Thursday, September 22, 2011

Yogurt, lies and videotape

I know this ad is a few years old. Is it ever too late to write about a total piece of shit? (Answer: no.)

First things first. Is there some compelling reason why this woman would be lying to her friend on the phone about her diet? I mean, once you've stated you're, you know, on a diet, it's kind of already out there. Why then go on to pretend that you're some sort of magical person who can eat a million desserts and lose weight?

The counterargument, I guess, is that she's not lying - the friend knows she's naming Yoplait flavors and it's just the dumb, sweets-craving husband who's confused. But if that's the case, why does she describe apple turnovers as "sort of my weakness?" Really, one random flavor of this 100-calorie cup of yogurt is your weakness? Come on.

Woman: "My diet? Well, yesterday I had an apple turnover. Mm-hmm. I know, it's sort of my weakness."

I mean, if the friend knows she's talking about yogurt, what could POSSIBLY fill the gaps in that conversation?

Woman: "My diet? Well, yesterday I had an apple turnover."
Friend: "You mean a cup of Yoplait yogurt flavored like an apple turnover, whatever that means beyond just 'tastes like an apple, more or less?'"
Woman: "Mm-hmm."
Friend: "Good for you, I guess?"
Woman: "I know, it's sort of my weakness."
Friend: "Am I even part of this conversation? God, shut up."

Woman: "I always keep it in the house."

The use of "it" here is, I suppose, evidence that the friend knows she's talking about yogurt, because it's a weird pronoun choice to refer to apple turnovers, in my opinion. But it's more likely that it's evidence that this ad was sloppily written, as if we needed much more of that.

Woman: "Well, that, and Boston cream pie, white chocolate strawberries - yeah, yeah! - and, mmm, key lime pie."

I honestly have no idea what to make of the "yeah, yeah!" part, which really could go either way as far as proof of what she is supposed to be talking about. But I've also lost interest because there isn't enough evidence to discount my original theory, and based on my original theory, fuck this woman.

By the way, check the bottom of the screen at this point in the ad for some truly awesome fine print.

Woman: "Yeah! Mm-hmm, I've already lost some weight!"

Fine print: "As part of a reduced calorie diet and regular exercise."

So basically what you're telling me is that the yogurt has effectively nothing to do with it. Good to know!

This series only gets worse, by the way, and the people in it only get more obviously full of lies. Check out this piece of shit:

Am I supposed to like the main character of this ad?

Woman: "Could you take all of these in for me, please?"
Seamstress: "All of them?"
Woman: "Well, it's the Boston cream pie, and the apple turnovers, and the white chocolate strawberries, and the key lime pie."

Didn't you say you have fourteen flavors? FUCK YOU for using the same four in every ad.

Seamstress: "So you need them let out."
Woman: "No, no, in."
Seamstress: "Out."
Woman: "Uh, in."

This goes on forever, while wacky French music plays in the background. Seriously, though: am I supposed to like this woman? She's a bitch. She goes into this shop, lies like she's been eating a lot of desserts, then treats the seamstress like a fucking moron for being "confused" about the issue. For good measure, this ad ends with a "joke" so bad I'm not even going to repeat it here. I can't believe someone got paid to write this and that it was filmed and aired. It's awful.

There are other ads in this series, like a follow-up to the first one where the husband is busy bragging to someone about all the desserts he's eating and yet staying thin, and the lying becomes more and more blatant. What's Yoplait's angle? "Our product is so bad you'll want to lie about eating it?" "See if these flavor compounds can distract you from the fact that you're eating a soul-crushing cup of diet yogurt?" Yoplait: It is so not worth telling anyone you ate it.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The rapping bird gets the worm

The Aflac duck commercials must be one of the most prominent series we've never mentioned on this site, because while somewhat dopey and tedious, they've really just never been worth commenting on. Well, that streak is over.

If you're wondering why the pigeon is rapping, it's because this is a follow-up to this commercial... not that it made any fucking sense that time either.

Kid: "Why do we have Aflac-"
Duck: "Aflac!"
Kid: "And major medical?"
Pigeon: "Major medical, boyyyyy, yeah!"
[Frogs lay down a beat]

I sort of thought that commercials based around rapping clearly written by a forty-something white guy who has heard a grand total of one rap song in his life went out of style in the mid-nineties, but it looks like I was wrong.

Pigeon: "I help pay the doctor, ain't that enough for you?"
Dad: "There are things major medical doesn't do."

Also fun: when you decide to build your commercial around a rap song, then hire the whitest guy ever to stiffly speak half the lines in it.

Duck: "Aflac!"
Dad: "Pays cash so we don't have to fret."
Baby robins: "Something families should get!"
Worm: "Like a safety net!"

Then the mother robin CASUALLY TOSSES THE SINGING WORM TO HER HUNGRY OFFSPRING, WHERE HE IS INSTANTLY DEVOURED. This might be the most sadistic commercial I've ever seen. I hope that worm had some form of life insurance. Thoroughly unfazed, the mother robin goes on to the next line:

Robin: "Even helps pay deductibles to cover your back, with-"
Duck [using lily pads as turntables]: "A-a-a-a-a-aflac!"

This song was ghostwritten by Jay-Z, right? You can tell me. I'd recognize Hova's style anywhere.

Just for good measure, after the Aflac logo we get a scene of the worm doing the worm while the duck, frogs and robin beatbox. Here's the question: is this supposed to be the same worm? We just saw him become breakfast for those robins. There's no way he's not dead. Maybe the end scene is actually out of chronological order, Pulp Fiction-style (which would fit well with the embarrassingly 90s tone of the rest of the ad), and depicts the worm attempting to impress his various potential predators with some hot breakdancing moves. Sadly, as we know all too well by this point, it didn't work; the mother robin simply waited for an opportune moment to pounce. Perhaps the worm's line in the song was a last-ditch effort to prove to the other creatures that he was too talented to be eaten. Good try, pal, but those hungry chicks are a tough audience.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

There's always room for creepiness

I've talked before about how much I hate it when advertisers of products that are really geared toward children try desperately to pitch them to adults instead. Well, it probably shouldn't surprise anyone to see this, since Jell-O is a Kraft brand.

First of all, dude, you're an adult. Buy a big tub of whatever brand of chocolate pudding strikes your fancy and eat out of it to your heart's content. By no means are you confined to eating from tiny little two-ounce or whatever pudding cups.

Second of all, "pudding face" is goddamn horrifying and I can't believe Jell-O built an entire campaign around it in the hopes that this would move product. I first came into contact with this campaign via their series of horrible billboards which, I assure you, are like 500 times creepier than this ad is.

These things are fucking terrifying. This is apparently supposed to represent happiness? Unrestrained joy? Guess what, Crispin Porter + Bogusky (yeah, I know, who would have believed they'd be behind another terrible ad campaign) - that's not what I think of! The guy on the right looks like a serial killer. The kids on the left look like evil ventriloquist dummies from some creepy B-movie.

But hey, we're here to talk about this TV ad. So I guess we might as well.

Daughter: "Didn't we have some Jell-O pudding?"

I know this is just something commercials do, and I can't expect them not to, but: no one says the complete brand name of a product out loud like this. Ever.

Daughter: "Dad? Did you eat my Jell-O pudding?"

Did you buy it with your own money? When did this go from "hey, we had some of this product in the house, right?" to "IT IS MINE WHO TOUCHED IT?"

Dad [unconvincingly]: "No."
[Daughter walks over and pulls the paper away from his face.]
Daughter: "Pudding face!"

Dad: "No... I'm just... happy."
Mom: "Only pudding gives you pudding face."

Fuck you, Kraft, you editorializing pieces of shit. Your shitty products are not this good. Also, this guy? Does not look happy. He looks absolutely miserable, but with a grotesque forced smile wrought across his face. Jell-O pudding is apparently now a Batman villain.

Dad: "I'm sorry."
Son: "You don't look sorry."
Dad: "You're right, I'm not."

"Maybe because I paid for that fucking pudding. You hear me, grade schoolers? If I want your pudding I'm going to eat it and you're not gonna say shit." Honestly, what is Crispin Porter's obsession with trying to turn adults into the Trix rabbit? If, for some reason, adults want to eat the mediocre pudding you've been pitching to children since time immemorial, and if you're trying to sell it to them for that purpose, why is the pitch here seemingly intended to shame the adult for eating a kids' snack? Do you want me to buy it or not, assholes?

Announcer: "Get your pudding face on with oh-so-cool and irresistible Jell-O pudding."

Uh, Jell-O? You don't really get to take credit for the pudding being "cool." That's the refrigerator's job.

Obviously I don't expect Jell-O to under-pitch their product. But when you go way, way overboard, that's just annoying. Of course, that isn't nearly as big of a problem as is the fact that there is nothing even remotely appealing about "pudding face." It sounds awful. The way this spot treats it as a scarlet letter is bizarrely counterintuitive. And, most damningly, it looks awful. This is, seemingly, a condition to which I should aspire! I should want that horrible, contorted grin that looks more like the result of weeks of Clockwork Orange-style torture than the result of eating something delicious to be plastered across my face. I mean, what, was Crispin Porter so upset that Burger King phased out the King that they decided they were going to get something even creepier on the air? If so, I'm scared to think what kind of ads we're going to see when "pudding face" inevitably runs its course.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Worst threesome ever

Oh, the awkwardness of high school reunions. Being forced to make small talk with people you haven't seen in decades... getting hit on by old classmates who are like totally bald now... having old friends surreptitiously unzip your clothes... you know, all the normal stuff.

I think there's a reason we don't normally see Coldwater Creek ads on television.

Man: "Sooo... are you seeing anyone?"
Woman: "I'm married."

Boom! In your face, guy! Guy who has not at all been calculatedly paired to make this already quite-attractive-for-her-mid-40s woman look even better than she does by virtue of being balding and awkward!

Man: "Oh!"
Woman: "Yeah."
Man: "Lucky fella."
Woman: *chuckles patronizingly*

Why is either of them still standing there at this point? Really, why was this entire first exchange even necessary, other than to fill time?

Woman 2: "Oh, my - Jennifer?"
Woman: "Elizabeth?"

"We're wearing nametags that identify us, so I'm not sure why we sound so shocked."

Woman 2: "You look amazing! And this dress, wow! It is so good to see you!"

Then, while distracting Woman 1 with her uncomfortably long hug and thoroughly pat small talk, Woman 2 fucking unzips Woman 1's dress so she can look at the tag to see what brand it is.

I mean, this isn't a thing that happens, right? No one would ever do this. And why would they? You could, you know, ASK WHAT BRAND THE DRESS IS. The person who bought it is right in front of you. Or is that an etiquette faux pas? Even if it is, is it more of an etiquette faux pas than unzipping someone's clothes while they're wearing them? I say no!

And then Woman 2 just walks away without saying anything else, while the guy stands there with a look on his face suggesting he's totally going to be using that hug as the starting point for some furious masturbation in his lonely Holiday Inn Express room later that night.

I guess the ad does an okay job of getting the brand across by the way it just plops it on the screen at the end there, but really this whole thing is just forced and uncomfortable, to say nothing of the fact that it seems like it was pulled directly from an unaired sitcom pilot from the year 1997. The overall pitch - "Hey, 40-something ladies, prepare to wow everyone at your 25th high school reunion" - makes sense enough, but could it have been executed more questionably? I doubt it.