Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Don't worry, Mom. I'm sure you'll find other ways to damage this child.

This pathetic excuse for a mother is clearly mortified because her little daughter wants to wear hoodies and cargo shorts, gets dirty, and keeps building parking garages with blocks. I think it's pretty safe to imagine that Mommy's Little Clone is SUPPOSED to want to wear frilly dresses (pink, of course) while serving tea to her teddy bears and Mrs Beasley doll. Later, she'd be allowed to graduate to Barbies, but the pink dresses stay.

Because it's all about appearances, and apparently this wretched, sadly fertile lump of mucus thinks there is something truly scandalous that her female child isn't Happily Living the Stereotype. Oooooh, she gets DIRTY!! She wears non-pink clothes, including hoodies and shorts!! She builds something that doesn't look like a stove or a Dream Kitchen! The horror! Where will it all end?

Well, maybe it will end with the development of a fully-functioning, female adult. One that understands that in the 21st century, women can do ANY GOD DAMNNED THING THEY WANT- wear clothes which are not pink dresses, become engineers and architects, GET DIRTY, whatever. That is, they can if they aren't molded into square pegs by weird, smothering, hovering helicopter mommies who are so twisted that they actually fantasize that their children's favorite clothes will be ruined so they can be replaced by more "acceptable" items.

Just one question- where the hell did this little girl develop a taste for clothing which is so offensive to mommy in the first place? Think there is more than a little hostility between Mommy and Daddy out there? Think the in-laws are slightly more open-minded (though really, who wouldn't be) when they pick out clothes to give to their favorite granddaughter? I mean, clearly there is a back story here.

Meanwhile, the story that is right out there, in our face, is that this woman has got some serious issues, and needs help. I'd start by having that metal rod someone jammed up her ass surgically removed. Then I'd tell her to stop taking all her social cues from Phyllis Schlafly. Because wishing your kid would ruin her clothes so you could go back to dressing her up like your perfect little poppet? Yuck.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Oh yeah, I want a house full of these things

Ugh, looks like the Village of the Damned is missing one of it's prized residents.

This hideous little girl has wandered away from her oblivious, free sample-hogging mommy in order to harass the Probably Already Wishes He Were Dead I Mean After All He Looks Like He's In This Late Twenties and He's a Stockboy store employee.* For some reason, this guy feels compelled to defend the veracity of Fiber One's claim to be High Fiber to this Adorable Little Moppet, even to the point of engaging in a "Yes It Is/No It's Not" battle of "wills."

Fortunately, our favorite weird Middle Eastern Guy with the Colonial British Accent comes to the rescue by essentially taking her side and explaining how Stockboy MUST be telling the truth because his pants are not on fire, proving that he's not "Pathological." At this point I really want to hurt the person who taught this kid the word "Pathological." That person deserves it, because she's probably the same individual who taught this kid that it was ok to call people who are just trying to make an honest living that they are liars. Never mind talking to strangers, which I thought was an obvious no-no in this day and age.

The mercifully short mess ends with the nasty little tike skipping off with a box of Fiber One to toss into Mommy's cart. We may assume that Mommy lets her kid pick out her own cereal, especially if she's sold, which she certainly seems to be (after all, she's so engrossed in stuffing her face with free samples, she didn't even notice that her kid went off to do research on the product's ingredients.) And again, we are left wondering why this particular ad would convince anyone to eat stuff which looks like, and probably is, just a pile of nuts, twigs and pencil shavings.

*When I was in my late-20s and recently married, I worked in the dairy department at a Wegman's Grocery Store in upstate New York. Because it was a job I could get, and the hours were flexible enough to allow me to substitute teach during the day. I can remember being bothered by annoying, know-it-all customers who thought that I had nothing but time on my hands, but none of them were little kids. Most of them were Seniors coming in to do their daily shopping for a cup of yogurt and stick of butter, who needed to know RIGHT THEN AND THERE if I was holding out on the Milk With The Slightly Better Expiration Date, or if there was REALLY no Rice Pudding left in the back, and I was just too lazy to check. I don't want a house full of THOSE people, either.

With "Friends" like these...

A few years ago, when I didn't know what Facebook was, I heard two students in the hallway comparing the number of friends each had. One said he had 250 friends. The other said he had 290, and had added fifteen in the last few days. I was impressed, and I stopped to ask if they had been to camp recently, or some community activity, or a family reunion, to find themselves blessed with so many friends.

They explained to me that they were referring go their Facebook "Friends," and in fact had never met roughly 90 percent of them. In other words, they were referring to photographs which represented numbers, which in turn indicated nothing more intimate than the willingness of a lot of people to add their names to lists kept by strangers, as long as the "favor" could be reciprocated. These "friends" did not actually know them or ever even talk to them. They certainly could not be called upon for a ride to the airport, or a shoulder to cry on. They were "friends" in a sense which seemed quite alien and sad to me.

Now, there's another way to "value your friends." If you refer them to your cable service, they represent one hundred dollars each. That's how much money you can get for each friend who signs up for DirectTV, as long as they are "friendly" enough to reference your name and membership number when they do so. The next time you look at someone you think is your friend, just imagine them as a big, ugly one hundred dollar bill. But only ten of them- there is a limit to this offer, after all. just like there is a limit to friendship- right?

Well, I suppose this was inevitable. First, friends are just names and faces willing to use you to pad their Facebook total. Now, they represent money. Because after all, how much do you REALLY value Facebook Friend #346, compared to a hundred bucks?

As far as I'm concerned, "valuing" your friends by seeing them as representing an opportunity to make money is no less cynical and crass as using them to make your list of Facebook "Friends" artificially larger.

Remember Society? Wasn't that fun, while it lasted?

Friday, August 26, 2011

The person who wrote this crud clearly hates dogs.

Another pet peeve (no pun intended) of mine: Personification in advertising. I really hate it because I love animals. So when advertisers make animals act as stunningly stupid as the dumbest, most witless human beings, it really ticks me off, because I know better.

Dogs and cats do disgusting things that we don't need to get into here. I get that. But if I thought for one minute that dogs would ever react to the smell of "Beggin Strips" like this, I would instantly lose all respect for dogs, everywhere. Sniffing each other's butts- I get it. Eating grass- I get it. Marking territory- hey, it's genetically programmed in. I get it. Going insane over the smell of a snack and repeating the name of that snack over and over again in your mind? That level of insulting idiocy is reserved for human beings, sorry.

There's also the little message here that when a dog jumps on you, it's not showing love or loyalty. In fact, it's not thinking of you at all. Nope- it's just thinking of BACON BACON BACON BACON BACON!!!! Because the smell of BACON compels dogs to lose control, abandon their territory, and race to the source as quickly as their four legs can carry them. How, exactly, dogs naturally know what bacon is, let alone naturally crave it*, I don't pretend to understand.

What I do know is, according to this commercial, if you open up a bag of Beggin Strips, you'll have every freaking dog in the Free World rushing to your door to get at it. And this is a good thing?

*I've often wondered this about cats and fish, too. Do cats really crave fish? Is that just instinctive, because it seems to me that the only way domesticated house cats would ever consume fish is if it were served to them by a human. Do they really like fish more than other meat, or is it a Mice and Cheese-style myth? Do I just have too much time on my hands, or what?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

And if you try to spin off that Pigeon, someone's going to get hurt, AFLAC

Remember when the AFLAC duck was kind of a cute concept? It was back in 2000- that's right, during the CLINTON ADMINISTRATION- that the duck made it's first appearance, trying to remind a guy sitting on a park bench what the name of that company that provides him and his coworkers supplemental insurance was called. It was mildly amusing and maybe even a little bit clever- "AFLAC" sounds sort of like a duck's quack. Decent idea. Well done, AFLAC.

Thirty commercials later (seriously- according to Wikipedia, there have been more than thirty separate commercials featuring the duck) it's not a decent idea anymore. It's not at all cute. It's--- hmm, what's that phrase I'm trying to think of? The one that applies to the Geico lizard and those god-awful, Also Amusing for a Commercial or Two But Please Stop Now Cavemen? Oh yeah- PLAYED.

But even "played" doesn't really describe my reaction to this latest AFLAC commercial. I mean, "played" can be used to describe Ray Ray Johnson ("you can call me Ray, or you can call me....") back in the 70s (or was it the 80s?) "Played" also fits when discussing Punch Dub Days, "Here We Go" Bud Lite Commercials, and those stunningly unfunny fake "press conferences" featuring the choads who shout questions about beer to long-retired NFL coaches. It's a real understatement to describe the continued presence of a computer-generated duck quacking "AFLAC" when put in that context, isn't it? (And don't get me started on the break-dancing. Just don't.)

We are on the verge of another season of NFL football, which means the insurance commercials will be coming at us in larger quantities than usual. Is it too much to ask, AFLAC, that you dump the duck and come up with a new concept sometime before the Patriots win the Superbowl in February? It would be much appreciated.

Because this duck thing....seriously. Enough, already.

Oh, and Bud Lite? Enough with the "press conferences," too. Never clever. Not even once.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Age of Innocence

Every once in a while, I like to draw attention to a "vintage" ad, if only to remind us of a simpler time, when the world was young and all things seemed possible. You know, before it all went to hell in a hand basket.

This commercial is for a brand new product called "America Online." It allows one to easily access something called "the Internet," which involves using a Personal Computer to "communicate" with other Personal Computers (or "PCs") for the purposes of gathering information, buying stuff, and "even sending an email" through the "World Wide Web."

And what could one DO with "America Online?" Even in 1995, the possibilities seemed endless. The guy in this commercial has shown up to report that his planned day at the ballpark has been sabotaged by the harsh realities of life and it's pain in the butt responsibilities. He has to order flowers for his mother, book plane tickets for the family trip next week (more about this in a moment) and take his daughter to the library "to look up dinosaurs." Incredibly, ALL of these things can now be done with a few points and clicks, IF you have America Online!

(My first computer didn't come with a modem, or a hard drive, or even a disk drive. It was a Commodore 64 which used cartridges that had to be jammed into the side of the keyboard. And my first Online program wasn't America Online, it was something called Prodigy. I can still remember accessing Prodigy and walking away from the computer for an hour or so while the "home page" slooooooooooowly appeared on the screen. I can also remember getting a $300 phone bill the first month I had it. Good thing AOL's introductory offer was for "Ten Free Hours" of service per month, right? I mean, who would ever need more than Ten Hours of Internet access per month?)

Ok, first- the booking of plane tickets. Can you really do this with only one week's notice? What does that cost? Second- instead of taking his daughter to the library "to look up dinosaurs," he's going to download a few pages on dinosaurs from Compton's Online Encyclopedia- really?? Way to pass on your awesome ethical standards, buddy. Not to mention, way to land your daughter an F on her dinosaur report. And all because it's more important to go to a damn ball game. Third- ordering flowers? That can be done on the phone, just like it could be back in 1995, in about thirty freaking seconds. Oh, but this is also in the Age Before Cell Phones, which means this poor man can't do it while on his way to the ball game. So we can see his dilemma, can't we?

Anyway, this America Online commercial shows how awesome being "connected" to the "internet" (or the "World Wide Web," if that's something different) really is- you don't have to invest any time to do things like buy plane tickets or order flowers or take your daughter to the freaking library. All that stuff can get done in a few seconds- I assume this guy stopped by his house on the way to the game to hand his daughter the watered-down, generic crap about "dinosaurs." I wonder if she was disappointed that she wasn't going to spend an afternoon with dad at the library. I guess it doesn't matter, though, does it?

This commercial also shows us why Al Gore invented the internet* in the first place- so we could send each other "e-mails" and take care of time-consuming chores with a point and a click. And play Fantasy Football with our fellow losers. Not to post videos of ourselves doing every stupid thing imaginable, not to access x-rated content from the privacy of our own homes, and not to publish pointless, whiny, fairly obvious observations of commercials. But of course, we had to go abuse it, just like we abuse all technology- the wheel, the toaster, the telephone, skateboards....

I mean, come on. YouTube? Facebook? The Cloud? Sigh. We just can't have nice things, can we?

*I'm well aware that Al Gore never claimed to have invented the internet, that this is just a slander created by the Bush 2000 campaign and perpetrated by the Gore-hating Media. I just liked the line.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Money Better Left Unspent

Do you ever get the impression that McDonalds only makes commercials because they feel, as a huge conglomerate which has held the lion's share of the Fast Food Industry in the palm of it's hand for decades, they are kind of obligated to, and not because they actually NEED to?

I mean, the only explanation for the absolutely bottom of the barrel, zero inspiration "themes" found in McDonalds ads is that the company's execs, watching commercials for Burger King, Wendy's, and KFC, decided that even though they have no evidence that any amount of advertising will impact the apparently unlimited supply of taste-deprived fatsos who will waddle in on any given day to give their arteries another hit, they ought to throw some money into thirty-second spots anyway. So they went out and found an agency which relied on eight-year olds for inspiration and starving college students for "actors." The result is the most consistently banal, insulting, and downright stupid commercials to be found since the end of Punch Dub Days.

I mean, there is simply no way any of these ads are ever market-tested. Heck, there's precious little evidence that they are even pre-screened before acceptance and scheduling for air time. Pretty much everything in TV land labeled "McDonalds" looks like something we'd expect to receive if Ed Wood were handed $20,000 to produce thirty seconds of Something, Anything, No Questions Asked- a messy, disconnected jumble of nothing which Kind Of Sort Of Not Really relates to the "food" being sold at McDonalds. Featuring Pretty People of Appropriately Diverse Ethnicity (check out the white guys in both ads- Separated at Birth, or What?) Which ends with the Golden Arches taking over the screen at the precise moment that the viewer is thinking "um....what the hell was that all about?"

Hey, McDonalds, let me try to save you a little money (though I am well aware that you can spare it.) There is nobody in the United States who isn't aware of your restaurant's existence- after all, there are only about 14 million franchises scattered about all fifty states and the District of Columbia. I mean, not even Starbucks is as ubiquitous. If there is a population of people out there who are not patronizing McDonald's, it's not because we were unaware that you offer deep-fried chicken parts with dipping sauce "which make lips even smackier," this dope explains to his disciples (I like the "here we go" comment from one of them- apparently, a speech about the cruddy non-food they are about to eat is expected of this guy. Yet, they still hang out with him..)

Or because...well, honestly, I can't even begin to understand the point of the Annoyingly Made For Each Other Idiots Engaged in the "you go first" Ultimate TV Cliche Ad. No, it's simply because we don't think this junk tastes good, and we KNOW it's not good for us. No ads will change that.

And the people who already go to McDonalds? As long as there is a dollar menu and a lack of nutrition classes in High School, they'll keep coming, regardless of whether you buy ad time or not. So please, stop. Because these....these are just bad. Even compared to other ads. And that's saying a LOT.

Friday, August 19, 2011

I guess the O'Jays just needed the money?

Right away, it is revealed that the idiots at Coors Lite have never, EVER utilized public transportation. The MOMENT the train stops, the announcer comes on the intercom to announce in clear, non-muffled, non-garbled, non-accented English that the riders "will experience a thirty-minute delay."

Not ten minutes of silence followed by a barely-intelligible, static-filled "we will be moving momentarily." Not a "thank you for your patience" followed by a silent request for MORE patience. Nope, an INSTANT declaration of EXACTLY how long this train filled with twenty-something models will be stuck in one place.

As a regular customer on the DC/MD/VA Metrorail, I can only respond "Yeah, RIGHT!!"

The Very Beautiful People, who are clearly not used to being inconvenienced in the slightest, quickly express dismay at this interruption in their plans to Go Someplace Very Important And Look Beautiful There. (Tell me you don't want to just slap the Very Beautiful and Very Put Out Woman who mysteriously has not been offered a freaking SEAT on this train- she looks as though she is QUITE sure the freaking universe revolves around her and the other Very Beautiful People with her exaggerated gesture of exasperation- and how DARE a mere mechanical issue get in the way of her Very Important Schedule??)

Ah, but let's not forget that these are, after all, Very Beautiful People. They are not nameless, faceless slobs like you or me (well, me.) A Male Very Beautiful Person applies a bottle cap to the wall of the train, instantly transforming what was once merely the preferred vehicle of the poor and very poor alike into the Coors Lite PartyMobile, to the great gratification of the other Very Beautiful People, who mysteriously know exactly which Very Beautiful Person to thank for remembering that he is, after all, a Very Beautiful Person, and Very Beautiful People simply do not live by the same laws of physics and nature that the rest of us trolls (well, me, anyway) do. When I'm stuck on a train in the middle of the summer, I'm going to sit and sweat and stew, and mentally pound the skulls of the slack-jawed jackasses with their MP3 players and pointless, noise-leaking ear buds as I slowly die of thirst. Not THESE people.

So the train is suddenly filled with ice cold beer and very happy passengers, and the Very Beautiful, Stunningly Impatient Woman naturally hooks up with the Magic Bringer of Beer (he knows how to push her buttons, clearly.) Hey, someone's got to pay for all this, right? I mean, wouldn't it be incredibly unfair if the Very Beautiful Impatient Woman was indifferent to the Magic Beer Guy with the requisite three-day beard stubble, gelled hair and open shirt?

I'd love to see an SNL parody of this ad. For one thing, are there really no people on this train who don't drink beer? Alcoholics? Children? How about people who still have work to do- meetings, presentations, sales, all that stuff I understand that people who are not teachers have to do to make money? Also, why does the exterior of the train have to undergo any transformation at all- beer cannot be served in a standard metro car? Are the all-but-universal No Alcohol On Public Transportation laws suspended when a Magic Bottle Cap is used to provide beer for the Very Beautiful People? Or does Coors Lite simply not count as "alcohol?" ( I could almost buy this.)

A while back, I kept meaning to do a post on the original "Love Train" (man, it's so sad that a song released in the 1970s calling for World Peace could be hijacked and used to sell crappy beer, isn't it?) commercial, which featured a train loaded with beer crashing through a football stadium as snowflakes provided magical relief to the fans in the stands. The use of stock footage from NFL films, complete with people long dead or at least unaware that their participation (or even observation) of a freaking football game would someday be used to peddle alcohol really, really rubbed me the wrong way. At least the current versions of the whole "Love Train" (please stop) campaign use model/actors and not innocent bystanders, but still....I really can't comprehend wanting to guzzle light beer on a crowded, stalled, hot train with a bunch of strangers, and I'm really bored with the "Beer makes every situation not only tolerable, but Awesome" attitude of these commercials.

But then, that's only been the message of beer commercials since the 1960s. We've got to be moving that train along soon, right?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Class War is Over. I Lost.

"Sam begged and pleaded, so I sent him to camp."

Ok, this just sounds bad: Sam, an alleged grown-up, "begged and pleaded" to be "sent" to Rock and Roll Band Camp. Because he really really wanted to, and his Mommy-errr, wife-- controls the household budget.

Except-- does she? "We accumulated so many Thank You Points on our Citi Card..." Ugh, really? How do we go about accumulating "points?" Why, by spending money using the credit card, of course. So these people have spend SO MUCH FREAKING MONEY that they've accumulated enough "Thank You" points (as in, "Thank You for having Zero Willpower and Attempting to Single-Handedly Keep the American Economy from Crashing by Using your Credit Card to buy Everything Your Pathetic, Materialistic Little Hearts Desire" to transport Sam from one Fantasy- the one he lives in every day with his Mother/Spouse, in which using a credit card in place of cash is a GOOD idea- to another Fantasy, in which Sam is a Rock and Roll Band Member.

We can SO relate with these people, can't we?

It seems increasingly clear that advertisers view the United States as a nation consisting of two distinct classes of people. The first group is made up of desperate, paycheck-to-paycheck working stiffs who use CashStop, Payday Loans, Rapid Refunds, and other Just Trying To Get To Next Week "services." If these people ever manage to score in the lottery, or find themselves legatees in some relative's estate, there are Annuity Brokers out there to exchange a small amount of money RIGHT NOW for the large amount of dough they could expect to have parceled out to them over a number of years. They "line jump" at Cici's and take the family to Golden Corral for baby-back ribs and seafood "for around ten bucks."

The second group is made up of blissfully wealthy hedge fund managers and their families. These people live in suburban palaces and give each other ribbon-clad Lexuses for Christmas. They have 72-inch High Definition televisions in every room and sixteen internet-connected devices and spend most of their time watching violent movies and "gaming." Oh, and they take vacations and go to Fantasy Camps and buy fancy dresses and Shea Stadium seats with their "thank you" points. Oh, and for some mysterious reason, they feed their kids Kraft Mac 'n Cheese.

I don't belong to either of these groups (though my paycheck makes me more likely to hit Denny's than Ruth's Chris,) which I guess means that I'm not recognized as being an Actual American worth pandering to by the Advertising World. I suppose I should feel grateful, but that would not be like me at all. Instead, I feel like a stranger in a strange land. Without even the comfort of Thank You Points.

Thanks for Nothing, Citi.

In a way, I miss being patronized.

Some time ago, I posted on a commercial for cell phone service which frankly admitted that all this guff about faster download times and "connectivity" sold to make the consumer more "productive" was just a big, steaming pile of crap, and that the advertisers understood full well that what they were really selling was an expensive, pointless toy whose main purpose was to make it easier for you to waste time. (Remember, all you REALLY want to do with lightning-fast cell phone service is get that "work" out of the way so you can "go back to playing Angry Birds.")

Well, I guess the "let's face it, we have nothing of value to sell" frank honesty has become a bit of a fad, because that is definitely the message of this Charter Internet commercial. Preteen girl wants Charter so she can surf stupid Youtube videos (because unless you are the author of a blog which slams commercials, why would ANYONE spend time on Youtube?) spend hour after hour chatting and adding photos on Facebook, and plotting to meet up with her boyfriend (good lord, is this girl 13 years old? Boyfriend? Seriously?) after Mom and Dad pass out in front of whatever piece of crap they downloaded on to the tv. TV parents being TV parents, they really don't need to be talked into providing another terrible example of Failure in Parenting 101-- they want Charter Internet too. And because this is a TV commercial, naturally if the parents want something, that means that Preteen Daughter has full access to it, too.

Mom is "on to" her daughter, and doesn't believe a word of her crap about using the internet to be a better student. She knows full well that faster download speeds means Daughter spends more time on social networking sites, listening to inappropriate music, and avoiding schoolwork. Mom simply. Doesn't. Care. And even if daughter gets the translation- that Mom KNOWS she's being lied to- what difference does that make? She's getting what she wants!

And Dad....oh, yes, we must spend a brief moment with Dad. If mom has stopped caring, if mom has decided that there is no point in trying to provide boundaries for Daughter, what are we to make of Dad's position? "Whatever your Mother Wants." Perfect. You fit right into TV land, "Dad."

The providers of Charter Internet want us to know that they they, too, are "on to us." They know that the Internet is basically a vast Wasteland of Dumb. And frankly, they are bored with playing the Look How Useful and Enriching It Can Be game. And really, who can blame Charter? McDonalds doesn't make commercials telling us about the nutritional value of Big Macs- they just tell us "hey, this tastes good. Eat it." Well, this is junk food of another type. I have to admit, I kind of like the honesty. I think.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Ball's back in your court, Hyundai

It's quite possible that the last honest moment of this episode of Ford's Bullshit Press Conferences campaign comes when the woman stepping out of the car is identified as a "Real Ford Owner." I'm willing to buy that- the rest of the commercial certainly suggests that she's dumb enough to have purchased this piece of crap.

Pretty much the rest of the commercial is a "hybrid" ( couldn't resist) of the dishonest and the nonsensical. First, we get the "Really Surprised" caption and a freeze frame that this pathetic actress wanabee sellout should never, EVER be allowed to live down. EVER. Yes, I'm just SO CERTAIN that this woman had no idea why she had been invited to Ford HQ, and has now been "ambushed" by a press conference in which she is invited to chirp nonsense about her new car purchase. Seriously- would anyone not being paid to help stage garbage like this say anything other than "frankly, I'm appalled that Ford, having overcharged me for a car of far lesser quality than a Honda or Toyota, would pull a stunt like this?" We are never told on what pretext this woman was induced to show up at the "Press Conference" in the first place- if this were legit, I'd imagine it had something to do with an emergency recall, problems with doors that won't unlock, faulty brakes, or any number of completely believable problems associated with Ford.

The very first "question" asked of the Really Surprised No Seriously She Had No Idea This Was Going to Happen subject is "You...are an environmental scientist..." Ok, not really a question, but it's necessary to give her the opening to blather on about how efficient her car is. Except, I don't quite get how being an "environmental scientist" makes you an expert on car engines. I DO get how being handed a check from Ford does.

(And don't you get the sensation that long before this woman's incredibly long-winded, Nothing to Do With Being An Environmental Scientist answer is completed, the "reporter" is really, really sorry he asked the question?)

And what's with the constant fading and wiping, suggesting that a lot of time is passing during this "press conference?" This woman's sentences are not broken up even as the picture fades in and out. What the hell?

So here's the big question- which car company is being more shamelessly dishonest this summer- Hyundai with it's "candid, hidden camera" test drives, or Ford with these phony-as-three-dollar-bills "press conferences?"

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Hey look, Joe the Plumber has a new job, and a new truck!

This Actual Ford Owner was certainly surprised at finding himself ambushed by the press, but that didn't stop him from spewing several lines of condescending, faux-patriotic BS no doubt embedded into his cerebral cortex through endless hours of watching FOX News.

"I wasn't going to buy a car that had to be bailed out by the American Government; I wanted a company that could stand on it's own, win, lose or draw...." I wish I was one of the "reporters" at this "Press Conference," so I could ask Mr. Libertarian if he knew where he could jam his self-righteous self reliance. I'm sure THAT would have come as a surprise.

I might also ask Daniel Boone if he knows where he can go to get that stick currently shoved up his ass removed, and where he gets off pronouncing judgment on car companies which, yes, did borrow money from the government- but are also in the process of paying it back, with interest.

Given a follow-up opportunity, I might ask if this pompous dick really believes that the fact that other American car companies have borrowed money from the US Government really justifies buying a Found On Road Dead piece of junk like a Ford truck. Hey, moron- maybe Ford avoided the cash flow problem by successfully convincing drooling mouth-breathers like you to buy their crappy, Every Corner Cut products instead of the higher-quality (and more expensive) vehicles produced by it's competitors. I wonder if this guy does all his shopping at Wal Mart, then sneers at the neighborhood hardware and grocery stores which are going out of business because they failed to "stand on their own."

I might conclude my questions by inquiring if this guy has ever asked someone to co-sign a loan for him, ever applied for unemployment benefits, or ever utilized libraries, the fire or police departments, emergency rooms, or public education. In other words, if he's been following his own economic and political philosophies and has always worshiped the concept of "standing on his own."

Because seriously, I only take drivel like this from Actual Ford Owners who can Walk the Walk as well as they Talk the Talk- win, lose or draw.

Wait, let me take that back. Actually, I don't take pompous drivel like this from anyone. Bite me, Ford.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Because Outside is a big, scary place with stuff like wind and bugs!

1. "I thought you were playing with your friends." "I am."

Um, no you are NOT. You are sitting on your ass in front of a fricking computer screen, wasting your life with some stupid video game. You aren't playing- playing involves moving, and (when you do it right) sweating, heavy breathing, and getting dirty or wet while burning calories. And you aren't "with your friends"- that involves eye contact and the development of basic social skills.

2. Not only are Mom and Dad ok with this, but Mom usurps Son's place in front of this generation's Idiot Box to chat with Son's friend's mom. Way to model great behavior there, Mom. But dad is much, much worse- he's actually in the next room (they can't even be in the same room? It's come to THAT?), armed with one of those stupid headsets (used to convince the user that he's doing something of importance and not behaving like a clueless child,) wondering why he and his Son didn't carry out their plan to "storm the castle."

Gee, "storming the castle" seems like it could be kind of fun- if the castle were a tree house, or a snow fort. Because....

3. We can see that all this non-activity is taking place IN BROAD DAYLIGHT. Nothing new- in many of the "its fun to Do Xfinity" commercials, we see entire families sitting their well-fed rumps down to watch television as sunlight streams through the living room window. When I was a kid, my parents would NEVER allow us to be indoors on beautiful, sunny days (or cloudy, cool days. Or basically any time there wasn't a monsoon or blizzard raging.) That didn't mean that we kids were always active- sometimes I would grab a book off the shelf and head for the woods, where I'd sit under a tree all day, reading. But most of the time, being exiled from the house meant days of riding bicycles, playing hide and seek and tag, and basically using our imaginations to invent games to keep ourselves occupied. Sit inside? Not an option. And I don't recall having a big problem with that.

Nowadays, shutting yourself up in the house in the middle of a beautiful day seems an acceptable alternative to fresh air and sunshine, just as "gaming" (gag) seems an acceptable alternative to actual exercise (gee, I just can't figure out how Obesity became the Epidemic of the First World, can you?)

Ok, so Verizon's got this product that they want to sell us, and there's apparently a big market for their "service," because "the average home has more than four internet-connected devices" (and fewer and fewer socially-connected, functioning human beings, apparently.) But please tell me that "families" like this one are rare in real life. Please tell me that in the real world, it's not common for people to isolate themselves like this, substituting points and clicks for running and jumping. Please tell me that in the real world, we are NOT turning into a nation of fat, pale trolls afraid to emerge from our caves no matter HOW brightly that sun is shining.

I mean, if we are so glued to our houses, why did G-d invent cell phones?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Hyundai Summer of Shame Event

"Uncensored," Hyundai? You use this word a lot. I do not think it means what you think it means.

I'm pretty sure that if you stuck a "hidden camera" (yeah, right- a hidden camera which magically knows when to switch from driver to passenger and back again to catch "spontaneous" comments and responses) into the dashboard of a Hyundai, you might OCCASIONALLY catch a remark here and there that is not 100 percent gushing praise of the South Korean import. Where are the comments about that Honda they drove yesterday that was also pretty nice, or the conversations which have nothing to do with Hyundais at all?

I simply do not believe that these are "uncensored" testimonials from people who have no idea they are being filmed. Therefore, Hyundai, I think your commercials are deceptive and insulting. Let's cut to the chase- I think you are lying to us when you call this ad campaign "Hyundai Uncensored." I think you are doing it deliberately. I think that these people are well aware that they are being filmed, and if they aren't actually reading off a script, they are given "suggestions" on what to say IF they would like to appear on a nationally-broadcast television commercial.

When you show four or five people bleating the same "forty miles to the gallon!?" line, that kind of reveals that this is not "uncensored." You see, Hyundai, whenever you cut stuff out, you've censored it. And unless all these people came up with "Forty miles to the gallon!" at the same time, this has gone through the splicer. Fail.

More- I think these commercials show your utter disdain for the buying public if you REALLY expect us to swallow this crap as legitimate.

Which leads me to wonder- what are you really trying to accomplish here? If your goal is to irritate the hell out of us by pushing the dishonesty envelope, mission accomplished- but you are still miles behind cell phone companies in that department. If you were just trying to see what you could get away with, well-- you can say pretty much anything you want in a commercial, unless it's for medication, and even then the laws are pretty damned lax.

Meanwhile, I'd really like to know what your definition of "Uncensored" is. Because to you, it seems to be "choreographed, scripted, and edited to the bone." And you really thought we wouldn't notice?


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

They could at least throw in a bundle of Sham-Wows

Ok, here's how it really works:

MyCleanPC.com, DoubleMySpeed.Com, FinallyFast.com etc. etc. all sell you the same "service." Each company preys on the roughly 99.9 percent of us who don't know how computers work and don't care to learn. We know there are these scary things called "viruses" which may lead to "identity theft" and "security breaches" and "inability to access Facebook within five seconds oh my God why don't I just kill myself now?" We know that every once in a while (every two or three minutes) we see something pop up on our screens that we don't recognize and which does not disappear when we swat at it. Anyway, these companies promise to "clean" our computers of scary stuff and continue our march toward having Absolutely No Patience At All.

They all work the same way, too. Once you are conned....errr, convinced...into allowing these scum-sucking scam artists access to your computer, their "free diagnosis" MAGICALLY reveals that OH MY GOD YOUR COMPUTER HAS ROUGHLY TWENTY-SEVEN THOUSAND PROBLEMS ITS REALLY AMAZING THAT IT'S STILL FUNCTIONING AT ALL! Pretty much all of these "problems" are things called Registry Errors, and being told that you need to fix them is the equivalent of a car dealer telling you that you need to trade in your Honda for a new Lexus because your current ride has dirt in the tire treads.

So now that you are scared out of your mind by the flashing red lights and the endless REGISTRY ERROR messages, you sign up to have your PC "cleaned" via a download, available the instant you provide a valid credit card number and put your remaining brain cells into a safety deposit box. Within seconds (lots of seconds) the Registry Errors are magically removed- and magically replaced by custom-made viruses which will just as magically appear at regular intervals to convince you that you need to subscribe to Registry Defender for a monthly or yearly fee in order to keep your computer "safe." That this is the equivalent of paying Protection money to a gang of goons because "it looks like you've got a nice laptop here, be a shame if anything were to happen to it" doesn't occur to most of us techno-idiots, because hey, isn't that illegal?

Here's what I don't get about all these commercials (besides the already-implied "why is this legal?") Why can't Best Buy, Toshiba, Wal Mart, Dell, Sony, etc. give every customer a 30-second warning NOT to fall for this crap? I mean, how long would it take to hook buyers up with decent antivirus and antispyware protection before they leave the store or the website AND explain why it's important? Wouldn't that just be good customer service?

And again- WHY IS THIS LEGAL????

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sorry; It's the teacher in me...

This commercial makes an excellent point, actually. After a long day of raping, pillaging, beheading, burning, converting and infecting entire tribes of once-peaceful aboriginals, the last thing the European Tourists visiting the Caribbean wanted was to have all those good times ruined by an accident caused by drinking rum to excess.

After all, when the night of partying and spending the gold you obtained by melting down religious artifacts or holding children hostage has passed, there's another day of civilization-destroying and disease-spreading ahead of you. And you wouldn't want to miss that because you didn't designate a "driver" the night before.

I'd like to take a moment now and express my appreciation to the makers of Captain Morgan Rum and Disney Studios for providing us with an unerringly accurate picture of life in the Caribbean in the 1600s, without which this commercial would make no sense. Thanks for making my job easier, guys!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

I don't want you to hate me- so don't watch the trailer. Just read the post.

If I go to see this pile of manipulative, hackneyed tripe posing as a summer date movie, I want to know at what point the line "when did you and I stop being us?" is uttered, so I have an idea of exactly how much time I have to pry my seat from the floor so I'm ready to hurl it at the screen.

If I go to see this musty, stale 90 minutes or so of painfully familiar drivel, I want someone to explain to me why Steve Carell is already doing a sequel to "The Forty Year Old Virgin." I also want to know when Steve Carell's fifteen minutes will be over. Because according to my watch, it was supposed to be sometime last week.

If I go to see this steaming, cavity-inducing sugar-laden Been There Seen That Where Do I Go To Get a Refund For The Two Hours I Spent Being Laughed at By Hollywood bowl of treacle, will someone PLEASE mistake me for John Dillinger and shoot me in the back of the head? It doesn't matter if you do it as I'm entering the theater or exiting. If you do it as I'm entering, you've "robbed" me of an hour and a half of my life that was hardly going to be worth living anyway. If you blow me away as I'm exiting, you take me down as I'm mulling when exactly my universe spun so hopelessly out of control that I would actually PAY to see something called "Crazy Stupid Love" and be reminded that screenwriters continue to believe that the country is filled with gorgeous women waiting to throw themselves at divorced, fortysomething men- as long as they know how to dress properly. Either way. It's all good.

I know it's too much to ask, but please- no more of these Fill in the Blank Dime a Dozen smarmy "romances" for a while, ok? They hurt my soul like you would not believe. On the other hand, I thought "Captain America" was fun, and am willing to forgive the groan-worthy last-minute obligatory appearance of Samuel L Jackson in the closing scene. It didn't hurt that Steve Carell was nowhere to be seen, and that we never once heard the phrase "when did you and I stop being us?"

I mean, come on. Gag.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

You needed Ancestry.com to tell you this?

Right now, some writer at Saturday Night Live is wondering why he didn't do that Ancestry.com skit he had juggling around in the back of his mind when he had the chance. Blown opportunity- because no SNL bit could be as funny as this commercial is.

Of course, what makes this particular episode of the "I'm significant because a dead person who is related to me was significant" chronicles so amusing is that the stupidity is entirely unintentional. Brought to us by Ancesty.com/au, the Australian version, it features a woman who is completely dumbfounded- and slightly scandalized- to have discovered that one of her ancestors back in the Land Down Under was--- get this---a CONVICT!!

You know, lady, maybe this would not have come as such a shock to you if you had taken just a little time to learn SOMETHING of your continent/nation's history. You see, stupid, Australia was absorbed into the British Empire in the 1700s (though originally discovered by the Dutch, its shoreline was most expertly mapped by England's greatest explorer, Captain James Cook.) By the end of that century, the tiny, overcrowded island's government had decided that it would be a good idea to use Australia as a place to relocate it's population of "criminals" (I use the term loosely- English citizens were sentenced to "transportation" for crimes as petty as debt.) The vast majority of English-speaking peoples settling in Australia in the 18th and early 19th century were, in fact, convicted felons.

So for you to express AMAZEMENT that one of your ancestors in Australia was a CONVICT just reveals how stunningly ignorant you are of your native land's origins. Seriously, what's next? Look a little deeper, and you might find that a Swedish relative had (wait for it) BLOND HAIR AND BLUE EYES!! You needed Ancestry.com to learn this? Really?

If you had told me that your family's Australian roots go back 200 years, I could have told you this myself, and with a great deal of confidence, too. And I could have spared you the charge you incurred by clicking that stupid leaf.

What a clueless dope.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

If I had a nail gun right now, this tv would be history

I don't know how amazing Geothermal energy is- if it doesn't require frakking to get at, if it doesn't require burning "clean coal" (snigger) or finding mountains in which we have to deposit tons of nuclear waste which will still be around when your grandchildren's grandchildren are shopping for nursing homes, I'm all for it. Except...

This is not the commercial to sell me on Geothermal energy, Bosch, because for the entire thirty-one seconds this ad graced my father's big screen television, all I could think of was how many ways I'd like to do serious injury to this jackass kid.

Frying pan to the face- that one came first. Sledgehammer to the skull. Just smashing his smarmy puss into a concrete wall (warmed by geothermal energy, if you please) again, and again, and again.

Is this what you were going for, Bosch? Because right now, I hate Geothermal energy, and will continue to hate it as long as I have to associate it with this know-it-all dick. I hate Geothermal energy, and I hate you too, Bosch, because you inflicted this noxious little nub of a spokeschoad onto us innocent viewers, who were just trying to watch the Red Sox beat the Indians in peace.

Hey Big Oil- here's your chance. Hire this kid to appear in one of your ads. Have him die in a particularly horrible way at the end of the ad. Not only would I back off my criticism of your industry, but I might even go along with letting you drill in the only known remaining habitat of the Kodiak bear.

Hey, could you have the kid being mauled and eaten by a bear? Just asking.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Emulate Goofus, Sneer at Gallant

When I first saw this commercial, I actually thought that the guy with the law books (they say "LAW" all over them, just in case we don't get it) was looking for the place to take the Bar Exam, and instead got talked into blowing it off and spending the day guzzling beer with a bunch of not-at-all-clever losers. I tried to imagine the hate that must exist in the jerks who could write such an ad (it's actually becoming easier all the time, since it's clear that being a hateful sociopath is a prerequisite for a career in advertising.)

On the second or third viewing, I realized that in fact, this guy is not living some updated version of the High School Nightmare, where the student is rushing around madly trying to find the room where he is supposed to be taking the Algebra Final. It's not quite THAT bad. Instead, he's trying to find a study group.

So he's not at the end of his Law School Career, ready to take the test which will allow him to get his law license. He's a student, willing to go the extra mile by joining a study session designed to help him better understand his subject, get good grades, and pass that Bar Exam when the time comes. Good for him!

Unfortunately, he's waylaid by knuckle-dragging, drifting, purposeless jackanapes who apparently think that all of this "studying" and "planning" and "ambition" crap is for the birds, and what life is really all about is the drinking. The only "Bar Exam" this guy has to worry about involves reading the labels on beer bottles. Like the Designated Weak Kid in any Horatio Alger novel, our patsy quickly abandons the lame idea of working with like-minded individuals in preparing for a lucrative career and fulfilling life in favor of an evening of guzzling crappy beer with total strangers. Total strangers who thought that printing up fliers reading "BAR EXAM STUDY GROUP" in order to trick earnest young law students into buying beer was somehow witty.

Total strangers which include hot girls willing to steal beers right out of his hands, apparently for no other purpose than to be able to utter the Again Not-At-All-Clever punchline "so sue me." On what planet is THIS funny? Is it a pick-up line- is the guy supposed to follow the girl back to her table (or her car) to get his beer- or a reasonable substitute- back? Is stealing a beer the modern equivalent of dropping a kerchief or signing a dance card? Or is this just another example of a Beautiful Woman Doing What Beautiful Women Get To Do?

The bottom line for advertisements like this seems to be the utter contempt that the writers have for things like studying, ambition, hard work, etc. All those things are well and good, as long as they don't interfere with the primary purpose in life, which is to drink beer, eat crap, and have fun. Whether it's breaking up the office routine with a "spontaneous" party ("Here We Go!") or interrupting a guy's plans to hit the law books, it's all about having a good time and letting work- and tomorrow- take care of itself. This guy wants to be a good student, so he can be a good lawyer- what a lame dork! What he really needs is a beer and sex with a girl whose idea of foreplay is to steal that beer.

And yet, the MSM continues to tell me that Americans are the hardest-working, most productive employees in the world. I really need to travel more.