Friday, August 31, 2012

As a Greek myself, I take special exception to Yoplait's newest puddle of Dumb

Even the children over at the YouTube What Is this Song I need this Song I love this Song what is this Song brigade recognize the witless idiocy of this particular ad for the impossibly overpriced milk product known as Yoplait.

These two women are sitting roughly eighteen inches apart.  The person eating the yogurt has the cup strategically turned toward the camera which, incidentally, means turned toward her friend sitting on the bench.  Which means that the yogurt-less friend can clearly see the label on the cup.  And yet...

These two alleged adults proceed to engage in a conversation you'd expect to hear from two five year olds.  It's one step up from "Dinosaur!"  "Ball!"  "Dinosaur!" "Ball!" or the average exchange of ideas from actors in a McDonald's commercial.   For the ad to work, we are asked by Wizards of Madison Avenue to believe that

A)  Idiot blond woman thinks "Yogurt" and "Greek" must absolutely be two different things, AND

B)  Idiot blond woman simply cannot fathom the possibility that Yoplait, a company which makes Yogurt, now makes Greek-style Yogurt, AND

C)  Idiot blond woman either can't read, or is so incredibly nearsighted that it's a wonder she managed to find her way to that bench.  Maybe she thinks she's talking to someone else, about something else?

Just a thought.  Which is exactly one more thought that went into making this ad.

And now from Verizon: The Hard Sell

Wow, Verizon is really done fooling around now, isn't it?

There's no subtlety at all here.  We get a lot of stupid graphics thrown at us which, I guess, show us all the SuperAmazingAwesome things that are just waiting for us in the Verizon Hive Mind if we would just drop our pointless "considering" and "thinking" and above all "budgeting" and just went along with the flow like Everyone Else Who Is Cool And With It.  See all this cool stuff?  Well, if you can't, watch it on YouTube, where you can actually pause now and then, because if you only see this ad on tv you are clearly not supposed to be actually examining the toys spinning in the circle- you are just supposed to be dazzled and overwhelmed with the Need to Possess All This Stuff. 

You are also supposed to be dazzled and overwhelmed by the music- "What Are You Waiting For?"  As in "what the hell is the matter with you losers, we are offering you Eternal Happiness Through Sharing Everything, And You are Still Just Sitting There?  Did we mention Connectivity?  Did we mention Sharing Among Up To Ten Devices?  Can't You Hear the Song?"

I almost think it's a sly joke that the song also includes the lyrics "Here We Go Again."  Yes, indeed.  Here we go again- another commercial for another All Talking All Texting All Sharing All The Time package designed to get you to buy into the notion that if you aren't using something which includes a glowing screen and a keyboard 24/7, Man are you pathetic and lame and you might as well be your parents.  No, make that your grandparents.  The ones who use Jitterbugs.  That kind of lame.  You don't want THAT, do you?

Anyway, this minute-plus pile of crap is the television equivalent of a full-body mugging-- it's what Verizon settles for until technology actually allows the company to reach out of the television and grab us by the throat and give us a good throttling for failing to buy Every Single Thing They Offer The Moment They Offer It.  This is what we get for not being on line at the Verizon store 18 hours before their latest toy hit the shelves- Slightly Less than Two Minutes of Hate which is supposed to have us on the phone with Verizon before it's over, but leaves Luddites like me just shaking my head in despair.

Hey, Verizon: My wallet is still in my pocket, and I'm still getting by with my one laptop which never, ever attempts to communicate with my one little Nokia phone which can't even stream video.  Better crank up the volume.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

"Well Ok, you CAN have it back, but not until next year....

...when this SuperAmazing technology is outdated and lame!  Then I'll not only gladly trade it in for the Next Big Thing, but I'll probably toss it to the sidewalk rather than risk being seen with it!"

I'd like to say that the women in this ad are seriously damaged, sad people, but they are downright normal compared to the Australian guy who calls the phone "Sexy."

Seriously.  "Sexy."  A phone.  Because it's slim, I guess.  Anyone else think this guy is just parroting the salesman who talked him into trading in his perfectly good, six-month old SmarterThanItsOwner phone for this thing?  "It's sexy, and it will make YOU look sexy, not to mention totally with it.  Take this thing out at a party, and you'll have people asking you about it in about thirty seconds.  You can pretend they are interested in you.  Let's face it, it'll be pretty much the only thing you've got going for you."

As the guy left with his "sexy" new phone, he didn't hear the salesman mutter "see you in six months, sucker."

Monday, August 27, 2012

Do I desperately need to make friends? Yes, yes you do.

"Does Speed Dating Really Work?"  Um, that kind of depends on your definition of "work," doesn't it?

Does it get you out of the house for a few hours?  Sure.  If that's your goal, it works.  Does it allow you to engage in a truly desperate, humiliating experience with equally desperate, sad, lonely people who can't figure out how to meet each other through traditional means?  Yep.  If that's your goal, it works.

Does work?  Sure, it does.  It's a nice way to get answers to all those burning questions you have but are too humiliated, or friend-deficient, to bring up to an actual human being.  Questions like "Why is Water Blue?" (Seriously, that's a question in one of these commercials.  No kidding.)  And does it encourage you to remain socially isolated, seeking solace from crippling loneliness through electronics (as if people who can't bring themselves to ask an actual acquaintance if Speed Dating works would ever work up the nerve to engage in Speed Dating.  Please.  The next question- after, a proud sponsor of, lets you know that Yes, In Fact, Speed Dating leads to Meaningful Relationships- is "Can I do Speed Dating by texting, or do I actually have to show up in person?")

I have a question.  What kind of emotionally crippled losers are so bereft of people in their lives (not to mention, an apparent inability to spend ten minutes of research on the web) that they have to direct their queries to strangers working for

Let's see. Who can I ask?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Because this is not a decision you want to leave to your "Loved Ones"

I don't know, maybe it's just me- but the guy talking about what his family is going to do with his dead body as he turns raw pieces of meat on the grill is a pretty sketchy way to start this ad, don't you think?

A lot of Life Insurance ads focus on the "rising funeral expenses" which, I guess, could actually cripple a family's economic stability unless handled through the purchase of bigger and bigger insurance policies.  Seriously?  I don't get this AT ALL. Why do funerals "have" to be such a terrific financial burden?  What does this asshole at the grill want, a fricking pyramid?  A Viking funeral complete with oak casket entombed in a burning, 40-foot replica of a Nordic exploration vessel?

Hey, Earth to Survivors:  Your loved one is dead.  Stick him in a pine box, drop him into the ground, and decorate the plot of land above his rotting corpse with a simple granite slab.  Better yet, go the cremation route- we take up more than enough space while Among the Living, the least we could do is vanish completely once we go on to our Great Reward (Oblivion without Cell Phone Service, is my guess.)

Mr. Grillmaster apparently has crappy Life Insurance, or he's afraid that his dependents won't think a lavish send-off is worth dipping into the pot, so he's gone the extra step of handing another company even more money for Funeral Only Insurance.   This strikes me as an Almost Awesome way to give the Finger to your family when you die- oh to be there when the attorney explains to them that you left Wife and Two Wonderful Kids $300,000 to replace your income- but you also purchased a $10 million funeral, with music provided by the London Symphony Orchestra and two virgins who will play-act being sealed up with your now-worthless body  in the marble tomb which can be seen from space.  Oh, they'll be weeping all right, and wondering how much the 200 Extras paid to stand around crying and touching handkerchiefs to their faces cost.

You know, maybe I'll make a few calls tomorrow and make some changes to my own insurance plans.  To hell with beneficiaries- I want every penny I leave spent on the biggest, showiest, most traffic-stopping sendoff I can afford.  To hell with having my ashes scattered into the ocean or on the hill behind my boyhood home- I want them encased in lead and attached to a high-orbit satellite named after me, where they can look down on my Loved Ones.  Serves them right for outliving me, the selfish bastards.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Despite this warning from Radio Shack, we never really saw it coming, did we?

I can remember seeing this commercial, more than 20 years ago, and just snickering at the concept of a company best known for selling cheap batteries trying to convince the average consumer that they could ever get enough use out of a portable phone to justify it's bulk and cost.

Well, shows what I know.  Sure, the bulk went away- from four pounds to a couple of ounces- and so did the cost (I think this thing, which looks like it could have been used on the beaches at Normandy, retailed for around $3000.)  Maybe that had something to do with it.  But in twenty years cellular phones went from being a rather clunky, heavy, stupid, expensive luxury to a tiny, light, stupid, expensive luxury--errr, I mean, Absolute Necessity.

And of course, since just talking on a phone wasn't enough (it was for 100 years, remember) we got texting, video cameras, televisions, projection screens, and the internet thrown in.  Because Radio Shack, and all of the other drug peddlers who got us hooked on these things, simply cannot bear the thought that we might ever put them down.  So every year, they add something to give us an excuse to never do that.  These days, the tag line is "Share Everything."  Uh huh.  Because suddenly, thanks to your cell phone, everything is worth sharing.  Sure it is.

Anyway, the age of suitcase-sized briefcases and beepers didn't last very long, did it?  I mean, I never even saw one of these things in real life.   I do remember phones without cameras.  I also remember sane people who didn't brag about the technology they held in their hands as if A)  it's expensive, B)  it's exclusive, C) it takes some special skill not shared with everyone over the age of six to use,  and D)  they built it.   In other words, I'm old enough to remember the days before these things turned people into zombie assholes.

I heard a radio personality the other day suggest that life would suddenly become much more bearable if "all the satellites fell out of the sky."  I can't say I disagree, though it would deprive me of this blog.  But if I was to wake up one day and find that I had no more material for This Commercial Sucks, no one would be happier than I.   Believe me, I'd find something else to do.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Concerning a Birthday, and an Anniversary

For most of my life, I have not been a fan of my own birthday.  For almost as long as I can remember, its approach has coincided with the end of vacation and the resumption of work.  When I was a kid, it meant that summer was over and school was about to begin again- the bikes, the GI Joe Action Figures, the ThingMakers I unwrapped after blowing out the candles would be enjoyed for roughly one week before spending most of each day sitting around waiting for me to get back from sitting in classrooms.  (My sister's birthday is May 31, and I was always jealous of that- what an awesome time to have a party with gifts, just before the start of summer vacation!)

When I went to college, August 24 was usually a day of travel, from Vermont to Washington, DC, if I had not departed from the family homestead to resume studies already.   Birthday greetings came over the phone and through the mail.

For the past 18 years, I have "celebrated" my birthday mainly through Back to School meetings- assembling class lists, covering bulletin boards, and moving books from dusty storage rooms on to shelves.  The hiking shorts, T-shirts and sneakers are set aside for suits, ties and uncomfortable shoes.  I get emails and texts congratulating me on moving one step closer to The Abyss.   We had cake at a staff meeting once.    But it's not a fun day.  It hasn't been one for most of my life, and it sure doesn't look like this one will be any different.

August 24, 2012 is also an anniversary for me.  One year ago, I gave myself the gift of addition through subtraction:  I gave up Facebook.

I know people who have given up Facebook because they felt that they were "addicted" to the site- they were spending too much time talking to virtual friends and losing contact with actual living, breathing ones.  I didn't have that problem.  My mistake was in accepting one friend request too many on the innocent theory that faded feelings, like colors, stay faded, and can't be revived through electronic communication- or even face-to-face contact.

I can't say it doesn't still hurt, but I can't say I really miss Facebook, either.  I hear family and friends talk about it, check it on their phones, and occasionally ask me why the heck they need to call or text me when it would be Much More Convenient if I had just kept my account open.   I just tell them I have no plans to go back- I re-opened an old wound once already, why go through that again?- and for the most part, they seem to think that's ok.

Anyway, it's August 24 again, which means that in a few days I'll be back at school, getting paid to spend time with some of the most amazing people on the planet.   Maybe that's my birthday present.  And my Anniversary present, too.   Not bad.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Sensa's latest is so appalling, I refuse to watch it more than a few more times.

Ok look- as far as I'm concerned, every commercial which features beautiful women dancing around on a beach wearing bikinis is automatically elevated out of the "This Sucks" category.  So I'm not going to be a hypocrite and try to tell you that I found the ad itself annoying, obnoxious, or anything other than thoroughly enjoyable.

Instead, I'll just ask a few questions about the product itself.  I've seen other ads for this Sensa stuff, and as near as I can tell, it chemically removes the fat and carbs and animal oils from our favorite foods, leaving nothing but calorie-deficient vitamins and other good stuff behind.

Wait, it doesn't?  But these people are sprinkling it on huge cheeseburgers, hot dogs, ice cream- if it doesn't chemically alter that stuff, what does it do to help people lose weight?

Oh, I get it- if you sprinkle Sensa on your favorite junk, it makes it taste awful so you don't eat it?  No?

Does Sensa contain a chemical which makes the food expand in your stomach so you eat less?  No?

Ok, someone will write in and tell me what Sensa does- maybe even a spokesperson who will helpfully link me to several Reputable Sites which explain exactly how dusting fatty food with this stuff causes you to lose weight.  My guess is that if the Reputable Site is in fact Reputable, it will also include Helpful Diet and Exercise Tips.   I hope it includes more of these girls.

Regardless of what Sensa does or claims to do, I have to note here that at no point does the word "healthy" appear anywhere in this ad.  Which means it's just another "Smaller People are Better People" diet ad.  "I lost 45 pounds!"  Did your doctor suggest this- or were you just trying to meet someone else's expectations of you?  Do you feel better about yourself now that you've lost those 45 pounds?  Why?  Are you happy with your weight now, or do you feel you need to lose a "little more?"  Again, why?  Is it because you'd like to be one of those hot girls dancing on the beach?  Do you think they are happy?

It would be so cool if ads for ads for Diet Aids got off the "This is How you are Supposed to Look, Fasto" shtick and focused on health, wouldn't it?  But then, maybe there would be fewer people with eating disorders and low self esteem- and fewer customers for counselors, and Diet Aids.  Can't have that.

So- wouldn't you like to be one of these hot girls, confidently dancing on the beach in a bikini?  Aren't you sick of having (gasp!) body fat, you lazy cow?  Then sprinkle on some of this crap, get yourself Pretty, and get with the program.*

Wow, I sure got angry there.  I guess this commercial did suck, after all.  Despite the hot girls in bikinis.  I didn't think that was possible.

*  -- I really love this article.  Enough to share.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

"You set it up so well, so carefully....."-- The Eagles, "Lying Eyes"

If you find yourself spending so much time mopping your f---ing floor that the concept of sitting down and drinking a cup of coffee on the porch is mind-blowing,

1.  Your f---ing house is too f---ing big, you suburban mommy-wife handmaiden bubble-headed twit,

2.  You are not making effective use of your spawn.  There's one, right there on the f---ing porch, who looks more than capable of handling a mop,

3.  You need to have a talk with that jerk you married who thought that a house in the suburbs and babies would be a perfectly good exchange for your youth and sanity.  But hey, who am I kidding?  This is probably exactly what you wanted.

Oh, and BTW, I don't really believe that is actually coffee in that cup.  Neither do your kids, or your neighbors.  I doubt hubby cares, as long as dinner is on the table when he gets home.

Oh, and one more thing:  Your husband doesn't notice how clean the kitchen floor is.  Ever.

Made.  Bed.  Lie. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Hey, Subaru: How many calories does shifting burn?

I know this Subaru ad is SUPPOSED to depict a supportive spouse/boyfriend doing everything he can to encourage wife/girlfriend to complete what I guess is supposed to be a grueling bike race.  He's making cardboard signs, he's at every turn to bleat bumper sticker slogans at her, and he's got pizza at the finish line.  Good for him.

But....I don't know why, but this whole thing comes off as forced, over the top and maybe even a little stalkerish.  I have relatives who have participated in marathons and other long-distance athletic events.  They certainly do appreciate the support of friends and family.  But the guy in this ad looks as if he's afraid that this woman is going to forget about him as she rides her bicycle.  He also acts as if he's the reason why she can make it to the end.   Maybe she's the problem- I may be wrong, but for one moment at the finish line, I get a "oh there you are,  I haven't seen or heard from you in several minutes, you got bored and went off and got a pizza you thoughtless jerk" vibe from her.  Then she sees that he's scrawled out another bumper sticker on the inside of the box, so they are all good.

I wonder if the girl really appreciates all this pushing, all this "I am part of this too"-ism from her guy.  I wonder if she appreciates the constant "you couldn't get through this without me" messages.  Most of all, I wonder if she wishes her guy were one-tenth as interested in vigorous exercise as he is in playing Supportive Spouse/Boyfriend while he drives Soon-to-Be Fat ass around in a Subaru, stopping every once in a while to wave a sign and buy pizza.

Personally, I'd settle for a "good luck, I know you can do it" kiss at the beginning of the race, and a cheer, a hug, and a ride home at the end.  And a partner who knew that the last thing I want to eat after miles of exhausting peddling and sweating is a spicy, cheap take-out pizza.   But I suspect that the guy in this ad doesn't have Clue One what a biker needs to recuperate after a serious ride, and the final scene is All About that stupid, cloying-cute sign.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

I bet you could have convinced Olivia Newton-John to show up for very little cash, Nissan

Here's a Nissan Commercial using part of the song track from a 1978 musical set in the  1950s to pitch the 2013 versions of crappy Japanese cars.  I'm guessing it's supposed to be cute, and not cloying, stupid, annoying and really, really bad.  It fails.

I'm sure I could find more to snark about with this little nugget of nothing, but bad traffic meant that it took me almost 11 hours to drive 540 miles from Vermont to Maryland today, and I'm pretty out of it.  So that's all I've got.  I'm sure I'll make it up with a long-winded rant later in the week.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Even the Seriously Deranged love Honey Nut Cheerios!

This commercial turns my stomach every time I see it.  It's not because of the stupid cartoon bee-- after more than a decade, I've kind of gotten used to his innocent obnoxiousness.  And I can skip over the concept of an Actual Person having a conversation with a cartoon flitting around their head while they consume Honey Nut Cheerios.

And as someone who grew up in an era with exactly ONE version of Cheerios, I've long accepted the fact that in today's tough times, General Mills was kind of forced to tweak it's product until now there are roughly six different flavors of the iconic brand.

I'd just like to know two things:  First, I hope I don't insult any of my readers here, but what kind of freaking lunatic weirdo really enjoys sticking pins in bugs and framing them on walls where everyone who enters your house can see them?  I know this happens in real life, but seriously- even if you are a professional or amateur naturalist, shouldn't these things be confined to a den or basement, where they won't freak out visitors or small children (or any normal people?)

Second, if anyone out there does consider the collecting of gigantic bugs, moths, butterflies etc in the form of carcasses preserved under glass a legitimate hobby, would you really display them in the same room where you normally consume your meals?  Is this the kind of pleasant view you want while eating cereal or anything else?  That this woman seems to think that there's nothing unusual about displaying her Disgusting Bugs of the World Collection five feet from the dining room table- well, sorry, but this is really odd.*

Third- if your answer to both of the first two questions is "Yes," have you ever considered therapy? 

*then again, I find photos of children framed and hanging in the dining room a fine appetite suppressant, so maybe I'm not the best person to be commenting on this.

Friday, August 17, 2012

This is Xfinity, and this is Depressing

This is your TV.  It's in your hand.

This is you on a lovely beach.  Watching your tv.

This is you with your family.  Watching your tv.

This is your phone.  You are texting on it, and checking your Facebook page every few seconds.  You are getting older.  So is your family.

This is your TV.  It fits right in your lap.  Until your body fat engulfs it.  No problem, just switch to your phone, which is also your tv.  Check your Facebook page.  Watch another movie.  You are getting older.  So is your family.

This is your TV.  On some planet, this is Awesome.  To a lot of people these days, that planet is Earth.

This is my planet.  I don't recognize it anymore.  I'm going outside anyway.  I don't expect to talk to anyone while I'm out there, because pretty much everyone else out there is watching tv.  Or texting.  Or checking their Facebook page.

But I'm going outside anyway.  I still like my planet, even though I sometimes feel like I'm the only one here.  I'll leave the rest of you to watch tv.  As you get older, along with your family.

Check your Facebook page lately?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

More Parental Fail, Courtesy of Charter

Ah, isn't Juvenile Internet Addiction just the Cutest?

I mean, here are parents willing to give their 10-year old kid what is apparently unlimited access to everything Charter offers- blazing fast internet speeds,  practically instant downloading (eight songs in three seconds? Ehh, I suppose that's impressive.  I don't know.  I tend to download songs one at a time- literally, one day at a time, with maybe weeks between downloads.  Because unlike the juvenile knuckle-dragging droolers over at YouTube, I don't have a Pavlovian "what is that song I need that song where can I get that song" response whenever I hear five seconds of music...)

Sorry, rant over.  Back to this ad:

It's pretty clear to me that the addition of Charter to this happy home is having what are supposed to be cute, darling consequences but are to my dark soul chilling warnings of what will come if Mommy and Daddy don't repent and rein this in very, very quickly.  Timmy- who probably spent a lot of time pre-Charter playing with friends outside, riding bikes, and all that other stuff that This Childless Person Imagines that Typical Suburban Children Do- is now hibernating in his room, clicking away, downloading This Movie and That Song, getting paler and paler- and weirder and weirder.

Worried now, Parents?  I suggest you stow the shrug and do something productive about it.  How about starting with a talk with your son about balancing all this technology with other activities?  Better yet, how about yanking that computer out of his room altogether?  Seriously, why does a kid this age have to have access to all the streaming video and music he wants anyway?  Maybe I'm using the term "Parents" too loosely here- maybe "adults who happen to be living in Timmy's House with Timmy" would be more appropriate?

At any rate, I really think that these adults should get over their "this is weird but what are you gonna do?" funk and tackle this problem head on, BEFORE they wake up one day and Timmy is a surly teen who doesn't give a flying crap what they say- because after all, his REAL friends are all on Facebook anyway, and if the Parental Units were really concerned about him, why did they set him up on his own like this to begin with?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

PC Matic brings us Deja Vu, all over again

Ok, I'm totally mystified here.  Someone please help me out.

Here are two almost identical commercials for a product I have snarked on previously- "PCMatic," one of dozens of BS virus protection "services" you can download straight to your computer, allegedly ridding it of the evil stuff lurking in the background slowing down your ability to stream porn (errrr, I mean, do research and run your home-based business.)  Of course, PCMatic does nothing of the kind- rather, like FinallyFast, MyCleanPC, and DoubleMySpeed, it just scares you into thinking your laptop is roughly 30 seconds away from exploding in your face so Get Your Credit Card Out Now And Download Our Crap.  And what you actually download is another set of viruses.

So if you order one of these products, you are actually paying for viruses.  But  I've said all this already.  Let's get to the point of this particular post.

As you can see if you actually watch both ads, the script is exactly the same- the ONLY difference is the sport being watched by Dad and Daughter on the TV.  And that's actually a real problem- the girl is clearly a college kid, wearing a hoodie with the words STATE rather obviously emblazoned across the front.  So the ad in which she's watching football makes sense- ok, she's cheering on her alma mater, good for her.

The ad in which she's watching baseball?  Not so much.  I mean, sure, maybe she's watching her college baseball team, which happens to be on tv, on a summer day cool enough to wear a big sweater....but I'm not buying it.

And let's say it's perfectly plausible that in one ad, these people are watching football, and in the next, they are watching baseball.  Fine.  Doesn't that mean that in a very short time, Daughter is Once Again experiencing annoyingly slow internet speeds and viruses, DESPITE the fact that she took Dad's advice that time when they were watching the game together and downloaded PCMatic?  Isn't this a good time for Daughter to stop humoring Dad's odd obsession with PCMatic and explain to him that she's the same person who took his advice last time, and look where she and her computer ended up?

Oh and BTW, notice how there is NO mention of cost in EITHER ad, or even the slightest hint that someone's credit card number has been handed over to the sponsor?   Both ads (which, again, are the SAME FREAKING AD) play out as if this is a free service (it's not.) 

Hey, maybe State's swim team will be on tv in next week's ad.  Here's some advice, Daughter- ignore your dad, go to the store, and get yourself some real anti-virus protection.  Because this- this is getting really, really old. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

They are cheering from the Shallow End, all right

There's so much to hate in this brief little, Olympics-inspired nugget of nothing, I almost don't know where to begin.  So I'll just hit on some of the lowlights:

These kids are in a massive, crystal clear (obviously professionally-maintained) pool in the backyard of a suburban mansion.  They have goggles on their heads.  Are they swimming, playing, having what used to pass as "fun" when I was a kid (and didn't have a massive, crystal clear swimming pool to play in?) HELL no.  They are leaning against the side of the pool, watching tv...

Because someone has decided that it would be a good idea to move a huge HDTV into the pool area (maybe with the misguided thought that if the tv were out there, it would encourage the kids to stay in the pool and exercise and enjoy the outdoors instead of hibernating in the dark living room.)  So the disgusting knobs who own the pool and the suburban palace also have no problem moving expensive electronic equipment around for the convenience of their kids.

Little girl is lecturing these kids on how "good they have it."  Jesus, I'll say.  But it's supposed to be "cute," you see, because her own memory of the Good Old Days is the 2008 Summer Olympics when, I can only imagine, this girl had to somehow get through being in the pool without being able to watch the games at the same time.  Which means she TVO'd it.   If she were an adult reminiscing about the 1996 games, she'd be talking about taping it.  You'd need grampa to actually show up and tell all these kids that sometimes people actually did things other than watch tv or plan to watch tv.  My guess is that the response would be something snarky and rude, because...

These kids are all little jerks.  Including the girl who is lecturing the stupid slacker pool boys.  Privileged, spoiled jerks.  They need that f--ing tv unplugged and put back in the house, they need the door locked, and they need to be told to stay outside and swim or find games to play in the pool until it's time for dinner.   Because it's not all about TV, all the time.

Barring that, I'd like to see that tv "accidentally" tossed into the pool when the viewing is over (and the kids are safely out, of course.)  Because it would serve the owners right for allowing this behavior to get this far.  

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Phil and John's Obnoxious Adventure

According to the description on YouTube, this commercial is supposed to depict some "competition" between "two world class photographers."  Hmmmm...I don't know who Phil and John are; maybe they are actual, real-life, world-class photographers.   But all this commercial shows is two jackasses in competition to be world-class assholes.  With the contest ending in a tie.

Take a look.  Phil and John are after the "perfect shot" of what looks like an American Bald Eagle (or maybe it's a Condor.  Really, who cares?)  They are both equipped with serious photographic equipment and Range Rovers.  So they take to the great outdoors, determined to track down whatever bird this is and get the prize-winning photo which will make them famous among the 37 people who are aware that there are famous photographers, maybe get their work on the cover of Famous Photographers Magazine.  Whatever.

Anyway, they engage in really stupid, dangerous driving on narrow country lanes, fuck the locals who may be unfortunate enough to be on the road that day.  When one guy can't shake the other, he goes to Four Wheel Drive and guns it up a dirt road- wow, I'd be impressed if driving on an unpaved road wasn't something I do on a daily basis while visiting my parents in Vermont.  In my Honda Civic.  We aren't shown how many squirrels, etc. go under the wheels of the Range Rovers as they crash through the terrain, and the clear message is that it's perfectly ok to destroy wildlife if your goal is to capture it on film.  Again, whatever.

The commercial ends with one guy about to get a great shot- but then the other guy pulls up and beeps his horn, startling the bird and (I guess) ruining the first guy's shot.  First impression- Gee, what an unprofessional prick.  Second impression- unless you are an utter, clueless, classless moron, what would compel you to beep your horn when pulling up to the only vehicle within two miles like that- you didn't think the guy who owns the other car noticed your arrival?  Third impression- for all their supposed interest in nature and wildlife, these guys sure don't show a lot of regard for their subjects, do they?

After all- maybe that bird is hunting for food for it's young.  Maybe it's searching for a nesting area.  Maybe it's trying to rest.  But it can't- because it's being chased all over the fucking place by two witless douchenozzles with cameras, who (oh joy!) can follow it until it's heart explodes because they've got these awesome Range Rovers.  Makes your heart glow, doesn't it?

The only way this commercial redeems itself is if, in an epilogue, we see these idiots encounter a grizzly and it's cubs, which have become irritated by all the unnecessary noise brought into the forest by Phil and John, and Phil and John become very messy snacks for said grizzly and cubs.  Or how about Phil and John encounter a tribe of inbred hillbillies who show these two World Class Photographers exactly where they can store those zoom lenses?   Anything would be better than this crap.

Friday, August 10, 2012

When you are too cheap to spring for Champagne, I guess

I'll admit I didn't pay attention past the first thirty seconds or so of this talky ad- just enough to convince myself that it wasn't a joke.  Because it sure sounded like one when I first noticed it.

I mean, really- "Brewleywed?"  The "perfect way to say 'I Do?'"  Maybe if we've got two tasteless beer-swillers hooking up.  Even then.  I like beer, and so did the woman I married- but....."Brewleywed?"  Please.  How can a drink which probably goes great with nachos, burgers and curly fries be the "perfect way" to do anything as important as proposing, an important moment which should be approached in a much more solemn manner- say, on the JumboTron in front of 45,000 strangers who couldn't give a flying damn.

The idea is soooooo stupid, I don't even want to hear this guy's explanation for creating it and putting the beer in what looks like a champagne bottle.  I don't want to hear about the quality of the hops or how it's for that super special occasion or how everyone will love and remember it (remember it, I'm sure- as in "can you believe they served that stuff?  What- it WASN'T a mock-up?  That was for real? No kidding??")  I will admit to being impressed by his ability to talk for a full minute with a straight face about "Brewleywed." 

Brewleywed.  This is a joke, right?  No?  You're Serious? Brewleywed?  Come on.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

AM,'s intensely annoying no matter what time of day it is

Because we can never get quite enough of these "clever" commercials featuring noise which is supposed to sound like music, can we?

Be it potato chips, Kit Kat Bars, or soda fountains, there is simply nothing more attention-grabbing than hearing scruffy dopes create "music" with intensely annoying sounds, is there?

And never mind that the first time anyone attempts to replicate what these idiots are doing- at AMPM* or anywhere else, that person will be politely asked to exit the store and not come back.  Or that the employees of AMPM no doubt cringe whenever they see this ad, knowing that the knuckle-dragging zombies who stumble into the convenience store to trade in their meager wages for watery soda, beef jerky, cigarettes and lottery tickets have just been given permission by Corporate to try mixing several different types of soda in the same cup, no doubt leaving a liquid mess at the fountain every twelve minutes or so.

Too bad for them.  Because this concept is so original, so ear-catching, and so addictive that it's certain to be a massive hit for whatever billion-dollar industry happens to be holding on to AMPM as a tax shelter this month.  Especially since you can get "actors" on the cheap if you don't give them any lines.  My guess is that these particular idiots are being paid in Doritos and Face Time.

*Saw this commercial while watching an Oakland-LA game on tv, so I'm guessing AMPM is the West Coast's answer to Cumberland Farms, Stewart's, and 7-11.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Coming Next- Wendy's offers the Defibrillator!

I could only find ten seconds of this obnoxious little nub of an ad, but you get the point:  Wendy's horrible new pitch is having this stupid woman encourage people to kill themselves by jamming "Baconator" sandwiches down their cake holes.

I've already seen three or four of these ads, all of which tell the story of a woman whose life mission is to convince otherwise reasonable people that eating a pile of greasy meat and cheese is not only a really good idea, but just the thing they need to make their lives worth living.

She's not even subtle in this commercial.  She's basically ambushing this guy's happy discovery of the perfect addition to his home- a big, comfy recliner which will allow him to become the couch potato he's always wanted to be.  Good, but not good enough for the red-headed Angel of Death, who tells this dope that to make the picture complete, he really needs to have his face "deep into a Baconator."


I suspect that as soon as this woman heads off the screen, Mission Accomplished, this guy will get a visit from a Very Helpful little sprite offering him a big fat cigar to enjoy once he's wiped Baconator residue off of his face.  Then a visit from the Alcohol Angel, reminding him that there's nothing like wrapping up a day of sitting, eating and smoking than several good, stiff drinks.  Oh, and let's make sure this guy is set up with a big screen tv and Xfinity!

But even if all that doesn't happen, we are still left with a rather skinny woman (I agree with one YouTube poster- she sure doesn't look like she eats a lot of Baconators) popping in on innocent bystanders to preach the Gospel of Incredibly Unhealthy Food, which can be purchased at the Church of Wendy's.

In the old Horatio Alger books, the "Most Dangerous Friend" was the guy who taught the stupid, innocent kid how to smoke and play cards.  In modern times, it's people like this woman, who Helpfully pop into people's lives to suggest that they inflict major damage on their hearts by eating this crud.  I just wonder what her back story is- what, exactly, does she have against the people she's pitching Wendy's latest monstrosity to?  Relationship gone bad?  Choked on a piece of broccoli? What?

Monday, August 6, 2012

All that's missing is the chariots

Let's face it- every single Olympics is a massive orgy of Product Placement, emotional manipulation and over-the-top Nationalism bordering on Jingoism which we are expected to swallow like good little sheep every two years.  I don't know if this version is worse- however, I'm pretty sure that 2012 will, in Advertising Land, be forever known as the Year of The Kiddie Olympics (the Kiddie Olympics and their "Bring It" Moms Who Never Get the Credit They Deserve and Don't You Forget It, that is.)

In this loathsome yet depressingly familiar chapter, we see girls and boys who probably still think that the opposite sex is icky entering arenas waving flags, coming off airplanes to the shouts and salutes of the drooling idiot mob, holding press conferences (no kidding, check it out) and signing autographs.  In between all this posing and smiling and desperate grasping at fifteen minutes of fame before the fairy tale ends and 70 years in the real non-applauding, non-saluting, non-autograph-requesting real world begins, I suppose these children engage in athletic competitions of some kind.  I mean, that's what the Olympics are all about, right?

I'm sure it's not an original observation, but MAN this garbage has a heavy, oppressive Hunger Games feel to it, don't you think?  Children from all over the world assemble in an arena, with the hopes and dreams of their nations resting on their narrow shoulders, to try to best each other in a series of sporting events.  The winners get pieces of precious metal to wear on their undeveloped chests, the losers go home in tears knowing that they Let Everyone Down Even Though Everyone Insists They Are Proud Anyway. 

Yeah, this is really healthy.

Only a few days left.  Thank God.  Unfortunately, right now there are a whole lot of 9- year olds preparing to grab for their moment in the sun, coming up just around the corner, in 2016.  And even before that, there's Kiddie Ice Skating coming to a tv near you, early in 2014.  And more kid-based commercials to help us Truly Appreciate the Sacrifice.  Can't Wait.

I see this differently too, Red Lobster

Hmmm...this Maine fisherman says "I love lobster..." I can see why she'd "love" lobster if she sells it to good seafood restaurants, or Red Lobster.   But you know- I find it hard to believe that someone who makes a living handling these Insects of the Sea really enjoys eating them.

Heck, I find it hard to believe she makes enough money to enjoy eating them.

Also, she says that people "can never get enough" lobster.  Personally, I can take or leave lobster.  Almost every good seafood restaurant I've been to also serves up high-quality steaks.  I'd rather have a steak than a lobster any day of the week and twice on Sundays.  Oh, sorry- I keep mentioning good seafood restaurants, and forgetting that the topic of this post is supposed to be Red Lobster.

And I'd like to know what kind of people "can't get enough lobster," since it's a damn expensive food item, not exactly something that those who are used to ordering off the Dollar Menu at McDonalds can afford to eat regularly.  "Can't get enough" of it?  Really?

"I see food differently."  I get the play on words, but taken at face value this is actually very accurate.  You see food as gigantic bugs which spend their entire, very short lives feeding along the muddy bottom of the ocean until, one day, they wander into one of your cages to be captured.  Then they have their claws taped shut, or disabled by wooden pegs. Then they are flown to good seafood restaurants (or Red Lobster) to be dropped into a tank and gawked at until they are finally plucked out and tossed into a vat of boiling water.  That's how you see this food.  I see an overpriced insect and, again, a poor substitute for a good piece of beef.

Farmers see food differently, too- they see the work that goes into the planting, harvesting, etc.  I get that this woman means "I see food differently" in exactly this way.  But my guess is that most farmers can afford the food they are producing, and I doubt that's really true of lobster fishermen.  Maybe I'm wrong.  It's happened before.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Colonial Penn Life Insurance- because Cash is the best Pain Reliever

I half expected to see a clip from "Life of Brian" at the end of this ad- specifically, the part where Brian and the two criminals crucified with him start nodding their heads, kicking their legs, and singing  "Always Look On the Bright Side of Life" as they hang from their crosses.

Seriously. Here's a woman who has just lost her mother.  Mine turned 80 the other day, and is in good health, Thank God- but I imagine that the death of a parent is a pretty damned traumatic event.  Yet she's apparently discovered a new phase of mourning- she's moved past denial and devastation, and moved on to Waiting For the Life Insurance Check.

She's interrupted by Standard Black Neighbor Character, who gives the Standard Sorry To Hear About Your Mom speech- but the main character sure doesn't look like she's suffering from anything, unless it's concern over the Financial Burden the rather Inconvenient death of her mother has caused her and her family, assuming she has one.

Yay, Colonial Penn has moved with lightning speed to get the insurance settlement into Trust Me She's Sad on the Inside Daughter.  "This will really help" Relative of the Recently Deceased but Already Almost Forgotten Mom assures Neighbor- and the topic of their bland half-conversation turns to how affordable Colonial Penn's Life Insurance is.  Anyone else think it's more than a little creepy how quickly Neighbor accepts the change of topic?  In five seconds, we've gone from "sorry your mom is dead" to "is that life insurance expensive?"*

I guess I could blame AARP for ads like this- that organization which, btw, will simply not accept the fact that I'm still young and spry (inside joke and shout out to one of my readers- she'll get it) and wants me to read their stupid magazine- because AARP stopped serving seniors and started becoming the main whore for insurance and the pharmaceutical industries years ago- but at this point, I really don't care who is to blame.  I just really hate this ad's trivialization of pain and loss.  You suck, Colonial Penn Life.  Not any more than other insurance company, but you suck.

"My mom's dead- but hey, here's a check."


*that really is some conversation these people carry on as the narrator explains the insurance further, isn't it?  I mean, where the heck are they going? Is the daughter's mailbox in a different county from her house, or what?

And what's with the smiles and laughter?  Why do I have the strong suspicion that Daughter is getting herself named chief beneficiary in Standard Black Neighbor's future Colonial Penn Insurance Policy?

Saturday, August 4, 2012

SelectQuote? Ask me why I care!

John is 42, married, mortgage.  John has fulfilled America's very low, very unspectacular expectations of him.  John is a square peg which has slid effortlessly into a square hole.  Everything has worked out pretty much as planned for John, except maybe that his hair has gone away.

John has "three great kids."  I actually wanted to use another SelectQuote commercial featuring another suburban white shmo with "three great kids" who spend pretty much the entire ad being delighted at their ability to throw colorful plastic hoops on to a target almost two whole feet away. (This game is fun not just for Mom and Dad and the 2-year old, but also for the kids' two older sisters.  Great kids, it seems, don't require a whole lot of intellectual stimulation.)   But that ad and those Great Kids are not available on YouTube, so I'll just use this one featuring John and his equally bland wife, Cassie.

(By the way, what makes the kids in all these ads "great," anyway?  They look kind of clumsy and dull to me.  And the ones here aren't even throwing colorful plastic hoops on to a target.  Doesn't that mean they are less great than the kids in that other ad?)

John called SelectQuote, and found that he could set up a $500,000 windfall for his Great Kids and Depressingly Fertile Wife for only $24 a month.  So if John, who is in Excellent Health, dies anyway,  Cassie and the Great Kids will be secure in their suburban lifestyle, which apparently involves setting up colorful tents in the front yard (leading to dead grass eyesores and angry calls from the Neighborhood Association, but never mind) and smiling at delight at every uninteresting thing the Great Kids do (like throwing hoops on to a plastic target.  Sometimes.)  I can see why John would want to protect this.

Thing is, Fertile Cassie also called SelectQuote, and insured her own life.  So when Cassie isn't popping out little copies of herself and John, she's working outside the home and making a salary large enough that Cassie feels compelled to make sure it is replaced if she dies? 

The kicker is that John and Cassie Have Stuff- including a mortgage and Great Children, and they feel compelled to plan for their own deaths, but they don't want to go overboard on the whole cost thing, so they called some company which produces syrupy commercials about boring white people and their insurance issues in order to find another company willing to hand a chunk of dough over to the survivor if Something Happens to disrupt the whole suburban paradise deal.  I get it.  What I don't get is how SelectQuote has managed to make about thirty of these commercials featuring the most generic, non-ethnic looking, pasty, boring losers and their equally dull children and never once convince me that I should follow their lead and insure my life.  Even though I am in my forties, and in Excellent Health.

Maybe it's the lack of a mortgage, a fertile wife and Great Children?  Hey, I tried!