iOS app Android app More

Chris Kelly

Chris Kelly

Posted: December 8, 2008 09:26 PM

Save $125 Million, And Enjoy the Show!


If Barack Obama is looking to save money next year, he might want to reexamine the $125 million we spent in 2008 on a program encouraging oafs to use their cell phones while I'm trying to watch a movie.

I'm talking about the money the Army National Guard gave LM&O Advertising to put that douchebag Kid Rock video in front of every movie I saw this year; the video that tells you to get on your cell phone -- right now! -- and hear it again.

You know the one. And if you don't, here it is:

And why shouldn't you watch it, fellow taxpayer? As Laurie Anderson would say, "Ha! Ha! Ha! You've already paid for this."

You've paid $125,000,000.

Of course that's not all up there on the screen. That's the entire National Guard contract with LM&O Advertising of Arlington, Va. And $125 million dollars might seem like a lot of money, but it's still only about 5/6ths the size of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Wanna watch it again?

Why did it cost so much money to make a two and a half minute film? Here's Dave Marinaccio, creative director of LM&O:

"In theaters, your competition isn't Bank of America, American Express, Coca-Cola or McDonald's. It's Batman, Iron Man and Meryl Streep. If you're going to play in that field you need to do it right or not at all."

Which is why they -- we -- hired an Academy Award-winning director, James Mangold, and a brilliant, Academy Award-nominated cinematographer, Wally Pfister.

(And then we put Kid Rock in it. As my friend Larry Doyle once said, "It's like buying a Ming vase and filling it with dog shit.")

And then they -- we -- put it on 27,079 screens in 3,117 theaters for two months. Which sounds like a long time, but it's barely twice the original theatrical run of Citizen Kane.

LM&O claim that the two-month run "generat(ed) over 124 million impressions," but I can only name two: "Oh, no" and "Oh, no, not again."

I feel like 124 million is the number of times I've sat through it myself.

(And I still don't see the Afghan village scene coming. Do you? The part where Afghani Elijah Wood's soccer ball rolls in front of the convoy, and the convoy stops, and the National Guard guy gets out and kicks it back? I'll bet that happens all the time.)

(My second favorite part? The way that douchebag Kid Rock screams "I AM LOYALTY!" just as Dale Earnhardt Jr. bangs into those other cars and they explode. Were the other drivers being disloyal? Am I missing something?)

(And that awful song. Like Bob Seger does death metal for PlayStation.)

Then, even when you think it's finally over, Dale Earnhardt Jr. comes out and invites the audience to get on their cell phones.

Think about it:

1. You're being forced to watch a commercial at the movies.
2. It's for a war there's a 50% chance you despise.
3. They made it with your money.
4. This douchebag Kid Rock is in it.
5. He's browbeating you about how he's a better citizen than you are.
6. Now turn on your cell phone. The feature's about to start.

And people say we haven't been asked to sacrifice.

It's like the folks at the Pentagon got "recruiting" and "enhanced interrogation" mixed up.

Here's LM&O account executive Jason Fulmines:

"You have a captive audience. And after they're looking at ad after ad, this gives them something different to do."

And what's the American way to treat captives? Force them to watch propaganda and howl in their faces about freedom.

We may never know how much "Warrior" actually cost to produce. The Department of Defense has spent about $1.5 billion a year since 2001 on recruiting and advertising, but it doesn't break out advertising from its overall recruitment and advertising budget.

$1.5 billion sounds like a lot of money, but it's only ten times the budget of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

I don't know where the producers of "Warrior" found Afghanistan's cleanest village, but it sure looks like a redressed Mexican village on some movie ranch considerably closer to Santa Clarita than Kabul. The parade at the end was shot on Seinfeld Street at CBS Radford in Studio City.

The same lot where John Wayne had his fake war in Sands of Iwo Jima.

And where they made Gilligan's Island.

Who didn't have an exit strategy either.