Thursday, September 16, 2004

Advertising Rant #1

September 15, 2004

Yes, I know supplies are limited, unless you're selling sand, drops of water, or anything else that might outnumber the population of the globe.

Stop, just stop, creating commercials portraying the happily married couple, comprised of the thin, pretty, responsible wife, and the fat, unshaven, childish husband. Fat, unshaven, childish husbands belong with fat, unshaven, childish wives. That's how it works, and that's how it should be. Since media feces apparently imitates life, it disturbs me to know that these commercials are created by the fat, unshaven, childish executives of the world. Yeah boys, don't forget to gas up the car on the way home tonight, before sitting down to that delicious margarine supper.

Who decided on Joan Cusack for US Cellular's spokesperson? She's had way too many whacks to the head and certainly can't speak without pulling a neck muscle. And now, Richard Pryor for Sprint! Stephen Hawking for Nike! And now, Muhammed Ali will show us all why the only brand he trusts is Ginsu! Oh oh, um, lil' help? Someone call Chef of the Future. Can it core "a" apple? Jeez, we've gone from Smith Barney's John Houseman campaigns to Joe Walsh slobbering as he sells us fencing.

I'm reasonably happy that the idiot who does the voiceovers for movie commercials is now catching parody-flak for starting every commercial with "In a world..." I know it isn't his fault, but the poor guy has to be the voice of the stupidist "creative minds" in the country? I usually steer clear of poking fun at Hollywood in general, they're too pathetic to merit any real criticism anymore. Seeing them produce bad movies is like watching a four-year-old run off with plans to build a nuclear submarine using his soon-to-be-swallowed lego pieces.
And the next time someone uses James Brown's "I Feel Good" or Aretha Franklin's "Respect" as a bed for another movie commercial, make no mistakes - I will find the 46 year-old bonehead responsible for this decision and literally have him/her sucked through a military jet's turbines. Twice. Sing it Aretha : "T - U - R- B - I - N - E... what that engine did to me..."

It's somewhat unsettling to still hear jingles on the radio. Isn't this from a bygone era?

I laugh when I hear the ghetto, hip hop approach that McDonald's uses in many of their campaigns. Are we pandering to our best customers? How long until we change our name to "MackDonalds"?

It's always funny when a prescription drug commercial comes on. They spin together a majestic, convincing pitch, then completely negate it with 10 seconds of mentioning the possible side effects. And for that matter, I'm seeing a lot of young males in these Viagra clone commercials. They never seem fat, unshaven or childish. Where's the justice?

I'm fairly sick of one of those "Back to School" commercials from Dell, in which they show a person's Dell being dropped, dripped on, or assaulted by various "wild" activities in a dorm. I can't sufficiently express how irritating this commercial became. First, at a party, this dreadlocked ignoramous is apparently trying to attract (presumably) a girl by dancing and shaking his stupid hips, and in doing so, bangs into a table to the point where a Dell laptop falls right to the floor. I would have, at very least, rammed that idiots head through many walls. Then some asian-american boy, meticulously stamped from the overused boilerplate of all second generation asian-american college kids, is shown swinging at a golf ball, which smacks into a person's computer. "Fore" he sheepishly announces. Funny stuff. Again, if that happened to me, that painfully typical punk college kid would've received a painfully typical 8 iron to his nether regions. Owwwww! Ope - sorry, I mean uh...fore.

Our local grocer, Jewel, always makes deplorable attempts to attach current events to their routine sales events.
"Arbor Day means ice cold Canfields creme soda. Only 79 cents for a 2 liter bottle. Quell those election day hunger pangs with Farmstand radishes, only 19 cents a pound. Kick off that Super Bowl gathering with Corn King bacon, only 79 cents a package!"
Then for New Year's Day sales, they always peddle idiotic, G rated stuff like deli-sliced corned beef or Tyson whole fryers. They should pitch it this way:
"Clean up your pools of puke with Bounty paper towels, 2 for 99 cents. Ease your New Years tensions with EPT pregnancy tests, only $16.99 for a limited time."

Commercials for diapers, tampons, toilet paper, and the like are always funny. They have to use persuasive, descriptive rhetoric without cutting to the chase. Some day they'll just cut to the chase... "When it's a hot muddy mess, Charmin toilet paper is best!"
Instead we suffer with concepts of softness, freshness, leak prevention. C'mon boys, prove it - get some demonstrations going, with real people and nasty graphic examples. I wanna see these products really work.

Local company owners: stop, just stop, appearing in your own commercials, unless it's for less than 5 seconds. I can't believe people still do it, but yep - some vertical cadaver with his hands in his pocket, explaining his crazy sale, where he's out of his mind and all his cars must go. He'll stand there, not moving a muscle, with all the affect of Jack Webb, talking about how wild and nutty things are going to get. Drop a hundred extra bucks and pay some starving young actor to do something more appropriate.

No more commercials for athlete's foot, or itching, or rashes. Just stop, I eat in front of the TV, ok?

Puppies and little kitty cats are cute enough, so leave things as is. Can advertisers do that? No, they have to do that creepy computerized mouth animation thing, so it looks like they're really talking. It's outright haunting and certainly not a good thing for anybody out there sitting through an acid trip. When are the plants going to start talking too? Frank the Fern says "Me want Jobe's plant spikes."

There's so much painful overacting in commercials for restaurants. It's the same routine - person takes a bite, tastes the festival of flavors, then apparently climaxes from this culinary happy ending. C'mon, is there someone under the table when they film these bits? I'd have to think so...

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Query for the UnStraight Guy

September 9, 2004

Women can never be classified with a particular aphorism, such as the faded sugar/spice/everything nice billboard that was painted on the side of tradition's brick facade back in the 19th century. A wondrous lot, the vast majority have a gentle, incisive, but caring quality that helps quell our sociological pangs of dissonance and conflict. I therefore tip my mysteriously stained cap to the fairer sex, and how they bring such intangible elements of humanity and softness to the harsh confines of maledom. Wow, I just read this after about an hour had passed. That's just a crippling, pathetic, disgusting pile of steaming poop if I ever saw it. Not that it's untrue,

Ok, back to the program. First of all, the lesbians need to turn it down just a little bit. Your machismo, as a faction, is getting so embarrassingly brackish, it's making members of all orientations and genders roll their eyes and chortle. This whole "ay mee-ann I knows what I'm doin" bit might be cute for overemphasizing your fiendish rebellion against androgens, but in a normal periwinkle-collared culture, it's self parody. I'm not saying that all of the Red Lobster Mobsters can be accused of this level of thespian antics, but the fraction that play the macho-man game are bound to clear a room.
While on the subject of perceptions, effrontery, overtures and the like, let's not forget the confused and uncomfortably over liberated ego that often accompanies the attractive lesbians. Though not a daily routine, I will encounter a cute one, and being one who carries myself with dignity and respect when talking with a relative stranger, I don't invite or invoke any mental sparring. Invariably, however, she'll carry on with a preemptively hostile attitude toward me as she adjusts her "Men are Pigs" bra strap. Miss Anita Van Dyke is so elated and inflated from her liberation from evil men (since they're ALL the same) that any interaction is doomed to be slanted and under a cloud of prejudice. It's irritating at best to be judged that I'm entertaining lurid thoughts about her, and it's equally that I have to take on the recriminatory rhetoric against males, while all I'm trying to do is be social. Fine, congratulations, you have an alternative lifestyle. I drink warm soda, so I must be living one too. Lookout for me and my warm soda parade!

We're Carbonated! Frustrated! Castigated!
Keep YOUR ice cubes out of MY soda.
Refrigerate Yourself!

Conversely, it's hard to defend why I might feel uncomfortable at a gay bar, or knowing I'm being looked at in "that" way. Gay men advertise their "alternativeness" in varying degrees and to disparate depths. On a personality level, I completely don't get along with the incredibly flamey ones; cross those off the list right away. I'm sure they'll be quite upset about their excommunication from the Church of Mikey; I'm such a carnival. Regardless, that's merely a personality clash, rather than bias or acrimonious aversion. Yes, believe it or not, I've known a few, and it always was exhausting trying to keep pace with the bouncy pink Slinky flittering about and acting like every day is New Year's Eve. Worse yet, while I appreciate razor sharp wit or precise criticism, it is equally tiring keeping one's guard up, wondering when the insult artillery will begin prancing toward my personal walls of Jericho. Waitaminute, as I recall, they took down the walls of Jericho by blowing horns. Bad analogy. Ok, I can't use "analogy", the first part of that word...hmmm...ok I better sneak out the back door on this one. Wait, back door! There I go again.

I'm amused how the labeling of Bravo as the "Gay Channel" has finally taken shape. I'd been muttering about that trend for a long time. Check out one of its evening's lineups and see for yourself. If it isn't an overtly gay show, it is very entertaining material for those who like decorating with pastels and making French stuff.

The point of all this, with the illustration of the overly hostile lesbians, or the painfully queeny gay guys, is that it's a bit of a left turn from the normal way everyone else acts in mixed social situations. If I were to prance into a butcher shop wearing a pink fluffy hat, singing "Hello Frisco!" like Nathan Lane, the odds are reasonably good that others will take notice and spin with bemusement. Amazingly, wearing bright, festive colors, carrying on like a one "man" show, our little festive performer takes exception to being treated "differently"? You are different, you attention starved butterscotch buffoon.
Do you think it's normal to stand in line at a muffler shop, wearing a pink and yellow pirate outfit? Oh gee, and don't forget to try that pathetic "you can put me on the rack anytime, mister mechanic" thing. That always kills with the grease monkeys.
We're all entitled to equal treatment under the law, (ho ho ha ha) and nobody wants harassment or harm to fall upon any class or segment of the population just for their cultural or sociological makeup (get it? makeup? anyway). But expect to be treated differently if looking, acting, or living differently. Taking notice of an unusual person is one of the oldest instincts in the human condition, as it is sourced in keeping watch for outcasts and potential threats from foreign tribes. Pack animals will notice any discontinuity in the group, instinctively, as an indication of impending harm or potential threats from the outskirts. Obviously, we can fast forward all the way up to the modern era, where culturally cohesive neighborhoods and areas provide a basic element of belonging and security within the "pack" of, say, ethnically similar people. Most humans prefer to live amongst those who resemble themselves. Why, then, must "diversity" be thrust upon us? Can't it be an option? Sounds like the theme for an upcoming article...