Monday, February 26, 2024

PreserVision Commercials are weird


Every single one of them portray panicky Senior Citizens who have decided that they are about to go blind because of some eye condition they may or may not get because they are old but are then "relieved" to learn that there's these over-the-counter drops they can take to reduce their chances of, um, going blind.  It's like telling someone that if they don't drink water they'll die of dehydration, but here's a quick and easily obtainable solution:  Water.  

Meanwhile, can we please stop wasting time and start tackling real problems faced by Seniors?  Like Robot Attacks, for example.   It's nice that Old Glory Insurance is available, but how about some preventive measures?

Sunday, February 25, 2024

Another Blast from the Past with a Progresso Soup Commercial from 1999


In this vintage ad, a guy at the office is perfectly happy with his bowl of soggy noodles in salty water for lunch, because he's been eating this stuff since he was a kid and didn't realize that his mother was constantly too hungover to put together a decent meal.  Again.  So it's become kind of a comfort food for him.  I just wonder where the saltines are (as if there's not enough sodium in a can of Campbell's Used To Be Something Resembling Pasta Condensed Soup Product already.)

He's perfectly happy- that is, until some nosy coworker barges in to condescendingly "remind" him that he's an "adult" now and "adults" don't eat Campbells because they've developed taste buds and realize that (despite the salt) there is absolutely no taste to Campbells Chicken Noodle Soup.  Turns out that once he reached a certain age, he was supposed to switch to Progresso, which as near as I can tell is exactly the same thing except with less water and bigger chunks of soggy, saturated vegetables which may have been nutritious when they were sealed into those cans months earlier but now have only slightly less liquid content than the water they are sitting in.  It's still tasteless swill and not at all a practical meal to consume at one's desk, but it's what Grown Ups are supposed to eat So There.

I have no idea why this woman feels entitled to tell her coworker what he's "supposed" to be eating for lunch; if she is really bothered by his consumption of canned soup, I'd think it would have more to do with it stinking up the breakroom and constantly leaving nasty residue in the common microwave.   At which point, she might suggest he make the soup at home in the morning and carry it to work in a thermos like a Good Boy.  Or, if she were a real friend, she'd suggest he eat something that will carry him through dinner- like a sandwich and a piece of fruit.  Best of all, she could just mind her own damn business and stop pushing her preferred brand of soup at people.  At this point, I'm just imagining that these two ended up getting married because she decided that was the only way she could get him to act like her own personal version of an Adult Man  in every situation. 

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Pluto TV is PROUD to be part of the problem


Multiple problems, actually...

America has never been fatter or less mobile than it is in 2024.  "Binge watching" and "Channel Surfing" has replaced walking and generally being outdoors as our nation's favorite pastime (today so called because time passes even when you are doing nothing.)  And it's not about aesthetics- being overweight is linked to literally HUNDREDS of preventable illnesses.  Heart Disease, Cancer, and Strokes- all strongly linked to obesity- are three of the top four causes of death in the United States.  The other one is COVID which- guess what?- is far more dangerous if you are carrying an excess of adipose tissue. 

Americans have never felt more socially isolated (let's just call it Lonely) than they do in 2024.  Might have something to do with texts replacing face to face conversations, the internet replacing human contact, zoom meetings replacing...well, you get it.  And it's starting earlier and earlier - just check out how many preteens keep themselves glued to electronic best friends these days.  And know what more and more people are using to soothe the pain of isolation?  Cheap, processed, highly palatable chemicals disguised as Food Product.  Which is the perfect thing to binge on while you're already bingeing on television.

This commercial is like if Marlboro made an ad featuring a farm "harvesting" black lungs and played it off as "funny."  All in the service of Capitalism, I guess.  And the people who are applauding this garbage in the comment section?  Yeah, you guys suck, too.  It's bad enough to be played - you don't have to appreciate the company that's encouraging you into an early grave. 

Friday, February 23, 2024

Temu's "Shop like a Billionaire" Superbowl Ad is a celebration of mindless indulgence


Is Temu just Chinese for "Amazon," or what?  I mean, it doesn't seem to be offering anything that Amazon didn't "gift" civilization with more than a decade ago- a really quick way to make impulse buys of cheap crap produced by child labor with the touch of a screen.  I guess Temu just concentrates on all of the amazing "crafts" and clothes that are being disgorged from factories stretching from Manchuria to Senegal?  The very best that tiny little hands can sew and stitch and nail together?

"Shop like a Billionaire" sounds like "shop like money means nothing to you," which sounds cool but for the vast majority of us, money is actually a pretty finite asset that we have to spend carefully to get us from month to month.  Making it super-easy to buy stuff doesn't magically put more of it in our pockets.  Some of us have to actually pay our debts; it sounds like the only billionaire* Temu wants us to shop like is that guy who used to be President of the United States.

And I'm no worshipper of small businesses, but this has to be the most anti-small business, anti- "shop locally" commercial I've ever seen.  Want something available at the store down the street?  Buy a slightly cheaper-at-point-of-contact-but-not-cheaper-in-the-long-run version from your phone and get it sent to you from the other side of the planet at enormous cost TO that planet.  Because that's what a billionaire would do, I guess. 

*not actually a billionaire, like, ever. 

Thursday, February 22, 2024

eTrade, Pickleball, the Superbowl, and a world of Dumb.


Hey look eTrade is at it again- exploiting toddlers willing to be exploited by their disgusting greedy parents to sell a brokerage service.  Oh, the hilarity. 

In reality, this is another slightly-amusing idea long since beaten into the ground nevertheless resurrected to be turned into a thirty-second ad to be played during the most overrated sporting event of the year: small children being manipulated by a combination of awful parents, an awful ad agency, and and awful CGI to generate yuks from the mouth-breathers in the audience who wonder why the stream of rib-splitting Funny is constantly being interrupted by some Sports Thing which itself is being regularly interrupted by Taylor Swift Sightings.

Anyway, here are some kids trying to play Pickeball because Pickleball is a craze right now, I guess.  And use eTrade.  For Reasons.

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Pizza Hut completes the trifecta, and it's no honey


Having already established itself in the niche market of peddling poison in the form of processed carbohydrates and fat, Pizza Hut ups the ante by adding sugar to it's baked Death Discs.  What else was it going to do?  Put cheese IN the crust?

To be fair, there was already plenty of sugar on those things- primarily in the "tomato" sauce.  But there's no such thing as too much sucrose, especially now that we know how incredibly addictive (more than heroin or cocaine) it is.  So "for a limited time," we've got pizza drenched in honey "infused" with haberno peppers "to provide just the right balance of sweet and hot," or something.  

Someone else will have to tell me if this junk actually tastes good- honey on a pizza doesn't have any attraction to me, even if it was being offered by an actual pizza place and not being mass produced by a Diabetes Factory like Pizza Hut.  Neither does chronic inflammation, heart disease, or any of the other side effects of eating trash like the stuff dumped into the American diet by Pizza Hut, Domino's, Taco Bell, etc.  I like being able to tie my shoes, walk up a flight of stairs without breaking into a sweat, and getting up from a chair on the first try.  I'm kind of weird that way. 

Saturday, February 17, 2024

State Farm, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the ultimate* one-joke Super Bowl Commercial


Arnold Schwarzenegger pronounces the word "neighbor" differently from most people currently living in the United States.  He doesn't pronounce it "wrong," he pronounces it differently.

Isn't that hilarious?  Well, it better be- because it's a "joke" that has to carry this overproduced mess of a commercial for an entire sixty seconds.  No kidding- this doesn't get strung out for ten seconds, or even twenty.  We are supposed to find this amusing for sixty seconds.  

Oh and here's Danny DeVito, because he costarred with Schwarzenegger in an overrated comedy during the Bush Administration.  The FIRST one.  So it's funny.  See how that works?

*to be fair, it's really hard to pick which Superbowl commercial is the "ultimate" in beating a single joke to death.  One Joke Stretched out Way Past It's Amusing Point is the common thread connecting pretty much all Superbowl ads.  This is true for primarily two reasons:  First, the ad agency has been handed a lot of money and is obligated to do something impressive with it that also fills every second of the paid-for time.  Second, the ad agency hasn't the slightest clue how to go about filling that time.  They can't do grandmas chasing a bag of State Farm Insurance, and eTrade is already using disgusting CGI-aided toddlers.  So it's Schwarzenegger, DeVito, one stupid joke repeated multiple times, and crossed fingers that 1980s nostalgia comes to the rescue again.

Friday, February 16, 2024

That RFKjr. Superbowl Ad Really Inspired Me!


If you want a man for President
Who's just a total loon
with takes on vax and other things 
to make Q-anoners swoon
A man who's like a warped guitar
forever out of tune
it's up to you 
it's up to you
it's strictly up to you....

If you want a man for President
who's slim and fit and tall
a man who doesn't have a clue
and nothing on the ball
sure he's a conspiracy freak and nut
(but Trump once won after all!)
it's up to you
it's up to you
it's strictly up to you... 

If you want a man for President
who isn't Just the Same
a man who's very much like Trump
but even more insane
A man who isn't much at all 
but check out that last name!
it's up to you 
it's up to you
it's strictly up to you....

Thursday, February 15, 2024

That Stupid Superbowl Doritos Ad....


Oh my god if I had a dime for every commercial that featured

1.  Overly aggressive senior citizens who I guess are supposed to be hi-LARIOUS because they are overly aggressive senior citizens,

2.  several changes in location suggesting a significant investment and production labor to beat a joke older than the senior citizens into the ground, and

3.  a wild chase to obtain Absolutely Nothing of Value Except It's the Last One on the Shelf (that schtick has so much mold on it it can probably cure every case of strep throat in 2024.)

Since nobody is going to make me rich by giving me those dimes, I'll just offer my take to the makers of Doritos:  We know you spent millions getting scientists to design your chips to be as addictive as possible- maybe showing senior citizens willing to kill themselves- and kill others- to get them isn't the best idea for an ad campaign.  But It's no less than I'd expect from a company determined to cash in on the obesity epidemic (or is it now Pandemic?)

Sunday, February 11, 2024

Transfixed on one second of this McDonald's Hamburgler-is-back commercial....


It's at the 21 second mark.  In the background, we see the blurry image of a single person who has both hands on the table and is staring down at her tray.

What is going on there?  Is she experiencing an epiphany- "oh my god, I am sitting here all by myself at McDonald's,  about to eat greasy, salty junk again?  What has gone wrong with my life?"

"Why am I sitting here with this food?  Why didn't I do what I usually do- use the drive-thru, then pull over to a parking space, consume my bag of overpriced trash, and then have a good cry, like I usually do?"

Or is it ""wait, didn't I order a hamburger?  Why isn't it sitting in front of me.  Maybe I didn't order it.  I don't really remember.  I often don't remember things I did two minutes ago; it might have something to do with a steady diet of empty carbohydrates, salt and fat and not enough actual food.  Oh well- I'm not going to waddle up to the counter and order that hamburger now.  Not in front of these other people.  And I can't just drink my not-milkshake and eat my fried potatoes and then use the drive-thru on the way out; the girl who hands me my bag might recognize me.  I'll just finish up here and then hit one of the other three McDonald's I pass on the way home."  

Whatever it is, it's really sad.  This blurry woman in the background needs help.  The kind of help she won't get from a Health At Every Size "life coach/nutritionist" on Tiktok.  The kind of help she won't get by ignoring nutrition advice from an ACTUAL doctor.  Certainly not the kind of help she'll get from consuming warm trash from McDonald's.  I suggest she seek medical attention, including therapy, to find other ways to cope that don't include clogging her arteries or seeking to dull the pain with "comfort food" that leaves her depressed and addicted.  Good luck to her. 

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Wendy's encourages us to start our days in the worst way possible


Because there's no better way to guarantee that you'll be exhausted, sluggish and hungry all day long than to start it with about a thousand calories' worth of fried potatoes, white starch and protein prepared in such a way as to completely eliminate the only somewhat beneficial ingredient of this breakfast.

I really hope that 2024 is the last year that Wendy's will be treating us to commercials featuring obviously mentally challenged weirdos whose entire personality is wrapped up in the fast "food" conglomerate their brains have been enslaved to.  I for one will not miss watching this sad group of exploited unfortunates gush about how amazing the chemicals they heat up for the "benefit" of their perpetually ill customers are at releasing dopamine as well as causing blood sugar spikes.  

And to that one guy who is fantasizing about the next time he gets to chow down on enough grease, salt and empty carbohydrates to choke a horse and clog a heart in no time flat- do you really need to crack that egg five inches from your face?  Is it really that fascinating?  If you have to do that, could you at least wear a mask?  Because if I saw you doing that in the back, it would absolutely confirm my decision to stick to my order of Just Black Coffee, please.*

*I haven't been inside a Wendy's for at least twenty years, so I don't even know if they have good coffee.  Some of these Obesity Delivery Centers have good coffee- like the one with golden arches.  Dunkin Donuts has good coffee, too.  And it won't kill you, like the fried garbage these people are forever gushing over. 

Friday, February 9, 2024

Still picking on SoFi- this guy has issues no bank can solve.


1.  Super-smart to do any kind of online banking while in public, using a public hotspot like the subway.  I get the idea that the reason this guy has debt issues in the first place is because of impulsive moves like this.

2.  This guy responds to "Welcome Points" by doing a dance through the train.  What are "Welcome Points?"  Who cares?   They sound so nice.  I get another idea- that this guy was sincerely flattered by the Love Bombing he got when he responded to an invitation to attend last Thursday's mass brainwashing session sermon at the local Kingdom Hall.  Not a whole lot going on in this guy's life, is there?

3.  When this guy finds out that he's accomplished absolutely nothing by moving his money from one bank to another, he'll probably respond by feeling betrayed by the Big Bad Banking Industry and consoling himself with an $8 latte at Starbucks.  Paid for with a credit card, of course. 

Thursday, February 8, 2024

That time of year again- more fun with Liberty Tax


Here we get the heartwarming, totally relatable story of a woman who was already the owner/operator of two franchise locations of some business doing something and who was so successful at her career that she decided to wander into a just-opened Liberty Tax office and apply for a job during the busy tax season.*

She goes on to tell us that she really learned a lot during her time at Liberty Tax- not so much about preparing taxes, but about the business of selling the public on the idea of getting someone else to prepare its taxes.  She doesn't tell us so, but it involves lots of big blue banners promising rapid refunds and deep discounts if you accept the most expensive "service" - never mind that nobody in their right mind with any kind of complicated tax situation would hire a company that opens offices in abandoned stores or any other empty space on a month-to-month basis, 99 percent of said offices vanishing after April 15 of each year.  We also don't see anyone dressed in a Statue of Liberty costume waving a WE PREPARE TAXES REAL CHEAP FREE COOKIES FOR THE KIDS sign out front.  Nope- just a dignified-looking woman pressing buttons on a keyboard and smiling at the sucker who came in thinking that they were going to get their taxes done quickly and correctly and maybe get a free cookie on the side.

Eventually, this woman opened her own Liberty Tax franchise, which concludes her awesome story of success with Liberty Tax, I guess.  It also concludes this post, but don't worry, I'm not done with Liberty Tax quite yet.  There's plenty of snark left to be mined beyond this woman's story.  

*seriously, how successful was this woman's business if getting into Liberty Tax was a step up?  Come clean, lady- you were a "franchisee" in HerbaLife, right?  Or Amway?  Or DoTerra?  Was it Mary Kay?  You can tell me.  I won't share it with anyone beyond this blog- and very, very few people read this blog. 

Sunday, February 4, 2024

Borrowing from Peter to pay Paul is the "grown up" solution, according to SoFi....


"My relationship with my credit cards wasn't good...."  

Translation:  "I kept using my credit cards recklessly.  For some reason, this was the fault of a bank that offered me unsecured loans at my own discretion, and little pieces of plastic in my wallet."

"I got into debt in college...."

Translation:  "I bought pizza and beer, but because I also happened to be enrolled in a four-year post-High School institution at the time, I am going to mention 'college' so that your brain thinks I was using the money for books or some other investment in my future.  This is all about me painting myself as a victim, after all."

"...and because of the high interest, no matter how much I paid, it followed me everywhere."

Translation:  "It was so unfair that every month I kept sending the minimum, despite having a substantial office job and a nice house in the suburbs, but the darn principal never went down.  And no matter where I went, I owed that money, which of course it did but Shut Up you're supposed to be feeling sorry for me by now."  

"between the high interest and fees, I felt trapped!"

Translation:  "Despite my college education, I couldn't grasp the concept of paying down my credit cards to avoid interest, or making payments on time to avoid fees.  It's easier to just complain like they are 'unfair' or something.  Relatable, too- there are a LOT of deadbeats honest Americans out there just like me, after all."

" I broke up with my credit card debt, and consolidated it into a low-rate personal loan from SoFi."

And here's the punchline to this unfunny joke:  This asshat with a nice job and a big house in the suburbs was being held down by his freely accrued debts, which totaled the life-crushing amount of....$4017.24.  That debt didn't stop him from buying that house.  It didn't stop him from doing ANYTHING.  He just found it annoying.  So he shifted it to an online bank which offered him a lower interest rate.  Which is fine in itself- if he's been paying on this debt for two decades (he said it started in college, and he looks like he's at least in his late-thirties now, and if he's younger than that and owns that house I hope a meteor is on its way ahead of schedule) and he still owes on it, he probably should have refinanced a long time ago.  But come on, SoFi- if you want your commercials to make even the slightest amount of sense in the real world, either add a few digits to this guy's debt (and put him in an apartment, not a damn house- I thought that his debt was "following him around"- why didn't it follow him to that bank's loan officer when he bought that house?  If it was "following him around," it sure didn't prevent him from taking on much more, substantial debt) or make him someone living in a studio apartment with two other people whose life would actually be changed by lower interest payments on a lousy four grand.  Because this- this makes NO sense. 

Saturday, February 3, 2024

I don't understand SoFi commercials at all....


"Little to no interest...." um yeah, that's been the case since like the 1940s.  Low interest rates for savings accounts are the price we pay for the security of our deposits.  Maybe you'd like to go back to pre Glass-Steagall when banks paid six percent interest- because they were as risky as any other business.  Personally, I'm kind of glad that I only see runs on banks in the annual showing of It's A Wonderful Life. 

And I'm sorry, but if you find yourself complaining about bank "fees" and how they "take and take," the problem really isn't the bank- it's your lousy spending habits.  The only "fees" I know of are for new checks (stop using checks.  Checks are dumb.  Checks are relics of the 20th century.  You are slowing down the line at the grocery store and everyone hates you.  Stop using checks) and overdraft fees (yeah, if you write a bad check or spend more on your debit card than you have in the bank, you are going to get dinged for that.  It's better than taking a hit on your credit rating, stupid.)  

All the bank does nowadays is provide you security and easy, 24/7 access to your money, plus the ability to move it around- also 24/7- whenever you want without leaving the comfort of your couch.  A fee because you take out more than you have?  How dare they. 

And if you really think that a bank that you can only talk to through an App or an Indian-based call center is an improvement over that awful awful brick-and-mortar building that was mean enough to charge you a fee when you failed to keep your checkbook balanced, well, you've got problems that switching to that bank won't solve.  Good luck with those.  

Friday, February 2, 2024

Remember the fat-free chips frenzy? More fun from the archives of old commercials that didn't age well


No, you aren't watching a commercial produced by the Re-Elect Ronald Reagan campaign of 1984, though if you only watch the first minute and a half or so you'd be forgiven for thinking you were.   Instead, this is an ad for one of the most misbegotten products to come out of the first decade of the post Cold War world- a soybean-based oil that could be used to produce fat-free potato chips like Olean and Lay's Wow.

Remember those?  Well, if you were alive and in the United States in 1998, you probably at least tried them once or twice.  They were a very popular go-to for people conned into believing that scientists had stopped wasting time trying to cure cancer (or AIDS) and had done something truly valuable with their time- found a way to allow us to stuff ourselves with cheap, salty, crispy snacks to our - well, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to say "heart's content" here, so I'll more accurately type "to our dopamine center's content."  

Most of us thought the flavor was just "bleh" and went right back to eating good old vegetable oil-crisped chips, as G-d Intended.  But some people were so desperate to avoid eating right and exercise and above all Moderation that they ignored the off-putting taste and continued to chow down on these crimes against nature.  Maybe they thought  diet of Olean chips and Snackwell's cookies would give them Kathy Ireland's body- and back then, pretty much all of us wanted Kathy Ireland's body for one reason or another.  

Then we realized that this Frankenstein's Monster Oil was wrecking havoc on our gut microbiome and our digestion or, more likely, way too many of just didn't like the taste, and these fat-free chips vanished from the market.  

A quarter of a century later, the obesity epidemic that was in it's infancy in the late 1990s has become American's No. 1 health problem, because while Snackwell's themselves didn't pan out (they didn't taste very good) the concept that created them- replace fat with sugar to con people into thinking it's more healthy- is alive and well and actually stronger than ever in the American marketplace.  I imagine it's only a matter of time before another "miracle" oil is invented* that tricks millions of gullible, desperate Westerners into slapping down the money they don't have for fresh fruits and veggies, healthy fats and a gym membership for that magic pill.

*there actually is a fat-free frying oil already available out there.  It even predates olestra.  It's called hot air.  

Thursday, February 1, 2024

From the archives of Ads That Didn't Age Well: Remember Snackwell Cookies?


These cookies were a product of the insane 1990s trend of stripping fat from snack foods and replacing it with something about 200 times more addictive and deadly- sugar.  So there is something especially disturbing about ads featuring crowds of fat women frantically hounding a company for more of that sweet, sweet sugar they think they can consume unlimited amounts of because, after all, it's non-fat.  

Thankfully the no-fat craze died a fairly quick death.  Unfortunately, it was not quick enough to prevent millions from becoming addicted to sugar and low-or-no fat, high sugar "healthy" products like yogurt and cereal and granola bars.  The women in these ads are fat- by 1990s standards.  They are slightly overweight by modern standards.  Snackwells are gone, but the problem they helped create is the No. 1 health issue in the Western World.  Thanks for nothing, American Snack Food Industry.