Friday, July 18, 2008

Gray's anathema

Move over, SalesGenie "Puppies" ad. I think we may have a new winner for "Most Revoltingly Manipulative Ad Involving Children."

It's a slight departure from Just for Men's usual pitch, which tends to be much more blatantly "Get rid of that gray hair if you want to get laid, Grandpa." But I'm not sure it's a good departure.

Older Daughter [shoving the younger daughter forward]: "Let's go."

Man, take some responsibility. You know she's pushing the younger kid forward just in case Dad hates what they're about to say. "Dad, you need to dye your hair." "WHAT???" "It was Kaitlyn's idea! And she says you should punish her by giving me her allowance!"

Older Daughter: "Dad?"
Dad: "Hm?"
Older Daughter: "It's time."

So far this could be about anything. Old Yeller needs to be put down?

Younger Daughter [with the most nauseatingly cute line reading in history]: "You'd be a really nice catch for somebody!"

"Anybody. Seriously. We don't care who, as long as they can cook. I've eaten Hot Pockets every night for the last two years and it's gotta stop."

I love the shocked/horrified look the dad gives as he lowers the paper. It's like he thinks they're here to drag him off to Carousel or something. Which, in a way, they sort of are.

Daughters [producing a package of Just for Men]: "Pleeeeease?"

God, the music in this ad. Is this a Just for Men commercial or an episode of The Waltons?

Announcer: "Just for Men takes five easy minutes, targets only the gray hair, and can start... something great."

Just for the record, I don't think I believe that it "targets only the gray hair." How the hell would it know? Just for Men doesn't contain tiny gnomes with paint brushes... or does it? (No.)

Dad [taking picture of himself with woman]: "For my girls."

"Hey, uh, no pressure, lady, but they're expecting a new mommy. Be prepared for a full and intense scrutiny of your looks, demeanor, and overall parenting skills until they leave for college."

Daughters [upon seeing photo]: "Yes!!" [high five]

Um, did he leave those kids home alone? The older one can't be older than, what, 10 or 11? Was she really left in charge? No wonder this guy needs a woman so badly; he clearly has the worst parental decision-making skills in history. "Okay, girls, while I'm off on my date you be good. Lindsey, there's some chicken in the fridge; I wrote down how to operate the fryer. Remember, if a grease fire starts, you can't pour water on it, okay? Love you!"

Older Daughter: "I'm glad we did it!"

The "Yes!" and high-five weren't enough of a tip-off, apparently. Is this commercial even aimed at men, or is it aimed at nosy little girls looking for hair dye products for Dad? "I'm glad we did it - and you could be glad too, other nine-year-olds! If your dad's getting laid, he'll probably buy you more toys! I mean, I'm a little girl and apparently I have a cell phone!"

Announcer: "Just for Men." [tagline: "Stay in the game."]

For the record, the guy they used in this ad didn't exactly seem to have the grayest hair in the world. But either way, I've always hated the way the Just for Men ads imply that gray hair is somehow appalling and repulsive. There's another one of these ads out now where a guy is forced to dye his hair to get a better job so he can spend more time with his kid - also incredibly manipulative - and most of them focus on how women are going to reject any guy with gray hair. Which is why it kills me that they're now advertising "Just for Men Touch of Gray," the ad for which shows guys with gray hair doing all the things that every other Just for Men ad would tell you can't be done by guys with gray hair. Make up your fucking mind, Just for Men. Is gray hair so pathetic and embarrassing that your daughters have to shame you into getting rid of it so you can get a date, or is it cool and hip and watch me on this surfboard? Say... you wouldn't be crassly pandering to both sides of the issue, would you?

I do have one good thing to say about these new Just for Men ads, though: at least Keith Hernandez and Walt "Clyde" Frazier are nowhere near them.


Quivering P. Landmass said...

Hopefully whoever is in charge of marketing over at Just for Men got over his man-crush on Hernandez and Frazier. But the alternative isn't much better.

Speaking as someone who has a step-parent, it's not like, as a kid, you get automatically psyched about your father/mother dating someone. It's actually a really scary thing that brings on a lot of different emotions. High-fiving and exclaiming "yes!" because your dad just got some tail? Yeah, that never happens.

Tyler said...

I'm left wondering where the kids got the Just For Men from. Did they sneak off to Walgreens?

Beth said...

I just want to say that I think you're hilarious! I got here after I saw that horse laxative ad on TV and had to look (google) for some possible explanation for its existence. I've been reading your commentary since then, and have been laughing out loud. Thanks very much.

Anonymous said...

This is one of those ads that at first you don't really think about it, but than you think about it and think What the fuck?