Friday, January 18, 2008

Vote or diet

One of the hoariest expressions in the English language is "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions." That's probably a little strong for this Pizza Hut ad, but no matter how nobly-intentioned it is, it's really just not any good.

"Say, did you hear about RECENT POLITICAL NEWS? Those fat cats should do what's best for the common, pizza-eating man! I may just vote on LUDICROUSLY OVER-GENERALIZED POLICY ISSUE!"

Perhaps it's because the spot doesn't actually sell their product, but Pizza Hut doesn't seem to have given this ad much of a budget. It looks like it was filmed with two theater majors on the first day of improv class; I refuse to insult Pizza Hut's marketing team by suggesting that any of the dialogue actually needed to be written down on paper.

Guy 1: "What's up?"
Guy 2: "Just eating some pizza. Check this out. Look at all these presidential candidates talking about change. They're gonna change this, change that... know what I'd like? A little extra change in my pocket."

Sir, I congratulate you. A play on words worthy of Shakespeare. Seriously, could that joke be any older? I think the first recorded use was in this vaudeville routine from 1896:

Archibald T. Blatherschmidt: "I say, Bartleby, that William Jennings Bryan is always talking about silver. Silver this, silver that... know what I'd like?"
Bartleby J. Straightman: "What is it that you would like, Archibald?"
Archibald T. Blatherschmidt: "A little extra silver in my pocket!"
[general merriment]

Guy 1: "I hear you. I may just sit this election out!"
Guy 2: "No, come on, man, you've got a voice! Go use it! You know, you can change history if you just vote."
Guy 1: "Yeah, you're right - I'm voting!"

I hope he isn't that easily swayed when it comes to policy issues. The youth vote has been notoriously hard to mobilize, but the idea of millions of college kids marching to the polls because Pizza Hut told them to is a little weird, isn't it? And what kind of twisted logic leads you to conclude that an unhappiness with the current state of political affairs - whatever that means in this excessively generic case - means that not voting is the best idea, even if you're only concluding that for two seconds until your roommate uses his powers of persuasion on you?

Guy 1: "How about sharing a slice of pizza for a change?"

Ooh, callback! Nice, dude. Very nice.

Guy 2: "Dude, I... two??"

Well, that fell apart in a hurry, didn't it? Archibald Blatherschmidt's Sideshow of Mirth always made much more graceful exits. They just don't make 'em like they used to.

I'm just confused. Did this win some student film contest of which we were not notified? Was this the only take shot with the lens cap off? There has to be some reason for why something so generally limp and shoddy made it to air, doesn't there? I appreciate the sentiment, Pizza Hut, but given the cynicism of the demographic you're targeting, I think you needed something just a little less shitty. Not every argument on the merits of voting can begin and end with, "No, dude, you totally should." And give Pizza Hut credit for not sticking a product shill into the ad - the Pizza Mia box gets placement, of course, but you kind of have to already know what it is to really recognize it as anything other than a generic Pizza Hut box - but it's kind of odd to see an ad that doesn't pitch a product, especially when the election is still more than nine months away. Think of all the kids rolling out of bed on November 5. "Hey, man, were we supposed to do something for Pizza Hut yesterday?" "Shit, dude, I don't know. You up for some Taco Bell?"


Quivering P. Landmass said...

Every company should have a "we've approved this ad" message at the end of their commercials. At least then we know if someone actually looked at the work before it went out the door. Although I guess that didn't stop anyone from green-lighting Pizza Hut's embarrassing piece of crap here.

Anonymous said...

Those two can vote for who has the worst hair.