caught up in the song and starts singing along. I don’t mind seeing the commercial a few times a day, it’s great! For some reason, the alternate version of the commercial that has the guitar guy singing the “song of satisfaction” with the backdrop of caramel and chocolate and so forth is only half as entertaining as the original commercial.”    --Lydia

“One of my favorite all time commercials is the one for Nissan where there’s a group of young guys riding in their truck. The one in the back is singing to Shania Twain’s “I Feel Like a Woman.” I love the looks the other guys are giving him, and I love that he’s so into it and carefree. His little whoop at the end is priceless. I feel good every time I see it.”    --Julie

Multi-link Monday: Coke's secret; pricey M&Ms

I'm still weaving Multi-link Monday into each week of commercial discussion. I'm about to head out on a business trip, so we'll see how consistent the schedule stays after that. Keep sending in your Monday random linkage nominees, as well as your commercial commentary. Thanks!

• I was absolutely fascinated by of Coca-Cola workers accused of trying to sell secrets to Pepsi. In this age of terrorist plots and other horrors, it just seems like a throwback to a simpler, goofier age of scandal. The workers are accused of trying to peddle trade secrets about a new product (please, let it be caffeine-free Diet Coke with Lime). But many thought the scam somehow involved Coke's famous secret formula. Which, a poster points out, Yeah, like I'll be whipping this up at home any time soon. Pass the 30 pounds of sugar, please.

• Some say artist Jackson Pollock freed the line. Yeah, I don't know what that means either, but at , you can play with colors and splatters in a way reminiscent of the artist's work. Move your mouse around to make splatters, stop it to make a blot, and start up again to change colors. Very cool!

• You can read through numerous movie reviews via the Internet Movie Database, but what about when you want to find book reviews? and other bookstore sites have some, but I've just learned about , which gathers links to major reviews of recent releases. A useful bookmark for bookish types.

• M&Ms have gone gourmet. You can order , but as a junk-food junkie on a budget, I must protest. You have to buy a $50 tin? Where's the $5 sample bag? Anyway, the creatively named flavors include Eat, Drink and Be Cherry, A Day at the Peach, and Nut What You Think. For $50, they darn well better not melt in your hand. (Thank to my friend Ann for the link!)

Reader-submitted link: Thanks to Karolyn for this one: "Here's . There are pictures and videos of the presidential pooches. You can click on the pictures to make them bigger and the ones from 2004 have a whole month's worth of pictures. Some of the pictures are really funny."