Friday, August 15, 2008

Commercials - #9

I call this "part 9" because I have no idea how many times I've whined about commercials. For those who care, I had a very quiet, do-nothing birthday. Nobody? Fine. Sure, I get it. Just wait for Mister Wacky to write another pile of poop for the next break between incoming sales calls. Sure, just call me Mort Walker. Pry open the "funny pages" and expect more wild adventures from Beetle Bailey. Mn'uh huh. Nobody ever thanks the bloggy guy. Well, someone did, but she was referenced in my previous posting. Anyway, yeah yeah, commercials. Grumble. Yeah yeah, three (3) posts to go until #100. I mean #100! Acting excited. On with the show.

Creepy Wendy's Cartoon Character

In retrospect, I wasn't very impressed with the tiresome campaigns of the 80s and 90s, in which Dave Thomas himself insisted on "acting" in the commercials. For some odd reason, people took to the old dullard, and I suppose that was good enough for the strong economic times. Eventually, dear old Dave bit the burger, so to speak, and like the conundrum presented by Orville Redenbacher's demise, the marketing geniuses needed to come up with a new main character. In a positive light, Wendy's didn't make the same mistake as with the Redenbacher people, when they feigned Orville's reanimation with a creepy impersonator. With Wendy's, it wasn't reanimation, but just plain animation. They took the supposedly lovable caricature of "Wendy" with her red hair and pig tails, and made her into a cartoon character for the newest ad campaign. Now she frowns and has a creepy Hanna Barbera visage going. It's just plain disturbing to see the formally staid "logo" become a two dimensional, living, breathing cartoon girl. They, of course, decided to use a cutesy teenaged girl voice for the narration of said commercials, and the tone carries all the charm of a New York stock broker. Snotty, bratty, self-ingratiated, and oh so burger-licious.

Olympics Marketing

Ah, the Olympics are back, and since I don't watch the Winter Games, I can honestly say that enduring the marketing campaign every four years is frequent enough for my tolerance level. For starters, NBC's melodramatic promotional clips are driving my head into the desk. They've been running ten minute, dramatic montages, leading up to a one minute swimming race. Too much! There should be a rule that the sappy montage shouldn't ever be longer than the event itself. Then again, if following that rule, NBC could run a feature length film for the marathon event, or even the 10,000 meter race.
For additional inaccurate amusement, the promotional wizards claimed this was the first Olympics on the Asian Mainland. Hello? Does anybody remember Moscow in 1980? Perhaps I'm just jaded and dated.

Life Alert

Yes, I'm sure it's a good thing for all of the lonely old bastards that have to sit in their temperature uncontrolled hovels and count daily poops. Basically, it is the emergency electronic locket that was made famous with the old bat saying "I've fallen, and I can't get up!" This old crone was also featured in a commercial for "The Clapper". Clearly, she got up. Somebody butter her stairs, please. Anyway, there's a new ad campaign featuring C. Everett Koop (apparently nobody is hangin' with Mister Koop) and another old bag of bones. The latter is mumbling so incoherently as she says "All senior citizens should have life alert", they have to subtitle it. That's just patently humiliating; when English is your first language, and they still have to subtitle your mumblings - very sad. That said, the company sunk to a new low when, during their "out" screen, with name and address, they literally printed "The 'I've fallen and can't get up' product" or something similar. Nice job, make a mockery out of a mockery.

Computerized Animation - With Animals?

There are all too many commercials which now, through computer enhancement, show the animals mouthing plain english words, while a desparate voice-over artist fills in the funnies. I won't be the first to say this is a disturbing image, and I certainly won't delve into the creepy aspects of, with similar computers, making babies talk/sing/form harangues.
Recent anti-flea commercials have featured puppies singing dopey songs like "oh there ain't no bugs on me..." while the wonderful world of computerized animation forms the hapless animals' words in selling the pitch. Not exciting, and as I said before, patently disturbing. Things that shouldn't be animated, well, shouldn't be animated. I just finished making such a proclamation in the above Wendy's campaign complaints.

Royal Carribean

Another bunch of marketing geniuses that decided to use Iggy Pop's "Lust For Life" as the catchy, happy and bouncy soundtrack for their commercial campaign. Bear in mind, this campaign has much to do with a surly tween girl, suddenly cracking a smile during a family cruise. That's great, except for the fact that "Lust For Life" refers to a guy full of liquor and drugs. Nice try. Hope the tweeny doesn't catch on.

Progressive Insurance

Someone please carry out a hit on "Flo", the all too gregarious, bubbly dingbat who brandishes her "I Love Insurance" badge as she blurts out wacky aphorisms with all of the subtlety and timbre of Olive Oyl. The company dangles precariously close to the ledge, as it were, off of which Geico fell a long time ago, thanks to their Cavemen and gecko. Don't be next. Kill Flo. Come on, I don't watch that much TV, and if I do, I'm busily dodging the Vonage commercials, please don't make me dodge another painful campaign (wow, painful campaign, that's a gut shot alliteration straight!)


Cheerios is now pushing this "challenge" for people to, using Cheerios, reduce their cholesterol by 4% in 6 weeks. 4%? Holy hell, I can set up my lawn sprinkler once a day and lose more than that. If I sat in the same room with a bulb of garlic, I'd lose 4% in 6 weeks. To boot, I'm sure the requirements for this "challenge" involve never eating, drinking only water, climbing Mount Everest, and pummeling that damn Subway guy into submission. Subway submission! Sounds like a Saturday night robbery downtown. (Ok, Chicago only has a few miles of subways, but play along. What, no? Oh that's, it, I'm leaving, then. Oh man, forgot about the McDonald's rant. Fine...)

Mack Donald's

I love the newest campaign. "Mickey Dee's" has never made any apologies about marketing toward the black folk, and it's becoming more and more egregious every quarter. Now they're marketing this southern-inspired chicken slab of death on a greasy biscuit, and my arteries clog just by seeing the promotional spot. Additionally amusing that you won't find a white (or, as it were, non-black) person in the commercial. I suppose they figure that they have the demographic pinned down, might as well kill them with kindness. For the record, yes, I say "white" and "black". Anyone that was not born in Africa is not African American, they are American. Otherwise, I suppose we'd all be "Pangean American". So you're black, I'm white, we're American. Shut up and eat your biscuit, McDonald's says so.

Need I say more? I shan't.

Stay tuned for more fun from Beetle Bailey!


Nigel said...

And what number birthday was this?

evrafter said...

Hi babe
You must have the TV on quite a bit to be observing all these
commercials. Actually, been taking more time out myself to watch TV
these last couple weeks. And have enjoyed it for the most part. The
Olympics --- athleticism. The joy is not hearing who won, but
watching them win. Each night, there's something new and amazing to behold. Still we're almost practically forced to put up with all their sponsors whether we like it or not.

On the positive front of commercials, the recent Nationwide campaign is rather amusing. An old granny bashes a young fellow in the head with her pocketbook after he tries to apologize for ramming into her car in a "parking lot" (one of your favorite subjects). Although the guy is genuinely sorry, the woman proceeds to hit him, while her husband is encouraging her. At least Nationwide will be on his side, as it were, or so he hopes.

Fagedaboutit said...

Umm, the last I checked a map Moscow is actually labeled as being in Europe.
It's, (Europe), eastern border is the Ural mountains and the "Emba?" river. Other than that, I'm boycotting the Olympics.
China sure has put up a rediculously phoney dog and pony show trying to make the world believe it's such a great place to live. Puhleeeeze!

Fagedaboutit said...

Oh yeah, AMEN on the "Macky D's"
Dead on all the way.
An American

The Vapid Voice said...

To Nigel: 37.

To evrafter: Nationwide hasn't annoyed me yet, but yes, I do love them parking lots...lots.

To Fagedaboutit : Fine, then. I used a bad example. Then let's use Seoul, South Korea, 1988. This still wasn't the first Olympic games in Asia. Satisfied, Gerardus Mercator?

To Fagedaboutit #2 : Right on, Homey.

Xoynx said...

You're easily disturbed. (Oh great, now I have a corrupt Nirvana lyric in my head: "Wish I was like Herb: easily disturbed.")

The Vapid Voice said...

You'd likely mean "Wish I was someone like you...easily amused"
Good tune - that was Nirvana's "All Apologies". What's new kid?

Wendi Manning said...

I love the "There ain't no bugs on me" commercials!! Say you like them or I will have Vonage Witnesses come to your door every day with The Vonage Tower magazine for your perusal! If they catch you early enough, you'll convert to Vonagism.