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Test Pattern: Movie-quiz madness

Movie-quiz madness; 1970s stickers; Google game; SkittleBrau; Acme. By Gael Fashingbauer Cooper

Five-link Friday: Movie-quiz madness

Here’s the Test Pattern schedule for the next three business days. Today, I’ll offer up the usual five-link Friday. Monday, I’ll share your thoughts on public-service announcements (and that odd Snickers ad). And then Tuesday, barring last-minute changes, we’ll present this year’s best and worst commercials. Thanks so much for all of your e-mails this summer. Are those the breezes of fall blowing through the window? Nooooo!

• I love the . Look at a collection of themed photos (movie characters , or , for just two examples). Now try to identify the movie the photo comes from. (Warning: Not all photos — or movies — are rated G.)

• Children of the ‘70s, do you remember? For me, it’s the Charlie’s Angels cut-out heads, the fluffy-cat stickers, the Snoopy shapes, and of course, the round scratch-n-sniffs at the very end. Oh, the memories. (Via .)

• Entertaining little time-waster: The game pulls up 20 images found in a Google Images search, and you guess the term used to get them.

• Remember the “Simpsons” episode where Homer requested SkittleBrau at the Kwik-E-Mart? Someone called the Crazy Engineer .

• Looney Toons fans do all their shopping from the I’d like two anvils, one do-it-yourself tornado kit, and one jet-propelled unicycle, please.

ABCs of PSAs

OK, why are the hunters throwing Snickers bars at deer? Because I haven't seen that commercial, and a lot of you are writing in about it, and I ... don't get it. E-mail if you can explain, or at least set up the scenario.

Our commercial contest will end next week, but before we leave the world of commercials, I wanted to delve into the sidebar of public-service announcements, inspired by a note from Amy, whose subject line was "I quit smoking 20 years ago because of Yul Brynner's warning."

Her note goes on to say: " '60 Minutes' did a piece with Yul Brynner shortly before he died. He spoke about the ad you mentioned in your blog. He had already taped it and I think they ran either some or all of it during the piece. Watching that 60 Minutes piece helped me change my life. Just last month, on the 29th to be exact, was the 20th anniversary of the day I quit smoking. BTW — Along with the tear on the Indian's cheek, Yul Brynner's spot has to be one of the top PSAs ever."

We've all seen the PSAs. (Heh, try Googling "top PSAs." It asks if you meant "top spas.") From "This is your brain on drugs" to "Only you can prevent forest fires" to the recent one of the kids smoking marijuana and then running over a bicycling child at a fast-food drive-thru. (Message: The Munchies make you a murderer!) The crying Indian (this was before we said Native American, folks) anti-littering spot that Amy mentions has got to be one of the most classic. A Web page from the Ad Council mentions , and even lets you watch them online.

Tell us your favorites, your least favorites, or recall the ones that were just bizarre. We'll talk PSAs before we move on to the commercial winners and then an entirely different subject. I know that can't be too soon for some of you.

Bad-ad finalists

I've received at least one more note complaining that the commercial contest has just gone on too long. Well no worries, we're wrapping things up quickly. We'll announce the winner and loser next Tuesday, Aug. 23. I was going to wait another week, but it just feels like time to move on.

On Monday I asked you to send in the name or description of the one ad that absolutely drives you nuts, the absolute worst ad on TV today. Digger the Dermatophyte is still ineligible, of course, having won (lost?) last year.

While some are definitely sending in ads we haven't talked up yet, it seems clear that three ads are vying for the title. In alphabetical order by product, they are:

Bad ad #1: The Burger King with the creepy plastic head.
Says Liz: "Any ads that include the creepy plastic-headed king from Burger King have got to be classified up there as the worst. Waking up next to him like in one version is my worst nightmare."

Bad ad #2: The Pepto-Bismol danceline, a.k.a. "Pepto-Dismal."
Says Jennifer: "The Pepto dance line is definitely the worst ever. I mean, do you know 15 people who will all get up and dance around, reveling in the bowel problems together, conga-line style? Please."

Bad ad #3: Gee! Did you know Tampax can be used to stop a leak in a boat!Says Libby: "By far, the worst is the tampon-in-the-boat commercial. Not only do I vehemently despise the ad because it’s simply gross, but I also hate it because it forces me to think “Would that WORK? Could you really plug up a small hole in a boat with a tampon?” And I hate myself for wasting my brainpower on that thought."

Other ads coming in for mentions:"My vote for the worst commercial is the horrible Fantana girls. I had my fill of them when I would go to the movies and now they have invaded my home. I can take no more, they are even worse than the Spice Girls, which I am guessing, was the influence for this hideous ensemble. That commercial deserves to be burned."       —Julie

"I think the worst commercial on TV is the one where the hunters throw SNICKERS bars at a deer. Whats up with that?"    —Sandy

"I’m not sure exactly what you’d call it, but it’s the Honey Bunches of Oats commercial. Where that woman with the poofy white hair net screams “Are you hungry?!?” At the beginning of the commercial. You have no warning it’s coming, so you can’t mute it... I seriously want to hit her. It’s a cereal, if people like it, they’ll buy it. Her yelling at you at all times of the day is completely unnecessary."    —Danille

"I hate the Highlander —Toyota of course — commercial that shows an irresponsible woman driving to work while primping [and] putting on her makeup. Then she gets to work and see another woman who did the same thing but without the great suspension. I would prefer to see both the idiot women broadsided while driving or back-ending another vehicle. More realistic I would think."    —Anonymous

"I think that the Sonic ad campaigns are some of the worst. Sure, they finally get around to mentioning the product, but otherwise it’s just a lot of bull. And don’t forget Hardee's —t hey’ve had to resort to sexual inuendo and hiring ex-porn stars to get their products out there. Sighs..sex sells."   —Mitch

"I hate Bob. No wait, I hate apple crumbcake lady. No, Bob. I’m sorry it is for two ads but I just loathe them so much. Bob is way beyond creepy and the cake lady is so naive and her lisp is really annoying."     —Brandy

• Aug. 15, 2005 |

Name the worst ad

This summer, the commercial contest has been an odd one. With out of the running because he won last year, the worst commercial title is really up for grabs. And while lots of ads are vying for the top spot (the , the GE elephant, etc.), you're much more split on which recent ad is the worst on TV. We've named a bunch, including the Fantanas, the tampon in the boat ad, Coke's updated "I'd like to teach the world to sing" ad, Baby Bob for Quizno's, Raisin Bran Crunch and the unfireable Johnson, the Sunday Ticket singers, the Pepto-Dismol danceline, and many more. Yet none of them has really taken a wide lead.

So here's my request: Even if you've written in before, go ahead and send another note if you feel like it, and just name the ONE ad that you personally feel should win this year's Worst Commercial dishonor. It's OK if it's been mentioned here, and it's OK if it hasn't. Limit it to one ad though (or ad campaign), no matter how tough it is to narrow it down. We'll see if that new e-mail campaign puts one bad ad over the top.

Blocked the bad ads from your mind? Here are links to some of our past discussions of the bad, the badder, and the worse:

Coke, Liberty Mutual, Cingular, Toyota and more

Raisin Bran Crunch, David Spade says no, Sunday Ticket, Baby Bob

Ads about oh-so-personal products

First poll of best/worst ads

•  Burger King, Axe, bratty kid

OnStar, apple crumbcake lady, Charmin bears

And here's a note from one anonymous reader: "Uh, I'm sorry...maybe I missed something. When did this WHOLE column become about commercials? I'm sorry, just not that interesting to me. Maybe once a week would be enough to cover this topic that has frankly become tedious."

Well, summer Fridays have never been about commercials, and I've also broken away from the topic to cover the deaths of James "Scotty" Doohan and Catherine Woolley, secrets of "Lost," the "American Dreams" cast moving on, and other variations. But yes, summer is commercial discussion time, and we've only got two weeks left. So if it's become tedious, check back after Labor Day, when I assure you we'll have moved on to another topic. One person's tedium is another person's summer fun, after all.