Saturday, December 25, 2010

Mixed messages

In the time we've been doing this blog, Microsoft hasn't exactly been heavily on our radar, but they have had a couple of appearances thanks to ridiculous hyperbole and utter insanity. It's been more than two years since that last one, so we hoped that maybe they'd learned their lesson. Well... not entirely. Take a look at these two ads and tell me what Microsoft is actually trying to sell.

First things first: on its face, I actually like this ad a lot. It's funny (because it's true!), it's visually appealing, the music cue works perfectly. The message, however, is confusing if not entirely self-defeating. I'll turn things over for a minute to our own Knitwear M. Groundhog:

"It's based on a flawed premise. They're saying that the reason people waste time on their phones is because it takes too long to do things. In fact, people waste time on their phones because they enjoy doing things on their phone, so if you make it so that you can do that stuff faster, they're actually going to do MORE of it."

Indeed. As well-put-together as this commercial is, it can't hide the fact that its central conceit really does not make a lick of sense. The people shown in the commercial appear to be engrossed in their phones, not because they have slow download speeds or something but because they like going on Facebook, sending texts, playing games, whatever. "Saving people from their phones" hardly seems like a good marketing strategy when it's not clear that anyone is crying out to be saved from their phones. (Also, the guy on the phone while his wife - I assume - stands there in lingerie? That would never happen, ever.)

But wait! Does Microsoft want to get you off the phone and back to life? Or... don't they?

The basic concept of this ad is just idiotic. My girlfriend can't tell I'm playing X-Box Live? Uh, you're sitting there, staring at your phone, and moving it back and forth. She can tell you're playing X-Box Live. And even if she couldn't, she could certainly tell that you are doing nothing but staring at your phone. I'm going to ignore the whole avatar/"sexy dance" segment of this ad because it's stupid and also besides the point.

The point being this: which is it, Microsoft? Are your phones supposed to "get us in and out and back to life?" Or are they supposed to enable us to play video games literally anywhere, a development which the first ad certainly seemed to be raging against? One possibility, I suppose, is that Microsoft ran all those "Really?" ads and then people pointed out to them that the central idea of the ads was stupid and unproductive, so they decided to shift to "Uh, wait! So you want to stare at your phone incessantly no matter what we say? Well, then stare at our phones incessantly! We've got X-Box..."

Of course, once you've already suggested that everyone in the world is a phone zombie who should buy your phone so they won't be staring at it all the time, it's kind of hard to turn around and tout the features that will make them want to stare at it all the time. Would you ever see a car ad that made a big deal about how the car will get you from point A to point B quickly so you can just go about your day? No, you wouldn't. Making a commercial implying that your product should be used as little as possible is pretty much the essence of counterproductivity. It's easy to see why Microsoft shifted gears; unfortunately for them, we'd all already seen the initial ads.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

It's the cost that counts

So you want the most expensive thing in the store and your parents won't buy it for you. Instead, they offer you a lower-cost option that is pretty similar. What does this make them? That's right: inconsiderate assholes.

[Kid admiring undoubtedly expensive electric train set]
Mom: "How about this one? It's almost the same thing."
Kid: [insufferably] "No. It's not."

Fuck this kid, am I right? Your parents aren't obligated to buy you anything, you ungrateful little bastard.

Dad: "This one's great! It's just as good as the one you wanted."
Kid: "No... it's not."

This just makes me feel really bad for the dad. Listen to how he sells that first line. The mom seemed kind of noncommittal - "Eh, this other one seems okay, right?" - but the dad sounds legitimately invested in the quality of the guitar he's holding, and Flock of Seagulls just shits all over him. How much do you suppose that kid even knows about guitars? "Uh, hello, Dad? This guitar looks cooler and is five times more expensive, therefore it's better."

Guy: "That's the one."
Salesman: "Great choice."
Voiceover: "Don't settle for a copy when you can have the original."

If you can afford it, sure. I'm fairly certain that if Seagulls' dad was swimming in cash he'd have been happy to buy his obnoxious son whatever expensive guitar he wanted - so clearly he wasn't, meaning what we have is this douchebag kid griping every year because his middle-class parents can't and/or won't cater to his every whim. Great message, BMW. Hey, did your parents buy you exactly what you wanted for Christmas every year, no matter the price point? They didn't? Well, fuck them - treat yourself with a $40,000 luxury car this Christmas! Can you afford that? Who the fuck cares? You're an adult now and you don't settle for copies, whatever that means. Also, your kids eat cookies and ice cream for dinner and stay up as late as they want, because you're just the kind of guy who follows through on all the whiny shit he said as a ten-year-old when he didn't get his way.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Prince Charmin

There are various reasons why there hasn't been a post here for a while, and I won't bore you with explanations or excuses. But suffice it to say there haven't been a lot of really noteworthy ads to skewer lately, or at least not much to say about the really hateable ones. (We can't stand those Hyundai ads with the insufferable indie band, but how much can you say about that? They're just impossible to sit through.)

Well, leave it to the Charmin bears to bring us out of hibernation.

This commercial opens by implying that the Charmin bears are about to have sex. Sadly, that's the least distasteful thing about it.

[Charmin bear reaches for a square of toilet paper]
Announcer: "When you have a softer bath tissue, you can enjoy going more!"

I assume she means you can enjoy (going) more, but it's funnier to think that she means you can enjoy (going more). "Oh, this bath tissue is so soft, I just can't wait to get back in the bathroom for my next dump! Bring me all the baked beans in the land!"

Announcer: "While still using less."

Then apparently you can snuggle up against the leftover paper because it's just that goddamn soft. Come on, Charmin. It's still paper - I'm not wiping my ass with a silk handkerchief here.

Next it's the typical demonstration of how absorbent the paper is, which is always secretly the most disgusting part of any toilet paper commercial when you think about what it's going to be "absorbing." These commercials probably pass the old Metamucil commercial for "most ridiculous dancing around a subject that no one wants to hear about in a TV commercial, even if it is something everyone does."

Announcer: "Using less never felt so good!"

On the inside of your ass!

Announcer: "New Charmin Ultra Soft: Enjoy the Go."

"Enjoy the Go????" That is so unbelievably gross. Look, Charmin. It's nice that you want to make ass-wiping a more pleasant experience. But enjoy the go? Enjoy it? What the fuck is your problem? Bowel movements are a fact of life, not something that can be turned into an entertaining experience by the addition of a softer toilet paper. If you could make some deal where solid waste would just vanish from your body so you'd never have to take a shit again, wouldn't you do it? Wouldn't most people? Meanwhile, here are the Charmin bears, treating softer toilet paper like it's a fucking free weekend at Disney World. Of course, I suppose it's not as ridiculous as some of the slogans they rejected:

Charmin Ultra Soft: How Sweet It Is

Charmin Ultra Soft: Oh Thank Heaven

Charmin Ultra Soft: Let's Get It On (Your Butt)

Charmin Ultra Soft: And Flights of Angels Sing Thee to Thy Flush

Monday, October 25, 2010

If you can't take the heat, stay out of Miami

I don't want to get too sports-heavy here, but anyone who follows basketball probably has an opinion on the LeBron James saga. Regardless of what you think about his decision to leave Cleveland for Miami, and what you think about the subsequent fan reaction to it, I think we can probably all admit that this was not the best response.

I'm sure LeBron felt stung by the reaction he got upon leaving Cleveland. He no doubt felt that he had done all he could there - in 2007, he dragged the team to a spot in the Finals almost singlehandedly, and won 60+ games in each of the last two years with improved but hardly championship-caliber teammates.

But this ad just comes off as whiny and petulant. LeBron recently gave a statement in which he said that he could understand why Cleveland fans were upset - that's good, if months late. But really this, this post I'm making, isn't about what he's said in the media. It's about this ad, in particular, lest we get off-topic here. And this ad is stupid.

It's stupid for the same reason the Charles Barkley ad that James quotes - the "I am not a role model" one - was also kind of stupid. While I appreciate Barkley's point on some levels, the fact is that he's appearing in a commercial when he says it. He's a paid endorser of a product. And the whole point of paying an athlete to endorse your product is to trade on said athlete's fame and, yes, their position as a role model to sell that product. Barkley may genuinely not have wanted to be a role model, but Nike made him one anyway.

And the same thing is happening here. James, via Nike, was marketed as little short of the Second Coming in Cleveland. Don't believe me?

Yikes. To be fair, that ad doesn't actually mention Cleveland, but you get the point. You can see the huge size of the "We are all witnesses" banner that falls in the ad at the top. James was pitched as nothing less than the savior of basketball in Cleveland. And so when he left - when he decided, perhaps, that basketball in Cleveland was beyond saving, that he'd given it his best shot but now that he had more of a choice he was happy to go play in a nicer city with some friends of his on a better team, thanks - he was vilified by people who felt betrayed.

Should they have felt betrayed by LeBron? Maybe, maybe not. But this ad trades on mocking and/or complaining about that sense of betrayal, and it's a betrayal that was stoked by Nike itself.

Not a role model? Uh, hardly. This ad portrays James as the ultimate role model, one capable of affecting the entire population with his behavior.

"Should I be who you want me to be?" James asks, with more than a hint of sarcasm, in the latest ad. The obvious answer is no; LeBron James, like anyone else, can be whoever he wants to be. But as a man whose job, even as he speaks those words, is to pitch sneakers to teenagers... well, the answer is kind of yes. If you want to be a multimillionaire pitchman, you have to put on a face that the public will appreciate. It comes with the territory. LeBron James the basketball star and LeBron James the Nike spokesman are not separate entities. LeBron James the Nike spokesman is most definitely a role model - or anyway, he is in the eyes of Nike, because if he weren't he would be of no value to them. And if LeBron James the Nike spokesman is a role model, LeBron James the basketball star is a role model. And if he wants both of those personas to exist, fully functioning, as beloved as they are capable of being and not loathed by a spurned fanbase... well, then, yes, LeBron. You have to be who we want you to be.

And if you don't want to be? That's cool too. Just don't run back to Nike to make an ad about how none of it is your fault. I don't think you're going to sell too many shoes that way.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Fake-us group

I've been waiting for someone to explain to me how this commercial could possibly be real. Maybe one of you has an idea?

Woman: "Domino's doesn't want me to know what's in their ingredients."
Man: "'Cause it's probably not real cheese."

I find this a weird complaint, in the setup. On what grounds is she claiming that Domino's doesn't want her to know what's in their ingredients? Did she call her local Domino's once to ask for a list and they told her to fuck off?

Focus Group Leader: "Well, I've got a surprise for you."
[the walls pull away to reveal that they're in the middle of a field]
Woman 2: "Oh my God!"
Leader: "This is just one of the dairies that makes the milk to make real Domino's cheese."

Okay. So, it claims at the bottom of the screen that this was an "actual focus group." I just have one question.


I guess there are some subsidiary questions within that one. How could these people possibly have failed to realize that they were in a tiny shack sitting on the grounds of a dairy farm? How did Domino's get them there without this being in any way revealed? Blanchardville, Wisconsin is pretty much in the middle of nowhere. Either these people were from the area - in which case it is particularly incredible that they would not have realized they were on a dairy farm - or they were like bussed in from Madison, the nearest city of any real size, and also should probably have found something at least a little off about a major corporation holding a focus group in the middle of farm country.

But let's say, for the hell of it, that this focus group was going on without any of the participants realizing where they were... why were they out there in the first place? How did Domino's know that the legitimacy of their cheese was going to be called into question in this focus group? Was one of the people speaking a plant? This goes back to that initial comment by the woman that Domino's doesn't want her to know what the ingredients are. What? Where did she come up with that? It's almost like that's something she was... I don't know, told to say?

Lest Domino's get any ideas about some ad where I'm watching TV calling their focus group fake, and then they have all the members of the focus group walk into my living room and introduce themselves to prove they're real people, I'm not necessarily saying that this ad was faked. But I am saying, for sure, that if you wanted to make an ad that looked fake, that was supposedly real but was so insanely convenient that it had the whiff of contrivance all over it... well, you couldn't do much better than this.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Avocado's number

What the fuck is happening here?

[We open on a super-fake-looking party with goofy background noise and two people not actually talking to each other but rather holding hot dogs at strange angles. Cut to a woman who was clearly just standing there waiting for her cue, striding forward with... a bag of avocados!]
Host [I assume]: "Perfect!"

So this is some sort of weird avocado party? "Everyone just show up with a bag of avocados! All other food will be provided."

[The doorbell rings. Some woman opens it.]
John Lynch: "Hey!"
[The two people who were holding hot dogs look at each other and shake their heads.]
John Lynch: "Wait! I'm- I'm John Lynch! Nine-time Pro Bowler! World champ!"
[He flashes his Super Bowl ring, but it's no use - the door closes in his face.]

Was John Lynch invited to this party? Or does he just walk around neighborhoods wearing his Super Bowl ring, looking for houses with a lot of cars parked outside, trying to get into strangers' parties based on his extremely tenuous fame? (For the record, I watch a lot of football, and I would not have recognized John Lynch had he not introduced himself. Peyton Manning he is not.)

[The doorbell rings again; Lynch offers a tray of some sort of snack - chicken wings? - but the door closes on him again. He tries again with a football-shaped cake - no dice. The woman bulges her eyes as if to say, "I don't think so."]

This makes sense. I don't think I'd let some random dude into my party even if he used to play football and even if he brought his own cake. But wait until you find out why he can't come in.

Voiceover: "What do you bring to a party that has everything?"

Not chicken wings or a football cake, I guess. Although this party does not seem to have those things.

Voiceover: "Fresh, creamy Hass avocados!"

Um, question. How exactly does this party have everything when apparently all it has are Hass avocados? Hot dogs? Throw some Hass avocados on there. Canapes? Better be topped with tiny avocado pieces, asshole. Chicken wings? I can't think of any way to add avocados to that, so basically get the fuck out.

Voiceover: "Nothing else will do!"

Aside from making guacamole, who does anything with avocados for a big party they're hosting? If I went to a party and everything had avocados in it, I would make one of two assumptions: either the hosts have been growing avocados in their backyard and just experienced a bumper crop, or the hosts are in some weird cult that pushes the benefits of the avocado for some reason.

John Lynch: "Puppies!"

Lynch has learned a lot from Pierce, it would seem. But it's worth noting that this commercial ends on a cliffhanger. Do puppies get Lynch into the party? Does the fact that the puppies are in a Hass avocados box win him any points? Or are the guests just even more furious with him? "You took perfectly good avocados out of that box and filled it with puppies? I couldn't eat a puppy with avocados even if I wanted to. Get lost before we call the police on you for avocado-related harassment!" Dammit, Hass, I must know! I smell sequel! Maybe you could get another ex-football player who is not famous enough on sight to warrant appearance in a national ad to appear. I just hope you're paying them in avocados.

Monday, September 27, 2010

I'll just stand, thanks

The three and a half years of this blog have seen more than a couple entrants into the field of "most disgusting fast food sandwich," from the BK Stacker to the Baconator to the Bacon Double Homestyle Melt. This one, though, has been notorious ever since it was first announced. KFC, to their credit (maybe?), seems to have embraced the notoriety. But that doesn't really improve things.

Construction Worker: "Today is the day."
Skateboarder: "The day I ignore the voice of reason."

Seriously, that's the pitch? "You know that little voice in the back of your mind telling you that this food item is disgusting and awful? Just block that shit out." I could use the same logic to justify eating a package of Mallomars and washing it down with turkey gravy. You know, in theory.

Office Type: "The day I talk to the girl from accounting."

Not much of a comparable. Unless - is she riddled with STDs? Okay, you win, KFC. This is exactly like working up the nerve to eat your horrible sandwich.

Dude with classic car, for some reason: "The day I ditch the bun."

Okay, not bad - the Atkins diet isn't for everyone, but leaving off a fast food bun, which is a lot of refined white flour, will save you a fair number of calories...

Douchebag on couch: "And demand two meaty fillets!"

Uh oh.

Random guy on street: "Two slices of cheese!"
Guy walking indoors: "And two pieces of bacon."

"And two more notches on your belt." I love how they act like there was actually "demand" for this, like they didn't want to make the Double Down but Joe Back-Fat forced their hand. Does anyone really believe there was some focus group where KFC was testing out a new sandwich, and they kept getting the response "Would be better with entire second chicken fillet and without bun?"

Office Type: "Yeah. I said bacon."

Oh, bacon? Never heard of it. I assume this is some rare ingredient that no one would ever think to put on a fast food sandwich, and thus your extreme emphasis and pride here is not at all mispla- no, no, I'm being told that in fact bacon is quite popular and probably appears on more fast food sandwiches these days than does ketchup.

Construction Worker: "Today's the day... I double down."

And tomorrow is the day you get a stent put in. No, make that two stents! See what I did there?

Voiceover: "The KFC Double Down! Double meat, double cheese, double bacon, double awesome."

Bacon is meat. And this thing really just looks gross. Oh, but it's also in grilled! Sweet, I was worried that two chicken breast fillets plus bacon and cheese might be a smidge too many calories. You do save all of 60 calories (still 480), although astonishingly the grilled version has significantly more cholesterol than the original recipe.

Voiceover: "Get yours today."


Douchebag on couch: "So good."

I really don't like this guy. Why is he trying to eye-fuck the camera and only speaking out of one side of his mouth? Fuck him. I have no interest in anything he likes. Anyway, in case you missed him saying "So good," here comes a really obnoxious jingle to spell it out for you. No, seriously:

Jingle: "So S-O, G-Double-O-D Good!"

What the fuck is that stupid bullshit? First of all, "so good" itself is barely an acceptable slogan. Second of all, that is the best you could do for a song? "Hey, let's say the exact same thing twice, except in between the two words we'll spell the whole thing!" Who had to bill KFC for the thirty seconds it took them to write and compose that piece of shit?

This really is the evolution of fatness in America, isn't it? Sure, compared to some other products, the Double Down really isn't that bad - 540 calories and 32 grams of fat in 241 grams, which is absolutely dwarfed by that BK Homestyle Melt (810, 58, 221). But we've gone from "This sandwich needs more meat! Get rid of these vegetables!" to "This sandwich needs more meat! Get rid of this worthless bun!", which is just kind of ridiculous. Can you really even still call it a sandwich if it lacks a bun? And what's next? A chicken fillet with bacon and cheese jammed between two hamburger patties? A whole pork belly between two pieces of chicken? A turducken wrapped in bacon? A chicken fillet in between two entire roast pigs? Don't forget the melted butter for dipping!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Here we blow

I wanted to write these ads up months ago, but initially had a hard time finding them on YouTube. Fortunately, it's never too late to deal with something this shitty.

We all know beer ads - especially light beer ads - are typically awful. That's what happens. But I've found this ad particularly inexplicable from the beginning. Why?

So the plot of the ad is, this guy is going to his softball game and thinks his girlfriend's book club is lame and boring. Then he realizes they have Bud Light and decides he'd rather just hang out there, drink beer, hit on his girlfriend's friends, and invite over all his buddies to party as well.

As far as I can see, there are two options. Either Bud Light condones this asshole's behavior:

"It's a party whenever Bud Light's around! Drop what you were doing, ignore all rules of social interaction, act like a complete creep! All to get that sweet, sweet nectar into your body!"

Or they don't:

"Bud Light: preferred beer of total douchebags!"

It's hard to imagine they're going for the latter, so: yeah! Bud Light, everyone! I know you and your girlfriend had separate plans for the day, but forget that shit! Barge into her book club! Disrupt that fucker! Get all the women drunk and try for an orgy! Invite your equally lame (and apparently subliterate) friends over and turn it into some sort of entirely undeserved mixer! Oh, and because the women are women, they will know their place and acquiesce quietly to your boorish behavior in spite of their reservations! Here we go!

Back when I made this post, I mentioned a second ad besides the Dodge ad in question that involved the Founding Fathers in a questionable way. Here it is:

Ben Franklin was a noted lover of beer. Without knowing anything about his preferences, though, I feel like he would not have been a Bud Light drinker.

Washington: "Where the blazes is Jefferson?"
Founding Father 2: "T.J.? He's probably still writing that 'declaration.'"

I'm not sure who the second guy is supposed to be. Alexander Hamilton? John Adams? James Madison? He sort of looks like Ben Franklin to me, but that other guy is supposed to be Franklin. The hat and coat are reminiscent of Paul Revere, but calling Paul Revere a "founding father" is a real stretch.

[Jefferson rides in and holds up two six-packs of Bud Light]
Jefferson: "Gentlemen!"
FF2: "Here we go!"

It's about time someone invented shitty beer!

[James Brown's "Living in America" plays]
Washington [dancing with a woman]: "Would you like to be the second lady?"

No, you guys, Jefferson was the philanderer. It's like you don't care about American history!


Washington: "We should do this every Fourth of July!"

The Fourth of July: celebration of American independence, or excuse to break out some terrible light beer and hit on every woman in sight? You be the judge.

This ad doesn't really offend me, but as with the Dodge ad, I find the use of figures from American history as pitchmen to be weird and off-putting. Here at least it's clearly intended to be funny; surely no one would take away from this that Washington and Jefferson would have necessarily endorsed Bud Light. Either way, it seems just a bit strange and/or inappropriate to have an ad where one of the Founding Fathers outright shits on the Declaration of Independence, regardless of why.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

And the award for least comprehensible plot in an ad this year goes to

I guess the footage in this ad was just so golden that they had to keep it, even when they decided to change the entire plot.

Kid: "Hey Parker, wanna race home? Bet I can beat you there."

Unless you are blind, it is staggeringly obvious from the visual cues - the way the kid gestures with his hand, the way Parker takes off running, Parker's hiding behind a tree (clearly an advantage in a footrace), etc. - that this commercial has nothing to do with "racing home." Parker is going to get the shit kicked out of him if he doesn't make it to his house ahead of these kids. I'm guessing that focus groups did not like the plot of this ad, and thus it was changed, but the random kid playing Parker had already been paid ten million dollars and so Chrysler felt like they had to overdub it rather than simply spend six hours shooting a new version of the ad in which the kids were actually racing. Or maybe they just figured it wouldn't make sense regardless and opted to cut their losses.

Voiceover: "With its 43 safety features, like the Parkview rear back-up camera..."
Mother: "Hi, sweetie! There you are!"

What? So... she was looking for him, because they needed to drive somewhere I guess, but he only just arrived home from school and jumped into the open trunk of the car, and meanwhile she was in the front seat with her seat belt already on. Could the plot of this ad possibly be any more incomprehensible?

Voiceover: "Electronic vehicle information center, and rear cross path detection system, now available in the Safety Tech package, the Chrysler Town and Country is a safe bet to make."

Meanwhile, the bullies sit on the lawn... of Parker's house. Are they just going to wait for him to come back and kick his ass then? And really, what did the car have to do with any of this? "Oh man, if the Chrysler Town and Country didn't have an electronic vehicle information center, Parker's ass would be grass right about now!"

Honestly, is it that hard to tell a coherent (or in any way relevant) story in 30 seconds? It's 30 seconds! How can it be that difficult to hold your plot together? I mean, let's face it - even if the commercial had never been changed and was always about bullying, it still makes no sense after about the ten-second mark, because why is the mom already in the car and where are they going? Why wouldn't she just pick him up from school, rather than him having to run a significant distance home only to get immediately into the car and drive away? Is that even his house? If it's not, how did he know she would be there? What the fuck does any of this have to do with safety features, other than that an announcer is listing a few as we watch this nonsense unfold?

The one piece of evidence that the ad actually involves a "race" is Parker sticking out his tongue and then grinning at the bullies as his mom drives away. I can see doing that if you just won a good-natured race. I can't really see doing that knowing that you have to go back to school the next day, with the exact same bullies, and eventually you probably won't be able to outrun them given your enormous backpack and their lack of same. But hey, none of the rest of the ad's plot makes sense. Why should I expect it to start doing so in the last ten seconds?

Friday, September 24, 2010

You gotta have balls

Balls, everyone. BALLS! Hey, is this the funniest post you've ever read yet? It's not? BALLS. I don't think you understand. Balls.

Voiceover: "Mankind has asked many questions, but few as profound as this."

Why do bad things happen to good people? If God is righteous and all-powerful, why is there evil in the world? How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? Which is cheaper, using Axe products every day or just getting a tattoo of the word "douchebag" on your forehead once?

Woman: "How can guys clean their balls so that they're more enjoyable to play with?"

Ha-HA! Balls! It means one thing but also another!

Jaime Pressly: "Well, there's finally a tool that can really get the job done: the Axe Detailer."

Or, like, a washcloth? I cannot say I've ever had an experience with ball-grime (sorry) that was so caked on (sorry again) that I would have needed some sort of ball-safe Brillo pad while showering. Also, if I had to guess, most women probably aren't that excited to play with a guy's balls no matter how sparkling clean they are.

Pressly: "This can make any ball sparkly and new."

The fine print here says "Take care when using on sensitive areas." So, it might be a little rough for sensitive areas? Well, it's a good thing you designed it exclusively to be used on the single most sensitive area of the male anatomy.

Pressly: "Go ahead and play with those clean balls, Denese."

Balls balls balls balls balls balls balls.

Woman: "Magical."
Voiceover: "Abracadabra."

This is retarded.

In the online version - which is 2:45 long - Denese juggles the golf balls in her hand for, I shit you not, fifteen straight seconds. Unsurprisingly, there are also oodles more predictable and unfunny ball-themed jokes, some of which were presumably deemed a little "too hot for TV."

I don't know. I mean, is this really a problem? Is this a complaint that a lot of guys have, that it's difficult to clean one's scrotum? Because I can't say I've found it to be an issue - and as such I just look at an ad like this as a bunch of cheap jokes to make teenagers snicker, kind of like the Bud Light ad that they weren't allowed to run during the 2008 Super Bowl because it liked its fart jokes just a little too much. Surely even Axe is not required to play to the absolute lowest common denominator. I'd take the sheer inanity of "Double Pits to Chesty" any day over this mess.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Zoosk alors

Sure, there are like 500 dating websites out there. Some of them will tell you about their marriage success stories, or how they'll pair you with someone compatible... whatever. How many can guarantee they'll match you up with the stupidest people on the planet?

Friend 1: "This guy's into camping."
Woman: "Eh."
Friend 2: "What about that guy?"
Woman: "Oh, yeah! I could definitely go for some 'serious romance.'"

Then, for reasons known only to the writers of this commercial, she envisions a situation in which she and the guy keep bumping heads, running into things, and getting generally physically injured while attempting to have sex. This would never happen. Also, I might have missed a memo, but no matter how you feel about it, I don't think "fucking on the first date" can really be construed as "serious romance."

Woman: "Maybe just a movie date, would be nice."
Friends: "Yeah."

That was actually her imagination! What is wrong with this woman? "Hmm, I could go for some wild first-date sex... no, that would end with comical injury, as they do. We'll just go to a movie!" In what universe does this commercial make sense? For that matter, how does it sell a dating site?

Voiceover: "Zoosk: the online dating site that lets you date your way."

As opposed to Joosk, the online dating site where your nagging mother pressures you into dating that nice boy from down the street - he's a doctor, you know. And would it kill you to have a couple grandchildren for me before I die? I don't ask for much.

Voiceover: "Whether you want to browse, flirt or find your soulmate."

I guess that's a fair point - pretty sure eHarmony, for one, isn't really big on "flirting." But even with that in mind, I feel like this niche was probably already filled by one of the 8500 dating sites out there.

But if you think that Zoosk commercial was dumb and made no sense...


Woman: "I should probably ask him out, right?"
Friends: "Yeah!"
Friend 1: "Oh, speaking of dating, how was the blind date your mom set you up on?"

And then we see that in the ten seconds the woman was finishing getting ready, the guy had a severe allergic reaction to her dog, cat, and some sort of shellfish hors d'oeuvre that was sitting on the table.

Woman: "I think I'll stick to Zoosk for all my dating."
Friend 1: "Good idea!"

Good idea? Fuck, great idea! After all, I'm sure Zoosk requires you to submit a full allergy profile when you register, to weed out the guys who might swell up hideously before you even have a chance to decide if you want to bump heads and throw your back out with them later in the evening. What's that? Even without looking you're pretty sure they don't do that? Well, their loss. I'll just stick to for all my dating needs.

I mean, honestly. I can think of seven thousand things that could go wrong on a blind date, and I can also think of at least two or three that are maybe something you could imagine being able to weed out based on an online dating profile (people never lie in those things!). But shellfish allergies? Not one of those!

I can see where the extreme seriousness and maritally-inclined tone of the ads for eHarmony, and even to a lesser extent, would turn off people who are just looking online for casual dates. But is this kind of goofy, unrealistic asshattery really appealing to anyone? For that matter, have we learned anything about the Zoosk site itself, other than that its ad agency has the imagination of a sea urchin?

Rethink extremely unlikely

Tying in with yesterday's State Farm post, I wanted to write up this ridiculous Honda Civic ad in which they outright claim that it will get you hired for a job you might not be qualified for. (Do you also need to have stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night?) I couldn't find it, because for some reason people aren't lining up to upload boring, shitty car ads to YouTube. So instead we'll just talk about this AT&T ad, because it's just about as stupid.

Sure, okay, it can take some lucky breaks to get ahead in life. The ridiculous degree to which that idea is blown out in this commercial just makes my head spin, however. Questions I have:

* What was she even doing? So, she walks to the bottom of her steps, checks on a finishing download, and then immediately puts her phone back away? Why did she even need to get the phone out in the first place? Oh, because if she doesn't drop her shoes while putting the phone back away, the people would walk right past her. One second of contrived bullshit can make all the difference!

* These apparently quite influential ballet people will just invite any old person with ballet shoes in for an audition? "Oh, you do ballet? Well, even though if you were good enough to dance the lead in a show you probably wouldn't be dancing alone in some dark studio in your early 20s, why don't you come down for a tryout?"

* How many possible times in life can there be when doing something now versus three seconds from now actually matters and yet you also have time and/or a legitimate reason to download something on your smartphone?

[The Old West, 1887.]
Outlaw Cactus Joe:
Well, it's just you and me, Sheriff. A duel to the death! As soon as the bell in the old clock tower chimes, we draw!
Sheriff Bill: Your reign of terror is almost over, Joe. Hmm, maybe I should download Kool and the Gang's "Celebration" for afterwards... [pulls out smartphone]
Daisy Mae: Sheriff, for God's sake! Now's not the time for downloads!
Sheriff Bill: Don't you worry, Daisy Mae. I'll have this song downloaded in plenty of time... say, this wireless network is just crawling right now.
Daisy Mae: [sobbing] Oh, Sheriff! You can't download that quickly with Verizon! It's only AT&T that has the nation's fastest download speeds!
Sheriff Bill: [nervous] Never you mind, Daisy. We're getting there. I think it's halfway done...
Outlaw Cactus Joe: Clock's almost to noon, Sheriff. And I ain't waiting for you to finish your download! When that bell chimes, I draw!
Sheriff Bill: Look, it's just... it's almost done, okay? Just give me two more seconds here...
[clock chimes, Cactus Joe draws and fires]
Daisy Mae: Sheriff! No!!!
Sheriff Bill: Hear me, good townsfolk! You must all switch to AT&T at once! I curse Verizon with my last breath! [dies]
Outlaw Cactus Joe: Well, time to rob the bank and sleep with some whores. And then I'll upload some pictures of that to Facebook with my iPhone! Mwa ha ha ha!!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Like a good genie, State Farm is there

Hey, I just had a crazy idea. What if we decided to sell products based not on things they actually do, but on things they don't do nor possibly could? It's just retarded enough to work!

I'm guessing that people under the age of 35 were not buying enough insurance.

Friend 1: "Snatching stuff takes-" [rock smashes through window] "Oh! What is going on in here?"
Friend 2: "Uh oh."
Dude With Insurance: "It's okay, relax. Watch this." [singing poorly] "Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there!"
[State Farm Agent appears from nowhere]
Agent: "Hey Dave."

I'm guessing mid to late 20s for these guys. Do they really all remember this jingle? When was the last time State Farm used it before this series of ads? Whatever.

Friend 2: "Wow."
Friend 1: "Is that your agent?"
Dude: "It's the jingle."

Ugh. Talk about an annoying meta-concept. "Off-key renditions of our famous jingle are like the Bat Signal for our insurance agents!" How postmodern of you.

Dude: "Try it!"
Friend 1: "Uh, no."

You had the right idea.

Friend 2: [singing extremely poorly] "Like a good neighbor-"
Dude: "Just say it."
Friend 2: "State Farm is- is there."
Friend 1: "With a sandwich."
[A sandwich appears on the table]

What? Why? This has something to do with insurance? "Be insured against hunger, with State Farm."

Friend 2: "Ohhh yeah."
Dude: "And the girl from 4E?"
[Girl appears]

"Be insured against blue balls, with State Farm."

Friend 2: [inexplicably delivering his line like a Southern Baptist minister] "And can I get a hot tub?!"
[Hot tub appears in the middle of the room]
Agent: "Nice."

"Be insured against not looking like the kind of douchebag who has a hot tub in the center of his apartment, with State Farm."

Voiceover: "Find out what else State Farm agents can do for you at"

I think you mean "Find out what State Farm agents can do for you," since this commercial did not show me anything that a State Farm agent can actually do. They're not going to bring me a sandwich or make a hot tub appear in my apartment, and they're definitely not going to get me laid. For that matter, wasn't that agent here because of a broken window? What happened to that?

Selling products without referencing anything they do is one thing; that's old hat at this point, and frankly it's an odd commercial these days that focuses too heavily on its product's strengths. But selling a product based only on things it doesn't do, can't do, and will never, ever do no matter how much you use it? It's like a Coke ad that says it helps build strong bones or some shit. I would have just written this off as obviously intended to be silly humor if not for the fact that they explicitly use the word "else." What else can State Farm agents do for you? No. They cannot do anything shown, at any point. Here's what a State Farm agent can probably do for you: survey the damage, help you to file a claim, and then never be involved with you again until the next time something breaks in your house. Granted, that doesn't play as well on television.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The new face of annoying

There seems to be a movement afoot to try and sell products to youngish parents by showing the most obnoxious, unrealistic examples of youngish parents possible in the ads. Sears, your entry?


Voiceover: "Say you're looking for..."
Wife: "The perfect fridge."
Husband: "Perfect for two-"
Wife: "Three."
Husband: "-of us."

Why, that delivery just snaps, crackles and pops! Did Aaron Sorkin write this? Is this conversation going to continue in a several-minute tracking shot that concludes in the Oval Office?

Sears Guy: "Got it."
Voiceover: "Well, only Sears has the top ten brands!"
Husband: "This Samsung makes cubed ice."
Wife: "Gotta have the cubed, not the crescent."
Husband: "Or the crushed. It's settled."
Both: "Cubed!"

Go away and die. Also, what is with this woman's eyes? Is she on speed, or is she just being distracted by the same off-camera shiny thing that's clearly being used to keep that baby unnaturally peppy?

Wife: "Check out this Whirlpool side-by-side."
Husband: "Side-by-side? But don't we want the-"
Both: "-bottom freezer."

Good thing these two got married, because I can't imagine anyone else being able to stand for this conversational style for more than about ten seconds.

Some Other Guy: "Look, I don't see why this is a big deal. I just wanted to-"
This Same Wife: "-watch the game with your friends? Not on antiquing day."
Some Other Guy: "Couldn't you just go with-"
This Same Wife: "-one of my girlfriends? They're all busy and besides, you promised."
Some Other Guy: "Stop cutting me off! I can't stand the way you insist on-"
This Same Wife: "-finishing every sentence for you? It's just the way I'm scripted, honey."

Sears Guy: "This new Kenmore Elite is exactly what you're looking for. Plus enough space for-"
Husband: "-five of us."
Wife: "Five? Thought we said-"
Husband: "Four?"
Wife: "Right."
Husband: "Yeah, but have you seen this fridge?"
[Wife gives a knowing sort of look]

I hate this. Hate it. Family planning based on the size of a refrigerator? Are you out of your fucking mind, Sears? Plus, I don't want anything that encourages these assholes to have two more kids who will clearly grow up to be completely insufferable. That poor cute baby is already doomed; no reason to throw two more on the fire. Hey! Assholes! If you don't really want more than two kids, and this fridge has so much space that you just have to have three, maybe just don't buy an enormous fridge! It might even cost you less to get one that's merely big enough for four people. (For the record, I know it's supposed to be a joke. It's not funny.)

On the bright side, we did learn from this ad that Sears employees will apparently try to up-sell you to a product larger than you want or need with the slightest provocation.

You: "Yes, I'm looking for a washing machine. It's just the two of us at the moment, although we're thinking maybe a kid or two down the road, so it'll have to be big enough to handle that."
Sears Employee: "I've got just the thing. This washer here holds three tons of clothes. It was originally built for use by the laundry staff on the QE2. It's on clearance at only $7.5 million!"
You: "That... seems a bit excessive."
Sears Employee: "Be sure to pair it with this dryer, which holds six tons of clothes - enough to dry two loads from the washer! See in the back there? The dryer is powered by a miniature sun which Samsung's engineers harnessed in another solar system and dragged back to Earth."
You: "Yeah... it's really just going to be four of us, max, so..."
Sears Employee: "Should we check out a dishwasher too? This one over here can do all the dishes from the dining halls at Ohio State in a single load!"

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Pay no attention to the car behind the curtain

All right, Dodge. Your American Revolution ad was ridiculous. You've got 30 more seconds to sell me on the Challenger. And... go.


It doesn't take a genius to elucidate the reasons this ad is stupid, but let's cover them.

Voiceover: "When people see a UFO, they never say, 'I wonder what those consumer review sites would think about that thing.'"

Uh... what? I can think of about 500 reasons not only why no one would do that, but why no one would ever think that anyone would do that, including, but not limited to:

* No one is planning on buying a UFO, hence the lack of a need to see product reviews
* No one thinks consumer review sites would have information on a UFO
* What in blue fuck is wrong with you

Voiceover: "They say, 'Dude, that's a freaking UFO!'"

First of all, I don't care how cool you think your car looks. It is not analogous to alien spacecraft technology. Second of all, I think anyone with half a brain can see the half-assed snow job Dodge is attempting to pull. This is like putting out a shitty movie, refusing to screen it for critics, then running ads that say, "When people see a beautiful sunset, they don't say, 'I wonder if Roger Ebert would give this sunset a thumbs-up.'" Dodge is basically saying, "Hey, this 30-second slow-motion shot of our car driving ten feet? That's all you need to see. What? Shut up. Stop asking questions. The Car Fox doesn't work here." It's nothing more than basic misdirection, an attempt to get you to focus on the one thing they're apparently actually proud of - the car's design - at the expense of anything else. I mean, don't most car ads have pricing, or some listing of features, or even just some legal boilerplate? Not this one. But it compares the car to a UFO, so hey, there's that.

Other copy that Dodge rejected for the ad:

"When people see a UFO, they never say, 'I wonder what kind of gas mileage that thing gets.' They say, 'Dude, that's a freaking UFO.'"

"When people see a UFO, they never say, 'What do you suppose that costs? I sure would be interested in seeing some lease information.' They say, 'Dude, that's a freaking UFO.'"

"When people see a UFO, they never say, 'Yeah, but the UFOs made in the Vega system are cheaper, safer and more reliable. I'm just not sure I want to buy an Andromedan UFO this time.' They say, 'Dude, that's a freaking UFO.'"

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Battle of Car-atoga

A couple years ago, I made a post about a Pepsi ad that implied that a young Jimi Hendrix was inspired to play guitar because of his love for Pepsi. In it, I joked that Pepsi rejected a script suggesting that Pepsi also inspired Thomas Jefferson to write the Declaration of Independence. As it happens, there are two commercials out right now that took that ball and ran with it. I couldn't find one online, so here's the other.

To say that Dodge has been going a bit over the top with its ad campaign lately is probably understating it. First, they mocked you alternately for being a big pussy who drives a minivan and for being a big pussy who doesn't drive a minivan. (Can't win with these guys.) Now... well, look, I know this ad is not seriously suggesting that George Washington drove a Dodge Challenger. But what is it suggesting?

The takeaway association is that Dodge, as a company, is somehow emblematic of the American spirit. America got freedom right, and we, Dodge, got cars right! At the risk of appearing humorless, I just find this ad kind of crass. It's one thing to be a goofy local ad where some guy dressed as George Washington says, "I cannot tell a lie - Discount Warehouse has great deals!" It's quite another to be a major corporation running a straight-faced ad implying that Washington would have approved of your business model.

The more annoying thing, of course, is that this is the only pitch. Anything to say about the car? No. Totally fake scenario in which the car is being awesome? Sure, I guess. It's not like this is even an impressive driving shot or something like so many car commercials feature. And I dare you to take your Dodge Challenger out into some random field and see how it does.

Also, we're allies with the British, people. Maybe we don't need to run an ad which depicts them as initially oppressive and then cowardly in the face of our superior automobiles? I picture David Cameron seeing this and then changing the channel while muttering darkly, "Bloody hell, Yanks, it was 230 years ago! Let it go!"

Saturday, April 17, 2010

I'm lovin' being an antisocial jackass

Fun fact: I don't know anyone who likes this commercial.

I can honestly say I don't have the slightest idea what McDonald's was thinking with this one. I know in the last post I talked about going for "funny" characters at the expense of "likable" characters, but this guy isn't funny and it's not clear to me that McDonald's is really trying to be funny. It just thinks... well, I don't know what.

Roommate: "Hey dude, you gotta-"
Asshole: "Please, don't even talk to me until I've had my coffee."
Roommate: "Okay..."

Fun fact: they sell coffee in stores. They sell coffee machines in stores. If you're an enormous douchebag until you've had coffee, consider brewing some yourself before you leave the house. Also, is this the first time this ever happened? You'd think the guy's roommate, at least, would know the drill by now.

Neighbor: "Oh, hey, Tim, how's it-"
Asshole: "Sorry, I haven't had my coffee yet."
Dog: [barks]
Asshole: "No."

If dog speak could be translated, I'm pretty sure that dog would be saying "Fuck you."

Woman on Bus: "Morning!"
Asshole: [stares, but at least manages not to say anything obnoxious]

There are like eleven million McDonald's on the planet and like fifteen million places to get Starbucks. Why the fuck has this asshole not just gone and gotten some fucking coffee yet?

McDonald's employee: "Welcome to McDonald's! Can I interest you in a-"
Asshole: "Not before I've had my coffee."

Okay, officially, WHAT THE FUCK. Who the fuck is this fucking asshole and why is he the centerpiece of a commercial? Hey, douchebag: WHY DID YOU EVEN GO INTO THE MCDONALD'S??? I assume you knew they had coffee there, and I saw you just looking at the menu - WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM? Order some coffee or shut the fuck up, you fucking knob.

McDonald's employee: "-premium roast coffee for just a dollar?"
Asshole: "Talk to me!"

He looks surprised. Seriously, why were you in there at all? There is only one reason why you'd go into a McDonald's while in an "I can't talk to anyone until I've had coffee!" stupor, and that is to get some fucking coffee. This guy's an asshole and an idiot.

After taking one sip of coffee he then proceeds to talk to multiple people on the sidewalk. They walk right past him, and they should, because he's an asshole. I love the triumphant music McDonald's plays during the coffee-pouring shot like they're really pleased with themselves. "Hey, caffeine zombies! Have we got the place for you!" If you're not just trying to be hilarious (and really, even if you are), shouldn't your ad's main character be trying to stand in for your customers in some way? Who would want to think of themselves as this kind of jackass? "Oh yeah, ha ha, that's totally me! God, I'm such an annoying asshole. Well, time to hook this IV of coffee to my vein lest I fail to have caffeine for ten seconds and start to snap!"

Not to get all preachy, by the way, but does it seem odd that you can have a commercial like this, where a character is basically saying "Sorry, I need my morning injection of drugs in order to function properly?" That's called habituation, people, and it indicates that maybe this douche should consider cutting back his caffeine intake just slightly.

Just as an aside: here, via a video I found on YouTube while searching for this ad, is what would happen if anyone behaved like this in real life. Yet more proof that everyone hates this ad.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wow! That's an awful commercial!

By this point I'm sure you've all seen that god-awful Staples "Wow, that's a low price" ad. You haven't? But you'd like to punish yourself? Well, okay.

That commercial, however, is not why we're here. We're here because of this one:

That's veteran character actor Joey Slotnick (I did not have to look this up in any way. Is that weird?) as the audience surrogate. And if you saw a guy doing that in a Staples, you would, in fact, probably react exactly as Slotnick does here - with grimaces and eventual sarcasm. But Staples isn't here to bury its ridiculous yelling pitchman. No, he wins this little duel, by smugly pointing to a price that is, in fact, so low that it would apparently cause anyone to go apeshit.

What is really the point here? This is easily one of the five most annoying pitchmen in history. That seems like exaggeration, but think about it. How many characters can you name off the top of your head who are more hateable? I might be able to come up with a handful, but even after I did that, I would have to concede that most of those characters at least have some sort of personality. This is just crazed yelling by an escaped mental patient. Not only is it obnoxious, it's some of the laziest writing you'll ever come across. Bear in mind that this ad is ostensibly supposed to be funny. So where's the joke?

And that was just the first ad. The fact that Staples had the gall to put this second commercial on the air shows that they recognize how stupid and annoying the first ad was. Here, they're admitting that they quite frankly don't give a shit. Why? Because for every reasonable person who hates these ads, there are apparently two who think it's hilarious to recreate them and post it to YouTube. This may not be the single laziest major-corporation, nationally-televised ad campaign in recent memory, but I can't think of any that are markedly lazier.

And the second ad is worse than the first. The first ad, while thoroughly unfunny, at least attempts a punchline.

Lunatic: "Wow! That's a low price!" [x3]
Female Employee: "How many products do we carry?"
Male Employee: "Seven thousand."
Female Employee: "I'll get him a cart."
[more crazed yelling]

Painfully bad. However, it does follow the basic structure of a joke. The second ad? Not so much.

Lunatic: "Wow! That's a low price!" [x3]
Man [sarcastically]: "I'm sorry, did you say something about a low price?"
[Lunatic points smugly]
Man: "Wow! That's a low price!"
Lunatic: "I know!"

As McBain might say, dat's de joke. In the first commercial, there's a bad joke surrounded by obnoxious yelling. In the second ad, Staples basically says, "Hey, we know you hated that first ad. So guess what? Now we're not even going to pretend there's anything else going on! We don't care what you think. We're going to shove this awful shit down your throat until you choke on it."

A couple posts ago I talked about those awful Toyota Sienna ads and how I didn't understand why you'd make an ad in which the presumed protagonists and pitchmen are so loathsome. But this really is what we've come to in advertising, isn't it? The point of this ad isn't really to be funny. Not even Staples could possibly think this ad was legitimately funny. But while it's unfunny and stupid and annoying... it is distinctive. In those Sienna ads, that family is awful and I have no desire to emulate them. But I did remember the ad. I personally don't believe the old adage "There's no such thing as bad publicity" - there have been ad campaigns that have led me to stop using a product because I hated them so much. But I'm starting to feel like maybe I'm shouting into the wind here.

If there's one thing I've learned in three years on this blog it's that corporations, almost to the last, are simply not interested in making good advertisements. They're interested in making money, and if Jay Leno, Jersey Shore and the Transformers films have taught us anything it's that in mass culture, there is no prerequisite of quality or value for success. Why does Staples make an ad like this? Because it's cheaper than making a good one and because they don't think it matters. And the sad part is they're probably right.

This is probably reading like a sign-off at this point, and it's not. We're not closing the blog, and in fact I've added a Twitter account - you can follow @windiermegatons if you want - so that I can throw up the occasional bite-sized thought on ads that annoy me but don't quite merit a full post (although sometimes, as with Buffalo Wild Wings, I get there eventually). But I'll be honest: this ad is so bad it's pushed me to the edge of the abyss.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

You have to be kidding me

We talk about unrealistic ads on here all the time, but it's almost unthinkable how bad this one is.

Let me preface this by saying I've never been to a Buffalo Wild Wings. But I sort of assumed from the name that they were some sort of buffalo wing restaurant. And yet, in all the commercials I've seen of theirs - and during the NCAA tournament there have been more than a few - I cannot once recall seeing anyone eat, or even hold, an actual chicken wing.

In fact, the commercials that do air make Buffalo Wild Wings seem like the Trilateral Commission's private sports bar. A panel that enables them to fix the outcomes of sporting events? Referees in their back pocket? Truly this is a frightening vision of the New World Order.

These ads annoy me for a number of reasons, not least because "You have to be here" is such a ridiculous tagline. Why do I have to be there? It seems to be just like any other sports bar. And the idea of people in a sports bar not wanting to leave just kind of depresses me. How miserable is your life if you're all, "Oh, please let this game continue! When I'm inside the protective sanctuary of Buffalo Wild Wings, all my cares melt away! I simply can't face harsh reality again so soon!" If that sounds familiar, you've got bigger problems than whether or not this game goes into overtime.

In addition, this ad substantially misrepresents what it's like to be a fan of a sports team, as I think anyone who actually is (a group which apparently does not include anyone at Buffalo Wild Wings' ad agency, who seem to view sports as something they once heard of) would easily recognize. I mean, let's talk about what exactly is happening in the basketball game being watched in this ad:

1. New York and Boston are playing.
2. New York has just tied the game at 102 on a dunk with less than six seconds to play.
3. The entire bar, including any number of people in Boston apparel, cheers this result.


I don't care how great a time you're having at Buffalo Wild Wings, eating chicken wings (I assume) and drinking probably shitty beer. If you are a real sports fan, you want your team to win. A situation in which they somehow give up a wide-open, game-tying dunk with six seconds left is not something to be applauded. Further applauding when your team is going to win the game but is unable to do so because the player is blinded by a camera flash is complete lunacy.

But who cares if your team wins, right? You're just a fan of, you know, watching sports. In a general sense. It's not whether you win or lose, it's whether you get to sit in a Buffalo Wild Wings for an additional 15 minutes. Because you just have to be there.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Better pizza, bigger annoyance

I'm sure you've seen the ads that Domino's has been running recently, in which they show focus groups talking about how shitty their pizza is, and then they go back to those same people and go, "Hey, we fixed it! Do you love us now?" And those people are like, "Yeah, this pizza is now totally great!" Although at least some of them basically admitted that they might not have been so critical had they known Domino's was actually going to look at the video, and so maybe they're just saying it's great because they're ON FUCKING TELEVISION THIS TIME but whatever. Maybe it's great now. (If you haven't seen the ads, they were mostly chopped down out of this big fucker.)

I'm just saying: if you've just run an ad campaign talking about how your pizza was super terrible to the point that you had to completely fix the recipe, I'm not sure I'd make this my next move.

Domino's Chef: "For years, Papa John's has been telling us they have 'Better ingredients, better pizza. But when challenged in this court, they stated their slogan is 'puffery.'"

Yeah, uh, question for the pizza chef. Are you telling me that Domino's actually took Papa John's to motherfucking court over the wording of their slogan? Because that seems like some kind of ridiculous bullshit.

Chef: "What's puffery? Scott, you're a lawyer."
Scott: "Puffery: 'An exaggerated statement based on opinion. Not fact.'"
Chef: [shrugs dramatically]

Look, if you want to be all serious about this, it's very easy to argue that "better" is ill-defined and that Papa John's is not necessarily claiming to be literally better - whatever that would entail - than other pizza chains. But also, during the "years" when Papa John's was claiming this, Domino's pizza was apparently complete shit. You guys just ran ads telling us how your pizza used to be awful, and apparently you only fixed it in December. Are you mad because Papa John's didn't change their slogan immediately after you changed your recipe? Because it doesn't seem like there's any real impetus on them to do that. Unless you took them to court over it like total douchebags. (And if you didn't really take them to court and you're just saying that to make a more "interesting" commercial... well, that's just puffery, my friends.)

Chef: "Here's what's not puffery. Our new hand-tossed sausage, extra cheese and pepperoni pizzas just beat Papa John's in a national taste test."

Okay, good for you, but again, I'm assuming this just happened since your new pizza is still, you know, new. So what were you criticizing them for? This is like if after Barack Obama was inaugurated, he made some speech that was like, "For years we've heard George Bush give speeches like he was the president. But I just checked and it turns out I'm the president right now! George Bush should stop calling himself the president." And then everyone would have been like, "Wow, we just elected the dumbest man alive." Honestly, Domino's, do you just have no concept of time passing? Is your ad agency run by dogs? What is happening here?"

Chef: "Our pizzas taste better and that's not puffery. That's proven."

I mean, I guess. You'll forgive me if I don't necessarily take a bunch of nobodies' opinions on the taste of pizza as some sort of gospel truth. Also, see everything I already wrote, you stupid asshole. Does Domino's really think that behaving like some nitpicky douchebags is going to win them any friends? Do they think that people take advertising slogans so seriously that this was in any way needed? Are there people who would actually be like, "I don't know, Domino's, you say this new pizza of yours is good, but I just saw a Papa John's ad and they specifically said, 'Better pizza.' So, whatever, that clearly must be true." Because if there are, I'm really afraid.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Burnt Sienna

Remember when Dodge insinuated that minivans were for pussies, then immediately turned around and tried to sell you a minivan? (It was like three posts ago.) Well, Toyota's taking a different tactic in the minivan war. A different annoying tactic.

You know who has great commercials? Sonic! What if we basically copied those commercials and then made them about the car the people are sitting in and not what they're eating? Get that one actor too. He's hilarious.

Husband: "Well, we got a minivan, for the kids."

You know, you can put kids into cars that aren't minivans. Are minivans good for kids? Sure, I guess. But if you really have the antipathy for minivans that's implied here... you don't have to get a minivan. See: 8 million horrible soccer moms driving like fucking Ford Expeditions or whatever.

Wife: "Right."
Husband: "But we got a Sienna... to match how awesome we are."

As if the Office-like pseudo-confessional wasn't obvious enough, how about this guy just totally channels Ed Helms? I mean, I'm sure Ed Helms is not the only guy in the world to ever do a character like that, but it is the exact vibe I get here.

Husband: "I like to call it the Swagger Wagon."

If these people existed, and were as earnest in their douchebaggery as this couple is, how many friends would they have? Zero? Some sort of imaginary number?

Wife: "It's actually a lot like our family. Stylish, modern, super good-looking."

It feels like I've been asking this for years now. (In fact, I have been asking this for years now.) Why do companies insist on selling their products with obnoxious assholes as the spokespeople? Didn't it used to be the other way around? Think about how Camel had to stop using Joe Camel because, basically, he was too cool, which made kids want to smoke. Think about various celebrity endorsements. The idea was supposed to be that other people who used the product were cool, attractive, and pretty much everything the viewer wanted to be. I know we're in a jaded, postmodern age, but we've gone through the looking glass if the ideal spokesperson for a product is someone who isn't cool or attractive but just thinks they are, and announces this to everyone in grating, self-absorbed fashion.

Husband: "You know, sometimes when we roll up in our Swagger Wagon, and people see our style... uh, I don't want to say that they get jealous..."
Wife: "Yeah you do."
Husband: "Yes I do."

As if this weren't annoying enough on its own, the ad flashes "Daddy Like" and "Mommy Like" on the screen during this section. This is actually supposed to be the campaign's slogan, and let me tell you, it's so fucking terrible that I would rather buy a Prius I knew to be malfunctioning than buy a Sienna and take the risk that someone would think I thought this ad was even remotely tolerable. Holy fuck.

Announcer: "Meet the family, and the new Sienna, on YouTube."

I've met the family. They've been met. And if you think that this ad made me want to spend one more fucking second in their presence, Toyota, you are sorely mistaken.

Okay, I did watch a few of the others. But if I didn't write for this blog? Not a chance. I'll spare you the agony of going through any of them, but suffice it to say they're exactly as awful as you'd think. If you're interested in torturing yourself, start with this one, in which we are asked to believe that the Sienna is so great you can use it as some sort of spa. Really.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Annoying. So annoying.'s ads used to be... well, stupid. But in a sort of affable way. Like this:

See? Stupid. I see this and think "Reviews from people like me? How much of a weirdo do you think I am?" Nevertheless, there's a kind of good-humored air about it, like they're implicitly admitting that they're just trying to have a good time with their advertising.

Not so anymore.

Fuck this ad. Okay? Fuck it.

First of all, the question is thoroughly begged when you name your main character "Smart." What is that, even? Last name? Nickname? Ah, who the fuck cares.

Woman: "What's up, Smart?"
Smart: "Being smart."

Fuck you.

Smart: "Yep, just booked my tenth night on, sooo... I get a night free."

Oh my God, you super-genius, you! You... took advantage of a company's offer! I hope you needed all those ten nights. Otherwise you're like moms who come home with three 12-packs of Coke because it was on sale, even though no one in the house drinks Coke. As it is you're like someone bragging because he got the final stamp on his Subway Club card. No one cares, douchebag.

Smart: "You, me, getaway."

"Sexual harassment. So sexual harassment."

Woman: "Really? Where?"
Smart: "Anywhere you want."
Woman: "A bed and breakfast?"
Smart: "Bed and breakfast? Check."
Woman: "A place by the beach?"
Smart: "A place by awesome."

Again, fuck you. Also, that second place is clearly not a bed and breakfast. What are the odds she was changing her request entirely as opposed to modifying it to "a bed and breakfast by the beach?" Some fucking smart guy you are.

Woman: "Oh! You are smart."

Sound the editorializing alarm! Also, why the fuck is he smart? I guess taking advantage of a rewards program is smarter than not doing so - assuming you already have reason to be booking a significant number of hotel rooms - but it hardly makes you a super-genius, any more than clipping detergent coupons out of the Sunday paper qualifies you to run NASA. It's not that I think should talk about their product in an equivocal fashion, but how about not giving us a pitchman at the apex of obnoxious douchiness? (I also love that even in Claymation that woman is clearly way too hot for him.)

Announcer: "Accumulate ten nights and get a night free. Welcome Rewards from Smart. So smart."

Again, I'm not saying this isn't a good deal. But do you have to pose it in so smarmy a fashion? This is maybe one rung above Hyundai's "Big Duh" sales event of 2007. Is it really so hard to suggest that something is a good idea without insulting the audience's intelligence?

In conclusion... fuck this thing.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A tradition more annoying than any other

How do you make a bad ad campaign worse? Try to get "edgy."

This ad is, obviously, online only. What kills me is that it's referred to as a "banned Super Bowl commercial" by KGB. I mean, I guess it was banned... in the same way that, say, the orgy scene from Caligula was banned from the Super Bowl. Most likely this ad wasn't submitted at all, since KGB cannot possibly have been under the impression it could air on television, or even if it was submitted, it was only so they could call it "banned!" and "too hot for TV!" after its entirely inevitable rejection. But wow, if it was banned from the Super Bowl... that means it must be totally hilarious in a risqué fashion. Right?

KGB Douche: "We got a call?"
Woman 1: "It's my husband."
KGB Woman: "What happened?"
Woman 1: "We were in the pro shop, he and Bob were discussing global warming, and..."

Cut to an hilarious shot of a guy bent all the way around...

KGB Douche: "He's got his head up his ass."

*spit take* Bahahaha! Hilarious! Not at all a joke that is decades old at best. Also, global warming? It would almost be worth 99 cents to see what answer KGB could possibly give to "Is global warming real?" Even actual scientists don't seem to be 100% in agreement on this point.

Woman 1: "Not the first time."
KGB Woman: "Sir, are you all right in there?"
Guy: "Who said that?"
KGB Douche: "Now who's Bob?"
Woman 2: "My husband. Over there."

Guess what? He's also got his head up his ass! ROFL!

KGB Douche: "Next time your husbands don't have a clue, make sure they text KGB first."

So... neither of them had a clue? How exactly had this debate been going?

Unnamed Husband: "Global warming is real! It's harming the planet!"
Bob: "Oh yeah? Prove it, jerk!"
Unnamed Husband: "See, there's pollution, right? And the pollution goes in the water, polar bears eat it, they die, and their rotting corpses drive up the planet's temperature!"
Bob: "You idiot! Nuclear waste gets stored in cooling towers! It makes everything colder!"

If neither person has a clue in a debate, it no longer matters.

KGB Douche: "Always know what you're talking about. Text your questions to 542542."

"Don't bother doing any significant research on the major scientific topics that you'd like to discuss. Just text KGB and get an answer that fits into 120 characters on your cell phone." I don't know, KGB. Couldn't you dumb things down a little more? I want an answer about global warming that would fit inside a fortune cookie!

Guy [putting]: "It's in the hole!"

And one last cheap ass joke, just for good measure. I would have added a sarcastic *rimshot* there, but KGB would have assumed I was playing along with the theme.