Sunday, April 19, 2009

Commercials That Suck

Commercials are the fleas and ticks of our modern media-drenched life. They can be mere annoyances or they can be evil, bloodsucking soul-stealers. Commercials are how your life slips away from you undetected and as a result one day you wake up and see your father staring back at you in the mirror and you wonder WTF happened to my youth? The vast majority of commercials are complete, utter wastes of time. I have no interest at all in whatever product or service they are shilling and never will. Sitting through them is dead time, 30-second segments of my life squandered that I will never get back. And that's plain wrong.

Necessary evil, you say? They pay the bills? Maybe. The occasional commercial I could deal with. But when they come in packs of eight or more in a row, a tedious torrent of banality disgorging from your television into your living room, well, I have a little problem with that. Often repeating themselves in the same short span of time, their spawn-of-Satan creators apparently regard us as a bunch of idiots who need to have their tiresome message mercilessly drilled into our heads like some kind of cerebral root canal.

Most television commercials are just boring, stupid and lame. But there are some commercials that rise above mere mediocrity and reach toxic levels of mind-numbing, stupefying awfulness. These are commercials that not only clumsily attempt to sell some crappy product but also, intentionally or not, end up killing your mind and spirit and make you feel like you have been assaulted by some media zombie that just sucked your brain out through your eyes. And that is not an acceptable thing to do, just to sell some high-calorie sandwich or laundry detergent.

Here, then, is my list of Commercials That Suck, from least to most offensive. Five masterpieces of awful that crush your spirit and stink up the air. I rated them 1 (very low) to 5 (very high) on these attributes: General Ickiness, Level of Obnoxiousness, and Creep Factor, which is when either implicit or explicit sexual connotations are thrown in just to make everything a little more loathsome. Because you can never have too much loathsome when it comes to commercials. These are not local commercials, which are so invariably, deeply inane and stupid they don't even deserve mentioning. These ads are for national products and services shown in prime time or late night, on either over-the-air networks or cable/satellite.

5. Jared Jewelers: Every Christmas, Valentine's Day and Mother's Day it's the same damned thing. A bunch of hoity-toity people are in a restaurant or something and someone's administrative assistant starts waving her hand in everyone's face showing off her ring. With a smarmy, dead-headed smile she intones, "He went to Jared's!" Then everyone in the restaurant has to knowingly say to each other with a winky-winky nudge-nudge, "He went to Jared's!" Even total strangers have to crane their necks 180 degrees around and say that. It is annoyingly repeated over and over again like some kind of mantra, which if said often enough will impart some cachet of quality to a tacky, overpriced bauble that was probably cobbled together in a sweat shop in the Philippines. Bitch, please.
SCORECARD:
Ickiness: 2
Obnoxiousness: 4
Creep Factor: 1
Total Score: 7

4. Alltel Wireless: There are a whole raft of annoying cell phone commercials starring some blonde him-bo named "Chad" and how cool and with-it he is compared to the quartet of pathetic geeks representing other cell phone providers. The commercials are stupid and bad enough, but their obnoxiousness is immeasurably compounded by the hyperaggressive saturation ad campaign which airs these ads literally hundreds of times an hour on ever single available channel. In the weeks before AND after Christmas you could not get away from them for one single second. They've since dumped the Four Geekmen of the Apocalypse but "Chad" is still around navigating us through the moron-filled expanses of cell-phone hell. Needless to say I will never patronize Alltel, solely on the basis of these appalling ads, and I hope no one else does.
SCORECARD:
Ickiness: 2
Obnoxiousness: 5
Creep Factor: 2
Total Score: 9

3. Just For Men Hair Color: Most of these "get rid of some of the gray" ads are pretty vapid and lame, as if having gray hair is that big a deal or a problem. They are more boring than offensive, but there is one commercial that is really bad. It shows what appears to be a single dad with two tween daughters, who barge in and say to him solemnly, "Dad, we think it's time..." and shove a bottle of hair coloring in his face, adding, "We think you would be a great catch for someone." First of all, why are those two preteen daughters so obsessed with their dad's sex life? How did they figure out that graying hair = never get laid? Secondly, any guy who takes romantic advice from a ten-year-old deserves to never get laid. Inexplicably, the guy listens to his daughters and the next scene has him at dinner with less gray hair and a hot babe, taking a cell phone picture of the two of them to send to his girls. And the girls cackle gleefully when they see the photo, like, "Gee, once Dad starts getting some on a regular basis he'll be in a good mood and we can do or have anything we want." "Wheeee! X-box, here we come!" Sad, pathetic and downright icky.
SCORECARD:
Ickiness: 4
Obnoxiousness: 3
Creep Factor: 4
Total Score: 11

2. Trojan Fingertip Massager: Picture it: two younger with-it chicks are in a library leafing through a magazine when they come across an ad for a Trojan Female Fingertip Massager and begin chortling and snickering about how awesome it is. Behind them is a much older, matronly woman, who can hear them and look over their shoulders and seems to be getting a little grossed out at the concept. One of the younger women whispers something in the ear of the other, presumably some ungodly activity you can do with the massager, and the other says that's something that can "save a relationship." I consider myself reasonably sophisticated but have no idea what she whispered and I so DO NOT want to find out. The ad then switches to a look at the actual massager, and I have to admit at this point my brain went into lockdown mode to avoid any further damage. I do not remember much until the end of the commercial where the two young women are wondering if you can order this thing online and Aunt Hagatha behind them pipes up and says, "Of course you can get it online, that's where I got mine!!!" The two women look at each other all embarrassed and grossed out, to which I enthusiastically add EWWW!! OMG!! I SO did not need to know ANY of this! And no, I didn't see this on some porn channel, it was on A&E.
SCORECARD:
Ickiness: 5
Obnoxiousness: 4
Creep Factor: 5
Total Score: 14

1. Erectile Dysfunction Medications/Male Enhancement: There's just so much going on here I don't even know where to start. Let's do the ED drugs first. Viagra, Cialis, Levitra - yeah, you know who you are. Viagra with the bunch of good ol' boys sitting around a broken-down roadhouse with their musical instruments singing its praises. Those insipid couples in the Cialis commercials with the matching outdoor bathtubs. And I can't remember what's going on with Levitra but I'm sure it's no better. All these normal-looking guys having earnest conversations with several million of their closest friends (actually, total strangers - us!) about their erectile problems. Dudes, seriously: if you're having a problem getting Mr. Winkie to stand up and say howdy, try having that earnest conversation with your urologist, NOT US! Keep it to yourselves, we don't want to know. Side note: I wonder if the actors in these commercials are ever recognized on the street for their "work" with people coming up and asking them, "Are the guy with the flat tire?" or "What's up, Mr. Softie?" The worst one is with the black couple where the male has popped his little blue Ticket to Paradise and is starting to get amorous with the little woman, when DING DONG, it's the doorbell and one of their grown kids shows up with a gaggle of grandchildren. The couple look at each other like, "Oh well!" and welcome the kids inside. Not only does the man lose his big chance for sexy time, but he has to hang around a bunch of children for four hours with an erection. The Creep Factor is kind of off the scale with that one, and personally it makes me want to call Child Protective Services on the lot of them. As for "male enhancement", which invariably has to do with size, blah blah blah, there's this crap called Enzyte which is some compost of weird herbs and industrial waste that is supposed to "enhance the male member". Yeah, I'm so sure that will work. But the commercials for Enzyte are truly awful, terrible and loathsome. They are set in some kind of hallucinatory netherworld of 1950's-era Leave-It-To-Beaver bad fashion and furniture, starring this grinning idiot named "Bob" and all these horrible creepy Stepford-wife types. There are many variants of these Enzyte commercials and there is not one single good thing to be said about any of them. They are all repulsive and appalling and everyone connected with them needs to suffer a very public, painful death. They are truly the worst of the worst.
SCORECARD:
Ickiness: 5
Obnoxiousness: 5
Creep Factor: 5 (only because it doesn't go any higher)
Total Score: 15 (and that's being conservative)

Honorable mention goes to the Subway sandwiches ads and their spokesgeek/former dirigible Jared, who is one cheap wig and a bad make-up job away from being a really ugly drag queen. And now that we've found out that Subway workers spew all sorts of bodily wastes and fluids all over the sandwiches they make just to have fun, how many more reasons do we need to avoid Subway?

Yes, I do watch too much television, and I am ashamed. I don't HAVE to watch horrible commercials, yet here I am. Hello, my name is Steve, and I am an addict. I'd tell you more except it's time for 24.

1 comment:

  1. Viagra, the FDA (Food and Drugs Administration) approved anti-impotence drug is composed of specific inactive ingredients such as anhydrous dibasic calcium phosphate, microcrystalline cellulose, magnesium stearate et al and altogether the medicine contains sildenafil as the chief component. But the erectile dysfunction medicine viagra would yield effective results only when taken in accordance with the instructions of the doctor.

    ReplyDelete