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Posted: Mon Nov 12, 2001 3:17 pm
by Joshua
I've been thinking about posting this topic for a while - I hope you guys follow me on this one, simple and proletariat as my views are...

I watch too much tv. I think we can all say that, as just about any tv - today's tv, that is - can easily be considered too much, and I watch a lot more of it that even I'll admit to in mixed company. I really don't mind most of it, and I rather enjoy a lot of programs that others consider tripe. (Rachel having Ross' baby? Now there's news!) What I cannot abide, however, are the goddamned commercials. Commercials are getting far worse than program content in terms of ideas and representations of 'modern life' and the fact that companies are paying money, not only to come up with these ideas, but also to run them during peak viewing periods, as a method of selling something to the American People, says a lot about where we are and where we're going.

So my topic, then, is this: Post the themes and events in the commercials that you see as most blatantly pandering or insulting to the public and why you hate them so. I'll start off with a couple simple ones.

This one's pretty lame, but there's that damn Wendy's taco salad commercial (you know - 'it's not a taco salad without chili' - ugh) that contains a line supposedly delivered by some well-meaning middle American woman: "I've never seen a taco salad anywhere else." - I just have to laugh at the sheer insanity of that statement, unless of course we've started marketing fast food directly to lifelong shut-ins...

Another far more aggregious example (and therefore much more suited to making my now long-lost point) is this recent line of Kia commercials. In these 30-second bits directed by Our Dark Lord Himself, we are presented with people who are so driven by their desire for smug material superiority that they engage in back-and-forth comparisons of their respective automobiles. Not only must you be better than the Joneses, these commercials tell us, but you must let them know you're better than them at any given opportunity.

If my diatribe is lost on anybody, I'll be happy to continue to populate this thread myself... I have a hit list of ads for sex, greed, and betrayal straight out of Machiavelli Design and Promotions, Inc. that I've been aching to bitch to someone about. Lucky you. <IMG SRC="/bb/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif">

Posted: Tue Nov 13, 2001 1:04 pm
by Guest
I agree with both of those commercials.

The Wendy's ad just makes me nauseous. I don't think I can watch another spot with that goopy chili smeared across the wilting lettuce. It's too much.

The KIA commercial is encouraging Pride, one of the seven deadly sins. They obviously want us to go to Hell. It may be good for car sales, but it is bad for the soul.

I find the recently patriotic-themed commercials to be the most insipid. Telling you to run up your credit for the good America, mom, apple pie and Chevrolet (you can be sure THEY won't be helping you out when you're laid off and can't make your car payment). Keep America rolling...right to bankruptcy court.


Posted: Tue Nov 13, 2001 10:34 pm
by sab
Great topic!

I, fortunately, do not watch much TV other than HBO, football, and racing. This is good in that I usually see ads for only one sort of product: cars. And as I like cars, and work in the car biz, the commercials are actually useful for me to watch.

Fortunately for the sake of this topic, car commercials are some of the worst in the biz.

So my most hated commercial right now (other than the "Truckville" ad from Aerosmith/Dodge, but that's another story) is the one for the Chevy Impala where the guy wants to buy the car without even test driving it. Hopefully I don't need to explain why this is patently stupid. But it's worth mentioning that GM sells 10% of its vehicles every year to employees, who get a discount, meaning that they probably don't have much use for a test drive since they can't comparison shop anyway. (This is one of the things that makes living in Detroit so surreal.) The other thing you've got to love about the commercial is the black woman saleperson and the fat white guy buying the car. I don't know about you, but I've never seen a black female working at a car dealership that didn't say "Saturn" out front. Methinks the casting should have been reversed.

Posted: Wed Nov 14, 2001 11:22 am
by Mixmaster Shecky
Josh baby, you landed this one right in my back yard! The real problem is where to start...of course, since Tivo entered my life my exposure to commercials has fallen sharply, but I still watch some by accident.

The most offensive ads I can think of right off the bat have got to be the various Michigan Lotto/Powerball etc. commercials. I haven't seen any recently, but several months back there was one featuring a jolly, fat, black 'mammy'-type woman singing the praises of whatever new gambling game the state of MI had noodled out. It struck me as incredibly racist, and all I could think of was 'shuckin and jivin for the man'.

Then there was the insidious Xmas ads featuring Lotto carolers suggesting (thru song) that Lotto tickets make great Xmas gifts. Might I suggest some booze and smokes to go along with that in a gift basket? Perfect gift for that unemployed cousin that can't hold down a job.

And don't even get me started on car ads, especially SUV ads. Tell me, when did owning an SUV or truck become an cheap excuse for attitude by some numbskulled, punk-ass white boy? All an SUV says to me is you're a crowd-following sheep with monthly payments probably beyond your means. Most SUV/truck ads tend to either use attitude (as per the example Josh mentioned) or some cheap patriotic sentiment to push their lousy hunks of steel. Why are these things so popular? Because people are morons, that’s why.

Pant, pant. Ok, I’m done for now. Suffice to say I could probably write a term paper on offensive ads. Also, I used to blame the advertisers but now I blame the public. After all, if these ads didn’t work, you probably wouldn’t see them.

Posted: Sat Nov 17, 2001 6:32 pm
by jimmyjazz
I dont know if you guys have this ad over in the states but its been done to death here in Ireland.

It isnt really pandering to the public but the choice of music bugs me.
Its A Heineken ad where this chap is in a footie stadium queueing for a beer while the match carries on behind him.

That was all just fine, until they started playing "Love Will Tear Us Apart" along with it. One of the most heart-renderingly beautiful love songs abused and raped to sell Heineken! I mean any other beer wouldve been bad but Heineken, the beer pissed out by the devil's own herd, Christ.

I can just see poor Ian Curtis' ghost watching that ad and thinking to himself, "Yeah thats what the last song I wrote before I killed myself was really about."

Not really relevant I know but that just takes the biscuit, in fact it takes all the biscuits and makes cake out of them...

Posted: Mon Nov 19, 2001 2:44 pm
by D. Phillips
That is truly insidious (my current favorite word). I'll even rank that as diabolical! Who controls publiching rights to that song? I am on the case and will expose the dogs for what they are!

Posted: Tue Nov 20, 2001 6:13 pm
by sab
Haven't seen that Heineken ad here in the States, but it pains me almost as much as drinking their swill. I frequently have to make the worst of all possible beer decisions at these terrible corporate gigs I have to go to for work: Bud, Bud Light, or Heineken. So I wind up drinking the green bottle piss instead of the brown bottle diarrhea water. Fuck Heineken and their "clever" ad campaigns.

Posted: Tue Dec 04, 2001 2:09 am
by Joshua
Boy - I've been away for a while... Glad to see I'm not alone in here, though.

Those are some interesting points, guys. Jimmy - perfect example of the most frequent commercial offense - horribly inappropriate use of music for context.

However, I recently noted a new one to add to my shit list: It's a Chrysler commercial (Sab's totally right in that living in SE Michigan is bizarre for the sheer volume of car commercials, particularly ones targeting automotive employees) for the Concorde. In the commercial, a little girl is told by her mother that she was named 'Savannah' because it was the name of the place she was conceived. Then the girl asks why her newborn sister is named 'Concorde,' followed by a narrator comment on the vehicle's 'roomy interior.' What really gets me is that the original version of the commercial ended with the girl putting two and two together and saying "Eeeeeeew!" Now while this falls into one of my most hated categories of commercials that blatantly use sex or the implication of sex to sell something thouroughly unerotic (see 'Herbal Essences'), it made me laugh out loud the first couple times I saw it. However, a short while after the spot started airing, they changed it so that rather then the girl realising what the mother meant, the mother says "Concorde, Massachusetts, silly!" Now that is lame - the company couldn't even stick to their original, remotely creative guns, at the expense of any continuity in the commercial itself. The conversation being between mother and daughter is made completly irrelevant to anything about the car, or the voice-over.

I've clearly spent too much time thinking about this, and now I've wasted your time ranting about it, but the hypocrisy of marketers just amazes me - a woman can climax on screen while having her hair shampooed, but a girl realising that her parents have sex is worthy of removal from the air.

Posted: Wed Dec 05, 2001 9:41 am
by Proptronics
Hey now.

So, I haven't posted before but was compelled to post this time due to a certain Wrangler commercial. Has anyone seen this commercial? The one where they play Fortunate Son amidst scenes of "All-American" folks. Now, I'm all for patriotism for your home country, but they have edited the song to just say "Some folks are born. . . made to wave the flag. ." and that's it. They conveniently edited the "it ain't me" part out of it. I was so pissed off!! On a short note, if the lyrics don't say "made to wave the flag" forgive me; I am posting pre-coffee.

- Proptronics

Posted: Thu Dec 06, 2001 11:53 am
by D. Phillips
That Wrangler commercial almost made me throw my TV out the fucking window (I should have...)

The WHOLE point of that song is lost in that commercial, now THAT is diabolical. Fortunate Son indeed.