Sunday, October 31, 2010

This commercial has a camera in my head!

The disconnect here is AT&T's apparent misconception that when people are "using" their cell phones to text, surf the net, etc. they are actually USING them, and not just filling empty space in their equally empty lives. The misconception is that people who stare at cell phone screens are actually seeking information and not just trying to drown out the dull echo of nothingness that inhabits their skull. That they are trying to accomplish something, not just avoiding eye contact. That they are trying to get a question answered, not actively avoiding their children, spouses, and other fellow life forms.

Please, who are they trying to kid here? People who spend huge chunks of time staring at their phones are not victims of spotty service or slow connections. If they really are looking for specific info and find it a few seconds faster with this new phone, they'll just move on to some other brainless "activity" more quickly than they planned to previously (if the word "plan" has any application here.) I guarantee you that a phone which provides instantaneous, lightning-fast web access will cause people to cut back on their vapid, antisocial phone staring about as much as McDonald's Dollar Menu cut back on the consumption of cheeseburgers.

I do get what AT&T is trying to do here, though- people don't want to believe that they spend so much time staring at phones because their lives are so pathetically devoid of meaning and actual human friends. People don't want to believe that, left without their shiny toys, they'd be driven insane by their inability to form coherent thoughts about anything more deep than "I wonder what's for dinner?" I'm quite sure that nobody wants to admit that 99 percent of the time they spend on their phones is about as fulfilling and useful as a mouthful of cotton candy. And I'm also quite sure that there's a large audience of delusional morons out there who are capable of conning themselves into believing that if ONLY I could surf a LITTLE FASTER, I'd be able to get off my phone and have an actual conversation with an actual human being who is actually in the same room as I am. Just look at the vacant half-smiles on these zombies- they aren't doing work. They are just so devoid of personality and meaning and purpose that they can only find satisfaction and belonging with their phones.

The question is, what happens to these people when they purchase this phone-- and nothing changes? It would be nice to think that the hot girl in the teddy tells the asshole to take his phone and get the hell out. It's pleasant to imagine the little kid telling his dad to just stay the hell home and skip the ball game altogether next time, you useless prick. (The frustrated "here's a baseball to the head because you value your pointless surfing more than watching your son play baseball" is a good start.) It would only be justice if these worthless jackasses were just cut loose from society and left to waste their lives in sad isolation with their real loved ones, so we could stop pretending that what they really want is to put them away.

Meanwhile, back here in the real world, I'm not buying the "save us from our phones" line. For way too many people, it's an offer to "save us" from our security blankets or cloak of invisibility. I don't know anybody who honestly WANTS to be saved, because it's way too comfortable in that electronic womb.


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Chevron's just like Santa Claus, if Santa were an environment-murdering self-congratulatory psychopath

"Chevron makes a lot of money. A LOT of money. I mean, you have no idea. Raping the environment has never been more profitable, and despite the rising cost of Congressmen, Senators, a President and the Media, we here at Chevron get to keep a whole lot of that money, thanks for asking.

We make SO MUCH money, in fact, that we have absolutely no problem dropping $21 billion dollars into 'local small businesses,' whatever the hell that means. Of course, plenty of those small businesses are Chevron gas stations, but isn't that beside the point? Those stations hire a lot of minimum-wage workers. Those are jobs that are important in this economy. Really. Just trust us on this one.

Yes, that's $21 Billion to local businesses, which did I mention creates jobs? That's a pretty impressive number for a company assessed at $166 billion, don't you think? Of course, I'm not going to tell you how long it took us to spend that $21 billion- considering that our last quarter's profit was "only" $3.7 billion, you can bet it's not a yearly amount, but if you want to believe it is, that would be fine.

Every penny of profits went into equipment, exploration, all that expensive stuff, which means that either I don't know what the word 'profit' means, or I'm actually trying to con you into believing that Chevron doesn't actually make a profit at all, but just rolls all of it's revenue right back into production costs. I'm just reading a script here, ok?

The bottom line is that we'd sure like you to shut the hell up now with your Greedy Oil Company Whining, and remind you that gasoline hit a national average of $4 not all that far back, and can again, if you don't show a little more appreciation. Now if you'll excuse me, we've got to get to work on discrediting the latest electric car. Driving a Leaf means you're gay, you know."

Friday, October 29, 2010

"Lean turn. Keep your knees straight. Smile, damn it!, you're on MSNBC!"

This wall of noise and unconnected imagery, brought to us courtesy of MSNBC, starts with a spoonful of treacly nonsense- "from the time we are born, we really do know where we are going" (WTF?) and goes downhill from there. It would easy for me to dissect the blithering haiku-wannabee nonsense which makes up the narration of this condescending, self-congratulatory pile of rancid BS, but instead, I think I'd like to comment on MSNBC's entire "Lean Forward" ad campaign by pointing out how badly the network lives up to it's own sense of "purpose."

"Lean Forward" could, in fact, be nothing more than the advice Your Place for Politics gives to it's female co-hosts, Mika Brzezinski ("Morning Joe") and Savannah Guthrie ("The Daily Rundown.") As in, Lean Forward to get into the camera shot, Twist your body sideways, and Smile, Smile Smile while the camera is permanently trained on the Far More Important Male Host. Also- be sure to laugh at whatever the Wise Male Hogging the Camera says, bleat "Oh No!" and "I don't want to hear about this!" (Brzezinski may have trademarked these lines by now) and do pretty much everything short of pick lint off the shoulder of the Man in Charge Who Will Let You Introduce the Next Segment if You are a Good Girl and Behave.

"Lean Forward" to find out who MSNBC hired for the newest hour-long opinion program- that is, which middle-aged white male will be filling the slot you thought you might at least be interviewed for, you silly naive little thing, you. Haha, you thought that just because the network decided to cut out one of the reruns of "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" and put a live show on, it might go to someone other than Lawrence O'Donnell? Why? Because you thought you'd put in your time? Don't be silly. Now stop sulking and get back to chuckling appreciatively at Joe Scarborough's "witticisms" and latest "when I was in Congress" war stories. Unless your name is Rachel Maddow, you ain't getting your own show, honey. Sure it's not the 1950s anymore, but that doesn't mean you are ready for your own desk.

Remember, this is the network which carried on an almost personal vendetta against Hillary Clinton in 2008, battering her relentlessly for her unforgivable refusal to concede defeat in the race for the Democratic Presidential Nomination fifteen minutes after the results of the Iowa Caucuses were reported. Do Brzezinski and Guthrie really think that the network which rhetorically asked Hillary "how many delegates does the state of denial have?" and had it's franchise player suggest someone "take Hillary into a room, and fix it so she doesn't come out" is going to give one of them a shot at the big time? Keep dreaming.

After all, while the network embraces Evolution as a tag line, everything in it's own place, all change in it's own time, right? We can't expect TOO much from a company which essentially closes down it's operations at 10PM on Friday night to give us marathon sessions of "Lock-Up," can we?

Monday, October 25, 2010

CitiBank again captures the spirit of the times

We've all been here, haven't we? Our Precious Ryan had a hard time learning French, so his mommy did the only natural thing- sent him to France for school! Of course, I mean, what else would she do? Hire a (snigger, condescend) TUTOR?

And it worked out so well- when Our Ryan decided he wanted to make an impulse buy, Mommy was able to instantly transfer funds to his account via CitiBank. Oh thank goodness THAT crisis was averted quickly. We all know what a pain it is to get much "needed" funds into the pockets of our pathetically over-indulged children now don't we?

When this kid isn't enjoying the almost unlimited determination of his parents to give Their Precious Ryan each and every little thing he happens to want at the moment, he's being distracted by cute girls in class- girls who can smell "mommy's Citibank Account" in the pockets of pampered little American snots from a mile away.

"I hope the language barrier isn't too much of a problem" muses Mommy (or something like that- please don't make me watch this again to confirm.) Oh don't worry, Mommy- I'm sure that Ryan will pick up enough words to get himself in the sack before he crashes through your Available Credit Ceiling, if in fact you even have one.

I don't know what I hope for more as a sequel to this disgustingly clueless ad, which simultaneously asks us to appreciate Mommy's electronic apron strings AND her son's willingness to take advantage of her Anything For Our Ryan attitude. Is it Precious Ryan coming back home with an adorable new French Grandchild for Mommy? Is it the pampered little prick arriving back in the US harboring a delightfully European social disease (I'm sure the required shots can be purchased via credit card, and they DO have an awesome health care system over there.)

No, I'll go with Ryan deciding to follow his cute new girlfriend to a quaint little hostel in the Carpathian Mountains, where he learns that Mommy's Citibank card won't save him from three days of brutal torture at the hands of millionaire psychotics, ending with his entitled little head being used as a soccer ball. Hey, it could happen. I saw it in a movie once.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Avoid the court battle over who gets the rubber scissors

Here's a really bizarre family of overgrown children who apparently live in a dollhouse and who for some reason put off writing wills. Maybe it's because they couldn't decide who the parents were (they all seem to be about the same age- forty going on twelve) or what they could possibly list as assets, since their whole world seems to be made out of painted cardboard, construction paper and props.

When one of them decided it was time to make a will, they had the good sense to realize that hiring an attorney was a bad idea- there are relationship issues which are so twisted that they really ought to remain inside the three walls that make up the weird fantasy world some of us live in. So they "went to LegalZoom," which means they took preparing for the Great Journey into the Land Without Finger Paints about as seriously as they take everything else.

"We wrote our will...Finally!" is accompanied with a truly cringe-worthy mock-strangling (it's always funny to follow sober discussion of death with your son- or is that the father?- putting you in a headlock, isn't it?) and an even more uncomfortable burst of laughter. One of my biggest pet peeves in modern advertising- the unnecessary, unjustified laughter. We see it in Olive Garden commercials a lot, usually following some spectacularly mundane comment about endless pasta, but at least Olive Garden commercials aren't INTRINSICALLY about dying. WHAT is so funny about the Old Folks (again, all the "Vargos" look the same age to me) writing a will?

Anyway, these weird child/adult hybrid people are really, really odd. But who am I to judge- maybe I wouldn't be as Amazingly Normal as I am if I lived on the set of Barney.

Friday, October 22, 2010

It's even better than being there, because I get to use this shiny blinky thing

"My family always keeps me busy, so sometimes I forget to do things like lock the freaking door? Seriously? How pathetically helpless can one person get? And when I blame my family for my inability to perform simple tasks without the use of complicated electronics, don't I sound a lot like the woman in that luxury car commercial who starts the story of how she fell asleep at the wheel and nearly killed herself and the child in the back seat by explaining to the audience 'my son was fast asleep..?'"

"Isn't it time for me to just admit to myself that I don't really 'need' any of this Big Brother is Watching You crap, I just like to find ways to flush away money, especially ways that involve pushing little buttons and watching streaming video? I mean, for how long will my friends and coworkers buy the idea that I just don't feel safe unless I can check out the view from my screened porch while I'm supposed to be in a board meeting?"

"And while I'm at it, for how long am I going to be able to rationalize using 'the people I trust' to spy on the people I don't trust? I mean, my 16-year old daughter is already plenty pissed that she is being watched from the moment she enters the house to the moment I get home, and she's not buying the whole 'it's for your own safety, like the nice man on tv says' bit."

And how long will it be before parents everywhere are using this "service" to cut the childcare budget and just leave the "supervising" to these wonderful electronic eyes? After all, just KNOWING you can whip out your phone and glance at your front lawn, your garage and, time permitting, your unattended children is just so gosh-darned comforting, isn't it?

"My family always keeps me busy. Sometimes I have to check on them two, even three times a day. Thank goodness for modern technology."

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Thank Goodness it's still the 19th Century Somewhere!

Ok, I think I get it now- Somehow, all these unrelated scenes featuring glassy-eyed idiots singing some tuneless piece of crap of a "song" form together to create a commercial for everybody's favorite corporate vulture, Arkansas-based but China-dependent Walmart. It took a while, and a few viewings, but now I understand that the message is that a gigantic box store dropped smack in the middle of what was once a nice little cornfield or park is exactly what we all need to make our lives a little bit better. Maybe it's the lead-based toys and brand name electronics. Maybe it's the deep discount clothing. Maybe it's the- oh hell, Walmart sells everything, so what's the point?

Here's the point: Walmart efficiently brings the fine work of 10 million Asian minors to your neighborhood, where it can all be found under one convenient roof. Thanks to Walmart, the regrettable abolition of slavery in the United States doesn't have to mean high prices. Slavery, after all, wasn't really abolished- it was just exported. For people without an imagination, that might be an obstacle. But not for the wonderful people at Walmart. Shop as if downtown New York is still America's sweatshop district- just because you can't smell the stench or see the exhausted, starving, desperately poor and utterly out of hope workers, doesn't mean they aren't there, working for You to provide all those Little Things which put a song in your heart and a cheap phone in your cart.

So hooray for Walmart for allowing us to buy just a little bit more, at no real social cost- at least, not any that we can see. Makes you feel all warm inside, doesn't it?

Look- it's bad enough that most Americans couldn't give a damn where all this cheap crap comes from, or even how Walmart sucks the life's blood out of communities by driving small stores out of business and depressing wages. But damn it, do we really need ads featuring people SINGING about a corporate monster which feeds like a tapeworm on innocent, helpless kids on the other side of the planet? Have we no shame at all?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Oh Goody, THESE Idiots Again

I guess "Washington" is back to talking about going all Nanny-Government on us again, because this organization with the hilariously misleading name "Americans Against Food Taxes" is treating us to another wave of commercials featuring oppressed, harassed mommies who just want the "politicians" to keep it's damn hands off of her purse so she can continue to blow the family payroll on "food" like soda, sports drinks, "even flavored water."

This time a real Tea Party element has been added to the script- whereas it used to be sufficient to "tell Washington we can't AFFORD to pay another 1.3 cents per liter for obesity-promoting sugar water," the Glenn Beck Brigade has upped the ante and now Americans Against Paying Extra For Stuff that Kills Us is throwing around words like "dictating" and and phrases like "we don't need the government telling us how to feed our families." After all, let's not forget that this government is currently being run by a Kenyan Marxist Anti-Nationalist American Exceptionalism Denier who still refuses to release his birth certificate (too busy apologizing to the world for America's surplus of fat children, no doubt.)

This woman isn't satisfied to sneer at "Washington"- she makes reference to "politicians" with a nasty little sneer I'm sure betokens a deep understanding of how our Constitutional system functions and a disgust at it's corruption by The Left, what with their Tell Everyone What To Do agenda. First they told me I couldn't keep driving my seatbelt-free 1964 Volkswagen Beetle. Then they told me I couldn't smoke next to babies on the plane. Now they want me to pay an extra nickel for a week's supply of sodium in a bottle. And all because it's for our "own good."

Can't Washington see that this woman doesn't need any help deciding how to spend her money on groceries? She's doing a great job making that tight budget dollar go a little farther and still keeping her family in Brand X ginger ale, Gatorade and "flavored water" (pardon the redundancy.) Now if this stereotype of a stuffed-suit, power-hungry politician will just step aside, she has to get this crap home to those mushrooms with legs that she calls her husband and kids. I mean, it's almost time for

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Wow, this is just like what happened to me once! Oh wait, no it's not

Filthy-rich suburbanites who were probably hippies many, many years ago (before their souls died, or were sacrificed to Mammon) get the not-unwelcome news that the husband has been transferred to Istanbul. Unlike all those whiners who learn that their jobs have been outsourced to a phone bank in Pakistan and then- like the whiny, spoiled little brats they are, refuse to either follow it or agree to take that job as a Wal-Mart greeter that's just sitting there, Filthy-rich suburbanites take it all in stride.

Their pioneering spirit is of no doubt invaluable to them as they "settle in" to their luxurious new surroundings. They "find a deli" (thank goodness, because they were so attached to that $15 sandwich, $5 coffee place they frequented pretty much every other day back in Manhattan,) learn how to gesture their wishes to the mysteriously ethnic brown people in the shops (it's not exactly Whole Foods, but they are willing to rough it,) and somehow manage to adjust to watching the sunset on the Bosporus instead of the Hudson, the brave dears.

Back home, their equally vile son wants to buy them a gift for their thirtieth wedding anniversary and gets the super-bright idea of calling CitiBank to ask how many "Thank You" points it would take to buy the pampered assholes who breeded him the two seats they used to sit in at Shea.

Oh good lord, you have got to be kidding me. This guy uses his credit card SO OFTEN that he's accumulated enough points to cash in for something that must cost thousands of dollars- really? GOD I hate this family.

Back in Istanbul, our intrepid adventurers (who really need to die, and I mean right now) chuckle at their adorable son's thoughfullness (I'm sure they'd feel the same way if they knew the seats didn't even cost him anything) and sit their way-too-comfortable, massively entitled asses down on their new gifts, which add just the perfect touch of "America" to their freaking palace. Can you tell how much I hate these people?

Once again, CitiBank manages to perfectly capture the pulse of our nation with this ad. I mean, who among us can't relate to the middle-aged couple or their delightfully generous son? Sure, I don't have quite as many "Thank You" points accumulated as he does, but I can't be that far behind- last time I checked, I think I had enough to order a nice pen and pencil set. And in this economy, who among us doesn't live in constant worry that we'll wake up one day and learn that our company is shipping us off to Istanbul, or Paris, or Rome, or some other backwater?

I only hope that this couple, their son, and every single one of those "Ask Chuck" spokeschoads someday find themselves facing a REAL challenge that can't be solved by flashing a fucking credit card, and that involves something a bit more daunting than replacing the upscale deli that was So Important in Our Lives Back Home. These people might actually be even more loathsome than the eTrade babies- and that's saying a LOT.

Friday, October 15, 2010

I was just sitting watching my TV, and started viewing About Me

I guess the idea here is that there is a form of life which loves to be dunked in sudsy water before having it's face pushed across dirty floors. I don't know about you, but I was aware of this already.

And when Yesterday's News gets replaced by The New Kid in Town, there's some level of heartbreak experienced by the dirty mop, which never appreciated how truly wonderful it was to be soaked in cloudy water and Pine-Sol, wrung out, pushed around for a while, and finally stuffed into a dark closet until needed again. I can so relate to this.

The rejection and sense of betrayal is so great that what was Once Useful, but is Now a fuzzy, distant and not always-pleasant memory will resort to stalking, flowers, telegrams, candy, and bad 70s music- again, do these guys have a camera in my house, or what? I mean, all that's left is to have this mop use FaceBook exclusively to cry out to The One that Got Away (only to be met with indifferent silence,) and the stunningly accurate portrayal of my life is complete.

I'm not quite sure what this ad is trying to sell, but I'll keep watching anyway, if only for the stalking tips.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

If It's Sunday, Hyundai is treating us like gullible sheep again

"Most car commercials tell you what to think..."

Yes, and you stunningly dishonest honey-fuglers* at Hyundai are no different, except in your absolutely complete disregard for the most basic rules of advertising and customer relations. Since you clearly missed the cut when you attempted to register for DECENCY 101, let me give you a very brief primer on the subject:

1. It's perfectly ok to exaggerate when attempting to sell a product. Go ahead and hire an actor to portray Christopher Columbus declaring with a straight face (and in perfect English) that the Hyundai Sonata is the greatest discovery in the history of mankind.

2. It's perfectly ok to attempt to convince the audience that your product is The Answer to All Questions. Go ahead and show us people pushing buttons to get directions, adjust the mirrors, and adjust the seat temperatures. Go ahead and show the same people using voice commands to do things I've always somehow managed to do with my hands- change CDs, adjust volume, you know, really really hard stuff like that.

3. It's perfectly ok to pretend that your product is already so insanely popular that if the audience doesn't leave the house to head out to the nearest dealer before the ad is over, it's probably too late to get in on this Super. Awesome. Amazing. Deal. Go ahead and show people knocking each other over to get at one of your crappy, Looks-Like-Every-Other-Car-On-The-Road automobiles.

4. It's generally ok to treat us like idiots who will believe almost anything. However...

It is NOT OK to brazenly LIE in your ads, which is what you are doing right here. I've posted on this before, but like the horrid "Punch Dub Days" and Smirnoff's "Let's Get Drunk and Do Stupid, Dangerous Things" commercials, this campaign deserves multiple snarks. "Hyundai Uncensored" is nothing of the sort. And here's how I, or anyone with half a brain, managed to figure this out:

A. If these ads were "Uncensored," we'd be watching 20 minute test drives, and seeing every moment and hearing every comment made DURING those test drives. Including SOME negative comments about the cars being driven; even ONE would be more believable than the current total of NONE.

B. If these ads were "Uncensored," we wouldn't see two completely different people make the same lame-ass, cringe-worthy "Hyundai-Sunday" pun. I mean, that's just breathtakingly obvious, isn't it? What, did the dealer subliminally plant that into the mind of the driver just before handing over the keys? Or are we REALLY supposed to believe that two drivers 1) noticed that it was Sunday, 2) Noticed that Sunday rhymes with Hyundai, and 3) thought that this was worth mentioning to the person next to them?

C. If these people were actually being captured with a hidden camera, Hyundai opened itself up to a breach of privacy lawsuit in the hopes of capturing some "honest" reviews of their cars from test drivers. Yeah, Right. Obviously, the "hidden cameras" were not hidden at all, the drivers were handed scripts, and the five seconds of dialogue required were dutifully bleated by the "real people" to be used for these stupid commercials.

Seriously, Hyundai, cut the crap. This is insulting and deceptive beyond the usual ad fare. I can't believe you are fooling anyone with this blatantly fake nonsense. You could at LEAST throw in ONE person saying something like "I'm gonna go back and check out that Jetta before I make a decision" or "Christ this thing handles like a freaking tank, someone's gotta tell Hyundai about this new invention called 'power steering!'" That would demonstrate an EFFORT at least.

*Honey-Fugler: One who cheats or deceives, often through use of flattery or sweet-talk. I'm not sure it quite fits here, but it was good enough for President Taft, and therefore it's good enough for me.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Dodge makes Hyundai look honest with this ad

The man with the Deep Sincere Voice tells me that a handshake is all I need to drive off with a Dodge Ram for two months- "and if it doesn't do everything you want it to do, bring it back."

It's a sacred bond, that handshake. It's all about trust and being men and wearing filthy gloves and throwing heavy dirty things into the backs of trucks with such force that it causes the bed to bounce on the shocks- you know, stuff Us Guys Do pretty much every weekend. I just finished loading a truck myself, of course. I mean, it is Sunday after all.

Yes, that handshake sure means a lot. According to Dodge, it means I get to kick the living shit out of one of their trucks for sixty days, and then bring it right back to the dealer if "it doesn't do everything I want it to do." That would be absurd enough if I wanted it do do just the things I see in this commercial. But I'd have much more inventive ideas for the truck I borrowed on "just a handshake." I'd do ALL the things I've seen in EVERY truck commercial. I'd take sharp turns in puddles. I'd haul nuclear submarine parts attached to massive iron chains through the desert. I'd ford rivers and see if this thing could get me through the Appalachians.

And when I returned what was left of this truck, I'd remind the dealer that hey, we had a handshake deal, and I no longer want what is left of what is now HIS truck again. If he gave me any problems (what are the odds?) I'd remind him of the sacredness of that five-fingered Bond of Honor we shared two months earlier. I'd be doing this as I tossed him the keys and walked away, obligation-free, of course.

Who are we kidding here? The fine print on this "Just a Handshake" deal must be fifty pages long. Anyone out there really believe that if you don't return your truck in absolutely showroom-quality condition, you aren't going to be given some version of "you broke it, you own it, pal?" Anyone out there really that stupid? Really?

I'm not a big fan of Dave Ramsey, but I do think he is right on the money with one of his witticisms- "an oral contract is worth the paper it's written on." If you believe in this "Just a Handshake" crap, you probably think that the people in Hyundai Uncensored commercials are, well, Uncensored.

Hey, Dodge- if you want to call me on this, I'd be happy to drive around in one of your Bailout Mobiles for a couple of months. I might even bring it through the car wash once or twice before my time is up. But until I see it for myself, I don't believe for one damn minute that I'm going to be able to return it if there is so much as a SCRATCH on the bumper. Handshake or no Handshake.

This guy's life is even emptier than mine!!

This guy has a goal. Or maybe "goal" is not a good word- maybe "obsession" fits better.

He really, really wants a Volkswagen Jetta. Ok, we can't ALL want to be Rulers of the Planet, with absolute power to rise up our friends/supplicants and smite our enemies. I'm not saying that's my goal, I'm just postulating here that some of us have to set our sights a bit lower.

This guy wants a Jetta SO BAD that he's willing to take every humiliating, menial, and downright dangerous job he can find in order to raise the thousands of dollars in nickles and dimes needed to purchase one. At this point, you kind of have to wonder where this guy managed to miss Economics 101. I mean, look- unless you think that the Horatio Alger books somehow reflect real life, most ADULTS have come to a general understanding that no matter how many Lower than Minimum Wage jobs you agree to take, the costs involved in getting to those jobs, and the hours you waste at them, don't add up to a whole hell of a lot when it comes to cash. It's a zero sum game, unless you are trying to raise money for that Avatar DVD or a regular lunch from McDonald's Dollar Menu.

Our hero is on the verge of washing someone's car when he suddenly realizes that the Automobile of his Dreams ( I don't dream of automobiles, btw; not even when I'm taking a break from dreaming of smiting my enemies, which I really don't do at all, at least, not very often...) is only $15,995. Wow, thank goodness he saw that enormous poster, because if he didn't, this might have all turned out like that O.Henry short story, where the woman and her husband spend twenty years slaving away to earn the money they spent replacing a necklace made of paste. Actually, that would have been kind of funny.

Here's the awesome punchline- this guy buys not one, but TWO Volkswagen Jettas, which conveniently go well with (presumably previously car-less) two car garage, which is located in what looks to be a rather substantial suburb.

So this guy owns a house. With a two-car garage. In the suburbs.

And his dream was to buy a Jetta, which he apparently assumed must cost a huge amount of money; I mean, just check out how superawesomeamazing it is.

And realizing that he could afford to buy one without further humiliating himself, he bought two.

I have two questions: First- when he wanted to buy that house, how many part-time jobs did he take on top of his regular gig before he learned about these mysterious things called "Mortgages?"

Second- are we to presume that the jobs he is shown doing in this commercial actually netted him $32,000 in a reasonably short amount of time? If so, where do I sign up? Maybe I have this economics thing all wrong. I could dress like a hot dog if you give me a chance, I KNOW I could!

Friday, October 8, 2010

This commercial probably makes more sense after a head injury

Here's my guess: The ad makers were told to come up with ideas for three separate commercials. Then they were told that there was only enough money to produce one.

That would explain why we start off with a pretty young couple apparently attempting to determine the way to some highway "outside of Lancaster" by staring up and down a desert road before remembering that they can get directions by calling OnStar ( I can do exactly the same thing by punching the information into my cheap GPS unit, which doesn't cost me a penny per month, but that's just me.)

Then we lurch to a scene where your typical technology-obsessed weirdo is bleating "check it out, I can check the oil, I can check the gas levelright here on my phone" (is this the same woman who asked for directions to the highway outside of Lancaster? I think so, but I'm not sure. I don't know how we went from going to a highway outside of Lancaster to discussing the ability to check the gas level in the car which, I'm sure this person would be surprised to know, was actually possible BEFORE OnStar. I mean, my super-modern car has a handy little gauge RIGHT THERE ON THE DASHBOARD which constantly updates the gas level on my car, and I don't even HAVE OnStar.

Suddenly we have shifted gears AGAIN, and we are with some NEW guy staring at a busted windshield as he's being told by OnStar that a crash has been detected. "Some guy just...cut me off..." this new character reports. I can't help but wonder if he got cut off by the first couple, perhaps while they were distracted by the "need" to use their phone to check the gas level of their car as they drove happily down the road, heading for some highway outside of Lancaster.

Now we have left the injured guy and have returned to the pretty young couple- I think- who have arrived at some place which may be an amusement park but suddenly appears to be a beach-- all I know for sure is that a song which sounds a lot like "Sunday Bloody Sunday" is playing in the background. I'm guessing we aren't worried about the guy who was in that accident between scenes with the pretty young couple.

Suddenly the commercial ends with people making stupid faces at the camera and someone else yelling "all right!" As in, "all right, we got all these weird disjointed, completely unconnected and utterly baffling selling points in one thirty-second ad! We Rock!?" I guess.

But the first few times I saw this commercial, I couldn't figure out whether it was for OnStar or some Smart Phone App. And I still don't really know what is going on here after four or five viewings. That can't be intentional, can it?

(UPDATE: In the refurbished edition of this ad, a woman calls OnStar to ask why the Check Engine light is on. The OnStar Operator informs her that she has "a loose gas tank cap." Want to bet the woman's next move was to search for a Tighten Gas Cap App on her SmartPhone?)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Quick Take on Traveler's Commercial

The rattle this snake has been outfitted with looks completely functional- it even sounds like the original. Sure it looks stupid, but if it causes mammals to become paralyzed with laughter, that seems like more of a bonus for the snake than a drawback. Seems to me that the snake in this commercial is every bit as deadly with a toy rattle as a "replacement part" as has with his original equipment.

So the best way to end this commercial is with the snake wiping out the entire rabbit hutch with it's presumably still-lethal venom and getting the last laugh.

Seriously, I don't get this commercial at all.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Incredibly Flexible Greeness of SunChips

Full Disclosure: I like SunChips very much. Especially original flavor.

Now that that's out of the way...

Check out this self-congratulatory ad for my favorite salted snack. It has everything- the celebration of Earth's rich soil, the triumphant green stem rising from the earth as SunChip's new biodegradable bag vanishes into nothingness (ashes to ashes, as it were,) all to the tune of a single guitar and a suitably folksy little "let's get together and save the planet by doing the impossible" tune.

SunChips, you see, is a company that cares. After years of polluting the planet along with the rest of the scarf-it-down-and-throw-the-package-away industry, SunChips is ready to be different. Better. Because gosh darn it, SunChips listened- listened to the Earth cry out for help, and listened to the socially conscious snack-consuming public which demanded (I guess) that it's snacks come in containers that won't be hanging around a million years after the human race has gone the way of the Dodo. Yay for SunChips, which saw an opening and jumped into it. That they want to produce such a smarmy little valentine to itself in response is fine, too- they deserve it.

So while everyone else acts as if our resources are infinite and so is Mother Nature's ability to repair the planet, SunChips is taking a small but important step. Oh, but there's one little drawback, hardly worth mentioning: the bags are really noisy to open and to handle. I'm sure that the smart people at SunChips will find a way to make a series of really fun commercials using this little quirk- "a little noise pollution, a lot less landfill pollution," something like that. Except, more clever of course.

Oh wait, never mind. SunChips has just announced that because it continues to listen to it's customers, they've heard complaints about the noise, so they are scrapping the noisy bags and going back to the non-recyclable ones. All that Celebrating Earth Day Jazz? Never mind. All that "do the impossible, love our planet" crap? Pretend it didn't happen. Because the bags are noisy.

And with this reversal, SunChips presents an awesome example of the elasticity of the corporate social ethic. Just a few months after selling us on the idea that their new bags were a vital step toward saving the planet, SunChips now tells us that saving us from being buried in garbage is not as important as providing us with a bag that isn't louder than the others. Great message, SunChips.

Next time a company makes some adjustment to it's product to make it more Earth-friendly, I think the tag line should be "Because We Care. For Now."

Monday, October 4, 2010

Southwest's Don't Bother to Hunt for Bargains Campaign

I'm planning a trip to England next summer. I'm going to either take a quick tour through England, Wales and Scotland through Globus or Cosmos, or I'm going to hike Hadrian's Wall.

In researching my options, I'm finding many websites offering the same tour at different prices. With the Cosmos Tour, for example, I've found no fewer than four different prices for basically the same itinerary. I don't think I'm at all unique in trying to find bargain prices for travel from different websites.

Which makes this latest nugget of sludge from Southwest- the people who brought us (and continue to bring us) the Bags Fly Free Rappers and Bags Fly Free Good Cop/Bad Cop ads- so odd. Here we had a ridiculously tortured argument against discount sites, as Southwest employees blather happily about how awesome it is that there is exactly ONE place and ONE PLACE ONLY to buy tickets on Kind of like the "No Haggle" ads in car commercials- "this is our price. Period. Isn't that great?" Or a recent Burger King campaign- "here's one place where you don't have to decide 'paper or plastic.' We only use paper."

Frankly, I don't know who this commercial is supposed to appeal to. Telling people not to bother to look for bargains doesn't seem to me to be an especially effective way of winning over the buying public. Is there really a population of air travelers out there who just want to be told "look, here's your price, click or get lost?" Maybe there is- but I didn't know that the OPTION of searching for a better price was some kind of negative.

So I can't bring myself to thank you, Southwest, for making my choice "easier" by offering no choice at all. "Take it Or Leave it" doesn't seem designed to build customer loyalty. So I think I'll Leave It-- at least until you offer $49 flights from National Airport in Washington DC to Burlington, Vermont. When that happens, I'll overlook your stupid ads and buy a ticket. Because hey, at least my Bag Flies Free.TM

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Your Phone Doesn't Make You Powerful

It's not the Magna Carta.

It's not the Declaration of Rights, the English Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence or the Declaration of the Rights of Man.

It's not poetry, a manifesto, or even a fucking blog entry.

It's not your college admissions essay, or your graduation speech.

It's a fucking phone company.

All it cares about is your monthly payment. You're right that it doesn't care how old you are, or what you have to say. As long as the check shows up on time, blather and text and Facebook and tweet away all you want.

If you want to make more of that than it is, I guess that's up to you.

But you are fooling yourself if you believe that your sad, empty life somehow becomes more valuable if you can put it on display for the online population. Because pointless bullshit that roams through your head does not become less pointless when a billion people can see it.

ThisCommercialSucks to the people in this commercial:


The Hell.

Over Yourselves.

Let's just say that you don't want it back

Yes, honey, I know where your shirt is. Remember last weekend, when your mom disappeared for a few days, only to show up passed out in the hallway on Monday morning? No, LAST weekend. Well, I was under this delusion that if I dressed like my teenaged daughter I might get some more action at the clubs me and the rest of the Sex and the City Fan Club hang out at, so I "borrowed" that green shirt. I just did manage to strip it off and toss it in my hamper before passing out, which is why when you found me, I was pretty much naked, as usual.

Don't look at me like that. I brought you into this world, after all- me and that guy I laughingly call "your father"- the one who pays the mortgage on the palace you live in when the child support payments come in on time. And don't think for one damn minute that bastard isn't swiping your brother's clothes from time to time when HE goes out on the prowl. What's that? You're sorry you asked? Me too.

And no, you don't want to know where that stain came from.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Miller Lite's Stunning Condescending, Completely Baffling "For the Vets" Ad

I could post a month's worth of snark featuring nothing but this fat busybody and his determination to refuse Miller Lite to anyone who isn't an unpretentious, middle-class Fox News viewer. It would be easy for me to post one blog entry after another focusing on this dipshit and his quixotic mission to seize back beer purchased honestly by people whose money isn't good enough for Miller Lite; or perhaps this lunatic has just snapped after decades of hauling suds and now thinks his job is to engage in a furious Beer Recall, even to the point of grabbing bottles right out the hands of the consumers.

And I'm not promising I won't be using one of those commercials, someday. But for now, I'll focus on one that strays outside the usual "you are not worthy of this beer" bullshit, because darn it, this particular commercial is so damned perplexing that I can't explain it's purpose or meaning for the life of me.

For some reason, our favorite fat beer-seizing choad is rushing through an airport with an assistant/toady, pushing an empty cart. Hey, I didn't write this thing. And it only gets dumber from here.

Noticing men in camouflage fatigues, fat choad exclaims "THESE vets must be here for the parade!" Of course. This is exactly what goes through MY mind whenever I see military personnel in airports- because really, why else would they be in an airport, unless they had flown in for a parade in their honor? It's not like they have to fly anywhere, ever, right? I mean, I've got a friend who has served in the military for thirty years, and I'm POSITIVE that he has NEVER taken a plane for any other reason than to get to a parade. Jesus.

Fat choad's intern/toady makes some boot-licking comment about designer luggage, and you just know that if anyone with designer luggage was caught drinking a Miller Lite, that beer would be quickly confiscated. I mean, that's like drinking Miller Lite at a dog show, or in the owner's box at a baseball game. A real, obvious, No-No.

Fat choad walks up to a vet whose fatigues match his baggage and asks "excuse me, sir, whose name is on your bag?" And here is where we have one of the truly epic fails in the history of commercials. I have no idea how the vet responds to this stupid question- he says "Mine- Cone Bryant." Or maybe it's "Cornin Bryant." Or "Conan Bryant." I don't know, because the guy I suspect is an Actual Vet couldn't be bothered to enunciate his name in a tone which could be picked up an understood by human ears.

It's not just me- even the Best Commercial Ever crowd over at YouTube, which adores each and every ad ever televised, is mystified by the guy's muttered response.

"Now that's deserving a piece of the high life" says our favorite fat doofus, offering his hand to the vet as we the helpless viewers can only shake our heads at the stupidity of it all. WHAT is deserving "a piece of the high life?" That the guy's name is the same as the one on his luggage? That his luggage matches his uniform? That he's "here for the parade?"

I mean, what the hell is going on here? Was I supposed to do some reading before watching this commercial?

We conclude with some notice that Miller Lite is contributing something to veterans, sort of - not ten cents for every bottle purchased, but ten cents for every bottle cap returned. I'm going to say right now- really cheap of you, Miller. Why not just be honest and announce "we want to be associated with the idea of helping the troops, but not to the extent it's going to cost us money." Because that's what I heard.

At any rate, the "Support the Vets Because God Knows Miller Isn't Going To" message is totally lost in the confused haze that is this ad. Is it really the purpose of any commercial to leave the viewers wondering "what the hell WAS that?" If so, well played, Miller Brewing Company.

Now please, retire that fat lunatic before he finally confronts someone unwilling to be separated from his legally-purchased lite beer of choice.