Wednesday, August 8, 2007

A confederacy of duh-nces

There are a lot of smug commercials out there, desperate to get you to switch to their product by insinuating that it's the cool or smart thing to do. Very few of them, however, are quite this in-your-face about the viewer's need to clue in.

The "Big Duh" sales event. Someone actually came up with this name, and someone else - indeed, surely an entire room full of people - agreed that it was a great idea and that Hyundai should get started on insulting car buyers by saying that getting a Hyundai is the "duh" thing to do.

The TV ads aren't nearly as bad as the radio ones I've heard, featuring the "World's Smartest Person," an insufferable prick with a British accent whose three claims to fame are his head for not-terribly-obscure trivia, his overwhelming attitude of superiority, and his belief that buying a Hyundai constitutes a "big duh." Fuck that guy right in the ear.

But in the absence of that, the TV versions are plenty bad. First, there's the painful a cappella replacing every note with "duh," as though it's actually easy to distinguish that from any other a cappella note. Fortunately, we have a smarmy voiceover ready to show up at the 12-second mark.

Some self-satisfied dickbag in a recording booth: "The word 'duh.' As in, it's obvious. It's a no-brainer."

This commercial underestimates the viewing public so much that it thinks we need not one but two synonyms for the word "duh," a word (if you can even call it that) of which anyone over the age of five already knows the definition. The guy even sounds like he's talking down to you as he's saying it. And this is Hyundai, for fuck's sake. I would expect this from, I don't know, that guy in the Lexus ads? That guy is a douche.

Dickbag who might, actually, be Kelsey Grammer now that I think about it: "Like a great deal. On a great car."

In J.D. Power and Associates' Initial Quality Study for 2007, Hyundai rated, across the board, "about average." I'm guessing that among the 25 other manufacturers that rated about as good as or better than Hyundai, there are occasionally other great deals to be had. But hell, what do I know?

Dickbag, in somehow even more dickish fashion than before: "Hit the duh switch. The Hyundai Big Duh Sales Event."

Incidentally, are we going to see some proof that Hyundai's cars actually are great, or that their deals are actually good? Most car commercials are endless parades of terms and legalese, and yet Hyundai really just wants you to remember the supposed "Duh"-ness of their deals. Not what they, you know, actually are. But wait, some might actually be coming:

For some reason, a totally different announcer: "Get up to $2000 cash back on a 2007 Hyundai Tucson V6, rated Best in Class vehicle satisfaction by AutoPacific."

I love the term "cash back" because it strikes me as seriously disingenuous. It's a rebate; all that means in the end is that you're being charged a little less. Why not just say "Save $2,000 on a 2007 Hyundai Tucson?" Because people like the idea of "here's some cash!" Also, it makes your cars sound less cheap if you pretend they cost more and then just turn around and hand the money over. It's win-win!

And just why is the Duh Tabernacle Choir singing the Mission: Impossible theme? The cars in this ad are SUVs and compact SUVs. Am I supposed to think that these reliably average cars are somehow sexy or appealing? Come on, Hyundai, everyone knows your niche. Like, duh.


Quivering P. Landmass said...

Just saw another ad of this same campaign tonight that featured Beethoven's Fifth. I think that works a little better because that's how people usually represent the notes when they scat it out, "Duh duh duh DUH...", also, you don't have to pay royalties to use it.

One way it doesn't work? Beethoven is "smart people music" and this is a commercial aimed at, apparently, idiots. Hyundai's really putting all their eggs in the "Stupid" demographic.

The Rage said...

I resent the "Holi-Duh" ads as it's also demeaning and exploitive of the entire Thanksgiving/Christmas season.
Call me old, but I correct people when they use the terms "Turkey Day" and "X-Mas" in place of the more sacred names.

The problem is, ads like this "stick" in people's minds IF repeated enough.
The negative reaction is seen as a "positive" kinda' like the idea that there's no such thing as BAD Publicity.

Anonymous said...

this ad campaign is probably the biggest fucking piece of shit advertising i have ever seen in my life.

I could see these ad morons high fiving each other, selling this shit to a client that is perhaps as dumd as their agency, probably dumber to let this shit fly.

I hate fucking stupid marketers and double that for the asshole CMO's that think they are smart, cool and intelligent. TAKE THIS SHIT OFF THE AIR

Anonymous said...

who is the dil-duh that came up with this shit?

Anonymous said...

anyone who writes, produces, art directs or approves these fucked up car ads should be run over by the very car they are pushing

Jue said...

DUH....This is absolutely the stupidest campaign to date. You can tell an executive came up with it and liked it. Only an executive could be so arrogant to think this was a great idea.

Quivering P. Landmass said...

Ahhh, vitriol. Looks like Hyundai has a winner on its hands.