I've talked before, on several occasions, about the perils of having unlikable people pitching your products. Recently, in particular, it seems to be obnoxious couples. People who I would leave a party early just to avoid. Right, Sears? Right, Toyota? Yeah. Well, don't worry, you guys aren't alone. Here comes State Farm to join the party!
Again... why would I want to be like these people? At least the obnoxious assholes in the Sears and Toyota ads appeared mostly to get along with each other.
[Wife is singing karaoke to TLC's "Waterfalls"]
Husband: "Oh, look! Mommy spent your diaper money on a karaoke disaster!"
Instantly I hate everyone involved with this ad. What is the insistence on depicting relationships where people spend most of their time bickering? Also, fuck this guy and his supremely hipster mustache.
Husband: "I thought you were getting renter's insurance."
"And because I am an asshole, my immediate assumption based on this scenario not perfectly matching the one I expected was that you did something incredibly stupid, and then I yelled at you about it, despite having no actual information. This is what marriage is like."
Wife: "Done. I got our stuff covered for like four bucks a month."
Husband: "Four bucks, huh? Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there."
Husband: "Hey, Clyde, why is my wife lying about our insurance?"
You are SUCH an asshole. Man, I can't wait until this guy gets his comeuppance.
Clyde: "When you have State Farm car insurance, you can add renter's for about four more bucks a month."
Wife: "Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there - with an apology!"
Clyde: "It doesn't work like that, Julie."
Look, what the fuck? First of all, since WHEN does it not work like that? This is literally the first time in all of these stupid spots that someone has not gotten what they asked for, and that included having "the girl from 4E" suddenly appear in your apartment for sex. Second of all, why, exactly, is the wife made to look stupid here when the husband is an asshole throughout the ad and then CONTINUES to be an asshole despite being completely wrong? Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there with divorce papers.
This isn't the only State Farm ad currently running that I have this sort of problem with, either.
[Husband is on the phone in a darkened living room]
Husband: "Yeah, I'm married - does it matter? You'd do that for me? Really? Yeah, I'd like that!"
See, it's funny, because it sounds like he's talking to a phone sex operator! Or whatever. State Farm, I don't think you understand that you cannot have this be the opening joke and then ALSO go where you go with this.
Wife: "Who are you talking to?"
Husband: "Uh, it's Jake, from State Farm. Sounds like a really good deal."
Wife: "Jake from State Farm, at three in the morning? Who is this?"
Husband: "It's Jake, from State Farm."
Wife: "What are you wearing, 'Jake from State Farm?'"
Jake: "Uh... khakis?"
Wife: "She sounds hideous!"
Husband: "Well, she's a guy, so."
Here's why I hate this ad: why is the wife being made to look like a total psycho? It's actually a bit different from the last ad. In that one, the woman is right but is refused the credit she deserves. In this one, the woman is wrong - but the problem is that the ad casts her as not just wrong (since it sets up a scenario where you'd expect her to misjudge) but completely over the top in her wrongness. In the first ad, the husband is over the top in his wrongness, but he is allowed the last laugh without ever having to admit he was wrong. In the second ad, the husband again gets the last laugh, and he doesn't ever have to admit that, let's face it, talking to State Farm about your policy at three in the morning is maybe a little weird and suspicious.
Even in other ads that don't come down so heavily on the side of the man (and unaccountably so at that), State Farm seems to relish depicting conflict between the sexes, be it a wife demanding to know how her husband came by a falcon (do note that every single person in that ad shown with an extravagant purchase is a man, which is sort of sexist against both men and women at the same time, an impressive feat) or a couple fighting at the scene of an accident and using the "power" of State Farm to change each other into different people. (Again in that second one the woman clearly comes off worse. And again, the jingle can turn your girlfriend into a statuesque model in tight clothing but it CAN'T GET YOUR HUSBAND TO APOLOGIZE TO YOU FOR BEING AN ASSHOLE?)
Maybe there's some study I'm unaware of which shows that couples who fight all the time (and thus are most likely to recognize themselves in these ads) buy more insurance than couples who don't. But I kind of have a hard time believing that. If anything, insurance (given its necessity in the modern world) is one thing that there's no reason for couples to fight over. So what does State Farm do? Introduce all kinds of other conflict in its insurance ads. Because you know what's funny: a nice awkward bit of bickering between a couple you don't know, right in front of you. Sorry, did I say funny? I meant excruciating. Like a good clicker, my remote control is there - with a new channel whenever these stupid things come on.