Monday, September 28, 2009

"But I didnt' care for the way the contractor kissed my ass, so I'll give him only TWO stars...."

I find these commercials for Angie's List funny and infuriating at the same time.

Commercial #1: Customer tells us how awesome this woman she hired to clean her house turned out to be. She vacuumed, she dusted, she just did an amazingly awesome job.

BUT- she whistled the same song over and over again while she worked, and now, gosh darn it, the customer can't get that tune out of her head! "I could learn to love that tune" says the customer- but meanwhile, her stupid, thoughtless snark has set off a few alarm bells to the terminally anal among Angie's list browsers, and this cleaning woman has lost a few jobs. (No problem, that probably means she can be squeezed for even more work at lower pay in the future.)

Commercial # 2: Customer tells us how he hired a group of painters to repaint several rooms in his house. He tells us this story of how one of the painters stepped into a can of red paint and was picked on by the other painters, and he stalked off, leaving red footprints behind.

"They finished on time and on budget, but they are hardly professionals" this dick concludes. Oh, that's nice- they didn't act like fricking robots and had a bit of a spat, so despite the fact that they FINISHED ON TIME AND ON BUDGET, you are going to give them a low rating.

Commercial # 3: Woman talks about how she had a plumber working in her house, when she realized that she wouldn't get home in time to give her dog it's evening walk. So the plumber walked the dog up and down the street till she got home. "He really went above and beyond" the customer says.

This one strikes me as the funniest of all- she thinks there's something wonderful about her plumber walking her dog. I'd agree- if the plumber didnt charge her regular hourly rates for doing so. I would assume he did- after all, his time is His Time- except that I remember that there's this thing called Angie's List. All the customer had to do was to remind the plumber of Angie's List too- and it's easy to picture the poor guy walking up and down the street with the dog, scooping up it's leavings as they go, in order to avoid a bad rating.

And that's what pisses me off about this concept- I suppose there's nothing wrong with a web site providing reviews of plumbers, electricians, carpenters, etc.- but the commercials strongly suggest that Angie's List is an awesome way to beat these professionals about the head if they do ANYTHING to step out of line (whistle an annoying tune, step in paint) or if they aren't willing to go out of their way to kiss the customer's ass (walking the dog.) In a tough economy, I imagine it's a very effective gun to hold to the head of these guys.

Did the job you were contracted to do? Awesome- but you annoyed me slightly, so I'm subtracting a star. Don't like it? Jump for me, Monkey!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

John Hancock: Because Nobody Ever, EVER actually TALKS anymore

Commercial for John Hancock: Bald, middle-aged man sitting at a table in what looks to be your standard Hot Spot Coffee Place is having a ridiculously LOUD "conversation" IMing someone, apparently his wife--

(LOUD MESSAGE ANNOUNCEMENT MUSIC) "Remember when we said 'When We Retire, Not If We Retire?"

Bald old man types "Yes."

(LOUD MESSAGE ANNOUNCEMENT MUSIC) "How do we get from "If" Back to "When?"

Bald old man leans back and looks out the window thoughtfully.

Is this really a conversation suitable for IMing? Is this couple so emotionally distant, is their relationship so badly stunted in it's growth, that they need to discuss their financial situation and retirement plans via Instant Messaging? Jesus Christ, they are just one step above texting- "So Do U thnk we gt the $ fr retrmnt?"

Maybe it's just me, but it seems like this is a conversation that grown-ups have face to face, not as an afterthought over the computer because they both happen to be in Hot Spots. We see the guy is having a leisurely cup of coffee, doggedly determined to take up an entire table at Starbucks all fucking afternoon if that's what suits him, because really, where would you rather be than a loud coffee shop? What's his wife doing? Is she home? Is she at work? If this guy is on a break (doesn't look it- he's acting like he lives at this place) why isn't she joining him? What are the odds that these people will actually remember to return to this subject when they are actually TOGETHER?


Auggh, the stupid! It burns!

Celebrating Seventy Years of Product Placement!

This new Macy's commercial is just too much:

1. Show clip from Miracle on 34th Street- "Santa Claus" asks Adorable Little Girl "where did you get that pretty little outfit?" Girl answers "Here at Macy's!"

2. Show clip from Seinfeld episode featuring Mr. Pitt at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

3. Show clip from I Love Lucy featuring Lucille Ball gushing about how great Macy's is.

Ok, we get it. Macy's is a pioneer in the field of Product Placement. For seventy years or more, Macy's Incorporated has polluted your favorite films and tv shows with blatant commercialism (hell, Miracle on 34th Street is just one big, shameless ad for Macy's- the mid-80s E.T. ripoff Mac and Me was only slightly more obviously a commercial for MacDonald's.) Is this REALLY something we ought to feel all warm and nostalgic about?

Seriously- would Miracle on 34th Street been a flop if not for the CONSTANT references to Macy's? We might as well ask if Casino Royale would have been unwatchable if not for the ubiquitous appearence of Sony-Ericson Cell Phones (I swear, someone looks at or uses a cell phone roughly every ten minutes in that film- maybe it's a bad example, because if you cut out all the "let me look at my cell phone" scenes, the film is roughly 48 minutes long...)

Product Placement is not something I ever expected to see celebrated in tv commercials, so I should at least give Macy's points for originality. I'll certainly give them points for gall. And having seen a "thank you Macy for all the imbedded commercials" ad, I guess it's only a matter of time before we are asked to thank Marlboro for all the wonderful smoking scenes we've seen in films since the 1920s.

Hey, Lucille Ball can be in those, too, since she smoked like a chimney on her old show. Ah, the good old days!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Don't Tax Me, Don't Tax Thee....

Woman steps out of an SUV carrying plastic bags containing 2-liter bottles of soda. Apparently noticing the camera on her front lawn, she puts on this "damn it's tough living in this affluent suburb, driving this overpriced behemoth, and living in this opulent house" look before she begins her tirade:

"When Congress starts talking about another tax, that gets our attention. Now Washington is talking about a tax on juice drinks and soda. They SAY it will only be pennies, but those pennies add up, especially when you are trying to feed a family...."

Increasing the pissed-off scowl to maximum, Angry Suburban Mom snarls "Washington. DON'T increase taxes on juice drinks and soda." And with that, she enters her split-level palace, lugging the bag of what I guess are now Staples in with her.

Seriously? We're the fattest nation on earth. Our cheapest, most popular foods are drowning in high-fructose corn syrup. The cost to society in high medical bills, absenteeism from work, etc. is in the hundreds of billions. At the rate we are going, the government will be adding insulin to the flouride in our drinking water before the next decade is out. Our budget deficit is exploding, and our infrastructure is crumbling. Forty-seven million Americans can't afford Health Care. And Mrs. Pissed Off SUV Suburban Mom is warning Washington not to raise taxes on Mountain Dew because she's trying to "feed her family?"

Give me a fucking break. This is almost as bad as those "you're smoking more, and you're being taxed more, it's just not fair' commercials. I don't know if SUV mom smokes, but I do know she drives a huge gas-guzzler which probably has a Drill Baby Drill bumper sticker on the back. Judging from her righteous anger over the very idea that her family's precious carbonated drinks might go up in price a few cents, she's no doubt very comfortable with the idea that low-taxed syrupy-sweet fluids, which she refers to as "food," is her God Given Right as an American, and that any attempt by Congress to try to raise the price a few pennies is a good excuse to tune in to the Glenn Beck show and get the time and address of the next Tea Party.

When the hell are these morons going to grow up? Look, it's really very simple- we don't want to tax healthy food, like fruits and vegetables, because they are expensive enough as it is. We don't want to tax actual staples, like milk, eggs, bread, etc. But luxury items like cigarettes and soda? Taxing these is the very DEFINITION of fairness, because they AREN'T NECESSITIES.
No matter what Sneering Suburban SUV-Driving Mom says, you don't FEED YOUR FAMILY ON SODA AND "FRUIT DRINKS."

So yes, Congress- tax away on this junk. Tax Fritos and Cheetos and Pringles and Doritos and Kettle Chips. Tax Colas and Hi-C and Juicy Juice. Maybe if we tax them enough, people will be discouraged from poisoning themselves with this garbage, and we'll have a healthier society and economy. I'd gladly pay an extra dime for my Diet Coke, especially if I get to see Ms. Panties in a Twist's head explode in the bargain.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

More rank stupidity, courtesy of our friends at Verizon

Two guys are sitting in what I guess is the office cafeteria. One notices that the other has the new Blackberry Storm and congratulates him on it, as he has one too.

First Guy" "How sick is the web browsing? All the APPs, GPS, video...."

Second Guy: "Um, yeah....."

Let me just jump in here, before the commercial gets to it's inevitable "you didn't get "The Network," which means you are a total loser because you are actually unable to play with your stupid security blanket/toy for a few minutes a day" punchline. I just have to say something about the vocabulary skills exhibited by Guy # 1. Maybe it's just my age, but I find something really grating about hearing a guy who appears to be in his late-20s or early-30s using a phrase like "How sick is the web browsing." Ok, I suppose "sick" is just this year's "groovy" or "awesome," but it still strikes me as amazingly stupid. It could also be because once again, we have two guys sitting at the same table, apparently about to eat lunch, and all they have to talk about is the web browsing one of them is capable of carrying on.

First Guy: "You......didn't get your Blackberry with the Verizon Network, did you?"

Second Guy (sheepishly) "No.....but look! Paperweight mode!"

Ugh, what the f-ever, man. You know, in a world in which people were still capable of exercising some level of social interaction, Guy # 2 would never discover that Guy #1 didn't have access to God Knows What from the fucking cafeteria- because Said People would be, I don't know, talking to eachother instead of fucking around with their god-damned Blackberries. But because people simply don't talk to eachother anymore (unless it's about their loved ones, just collected from the Verizon Store) your level of coverage will quickly become known to EVERYONE AROUND YOU. After all, if you HAD COVERAGE, you'd be USING YOUR BLACKBERRY, right?

How about this scenerio?

Guy #1: "You don't have the Verizon Network, do you?

Guy #2 : "Why do you ask?"

Guy #1: "Well, you aren't using your Blackberry. So I assume you don't have coverage here."

Guy# 2: "Um, that's because I'm sitting here with you, eating lunch. I thought we might just talk."

Guy#1: "Check out the Web Browsing! It's sick!"

Guy # 2: "No thanks. Hey, how's your wife and kids? Haven't seen them since last Christmas."

Guy #1: "Gotta update my Twitter account. Later."

Ah, good times, good friends. Except, not really.

How sick is this society? Oops, sorry. I know I'm using that wrong.

The Easiest Snark of All

"People keep asking me 'hey Tom- why Ford? Why Now?"

Who are these "people?" Why do they keep bothering this guy? If Tom wasn't actually a pitchman for Ford, I guess a proper answer would be "you think I have nothing better to do than to give you an education on car-buying? Who asked you to buy a Ford? Leave me alone!"

But since Tom IS a bought-and-paid for whore for the Ford Motor Company, we are supposed to believe that he explained to these "people" how the New Ford is not your Dad's Ford- it's not a pile of junk which is inferior in every way to it's Japanese counterpart.

Well, that's not very interesting. So let's imagine how the conversation would have gone if Tom decided to be as honest and to-the-point as humanly possible:

"Hey Tom, why Ford?"

"Because that's the company that's currently paying me to pitch their crappy product."

"Why Now?"

"Because if people buy Fords right now, the company will continue to pay me to pitch their crappy product."

So easy, I'd feel guilty for being paid for running this site- if only I were being paid for running this site.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Haha It's Fun to Pretend to be Polite, and then act like a total Asshole

We see a broken-down taxi with the driver standing outside of it ( I didn't even notice that the broken-down car was a taxi until the fourth or fifth time I saw this commercial, so I didn't quite get the nasty message right away.)

"Need a lift?" asks a helpful passer-by in the car we are supposed to ultimately find super-attractive, if not irresistible. "Thanks" says Taxi Driver Man, and he gets in the back seat (seems kind of odd- but OH I GET IT, it's like the taxi driver is now the PASSENGER. He's changed places, get it?)

"Mind if we take a shortcut?" Asks the driver. "No problem" says the back seat passenger. And off we go.

Driver, assisted with a GPS system apparently set to "find route with sharpest turns and most hills," proceeds to drive like a freaking lunatic up and down side streets, through what must be some kind of park (way to practice defensive driving there) and finding great delight (seriously, the guy has this massive evil grin on his face during the entire experience) in forcing his passenger (who is either not wearing a seat belt or is finding the seatbelt not an adequate form of restraint) to hold on for dear life to prevent being shoved by powerful g-forces into the car's sides.

Driver glances backward, same self-satisfied, evil grin on his face, while sick-and-nervous-looking passenger attempts a "yeah, I'm still alive" half-smile.

Finally, the passenger is dropped off at his destination, which seems to be the taxi depot. He waves goodbye to the asshole who inexplicably decided to offer a favor and then treat it's recipient like a pile of dirt, admiring the car as it speeds off.

Um, what the hell? All I can figure is that we are supposed to buy the old cliche that taxi drivers are sucky drivers who enjoy making their passengers miserable by taking turns too quickly and driving on uncomfortable roads at uncomfortable speeds. Thing is, I've been in a lot of taxis over the years, and I've never had a driver do anything like the fat dickweed seeking "revenge" in this ad does. Taxi drivers don't abuse their passengers, at the very least because passengers give tips. If they take short cuts, it's because their livelihood depends on getting you to your destination ASAP so they can move on and pick up their next client, not to tick you off.

Let's give the creep driver the benefit of the doubt and say that he's had a lot of bad taxi rides. Did the guy who ends up in the back seat provide all those rides? Any of them? If so, this sure is a passive-agressive way of meting out "revenge." Like a 30-second episode of "The Twilight Zone"- instead of the ranting anti-semite finding himself being condemned to an extermination camp, it's the careless taxi driver being trapped in the back seat with a crazy driver in command?

If not (far more likely, in my opinion) then the jackass is just being a jerk, treating this poor guy like shit as a way of getting some lame "payback" for past grievances. Either way, it's a really stupid commercial which beats you over the head with it's nastiness, besides failing to sell it's product because I've seen this several times and I can't for the life of me remember who makes the damned car, and nothing here gives me a warm feeling about a company that would produce such a stupid pile of dreck.

If I were that passenger, I would have had something to say to the driver when he dropped me off. Or maybe, I would have just vomited all over his back seat. That would have taught him something about seeking misdirected vengeance, anyway.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Surviving the tough economy, the Verizon Way

Here's more evidence that Verizon is convinced it has a winner with their Idiot Parent v. Smart-ass Kid theme, but is willing to tweak it a bit to give Dad the chance to be the heavy now and then. In the series of "funny" commercials which started last year, we had harassed mom begging her dipshit son to use "old minutes" instead of just throwing or giving them away. Dipshit son would always respond with what can be fairly be translated into "yeah mom, blah blah blah, I don't give a fuck about saving money because it's not my money, and I'm gonna keep wasting minutes because there are no real consequences for doing so. So bite me." I think I've posted at least twice on those commercials, and I appreciate the material, Verizon. I really do.

In this new commercial, balding dad, who is developing just enough of a paunch to let you know that he's officially Middle Aged Man (see SNL's archives if you don't get the reference) announces to his family that it's time to start getting serious about saving money. The guy drops off his kid two miles from school because "we need to save gas," for instance. Later, he makes the family eat in the dark to save electricity. Ok, so he's being a real ass, and we are supposed to sympathize with his family at this point. We know that there are intelligent ways to save money, and they don't include what this weird idiot is doing.

Then he announces that he's switching everyone to the Verizon Family Plan, because it gives you unlimited messaging (thank God, because who could live without THAT?) for each member for only $9.99 a month. Kind of an odd message here- Dad is an idiot in all the other ways to save money, but this move is brilliant? Or is switching to Verizon just as stupid as not driving your kids to school or refusing to use the lights during dinner?

Cue Smart-Ass Punk Kid: "I'll believe it when I see it."

Um, pardon me? Listen, you loathsome little prick, here's a better idea: Hand over your phone. It's going into the charity bin. You can have a phone You Can Believe In when you get a god damned job and pay for it yourself. Seriously. "I'll believe it when I see it?" I can't imagine saying something like that to my Dad while he's explaining to me why he's switching cell phone service. Of course, we can't imagine that this kid actually ever thanked his Dad for providing the phone in the first place, can we? Nope- but this kid is convinced that the new plan won't provide him with all the "vital" bells and whistles offered by the old one- which I'm sure not only included unlimited texting and yakking and twittering, but also downloadable games, music, and all the other things that a kid his age simply MUST have in a cell phone.

Because I guess in Verizon's world view, gas and electricity are luxuries, but cell phones for everyone in your family are absolute necessities. Maybe in future commercials, we'll see this family fishing old bagels out of the garbage in back of Dunkin Donuts and shopping for Christmas presents at the dollar store. But it will be all good, because at least they still have their phones!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

CCR Notwithstanding, "Too Good to Be True" still rules radio

Chirpy woman gushes about a Work-At-Home Program called Freedom47.c0m-- "I wanted to be with my kids and work at home. I wanted them to have Mommy care, not Daycare. I quit my job and thanks to, I've been at home for the last seven years with my daughters..."

Guy chimes in, "I just HAD to get out of the business rat race. My wife and I quit our jobs, and now we are home making more than $10,000 a MONTH EACH, thanks to!"

Wow, sounds super-impressive. So I went to the website. At first, the presentation is quite typical- picture of smiling family sitting on the grass, probably having a picnic or something, obviously blissful in their new stay-at-home-and-make-barrels-of-money lifestyle. Little bullet points tell us that we can "set our own hours," among other inducements. Of course, there's an informative DVD they'd like you to order. Right there on the home page (there are NO other pages) there's an application for the reader to fill out- Name, Address, Phone Number, How did you hear about us?, etc. But here's the strange part- at no point are you told about the "small shipping fee" you must send to get the free DVD or asked for a credit card number. Apparently, they are actually willing to send you the DVD (which, we are told, contains "about one hour of information on our business plan) for free. Very odd.

I hate to be a cynic here, but the combination of the obviously phony "you can make huge money at home" theme (there are only two ways you can make huge money at home- you can start your own web-based business and sell products that the public wants at reasonable prices- which leaves out Internet Speedway- or you can insert yourself into a web-based pyramid scheme in which you become a very adept scammer on behalf of the people above you; I won't mention a specific company by name, but the one I'm thinking of starts with the letter "A," ends with the letter "Y," and rhymes with Highway) and the actually-free information has me thinking Cult. I've heard of such businesses smoothing the way for people to look for information by providing free materials, which ultimately lead to an invite to a free seminar, where the real brainwashing begins. Maybe that "How on Earth are you anyway?" guy who encourages people to "minister" to their families and "minister" to their communities by working from home is involved.

I'm really tempted to order the DVD and provide an update to this post after watching it, but I'm not willing to let the people know where I live. If maintaining this blog paid my salary, I'd have a post office box that I would use to order "free" material for inspection all the time. But if that were the case, I'd be working from home, and I'd have a Financial Success Story to tell, and I'd be letting you know how you, too, could be avoiding the rat race and making big bucks from home. I think I'd charge shipping and handling for my DVD, though.

Friday, September 11, 2009

There's No Honor Among Thieves

I've posted in the past on the phenomenon of "credit card counseling" and "debt relief services" commercials which absolutely dominate the world of satellite radio these days. But now I'm hearing an ad which suggests that even the scumbags who form these "helpful" companies realize that they are drowning out each other and need to create an edge.

The commercial is for Credit Card Relief (or something like that- seriously, make any combination of the words "Debt," "Credit," "Relief," "Service,"and "Counseling" and chances are you've come up with the name of an already-existing debt management program. The voice is that of a very gruff man who sounds like he's talking to us out of the side of his mouth. He's really ticked off that there are so many companies pretty much exactly like the one he's pimping for- "It seems like every time you turn on the radio, you hear these stories- happy young couple gets their debt completely cleaned off the books without even trying. I mean, come on! If it sounds too good to be true, it IS too good to be true. You need REAL relief- not bankruptcy, that should be your last option. And not a high-interest consolidation loan. We're Credit Card Relief, and we've been helping people solve their debt problems for almost a decade...."

Blah blah blah. Clever, no? "We know you've been hearing this same pitch every day, but don't listen to those other guys, they are lying to you with their pie-in-the-sky promises." CCR doesn't name names, but I'd suggest that they specifically mention John Commuta and his "pay off your $500,000 mortgage in two years instead of thirty just with the money you already make" bs. Maybe they fear a lawsuit. "THOSE guys are trying to cheat you. WE are the REAL DEAL." And in case you are still skeptical, "WE have been in business for ALMOST a DECADE." Wow, great history of service there.

These guys make me laugh, they really do. It's not enough that they are trying like hell to insert themselves between desperate debtors and their creditors so that they can extract their pound of flesh, but now they are starting to stab eachother in the back to do it by calling their competitors phonies. Seriously- anyone with half a brain knows that every single one of these companies is set up in exactly the same way with exactly the same business strategy- become the paid whine merchant for people with debt issues by harrassing creditors to accept lower monthly payments spread out over a longer time (and, therefore, accumulating more interest) while skimming a fee off the top for themselves. None of them do a damn thing that the debtor isn't capable of doing ON HIS OWN.

So please, Credit Card Relief, Credit Debt Services, Debt Services USA, Credit Debt Relief, etc. etc.- spare me the "we're not like those other losers" bit. You are EXACTLY like those other losers. Hell, it wouldn't shock me to learn that you ARE those other losers, and all these different names are just part of a con to convince listeners that there are a bunch of companies out there competing for your "business."

Oh- and you are all soulless bloodsuckers who will burn in hell. Just thought I'd toss that in, in case you hadn't heard it from one of your disappointed "clients" lately.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Judith Regan = Classless, at Best

I'm listening to talk radio on Sirius/XM and suddenly I hear this commercial for something called the "Judith Regan Show." Here's Judith Regan, telling us why we need to give her a listen:

"Everyone lies nowadays. Lawyers lie. Spokespeople lie. Politicians lie. Well, that's why you need the Judith Regan show. This is the Guantanamo Bay of Talk shows. We rip people apart, we shred them, we get to the truth."

Ugh, come on. "The Guantanamo Bay of Talk Shows?" How about "the North Korean Prison of Talk Shows?" As we approach the 8th anniversary of 9/11, perhaps she should call her show so exciting, so hot, so attention-grabbing that it's "the brutal terrorist attack of talk shows."

Judith Regan is actually equating asking tough questions to- what? Applying electrodes to fingers and testicles? Threatening to rape the subject's minor family members? Waterboarding?

I'll be polite and say that Judith Regan is just being clueless and classless here. It would be just as easy to say she's being oblivious to the harsh reality of what went on down in Gitmo during the last Administration. It would be just as easy to say that Judith Regan apparently thinks that there's something valuable about torture because it "gets answers." Because I don't know Judith Regan and I like to give people the benefit of the doubt.

Because, seriously- the alternative is that Judith Regan thinks it's fricking AWESOME that we tortured suspects, and she's doing the next best thing on her show, because gosh darn it, we the listeners deserve the "truth."

Here's the truth, and I'm being polite: Judith Regan is, at best, an idiot who agreed to sign off on a really, really horrible ad idea. If these ads stay on, she moves beyond "idiot" into the category of "cold-blooded, soulless moron." I'll just have to wait and see.

Mom to the Rescue, Again

Mom walks into her teen-aged son's room and instantly crinkles up her nose; clearly, she's entered a toxic waste zone. Her son is splayed out on a sofa, surrounded by his own filth.

"Aren't you having people over to visit?" she asks. "Yeah" he answers.

"We've got to get this room cleaned!" she exclaims. (WE? WE? This kid isn't old enough to clean his own fricking room?)

There's no time to actually clean the room- so Mom whips out a bottle of some air freshener- I think it's Febreze, but I can't be sure because the ad doesn't end with somebody jamming their nose into pillows or curtains or shoes, like all the Febreze commercials do. All I know is that this woman proceeds to squirt half the bottle of the stuff all over her son's room.

And then, the payoff: Two cute girls appear at the door of the room, and one of them says "It smells so nice in here!"

A couple of points: first, there are any number of reasons why a teen-aged boy's room would stink. Maybe there's laundry collecting mold and mildew under the bed. Maybe the sofa is filled with old french fries and pizza slices. Maybe the kid hasn't bathed in the past week or so. Whatever the cause, spraying chemicals around isn't really going to solve the basic issue- your kid is a slob, and the reason you have roaches running around the house.

Second- what Mom reacts to the knowledge that teen-aged girls are coming to spend time in their son's room by rushing around said room, making it as bearably clean-smelling as possible? It seems to me that if the girls don't like the smell of your son's room, they are going to want to move the party or whatever it is to the living room, where you can keep an eye on them.

Third, related to point number one- what is this mom teaching her kid? "Don't bother with keeping yourself and your surroundings clean- just wait till the last minute, you can fake it by spraying crap all the place." To hell with that. Either make Dirty Doofus clean his room regularly or let him live with the bad reputation he gives himself when his peers come to visit. I'm so sick of seeing TV Moms with spray bottles and paper towels at the ready like six-shooters, ready to draw at a moment's notice whenever one of their disgusting spawn makes a mess. This kid looks like he's going to be living on his own in a couple of years- when is he going to be encouraged to grow the hell up?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The person who made this ad flunked Remedial Commercial Making 101

Some time ago, I posted on an incredibly stupid MacDonald's commercial that featured nothing but people sighing and mumbling as they consumed their lard-encrusted "food." The ad I heard for DeVry University today makes that McDonald's spot look like something worthy of being unveiled during the Super Bowl Halftime Show. It consists of a chirpy female voice trying to convince us that there's this word called "Ility," and we're all looking for it:

"We all want 'Ility.' We're always looking for Flexibility. We want credentials to give us Credibility. Then we can get jobs with Responsibility and gain Respectability...."

Uh huh. So, why aren't we all looking for "Bility" rather than "Ility?" I mean, as long as you are going to appeal to our Gullibility...were the ad makers afraid of being sued by the makers of those "Drinkability" commercials?

The ad is for DeVry ( I guess--- as I was pounding my skull against the wall in disgust at this brain-dead idiocy, I'm pretty sure I heard the word "DeVry" mentioned.) There ought to be a little disclaimer telling us that the person who wrote the ad is NOT a DeVry graduate, because seriously, if this is the kind of "skill" they teach at that place, well.....

At my school, kids in computer classes have to create an imaginary business with a sales model, including brochures and an ad campaign. I can tell you straight out that the least imaginative 10th-grader could come up with something better than "Ility" in about five minutes on his worst day. It doesn't say much for DeVry that they actually paid someone to create this ad, and even less that, after seeing it, the school paid to have it aired. I'm pretty sure that commercials aren't supposed to leave you thinking "Jesus, that was an incredibly stupid waste of time, not to mention a real insult to my intelligence."

Back to the drawing board, DeVry. Next time, try to come up with something that doesn't stoke my irritability.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Jane's Story of Undaunted Courage, or How I Forced the Doctor to Prescribe Drugs to my Mom

"Jane, like a lot of people, is starting to see changes in her mom as she gets older — she's forgetting things, getting irritated easily, having trouble doing everyday things. Join her as she talks to her family and the doctor and moves toward an answer."

We click and watch the commercial- Jane is talking to her dad. She's worried about mom- "she's forgetting things, she's always repeating herself." Dad is in gutless, cowardly denial- "she's fine!" No help for Jane here.

Now Jane is talking to some other guy- "I'm really worried about mom. She's having trouble doing everyday things!" This guy doesn't have any lines, but the look on his face tells me "good lord, what does this woman want from me? Why is she bothering me with her personal issues?"

Now Jane is sitting at a desk, talking to a person who is clearly supposed to be a doctor- white jacket, badge on lapel, you get the drift. "The doctor said 'its just old age" Jane tells us- and we see the "doctor" just shaking her head sadly.

Jane is really, really upset now that the entire planet seems to be in on some vast conspiracy to prevent her mom from getting help for what is clearly a serious medical problem. At this point, she reminds me of any number of movies in which the main character is convinced that she is in possession of the truth, yet everyone around her is trying to convince her that she's crazy.

Fortunately (?) Jane finally finds an enabler who clues her in to, which helpfully feeds Jane's paranoia with downloadable documents and cartoons she can print up and shove into her doctor's face. Seriously- next thing you know, we see Jane at her mom's doctor's office again- only this time, she's showing all this cool stuff she's printed up from, like she's a fricking detective confronting the murderer with the indisputable evidence of her crime.

Deflated and defeated, the doctor now nods in affirmation and agrees to prescribe some drug to Jane's mom. Dad has been brought low, the medical community has been shown up, and Jane of Fricking Arc can walk away triumphant, because she's finally become a big enough nag to convince a doctor to Drug Mom. Way to go, Jane. We'll remember you to the Nobel Community.

This is just sick. I guess "Ask your Doctor if [insert drug name] is right for you" wasn't cutting it anymore- now Big Pharma has moved on to "if your doctor says no, print up stuff from our site and shove it in his face. And if the people around you discourage you from getting the drugs, ignore them, because they are just clueless assholes anyway. Be a hero- get your loved ones on drugs. Now."

And get this disclaimer, again from the website- "This Web site contains information relating to various medical conditions and treatment. Such information is provided for educational purposes only and is not meant to be a substitute for the advice of a physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use this information for diagnosing a health problem or disease. In order for you to make intelligent healthcare decisions, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare provider for your, or your loved one's, personal medical needs." Isn't that a riot? The disclaimer tells us that we "should not use this information for diagnosing a health problem or disease"- which is exactly what Jane does. "The information provided here is "not meant to substitute for the advice of a physician..." but that's exactly what Jane is ENCOURAGED TO DO!

And the tagline at the bottom of the Homepage:

This commercial is part of Eisai Inc. and Pfizer Inc's ongoing commitment to help educate caregivers and patients on the importance of diagnosing memory problems early.

"Educate caregivers.." yes, that does sound better than "threaten" or "cajole" or "harrass," doesn't it?

You Can Be The One- to strong-arm the only doctor left in the United States who won't prescribe drugs as a pavolovian response to the patient walking in the door anyway. I mean, seriously- there's a doctor out there who told some woman "your mom is just getting old? " Really?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Epiduo: Know What this kid could use? Some parents!

I saw the last thirty seconds of this commercial about a dozen times before I saw the FIRST thirty seconds, and was ready to write it up before I ever saw the whole thing. When I finally saw the first thirty seconds, I realized that it was even more stupid than I had originally thought.

The commercial is for an acne medication called Epiduo, and it opens with this teenaged kid apparently living out of a tent in his neighborhood grocery store. We are told that this kid has been in this store for EIGHTEEN MONTHS "waiting" for the right acne medication to come around. He's wearing the ugliest ski cap I've ever seen- and never takes it off during the entire commercial, which rankles me for some reason.

Already, this commercial has serious issues. This kid is living in a store, waiting for medication to jump off the shelf into his lap? And this makes more sense than asking the pharmacist, does it?

Oh, but it just gets better. A disembodied voice urges the clueless, pimply little twerp to see his doctor about his acne- because, you see, "Acne is a medical condition." Ah, yes, of course! A Doctor! That's a GREAT idea! Why didn't this kid think of that before! All he has to do is call a doctor and make an appointment to discuss his complexion issues!

Now we get to the part I've seen a dozen times or more: the next thing we know, the kid's face has cleared up, and he's moved his tent to the sidewalk, where instead of waiting for medication to magically appear, he's on line to buy tickets to something or another (all we are shown is a sign which says "tickets on sale at 8 AM.") He's still wearing that stupid ugly skicap. But now, thanks to his doctor and Epiduo, he's chatting away with two cute girls who suddenly find him really, really interesting.

Except, darn it, check out the look on the faces of these girls as they gab with formerly pockmarked stupid skicap boy. I've never seen such phony smiles. It couldn't be more obvious that they are humoring this idiot to cut into the line. I mean, think about it. This kid spent a year and a half living out of that tent, in a store aisle, because he had acne and was too damned stupid to ask someone for help. Suddenly he's a facinating conversationalist? I really doubt it.

One last thing: It sure was great of that doctor to prescribe Epiduo for his acne. But it would have been even more helpful for the doctor to suggest that maybe, just maybe, wearing a tight-fitting, dirty skicap nonstop might be contributing to the clogged pores as much as anything else. That advice doesn't help sell medication though, does it?