Sunday, June 28, 2020
We all have a Responsibility to keep the engine of Capitalism humming along. Every restaurant, car company, airline, and online streaming service is counting on us to keep contributing our hard-earned money to keeping them afloat during These Tough TimesTM. We (corporations) can't get through this without You (customers.)
It's all about Community (corporations and customers.) Businesses have always been there for Us, working hard 24/7 to convince the public to open wallets and empty them in exchange for Stuff. Now it's time for Us to step up and help those Businesses by....um, well, continuing to open up our wallets and give them money in exchange for Stuff.
We know that the proles- um, Community- don't have as much money as they did. But that doesn't really matter, because the Market can't live without that money. So just sacrifice a little more by....umm, buying. It's good for you, it's even more good for Business, and it's what Americans do when America is in trouble because America.
Don't love your country? Then stop consuming, you selfish awful traitors. Let the terrorists win. Love your country? Well, it's kind of hard to tell when you haven't ordered from GrubHub for more than 12 hours. Seeing is Believing. Get that credit card out. Capital One is THERE for you. And when this is all over, Credit Repair will be there for you. There's always someone there for you. So relax. And spend. Don't worry- whatever you buy, we'll make more of it. Like I said, we're always there for you. And we'll always be there for you.
(A profound and sincere thanks to the people who put together this wonderful compilation of twee garbage ads. Just perfect.)
Saturday, June 27, 2020
I hadn't heard the familiar Folger's jingle for years- maybe its not a universal throwback, but it is to me.
Nothing else about this commercial is familiar, however. As near as I can tell, this woman intended to surprise her husband in the shower, but her father-in-law was in there instead (with another guy who was in there fully, dressed, singing. This got really weird, really fast.) So I guess she forgot her father-in-law was visiting? Or he regularly comes over to his house for a shower? Or he lives with her and her husband now? And brought someone to help him clean himself in the shower?
Considering that for the rest of the ad, the father-in-law walks around wearing a towel but still just as soapy as he was when discovered in the shower, I have to figure Father in Law Steve has been moved in for his own good, and isn't All There by any measure. And that guy in the shower with him is an employee of some local home health agency who shows up every morning to make sure Steve gets out of bed and cleaned up.
Whatever, this poor woman has problems that are not going to be solved by crappy canned coffee. If her Father in Law has moved in for the long term, she's going to have to start making some serious demands of her husband- like, good fresh, ground coffee that doesn't come in a can. And maybe an addition to the house that includes a private bath off the master bedroom. If Father in Law is just....there, we really need an explanation as to why he felt compelled to take a shower in her house, and why her interrupting that shower resulted in him apparently decided that he wasn't going to get rinsed off, let alone dressed, for the rest of the day.
Friday, June 26, 2020
...which I would be more than happy to forego as soon as T Mobile recognizes that Vermont is part of the Nation, and that if you're going to call yourself the Nationwide Leader in Nationwide Coverage, you really ought to provide a service that doesn't give me "No Network Connection" messages every time I try to make a call from the house I grew up in five miles outside of Barre (the third-largest city in the state.)
Not much left to say, actually. T Mobile is horrible here and these "We can't stop talking about how incredibly amazing we are with our Nationwide Coverage" commercials are just insults added to an injury which repeats every summer. For the third summer in a row, T Mobile: Get your freaking act together in the rest of the United States. Or STFU.
Wednesday, June 24, 2020
These things chew grass and will consume their own leavings if you turn your back on them. Don't tell me they are deeply concerned about what's in their dog food, let alone things like expiration dates. This has got nothing to do with pets, and everything to do with dog owners who want to virtue signal by buying the most unnecessarily expensive overpackaged crap possible for their miserable walnut-brained mammals. Another great advertisement for Not Owning a Pet.
And I am NOT going to subject myself to the comments, which I'm sure are 99.9 percent cooing, oooing, awwing and endless "that one at this time stamp reminds me of MY 'children,' etc." Life is too short for that crap.
Sunday, June 21, 2020
Ok, so the little boy in this commercial is eager to go on his very first date (I guess) but there's a snowstorm, which for pretty much anyone else on the planet would mean the date is going to be postponed.* Problem is, this kid isn't used to being disappointed. He looks like an only child, he lives in the suburbs, and mom and dad own a Mercedes. So he's all ready to go, grab the keys, dad.
Not only does dad drive the kid to the mall, but he seems determined to get there and then back home to the family McMansion as quickly as possible, because he's not driving especially slowly considering its kind of been implied that its not that safe to be driving.
They arrive at the movie theater, which considering the empty parking lot sure looks closed because- well, the weather, after all. But again, this is a rich kid with a rich family who gets what he wants, so they just park in the empty lot and go in.
There's one worker at the concession stand. She's there just in case this kid and his dad ignored the obvious bad weather and drove out assuming everything would be perfectly fine. Don't know how she got there, but I think it's safe to assume that she had a hard time of it as I'm pretty sure she doesn't own a Mercedes Benz. But it's also safe to assume that she can't afford to just not come in to work even if the weather is bad if the theater owners want to stay open just in case some spoiled knothead insists on watching a movie during a blizzard.
There's no one in the theater- I guess he was supposed to meet his date in there, and not in the lobby, where he could buy her ticket and offer her popcorn and soda. He decides that her father had a little more common sense and just told his daughter "sorry, but there will be lots of opportunities to organize a make-up date," for chrissakes.
Oh, but no- turns out that this little kid runs with his Own Kind, and asked out a Little Princess whose father also owns a Mercedes Benz and who also doesn't know how to raise a sensible kid or doesn't think he has to because, after all, he's rich and owns a Mercedes Benz.
I didn't watch the end of the commercial, so if it doesn't end with these entitled brats sitting by themselves in the theater eating popcorn and drinking soda watching a film being projected by one irritated worker drone while another mans the concession stand Just in Case Their Highnesses might want some candy at some point, you can let me know.
The Privilege! It Burns!
*When I was in college, my very first date with a girl I liked was supposed to be at Ronald Reagan's second inaugural parade. It was cancelled due to inclement weather. If I were an older version of these kids at that time, I guess I would have jumped into my own Mercedes-Benz, picked up that girl, and headed off Pennsylvania Avenue to sit in the stands while my parents demanded that the High School bands start entertaining us. I mean, come on. LIFE HAPPENS, KIDS. But I guess if you own a Mercedes, Life is just something that gets out of your way.
Friday, June 19, 2020
Maybe it's because the only ad I could find for this "solar powered lightning-fast phone charger" was disguised as a YouTube Review. I could probably start a spin-off to this blog devoted to phony YouTube reviews. The Evil Genius of creating fake reviews just makes my heart glow, especially when they are drowned by Actual Reviews exposing their fakery. So much fun to watch.
Anyway, this Amazing Solar Powered Charger being sold for sixty percent off ($39.99) for a limited time only (it's a Spring Sale, and my calendar tells me that there's less than 48 hours left to Spring) is absolutely identical to something called the Innovative JD-T19 3 USB Ports Solar Charger 200000mh Wireless Power Bank Q1 Solar Panel Charger Power Bank (that's exactly what it's called) available at everybody's favorite source of mystery-box junk, Alibaba. Except that at Alibaba, it costs $10.99. And it might even show up in your mailbox someday.
Ok, that's not fair- it's entirely possible that Lil Mobile will send you a charger in exchange for your $39.99, eventually. It'll just be the same one you could have picked up for $10.99 at Alibaba. Probably from the same warehouse in Guangzhou. And then you'll have a light-up paperweight that would have been very expensive at $10.99.
Here's what gets me about these phony chargers and other electronics scams- everyone who owns a SmartPhone knows where they can get legitimate chargers for them, because Apple, Samsung etc sell chargers from their official sites. Those companies have zero incentive for making it difficult for us to charge our phones, so why wouldn't we just assume that they'd be on the cutting edge of charging technology? Why would we trust some unfamiliar company to provide us with the best chargers? Makes no sense.
And other than the debunking videos being fun to watch, I can't really explain why these commercials make me happy. Maybe it's because most of the people who fall for these pitches are probably just stupid kids who can't keep their phones charged because they never stop using them. Anything that throws a wrench into their nonstop jabbering, watching and texting is going to warm my cold dead heart just a little.
Thursday, June 18, 2020
Let's be honest- just as it was only a matter of time before some company began to add copper- or the concept of copper, or just the name "copper"- to knee sleeves in order to sell them to the population of woo-ingesting idiots out there whose brains are in the 12th century and who think that copper is Magic, it was also pretty inevitable that the same company would remember that there's a larger population of not-so-very-stupid people out there who associate menthol with pain management and start adding THAT to their knee sleeves. I'm just kind of amazed that it took this long.
Menthol was first isolated as a chemical in the late-18th century, and today is used in dozens of different products, probably coming closer to the old description of a Magical Cure-All than anything since the formation of the FDA. It's used in cough drops, cough syrup, creams and inhalers to relieve cold symptoms. It's found in antibacterials to relieve itching and swelling, and lip balms to prevent and treat chapping and cracking. And, of course, it's used to reduce ("provide temporary relief from") muscle aches and pains.
To that last point, menthol is the main active ingredient in balms and other topical treatments made by multiple competing pharmaceutical companies, and for good reason: It's cheap (though not quite as cheap as just adding the word "copper" to your product) and enjoys a positive reputation built from years of practical experience. I doubt there's an adult in the United States who wasn't raised to just ASSUME that menthol does what the companies selling it to you say it does. It would be like questioning the power of water to quench thirst. Practically heresy.
So why would I snark Copper Fit for adding menthol to its knee sleeves? To answer this question, I simply have to go back to the title of this particular blog post. Copper Fit knee sleeves, by themselves, are pretty pointless, expensive little pieces of holistic nonsense which are sold with trumpeted claims of magic properties which "work" on people who are really susceptible to the placebo effect. The commercials look great, these old people who could barely walk are now running, these very believable, sincere-looking people who look like my family members and friends swear they work, plus- unlike that off-the-shelf stuff- they have this cool logo and are Infused with the Properties of Copper. If I put one on and am not running marathons five minutes later, I just Don't Believe Enough. Adding menthol is a very interesting concession by Copper Fit- it's adding actual vegetables and spice to a soup we were told was great already. Copper Fit might as well include a bottle of Tylenol and a jar of Biofreeze (only active ingredient: Menthol) and just raise the price of the sleeve a little. Maybe throw in a warm-up stretching routine as a bonus, Just Pay Extra Shipping and Handling. Don't worry, the great majority of the customer base for Copper Fit knee sleeves will continue to attribute any improvement to the Magic of Copper.
Sunday, June 14, 2020
I have seasonal allergies. I didn't grow up with them, but developed them when I was in my early or mid-40s. Suddenly every spring my throat would become very itchy, my nose would run uncontrollably, my ears would get plugged up and my eyes would swell up and explode. I might be exaggerating a bit with that last point.
Anyway, I deal with allergies fairly effectively by taking an allergy pill every night before going to bed. It helps me sleep, and it manages the symptoms reasonably well, though this year I think I might be getting through the spring a little better than usual because I'm wearing a mask whenever I go outside. As opposed to most years, when I'd only wear a mask on Friday and Saturday nights, because those were my crime-fighting nights. But I digress.
Even with taking a nightly pill, I still don't spend a lot of time shoving my face into grass or rubbing noses with puppies (yuck.) Like the idiots who take Nyquil and then go skydiving or rock-climbing the next day, this guy is really asking a lot of his medication. It's not magic, you idiot. But at least we don't see him skipping out on his daughter's bike-riding lessons because he's got the sniffles; we see that in a lot of these ads. Still...take it easy, man.
Saturday, June 13, 2020
Yeah yeah yeah we get it, Cascade: we are supposed to think that these people are talking about sex. Wink-wink and all that. Except, nobody with two functioning brain cells thinks that they are talking about sex before the "big reveal," because, well, we've watched television before.
So I'm not going to just give a big thumbs-down to the "haha how cute these old people are still intimate isn't that awesome its like imagining trolls mating" message you're obviously trying to sell us in the first few seconds. Instead, I'm going to point out the absurdity of a commercial which encourages us to "save water" by running our dishwashers every night even if we don't really have anything to wash in them. What exactly is environmentally responsible about running a dishwasher that is 90 percent empty Just Because? Ok, that's better than using several gallons of heated water to clean off a few plates and forks, but isn't just giving that stuff a quick wipe and then leaving it in the machine until it's full even better? Not only will I save water, but my machine might last longer because I'm not putting it to work every night, like clockwork, whether I need it or not.
I expect I'll see car companies encourage us to just run our automobiles for half an hour or so every night- you know, because that will save gasoline as opposed to driving long distances. Maybe we should keep our windows open while we run the AC, because that's somewhat more energy efficient than just putting the AC unit in the driveway and attempting to cool the neighborhood. So many ways to save energy we've never thought of. Thanks for the jump start, Cascade!
Friday, June 12, 2020
Were you annoyed with paying taxes, because it reduced the money you had left over from your paycheck you had to spend on things you wanted? In other words, were you sick of taxes getting in the way of living the lifestyle you wanted to live?
Are you now tired of "dodging the IRS" which is "hounding you" to pay the taxes you decided you just didn't wanna pay even though you knew those taxes represented your contribution to the society you live in and whose benefits you enjoy?
Are you willing to believe absolutely anything? I mean, including a pitch that the COVID-19 emergency could be connected to a Get Out of Your Responsibilities Free card when it comes to paying your taxes?
If all of the above is true, LISTEN TO THIS!......
"The Corona Virus has forced the government to take extensive actions (well, maybe- not extensive enough, and way too late) that might make this the most Opportunistic Time (well, that's a refreshingly honest way to put it) to Restructure or Resolve your tax debt." And take a look at this pretty young couple, totally befuddled at the tax bills that Came Out of Nowhere just like that dog that ate her homework once, or that car that jumped in front of his in the parking lot when he was standing perfectly still while very safely trying to update his Facebook account. They sure look like Innocent Victims, just like those Other Times.
"You may have heard that there were tax filing extensions put into place as a response to COVID-19. We hope that you allow us to make a nonexistent connection between actual tax filing extensions and 'aggressive new programs' that will allow you to restructure or even eliminate your tax debt. You know, like you allow other companies to make the invisible connection between Medicare and Medicare Insurance Cards pitched by Joe Namath. You're really good at hearing what you want to hear, after all."
"Act now before it's too late, because we all know that once this current Emergency lifts we'll be right back to pointing out entirely generic 'troubled times' in these ads and we won't be able to use a specific, actual Emergency anymore. But let's be real- we're going to be able to milk this thing for years. That's why we used COVID-19 and Opportunistic in the same sentence, after all."
Sunday, June 7, 2020
Yes, America is "coming back stronger than ever" - just check out the Stock Market, where the one percent are taking advantage of the bargains created when people who feared losing their jobs or were already retired and living off dividends panicked and sold out their 401(ks!) Better yet, just look at the sea of pretty flags!
Let's just dissect this latest example of crass opportunism run amok:
1. These are advertised as "non-medical face masks." In other words, they aren't for keeping you isolated from COVID-19. They are for allowing you to enter stores and ride public transportation. And if that's all you want masks for, you can cut up a sock or wrap a scarf around your face and accomplish the same thing.
2. They are "in stock now and ready to ship"- from where? Shut up, that's where! I mean, don't these people pulling pallets of boxes look American to you? That should be good enough! Plus we showed you those flags before!
3. They have FOUR LAYERS of paper, not the usual (?) three. Does this mean anything, considering we've already been told they are "non-medical?" Do we need to show you those flags again?
4. Something about an "amazing electrostatic charge." Seriously, is this an SNL skit? Does this thing come with batteries? What is the utility of an "electrostatic charge" when it comes to protection? I don't get it, and I don't think we are supposed to get it- I'm pretty sure this line is in the commercial to distract us that these masks don't contain any therapeutic copper.
5. They cover your "entire nose and face..." um, like every other mask? Oh, and they won't fog your glasses- which is basically taking something negative about the product (it's thin) and tries to spin it into something positive (therefore, your breath effortlessly flows through the mask.) Unlike those stupid medical masks with filters and such. So much better!
6. It's design provides an "extra layer of protection"-- um, what do you mean "extra?" Why do I suspect that when you open your package of Air Police masks, the first thing you see is a disclaimer urging you to wear an actual mask underneath it? Seriously, WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
7. They are "one size fits all." Which means, they come in one size. Again, this is supposed to be a GOOD thing.
8. Here's a guy pretending to be a cop talking about being "on the front lines every day." He isn't wearing a mask. I don't know why he's in this ad.
9. "Remember, other masks have only three layers of protection and are made in China. Air Police 4 has four layers and ships directly to your door...." Did you catch that little sleight of hand? Were we told where Air Police 4 masks were made? No, we were not. But I bet a whole lot of listeners got the impression that they are NOT made in China. BTW, aren't masks made in China also shipped directly to our door? Shut up and look at the flags again!
10. ".....from our USA Based Company...." wow, seriously? So wherever Air Police 4 masks are made, they are shipped FROM a USA Based Company. Are they made in the USA? I think the answer is pretty obviously NO, because if they were, that fact would be trumpeted loudly, not sort-of-implied using weasel words that say no such thing.
11. One more thing, though the commercial cuts off before we can get to it and I had to find this by doing a little research- we are told that these masks can cost "as little as 99 cents per unit." But to get that price, you have to buy A HUNDRED OF THEM. If you buy ten, they are $1.99 each. If you buy forty, they are $1.49 each. For paper masks which offer no proven protection but will allow you to go into stores and ride public transportation.
Man, I miss commercials for overpriced sunglasses and solar-powered security lights and portable "air conditioners." But considering that America is On Its Way Back to spiking death rates due to premature reopening, I'd say we are in for a lot more ads like this before this Terrible No-Good Very Bad Year is over.
Saturday, June 6, 2020
...and yes, I'm well aware that calling a Funeral Expenses Commercial "awkward" is like calling water "wet," but this is even worse than usual.
First, the level of acting has really reached the bottom of the barrel in this ad- both "daughter" and "mom" are clearly just waiting for their cues to spit out the most incredibly stilted dialogue to be found outside Hallmark Christmas movies. Daughter expresses relief that mom has survived Yet Another health crisis and will be returning home briefly- because like all children, what she really wants is to come in one day and find mom dead on the kitchen floor, not conveniently passed away in a hospital. Wow, thank goodness you didn't die right here in this bed surrounded by witnesses who can do all the paperwork without all the awkwardness and instead improved the odds of just expiring while cooking, cleaning, watching tv or a hundred other ways which will allow us to have a big traumatic, scary, stressful situation involving phone calls and the police and (insult added to injury) expensive paramedics showing up anyway. Yep, this is a real blessing.
Second, what's with mom's "immediate payout of up to $30,000" line? She bought the insurance. She should know EXACTLY what the payout will be when she finally dies (probably while driving, so she can wreck her nice car and cause an expensive accident too. Yeah, much better than her just passing quietly in the hospital bed.) "Up to $30,000" sounds like it was inserted exclusively for the television audience, not Concerned Daughter. I know if were CD, I wouldn't nod in response to "up to $30,000." I'd ask "what does THAT mean? What's the SMALLEST amount that the payout can be? And btw, where do you get off buying f--ng meatsack burial insurance? What about your f--ing medical bills? You got THOSE taken care of? Or are you going to leave us with a big stack of those because you thought making sure you got some damn ornate box to rot away in was a bigger priority?" Speaking of which....
Third: When I think "Final Expenses," I mean enough money to pay all those hospital bills, settle any debts, etc. so the heirs can enjoy the property Mom left without taking out their own loans to pay out. When Open Care says "Final Expenses," they mean a funeral, a box, a hole in the ground, and a pretty rock which displays the name of the person in the box in the hole in the ground. Want to make sure your family has bitter memories of you? Buy a big Funeral Insurance policy so your loved ones can have a formal gathering they can spend discussing where they are going to come up with the money to save your house from foreclosure.
Fourth, what the heck is the poor nurse thinking as she checks this blathering old fool's I-V right in the middle of this ridiculously awkward conversation? She's just trying to do her job, and these emotionless drones are chatting away about Corpse Box Insurance.
Thursday, June 4, 2020
This otherwise fill-in-the-blank "I'm so glad I found this new drug with horrific possible side effects including internal bleeding" drug commercial caught my attention because of the very first line uttered by the utterly unsympathetic idiot who stars in it. It's a line that I guess is supposed to be Throw-away inspiring or hopeful or something, but I didn't get that feeling at all.
This old dope tells us that he's "always been amazed by 'Whats Next?'" I am quite certain that the intention was to show us an adventure-seeking individual who has never lost his childlike fascination and appreciation of the world. But when I hear someone basically tell me that they are always looking ahead to the next experience, I hear an easily-distracted, never-satisfied, and above all ungrateful dope who refuses to actually enjoy anything because he's convinced there's something better around the next corner. This guy doesn't appreciate the wonders of life he's experiencing today- he's too busy planning for tomorrow. This is something we expect from toddlers, teenagers, and (to a lesser extent) from young adults. It's a natural, healthy attitude for people who are taking in the world and impatient to get out into it. It's not charming from a middle-aged (retired?) guy to refuse to live in the Now and just wants to move on to the next Shiny Object (never mind that all the shiny objects he encounters seems to involve fishing.*)
In his quest for "what's next," this guy decided (on his own) that maybe the drug his doctor prescribed for him "wasn't really the best for him" (maybe "what's next" is medical school? Only if fishing is involved) so he took it upon himself to look into Eliquis. Since he's an American with gold-plated health insurance, his doctor was more than willing to change his prescription and put him on this new drug, so he could walk around with a smug smile confident that NOW he's taking the RIGHT drug that, just like the old one, has internal bleeding as one of many possibly fatal side effects. Good for you, buddy- now you've created another door- "being rushed to the Emergency Room before flatlining" as a possible "what's next" adventure in what looks like a pretty boring- and unsatisfying- life.
*there is no "what's next" to fishing. It's just more fishing. Figure it out, idiot.
Monday, June 1, 2020
The old people in this ad took a walk one day and got to thinking about this big life insurance policy they were paying into. It suddenly occurred to them that they were gaining absolutely nothing from this policy- in fact, it was having a negative impact on their lives, as it was costing them money in paid premiums every. Single. Month.
To what end? Well, if they died...then their little grandchildren would cash in. But what good would that do these nice old people? If the insurance policy were cashed in, that would mean these nice old people were dead. Would they be looking down from heaven, watching these little brats rolling around on a carpet covered with insurance money? Maybe there isn't any heaven- so the old people would never get to see the impact- negative or positive- this hard-earned, long-paid-for insurance money had on those grandchildren. Maybe their adult children would use the insurance money to buy a vacation in Europe, or a new BMW, while skimping on the funeral costs.
So when these two nice old people got home from their walk, they made the sensible decision to say "f---k it" to the premiums and sell their policy to Coventry for a nice chunk of cash they can use RIGHT NOW, and the next generation can take care of its own damn self.
In the heartwarming final scene, we see the little grandchildren running happily to greet Grandma and Grandpa. Clearly, their parents have no idea what just happened to that pot of gold they were anticipating, because they are still on speaking terms with their grandparents and the grandparents are still getting visitation privileges. If Grandma and Grandpa are smart, they'll keep their very intelligent, sensible decision to themselves, because there is No Wrath Greater than that of a Disappointed Legatee.