Sunday, September 23, 2007

Rolling on the floor ranting my ass off

Say you brought Dane Cook, Jay Mohr and Sinbad into a room together, gave them all the weed and booze they wanted, and told them to make jokes for 12 straight hours. You'd probably wind up with a good amount of mediocre-to-dismal comedy. Even their least funny utterance, however, would be a laugh riot compared to this unspeakably rancid ad:

Mother: Beth Ann, 3,000 texts last month?

Beth Ann is kind of a strange name to pick for a :30 spot. Aren't the names supposed to be commonplace, simple and unobtrusive? Anyway, apparently the daughter text messages a lot on her phone. Continue with this premise - I like where it's headed!

Beth Ann: (in mid-text message) NWRUS?

Ahh, people talking as though they were texting! Yes, this was necessary. Someone needed to use this idea on national television. This kind of hilarity was just begging for air time.

Also, "NWRUS" returns just over 1,000 hits on Google. This is not internet slang. This is annoying tripe a copywriter just shat out.

Mother: (to Beth Ann) That wasn't a compliment. (to son) Sean, 1,000 texts?!
Sean: U-G-H.

What? "Ugh" is a motherfreaking word! Sean isn't using text message shorthand, he's just spelling out a regular word. Not that I endorse showcasing obnoxious internet slang as your ad concept, but was there nothing else you could think of that would make sense? Why not just make up something like you did with Beth Ann's line? "Mother: Sean, 1,000 texts?! Sean: HSTASAB (Holy Shit This Ad Sucks Ape Balls)."

Also, is it not doubly offensive that they thought they needed to show "Ugh" in subtitles?

Mother: (to grandma) And you, you're old enough to know better.
Grandma: MYOB, will ya?

Again, thank you for spelling out "will ya" on-screen.

Father: (admonishing) Grandma...
Mother: Mom, who could you be texting?
Grandma: IDK, my BFF Rose?

Now, this line, aside from being the most odious one in the entire spot, is a reference to this other brain-punishing commercial. But take a look at grandma's line there. Read it aloud. Stare at the abbreviations on the screen. Let it fester in your head for a few minutes until you start getting twitchy. Now realize that someone had to find that funny. Someone had to say, "Yep, go ahead and make that commercial." Someone thought, "This is the best possible way to represent our family text plan - by annoying the sweet, living motherfuck out of every human who sees our ad."

On the upside, I believe Cingular is the first company ever to make an ad that utilizes the inherent comedy in "old people humorously doing something normally only young people do."

EDIT: After doing some research, it turns out I was wrong. Cingular is, in fact, the 17,615th brand to use this comedic device in an ad. They were just behind Chicken In A Biskit, but, strangely, beat out PoliGrip.

Announcer: Now get a texting plan the whole family can NJOY.

Again, this is not even a thing! "NJOY"?!? You cannot mix comedic devices like that! You cannot use both real abbreviations and ones-you-just-made-up interchangeably! I hope the hacks who banged this one out could finally retire after this aired.

Announcer: Cingular's name is now AT&T.

Then why do we keep having to suffer Cingular commercials?

Overall, we deserve better than this. America deserves better. I feel bad for my television that it had to show me this ad. I feel bad for myself that I had to sit here and transcribe it. The thing is -- no one enjoys having to text. I think we'd all prefer, if we could, to communicate in a real way. If not in person then at least over the phone. Texting sucks. Texting is something you do when you'd rather be speaking, or you'd rather not be communicating at all with someone. Along with PowerPoint, text messaging has set back the English language to Newspeak levels. This commercial, aside from being shamefully unfunny, only encourages the further acceptance of ludicrous abbreviations and moronic-sounding slang into our language and our culture. We need to fight back! Speak in complete sentences! Read Strunk & White! Google words you don't understand! Mute hacky commercials that try to talk to you like you're stupid!

One day, these poor souls who have commented on this ad on YouTube with crap like "lo lol lol lol lol lol!!!!!!!!" and "'MYOB will ya.' lol so funny!" will watch or read or listen to something that's actually funny. It almost certainly will not be a television commercial. But it will improve their brains to the point where they might think about ads like Cingular's and wonder how they ever humored that kind of garbage at all.


Windier E. Megatons said...

Further stupidity: it's not like "MYOB" is some hip new bit of text-message slang. It's been a pretty common abbreviation for "mind your own business" for literally decades. It, also, probably did not require a subtitle.

The thing that pisses me off about the stuff Cingular invents is not that they invented it but that it's stuff that would make no sense to any human being. NWRUS? How is anyone supposed to parse that? It reads like the abbreviated name of some government insitution, like the National Wildlife Reserve of the United States.

Andrew N.P. said...

NWRUS stands for many things. It does not stand for "No wai, srsly?" What's depressing is that people are starting to use it that way, precisely because of this crappy commercial. Thank you very much, BBDOATL.

Quivering P. Landmass said...

As of 4:45 EST on 9/26/07, the 5th return on Google of NWRUS is AdWizards. So, well done, Cingular/AT&T.

Anonymous said...

I disagree completely. This ad is one of the best I have ever seen. It made me laugh and smile.

Quivering P. Landmass said...

That's great! Good for you! Did you rush out and change your plan to Cingular? Did you drive all night to the nearest Cingular store and say "I'm sold! Sign me up for you texting plan, good sirs! Who am I talking to? 'IDK, my BFF Rose'! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA."

Because if it was "one of the best you've ever seen" then that's what you would have done. That's what ads are supposed to do - make you buy shit. Sway opinion. "Laughing" and "smiling" are two nice little side-effects of commercials -- not the goal. So, I can guarantee you that Cingular doesn't give a flying fuck if you liked the ad. All they care about is if you use their product. But you probably work for the company/ad agency anyway.

Anonymous said...

NWRUS = No Way aRe yoU Serious