Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Kia knows their history

Have you ever heard the name "Millard Fillmore"? Perhaps in a high school American History class where you were browsing the names of various presidents, his name might have caught your eye. He was the president sandwiched between Zachary Taylor and Franklin Pierce -- an unremarkable trio of minor American leaders, to be sure, but I really thought I knew the identity of Millard Fillmore -- that was, of course, until Kia had the good sense to tell me otherwise:

President Millard Fillmore...

Right! I knew it. He was president.

... best remembered as the first president to have a running water bathtub...

Wrong. Kia -- listen to me, you have to know this is fucking apocryphal. A tiny iota of research will prove this to be true. I mean, aren't there factcheckers you can hire to take a look at your shitty ads? Or maybe this is a "joke"? But, you just look stupid if it's a joke because you make this myth sound real.

The funny thing is, there's a large amount of comedic material about Millard Fillmore that isn't fake. For starters, he was a Whig. Just that very word is funny. Also, he was born in a log cabin. His first job was as a clothmaker. He started the White House library (he was a nerd! That's funny!) He had a third nipple and named it "Professor Milkington" (I just made this up, but it's funnier than the bath tub joke, and that's just a joke stolen from H.L. Mencken.)

The other stupid part about this concept is that there are plenty of more obscure presidents out there they could have used -- presidents that don't have well-known comic strips named after them. William Henry Harrison was president for 31 days. John Tyler didn't do a whole lot, and he was a "Democrat-Republican" (make up your mind for Pete's sake! Am I right?). Zachary Taylor wasn't in office for much more than a year, being the guy who died right before the ever-unheard-of Fillmore.

... he's unheard-of....

See, you say that, but I distinctly recall his name, and something about his being a goddam American president. We're anonymous here at the Ad Wizards, but I will go on record now as saying that my profession is not that of Presidential Historian. And yet, somehow, I'd heard of this guy. I'll grant you that he's an order of magnitude less famous than, say, George Washington, but can we agree that he's not exactly some small town Vermont Alderman from the early 19th century who died of typhus at age 58?

So we're honoring him during Kia's Unheard Of Presidents' Day Sale

Look, it's not that I'm some huge Millard Fillmore fan. Dude signed the Fugitive Slave Act -- that's bad juju. It's just that I think the people who made these ads are really, really stupid, and they've made the terrible assumption, like many advertisers sadly do, that Americans are as dumb as they are. Hey Kia? We're just not that retarded. Sorry.

To commemorate Millard's bathtime, we've created this Millard Fillmore soap-on-a-rope.

Can someone explain to me why this is funny? This simply appears to be more stupid pandering. We're not dumb enough to believe that an American President can truly be "unheard of," and we're not dumb enough to find that kind of goofy, punny humor funny. I can't wait for this to go off the air next week.

So, who wants to go buy a car on Monday?


Windier E. Megatons said...

Perhaps the dumbest part of the ad is that Kia is using multiple definitions for "unheard of." When they say that Fillmore is "unheard of," they mean "Not many people have heard of him." When they say that their deals are "unheard of," they're using the colloquial definition of it, meaning "Astonishing!" or "Awe-inspiring!" or whatever. Yet the very premise of the ad is that Fillmore was the exact opposite of those adjectives. Unless I should be assuming that Kia's deals are not well-known? There's probably a reason for that. (Hint: it has to do with their ads sucking ass.)

Jean517 said...

This ad is one of the worst I've seen. It's annoying and I find myself changing the channel every time it starts, which is about every 10 minutes. Why is Millard Filmore funny? I'm not buying a KIA based on the stupidity of that ad.

Cathy said...

well, the advertisers have done their job because stupid or not they're supposed to make you remember the product.

but you're not supposed to sit there and try to figure out what what they're trying to tell you. unheard of presidents===unheard of deals. ok. shrugs.

personally it's hard to find good advertising anymore, this is definitely not inspiring. i've never seen it tho. but then i don't watch a lot of tv.

lol...ok, i change my comment, the advertisers didn't do such a good job...here i am just seconds later and i remember millar fillmore.. and soap on a rope...lol...but i can't remember the product other than a car deal.lol.

hope they didn't pay TOO much.