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.