Friday, August 22, 2008

Hate 'em


Anyone who watches a lot of television typically watches a lot of commercials, as well. Most go in one ear and out the other. Some amuse us. But others make us cringe every time they come on the screen. I've always had a problem with the fast-food ads. The stuff they show us onscreen looks so good, and big, but when you order the food at the restaurant, it looks nothing like what you saw on TV. I used a photo of a Subway ad as an example. Did anyone ever get a Subway sandwich that looked like this one, with the meat almost leaping out of the bun at you? Didn't think so. I still think they're great, as my waistline attests. Some other ads that get on my last nerve:
- The J.G. Wentworth commercials, featuring the cadaverous old guy inviting you to convert your structured settlements into CASH.
- The ESPN "MVP" commercials, particularly the one with the guy who is the so-called MVP of his honeymoon trip. Every time he tells the fake interviewer that he's "stuffed" because "that buffet's pretty robust," I wish that I were high on a hill overlooking the honeymoon site, armed with a sniper's rifle, so that I could ensure the buffet would be his last meal.
- One of the least-favorite ads among the folks at my office is the one where the woman is on the phone in her kitchen, telling a friend about all the luxurious desserts she's been eating recently. Meanwhile, her poor husband is rifling through the fridge, looking for the leftovers. It's an ad for spoiled milk, aka yogurt. The concept of the ad isn't what bothers me. It's that woman's tone of voice. I wish she would crawl into that refrigerator and pull the door closed behind her.
- The furniture ad featuring the easy chair that screams "STELLA!" I'd like to unstuff him.
- All of the Austin's cleaning products ads. I just hate the jingle.
- And finally, the ad that rubs me the wrong way like no other: The blind guy in the restaurant who, through his exceptional hearing alone, identifies motorcycles that are driving by, then identifies a bottle of Miller Lite when someone pops a cap. I'd like to pop a cap in him, after I was done slapping the spit out of his mouth for about a half-hour.

Please share with me some of the ads that drive you crazy, and also feel free to throw in some favorites.

Have a great weekend.

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31 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it's a CVS ad that features a super-drippy Sarah McLachlan song -- don't know the title of the song, but it's lyrics are "it's just another ordinary miracle today." I turn the sound off whenever that comes on -- it's the worst kind of down-in-the-mouth coffeehouse shoe-gazer fare...

--Brad Hundt

August 22, 2008 at 1:42 PM  
Blogger PRIguy said...

Brad, I think every Sarah McLachlan song is super-drippy.

I don't know if you have Hardee's commercials up there in PA (I live in Virginia), but I despise their ads that feature people eating. They must put the microphones inside the buns for all the crunching. And of course, the people eating them make barbarians look like charm school graduates.

I really hate SUV commercials that portray what ad agencies perceive as families...two or three kids, a smokin' hot mother and a handsome father all resting comfortably in an SUV. Of coures, the SUV is laden with virtually every possible type of extracurricular gear, from a kayak to water skis, basketballs, soccer balls, a bat, tennis racquet, jai alai equipment, a curling broom, shuttlecock, surfboard, fishing gear...

Naturally all of these people live within half a tank of gas of mountains, beaches, hiking trails, river rapids, tennis courts and so on. As much as I hate these commercials, I applaud the ad agencies for selling a lifestyle to a generation.

This pertains to no particular product, but has anyone noticed how in commercials men are portrayed as clueless boobs and the wives or girlfriends are the wise, sage ones in the relationship, the ones with the answers and solutions? And kids are obnoxious, mouthy and snotty. They ought to be stuffed into the SUV, driven to the mountains, tied up with water-skiing rope, and beaten with a bat.

August 23, 2008 at 8:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate to be eating dinner or watching a movie with the kids and a commercial comes on for male enhancement "Penis extender", the guys singing "Viagra" in a barn, or the female lubricating gel. Put those commercials on the porn channels.

August 24, 2008 at 12:01 AM  
Blogger PRIguy said...

Bounty paper towels runs one where the father and son are watching water meander across the floor from a glass laying on its side. They debate whether it's a "two" or a "three." Again, the mother who knows all and saves the day every time, has already decided that it will "take just one." So she grabs a single paper towel and sops up the entire mess. Not only that, she rinses it, wrings it out and manages to rub out a spot on the carpet too. Who in the hell uses one paper towel to scrub carpets??? Who uses one paper towel for anything? For that matter, how poor or cheap do you have to be to rinse out a paper towel, wring it out, and use it again?

Geico car insurance ads that feature that insufferable gecko lizard. He used to be cute but they changed his voice to have an Australian accent for some reason, and I find it extremely annoying. Geckos aren't native to just Australia either. I can't change the channel fast enough when they come on. Speaking of Geico, that whole cave man concept is insipid. I can't believe the ads come from the same agency.

And last but not least, anything pitched by Billy Mays gets turned off. Before long, he'll get the same reputation as John Madden has: hand him a check and he'll endorse anything at all. Mays is loud, far too exuberant to promote anything other than orgasms, and, well, he's loud. Oh, and the stuff he pitches is junk. I bought some KaBoom cleaner once. Honestly, spitting on the dirt and rubbing it with a paper towel would have been more effective. At least you can rinse and re-use the paper towel.

While I'm on the subject, why do infomercials have to feature people with British accents? Are they wiser than Americans? Do Americans push products in England? Are there no credible ad people in America? Oh...I just answered that with my Billy Mays comments.

August 24, 2008 at 7:22 AM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

There is a netflix radio ad that didn't bother me until I thought about it beyond the 30 seconds that it was actually bouncing off my ear drum... It's supposed to be a quiz show... the first two questions are impossible because they are ridiculous (what's the square root of orange or if tuesday is happy, what's september?)... The contestant gets the two impossible questions correct and then gets the "netflix" question... how many gallons of gas do you burn driving to and from the video store with netflix? Zero... CORRECT!

I know that they are going for the "smart people use netflix" thing... but the ads are so dumb... it seems like it would be more effective if the first two questions were super easy and the contestant got them wrong... "How many cards are used in 3 card monty?" "7?" and then still got the netflix question right... sell to the biggest market segment... there are more dummies than geniuses :-)

I agree with priguy and anonymous... the lifestyle that is being sold (not just by SUV's... also by snackfoods, glass cleaner, air freshner, and uhm... what was that other thing... oh yeah, anything that you can buy) is patronizing and men are NOT always bumbling idiots.

Oh, another one... the bounty paper towel commercial with the son and dad looking at a spilled soft drink and trying to decide if it's a "3 sheeter" or a "4 sheeter"... and mom says "nope, 1 sheeter" and wipes it up with a single bounty towel.

1. wipe up your damn mess, who cares how many sheets it takes... if it bothers you that much, use a shirt or a sock

2. serious question... do any of you ever ring out your paper towel and continue cleaning the whole house with it?

I am sure there are a thousand others...

-ellipses

August 24, 2008 at 7:30 AM  
Blogger Brant said...

Priguy and Ellipses,
I thank you fellas for making me laugh out loud this fine Sunday morning. Those paper towel ads are ridiculous. They make it seem like their product is stronger than a burlap sack. If I wanted to mop up my messes with burlap, wring it out and use it again, I would. The reason I buy paper towels is that I can grab a handful of them, slop up the mess and toss them into the garbage.
As for the Viagra ads, while I find the "Viva Viagra" performances oddly amusing, I really don't think I'm going to find myself sitting around with a bunch of other limp-dicks singing at the top of my lungs if and when my weiner quits working.

August 24, 2008 at 9:46 AM  
Blogger PRIguy said...

We have another commercial here in VA for a product called "ShamWow," which touts itself as the most absorbent thing on the planet (take THAT, Bounty!) and is far superior to the real chamois. For some reason, the hawker has one of those headsets on with a little microphone, a la Britney Spears when she had a career. Of course, it's obvious the guy is in a studio and not a barker at some carnival, which is what I suppose he's supposed to be emulating.

Naturally, this thing sops up liquids at an alarming rate...you can almost hear the suction! Toward the end of the commercial when they show pictures of frustrated users of other similar useless products and the unbearable aggravation they cause, we see mounds of used paper towels being tossed into the trash as mic-boy proclaims, "You're throwing away $20 each month in paper towels!" What??? I buy the 3-pack of cheap paper towels at WalMart for $1.68 and believe me, I use them for everything from cleaning spills to blowing my nose. I buy the cheap ones because I use so many (they don't stand up to rinsing and wringing). Each roll lasts me an entire week. That amounts to $2.24 per month.

What sort of mixed messages is Madison Avenue sending us anyway? On the one hand, we have the sage, frugal mom using one lone paper towel to sop up spills, clean the carpet, clean the windows and wash the car. After a quick rinse and dry, she can use it as a panty liner. On the other hand, someone is tossing out $240 worth of paper towels each year! I might have to contact the Consumer Protection Agency for some guidance.

As for the Viagra ads, if my johnson quit working for a while, and I found a pill that re-invigorated it, I sure as hell wouldn't be sitting around with a bunch of men. I'd be using that thing! When it wears off, then I'll go boast to my buds.

August 24, 2008 at 11:25 AM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

Priguy... I just realized that your bounty rant was posted while I was writing mine... that's amazing :-)

We have the same commercials with that d-bag rodeo clown selling sham-wows... The part I like most is when they say, rather prominently, that they are made in Germany... I can appreciate German engineering if it is applied to a naturally aspirated V-8... but to a towel? C'mon now! Make the damn thing in china and sell it to me for 1/4 of the price... I am sure chinese poly-ethylene-styrofoam-bicarbonate is not only chemically identical to the german version, but it also costs about a nickel a ton...

Oh, and on the cost of paper towels... The wife an I were at Sam's club this weekend... If I were going to use 20 dollars worth of paper towels in a month, I would have use them as logs in the fireplace.

-ellipses

August 25, 2008 at 9:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only commercial I have liked recently was the AMPd mobile phone ad with the Chinese guy caught rapping in the men's room -- hilarious. But I still don't have an AMPd phone. In fact, the only things I have bought recently because of an ad were because of -- dare I say it -- infomercials. And both products work great!

August 25, 2008 at 10:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate ads for anti-depressants because they make it seem that drugs can solve any problem. But I doubt I'll see a commercial that says, "Years of therapy may be required, and you still may not feel better."

August 25, 2008 at 10:31 AM  
Blogger Brant said...

My favorite commercials are the Bud Light ads. They are consistently funny and inventive. But like the previous poster with the mobile phone, it hasn't changed my beer-shopping habits. If I were stranded in a desert, I'm sure Bud Light would be delightful but, fortunately, I'm not.

August 25, 2008 at 10:34 AM  
Blogger Brant said...

Re the antidepressants, there's a comedian named Drew Hastings (who I highly recommend) who does a whole bit about the overprescribing of those drugs. He ends it by saying that pretty soon, there will be blocks of the stuff in town squares so that the populace can just wander by and lick them like sheep at a salt block.

August 25, 2008 at 10:36 AM  
Blogger PRIguy said...

I thought it was coincidental that you and I were trashing the same commercial too, ellipses. I guess great minds have no tolerance for drivel.

Regarding that ScamWow guy and his German-engineered shop rag, it seems that many Americans think that if something is labeled European, that it's somehow superior to the quality of something available here. How about the line of Garnier hair care products? I think they have a bunch of gays sitting in an office, sipping chablis and making up French-sounding words for their products. I mean, what the hell is "fructis???"

I don't know how many commercials are regional, but it seems we have some common ground on the ones we discussed. I know we have some local commercials, as you do there, that make my skin crawl. You might be too young, ellipses, but I know Brant and likely others on this blog will fondly remember the old Mr. Cost Plus ads. I haven't seen one in 25 years, but I can still see that goober hanging from a wire "flying" over his car lot.

I love Bud Light ads too. Regarding Bud, has anyone noticed that since the company was sold to the Belgian beer giant that suddenly the word "American" is more prominently promoted?

August 25, 2008 at 11:43 AM  
Blogger Brant said...

I once had the pleasure to drive past the Huebner Chevrolet (Mr. Cost Plus) dealership in Carrolton, Ohio. There was a large figure of him flying through the air, suspended above the building. It was like seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time. ;)

August 25, 2008 at 11:50 AM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

Not to beat a dead horse... but on the "European nomenclature" issue... Again, I have to recommend the documentary "People Like Us." There is a segment about American's obsession with all things Tuscan...

Car lots never cease to amaze me with their advertising... Does the giant inflatable Godzilla or King Kong really matter anymore? With the miracle that is the intertubes, I know exactly how much any car with any options configuration costs...

Since Brant has his subway ad up there... One that gets me now is the "If you are going to eat 5 bucks, shouldn't it have more meat?" and a korean woman takes a 5 spot off the wall of her dry cleaning business and eats it... I know inflation has been working on the value of a dollar, but don't most entrepreneurs still put up that symbolic first dollar earned? or have they resorted to using larger bills?

-ellipses

August 25, 2008 at 12:51 PM  
OpenID Wormie270 said...

Every time I see the King's commercial I shut the television off and find something else to do. Who ever came up with the idea of a menu shouting VALUE must be two cards shy of a full house.

August 25, 2008 at 12:53 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

That ranks right up there with the chair screaming "Stella!" It's really aggravating.

August 25, 2008 at 1:55 PM  
Blogger PRIguy said...

I don't think McDonald's wants any more white customers based on the ads I see.

Has anyone noticed that the new chicken breakfast sandwich they sell has a bun described as "buttery tasting?" What the hell does that mean?

August 25, 2008 at 3:06 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

Colleges are the worst for the affirmative action ads...

W&J is the most lily-white school on earth... but every shiny paper printed by them makes it look like model UN... I don't have a problem with it... it's amusing and I know why they do it...

-ellipses... has nightmares about getting raped by the burger king

August 25, 2008 at 3:22 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

I've even heard that some of the black students at W&J joke about how they are pushed to the forefront every time the college wants to look diverse.

August 25, 2008 at 3:59 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

I can't affirm nor deny that... I didn't really go to many occasions where photographs would be taken... for me, it basically class + required events + 50 hours per week at work... However, the graduation picture that was used for promotional purposes managed to feature prominently a fellow English major... who happened to be the only Hispanic student I recall seeing in my time at the Dub... but then again, I probably could only name about 10 students... so I am not a good barometer.

-ellipses

August 25, 2008 at 4:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

affirm should be "confirm"

sorry...

Oh, and it seems I was logged in under a different account... shuxors

-ellipses

August 25, 2008 at 4:59 PM  
Blogger PRIguy said...

I get irked with commercials for things like cereal or other things directed at kids. I know that there are plenty of neighborhoods with a diverse mix of children. But is there a neighborhood anywhere in which at least one kid from six different races all live within close enough to each other to be good enough friends to have breakfast together? On that note, I can't imagine a parent anywhere who would want to invite six children under the age of 5 to breakfast. My God...after a fiasco like that, Mom may have to get out a second paper towel!

Ellipses/Bob...you mention how white W&J is. I went to Virginia Commonwealth University, and that is a school with diversity. I took a geography class that had about 55 students and there were 14 different nationalities in the class other than us white folk. The girl from India was stunning!

August 26, 2008 at 7:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, I guess I don't watch enough TV. I don't know about most of the commercials mentioned. I do hate the yogurt one though - that woman has a terrible voice.

August 26, 2008 at 2:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Fructis" is almost what I say when I get really frustrated.

August 26, 2008 at 3:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The worst commercial on TV right now has to be the one where the dog is wiping his butt on the carpet and a litte boy says "Mom, look at 'Buster's' new trick!" She schrreches in horror and then calls a carpet cleaning company.
Totally gross!

August 27, 2008 at 2:08 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

Yeah, I hate that one, too. Whose dog hasn't scratched his behind on the carpet? When mine have done it, I sure don't remember shrieking like someone just splashed acid in my face.

August 27, 2008 at 4:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ever watch the show with Vanna White and Pat Sajak...every commercial is about some kind of medicine? Do only sick people watch that show?

one good thing though...after watching that viagra commercial, I knew to call my doctor when I had an erection lasting over four hours. I have been dating her ever since.

August 27, 2008 at 8:07 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

Anon... I think a lot of "old" people watch that show :-)

Just like there are a lot of vocational schools that advertise during Springer and Maury... because a lot of unskilled, unemployed/shift workers watch those shows... Just like hot chicks in beer commercials during football games... just like Jaguar and Wall Street Journal advertises on CNBC... just like Lowes advertises on HGTV... and those "limited edition silver dollars with a relief of the World Trade Center" advertises on the History channel... Wow... I could go on forever :-)

Your viagra joke is funny! If I had an erection last 4 hours... I'd call my doctor, too... and everyone else I knew to brag about being up to bat for all 9 innings!

-ellipses

August 27, 2008 at 8:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I have a four-hour erection, ehy would I call my doctor -- I'm not even attracted to him.

August 28, 2008 at 11:26 AM  
Anonymous Captain said...

Shit! I cannot stop laughing here. You guys have just made my morning. Anyways...

I think the burger king ads are very scarry. Like you E, I would believe there would be dire consequences if the burger king was outisde my bedroom window or yet in my house. What about the one where the little king kicks his dad after offering hime some food? I think many men are worried about being raped by the BK...

Has anyone seen the Swiffer commercial where the mops and brooms offer cannides, flowers etc to the housefrau and the old tune "Baby come Back" by Player is the jingle? I love that one probably cause i enjoy the song but its a gaffe at best....

As for viagra -- i would agree that a 4 hour priapism unless it was hurting (no pun intended) would be enjoyed not called on for medical attention...

Subway as does all the restaurant chains truly ups the ante on their products. Unless I am back there making it it never looks like the ads....

i think some of the Budweiser commercials are funnny...like the ones involving Kasey Kahne and the little sluts who want to offer him everything and more....i laugh hard when the destruction follows....seems like with a woman that often can happen...lol

I have seen the bounty, sham-wow and Billy Mays spots....all morbidly stupid....but I think the best comments here are the fear of being raped by Bk and the 4 hour stick of ash.....i am still laughing...

as for the netflix....i recall the first time hearing it....stupid me was driving down the road and was trying to figure out how they got the questions right....now dotn laugh too hard....i bet we all did that the first time thru...

i think the viagra ad i laugh at most is the one where the wife is just getting home before the husband and he "beeps" his horn then after 4 time he finally gets out the harley and they go off to a hotel somewhere....why go to a room....go to the bedroom...lol

thanks gaain guys for making my side hurt with laughter....

September 1, 2008 at 11:13 AM  

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