Friday, February 3, 2012

Oh, hi there

Yeah, I guess it's been a while. You know how it goes. Fortunately for us, if there's one thing that can generate a bunch of posts in a pretty short time, it's the Super Bowl. Expect the Super Bored Awards (the fifth edition!) sometime next week, hopefully sooner rather than later. For now, let's discuss something else.

Did you ever notice that ads that describe themselves as "banned from the Super Bowl!" usually had no hope of airing in the first place? Did you further notice that they usually aren't very good? One suspects that the ad agencies are expected to come up with something that can be posted online as "banned!" and don't exactly assign their best people to the task. How else would you end up with something like this?

Where do you even start with this one?

Let's pretend for a second that its premise isn't stupid and appalling. Isn't it just way over the top? We really couldn't get across the idea that this guy is a bad apple without things like the leering pre-rape-and-murder grin or the sounds of a kitten being burned alive? I suppose that is "the worst that could happen" but putting it in an actual commercial (even a "banned" one, and clearly one that knew it was going to be banned) just strikes me as untoward.

Beyond that, of course, the premise is fucking retarded. Mostly because, by making your "worst-case scenario" so monstrously over the top, you've trivialized the importance of condoms. I don't want to get up on a sexual health high horse here, but yeah, condoms have a purpose, and it's a purpose slightly more realistic than "preventing the next Hitler." There are myriad reasons why a young woman may not want to get pregnant by some random schmuck, and "dying in childbirth while producing the most evil human of all time" is pretty fucking far down the list. And even beyond the pregnancy issue, if you're just kind of having sex with whoever, hey, how about diseases? Besides, did you ever notice how most condom ads focus on the selling point "Hey! Sex with condoms can still be totally pleasurable!" That's because everyone knows there are reasons to wear condoms, and when people don't, it isn't because they're ignorant of those reasons but because they're weighing them up against sex with condoms not feeling as good as sex without. So focusing a condom ad on scare tactics is pointless.

But perhaps the biggest problem with the ad, from an ad standpoint, is that it basically negates the product's usefulness by implying that the only reason to use it is to prevent the unlikeliest scenario of all time. It's like running an ad for car insurance that shows a car being hit by a meteor, then stomped on by a T. Rex. Maybe that's a passably diverting commercial, but if you don't have car insurance, you're not watching that thinking "My God! Terrible things really do happen every day! I need to be covered!"

So what are we left with? An ad that's too creepy to be funny, too outlandish to be convincing, and just plain too stupid to be effective. I'm guessing Durex is perfectly fine with saving the millions it would have cost to actually air this ad anywhere near the Super Bowl.


Windier E. Megatons said...

Also, if the premise/execution of your ad is so cumbersome that you have to attach a goofy fake mole to your actors to make you feel like the narrative is clear, you should really have just started over.

ConstruX NunchuX said...

I want to assail the premise on the fact that while it is likely that this monster might be the product someone so irresponsible that she can swayed from using a contraceptive in the most casual way possible (you have? Nah... Oh, **giggle** okay); it is unlikely that this behavior is the result of a ward of the state. What do I know, Charlie Chaplin was an orphan...

Maybe this is overanalysis, but the thought really did occur to me at the end of the commercial as she so whimsically dismisses her initial concern in the name of a good time. And now I've spent too much time thinking about it.

But while we're here, this is an atrocious exploitation of both human psychology and animal abuse. It is now common knowledge that one of the 3 major signifiers of psychopathy in children is animal torture, but that 5 seconds trivializes both the complexities behind that statemetn and much much more importantly, the true horrors of modern-day, real-life animal abuse. Sorry, it's a sore spot for me (and I appreciate that you addressed it above).

Maybe they thought there was enough (read, "any") artistic merit in reverse chronology to excuse the commercial on those grounds. In the end, while adding nothing new, I extend my appreciation for your return.