Tuesday, May 27, 2003

Gratuitous Update Time

I'd just like to report that since I posted my magnum opus on bad commercials a couple weeks ago, no fewer than seven (7) different web surfers have found this site by searching for some combination of "girl in Ford Focus tattoo commercial". Man, the things people waste their time on the internet with.

Monday, May 19, 2003

Doesn't it seem like we've been seeing the promos for "Bruce Almighty" for about - oh, I don't know - a year and a half by now? By this point, I'm pretty sure I don't need to pay to see the movie at all - I've already seen it! Several times!

(Bear with me - maybe someday I'll feel like getting back into the whole "surf the web, look for interesting and unique links and post them on your weblog" thing. For now, this is what you get.)

Monday, May 12, 2003

Thirteen Years Ago Today

Happy Anniversary, Sweetie. Thank you for everything, and I promise to try and not break any more limbs.

Thursday, May 08, 2003

Commercials I Don't Need to See any More, Thank You Very Much

So, I've spent some time on the sofa lately, and I've noticed that many commercials which may seem to be obnoxious, annoying, or just plain bad are actually pretty easily blanked out. Some, though, have something about them that makes them impossible to ignore. Here's four.

1) The Ford Focus one with the girl getting the back tattoo.
Assuming that this is an attempt to position the Focus as an "edgy", "hip" car for the youth market, it fails on every level. As a Focus owner, this commercial makes me embarrassed for my automobile. Were I still young and/or tattooed, I would no doubt be similarly embarrassed for my demographic. Plus, the writers actually had the boyfriend say "sweet!", so damnation is utterly and truly deserved. In the parade of words and phrases that lost their "cool" by being co-opted by the "establishment", "sweet" has taken it's place alongside "daddy-o", "groovy", "gnarly" and "gag me with a spoon".

2) Anything with Lance Armstrong.
Don't get me wrong, Lance is an incredible athlete and no doubt a great guy who surely deserves our admiration as well as a few piles of cash for his accomplishments. I'm just not convinced that TV commercials are the best way to get him either. To begin with, to use him at all, you pretty much have to have him riding a bicycle, which doesn't necessarily make for a good fit with the sales message. Also, in New England at least, we're suffering from Lance overkill - he's simultaneously on spots for some car company as well as for Comcast (the cable company du jour that is proud to be my new internet provider and to make me change my email address yet again) doing pretty much the same thing - riding a bike, and thereby conveying perseverance, honor, or some such nebulous virtue. Naturally, neither works, because on seeing any commercial with Lance Armstrong the mind automatically processes two thoughts which together cancel out any advertising message which could potentially come through - "what the heck does Lance Armstrong and bicycle racing have to do with X?" and "heh, look - it's one-ball Lance". Also, I was not aware the Tour de France involved as much off-road racing as is implied in any of the commercials.

3) The MasterCard cash card one with the dead presidents hanging around the guy's house.
It was amusing, if a little predictable, on the first few viewings, but quickly went beyond tiresome to just plain creepy. It also leads to way too many questions: Why do they have to stay around his house? Why are they so grumpy? Does this guy carry no cash at all? Not even dollar bills? Is he just broke? When I'm broke, are dead presidents hanging around my house when I'm out? If so, does Alexander Hamilton ever get to join them? Finally, what does it say about our society that they chose to not even try to picture Alexander Hamilton?!?

4) The Subway one with the poetic sandwich guy.
I have definitely had it in for Subway ever since they stopped offering the "classic cut" (here's the obligatory link to make this more of a weblog than a personal journal, and to explain a little more about the classic cut controversy), but I never in a million years thought that they could come up with a commercial that would actually make me wish for the good old days of Jared and the fat fireman. If you haven't seen this beauty (and blessings on you if you haven't) here's a brief outline: the generic pair of every-day, mixed-race, professional-looking pals go into a Subway and one says "so, what's good?" or something like that. The other calls for the guy behind the counter, who is neither a sullen nor a perky teenager but instead a vaguely attractive but earnest-looking young fellow who launches into a soliloquy on sandwiches, with all the pathos and bathos that the writers could wring out of lunchmeat and condiments. Upon the big finish, the crowd bursts into appreciative applause. Sam (or whatever the hell his name is) is undeniably the maestro of mealtime, and his poetic brilliance at describing sandwiches in rhyme and meter will stand for evermore as one of the artistic triumphs of western civilization.

While it is tempting to say that this is a commercial which is horribly wrong on each and every level, it concerns me that there may in fact be a deeper level of irony. That just perhaps, someone deep in the bowels of some ad agency slipped one by the suits and got the real message across - the message that screams "Hey, you stupid fucking English and drama majors! Here's the kind of career you can look forward to!!! BWAH-ha-ha-ha-ha!!! Hope you like putting together sandwiches for the rest of your lives!!!"

Nah. Nobody's that ironic anymore.

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