Bad Ads 2008

It was early afternoon on Thanksgiving Day. The Lions already trailed the Titans 14-3 with more than half the first quarter left to play and it was obvious that the game was over. No more prep work for Thanksgiving dinner needed to be done for at least another two hours. At that exact moment, an ad came on saying that Dennys was giving away breakfast for $4.00. I asked rhetorically – and with no particular malice – what it meant to give something away in exchange for money. That seemed more like commerce than beneficence to me.

That is when #2 son, who was watching the game with me, said that commercial might be the dumbest one of the year. That was a challenge neither or us could resist and so we began to name the dumb commercials – - and the ones that merely annoy us. From that set of mental ramblings came the 2008 version of my “Bad/Annoying Ads List”

I am particularly annoyed by the commercials with the saccharine-sweet couples who knew they were in love even before they met their significant other. I always wonder if that would have been the same feeling had the significant other looked like the love-child of Quasimodo and Mama Cass. However, that only began my annoyance associated with those kinds of ads. One of the rivals to claims that they can provide matches to people who are rejected by e-harmony. Oh, swell; let me quickly sign up with an Internet service that will fix me up with rejects. That’s what I need…

How about that chick with the monobrow who uses cashew nuts as her perfume to attract guys? I don’t want to know what she does with that cashew nut right after she dabs it onto her cleavage. Even e-harmony is not going to get her set up in a meaningful relationship no matter how many compatibility tests they run.

Here is what we all have to hope for. None of these “match-making services” ever fixes up the little girl from the DLP HD TV ads – the one that says, “It’s the mirrors…” – with the zombie kid in the Mazda ads that intones, “Sumpum’s up…” Frightening thought.

Red Stripe Beer has an ad where a black guy uses the beer to get a klutzy white guy to dance. The tag line is “Red Stripe and reggae – - helping our white friends dance for over 70 years.” Please imagine the outcry if it were the white guy making some stereotypical remark about the black guy. What would Al Sharpton have to say if the tag line were “Red Stripe and reggae – - preventing black folks from getting into college for over 70 years.” I do not think Rev. Sharpton would be pleased.

In a way, I am glad that the financial crisis happened because it got rid of the stupid ads where the big gorilla was in the elevator, steam room, bedroom with some dude musing about annuities and retirement planning. They may have been trying to portray him as the 800-lb gorilla in the room but he came off as a jackass.

Another annoying “financial ad” is the one for JG Wentworth with the cadre of clods all screaming that it’s their money and they need it now. I want to scream back at them that it’s my life and I need them out of it now. By the way, a structured settlement is set up in such a way that you receive money over a period of time so, in fact, it is not your money now at all. If it actually were your money, you would not need JG Wentworth…

Three words here should suffice to let you know the next series of ads on my annoying list – - five dollar footlong.

The ad for where two hotel employees are kneeling by a bathtub blowing bubbles in the water through straws to simulate a Jacuzzi is very disturbing imagery indeed. If I used, the last thing I would want would be these dudes in my bathroom whilst I tried to bathe; if I stayed at that hotel and something like that happened, I would probably be on 911 very quickly.

The series of Geico ads with the cavemen started out interestingly. Now they are nothing more than annoyingly repetitious. In addition, they seem to have spawned an imitator with the theme of “Messin’ With Sasquatch”. These imitation ads never did go through an interesting/humorous phase; they have been stupid from the start.

The Christie Brinkley/Chevy Chase swimming pool ad for Direct TV was not funny the first time I saw it. You may be sure that it did not get any funnier or any more entertaining the next 2000 times I saw it. I do not have Direct TV and I do not plan to acquire it.

How about the four geniuses who go out for steak night only to find that one of the goofs has the parking lot guy bring him a triple steak burrito from Taco Bell. And the other guys look at him enviously as he contemplates eating that concoction. Let me be clear about this; Taco Bell used to have the slogan, “Make a run for the border…” In case you don’t realize it, eating too much Taco Bell stuff can cause you to “make a run” for something other than the border

I wonder if the Center for Disease Control is aware of the worldwide pandemic of enlarged prostate glands and overactive bladders. There has to be such a pandemic or else there would be no reason to have five bazillion ads on TV dealing with urination.

All of the ads and infomercials for “male enhancement” products are silly. What I find really interesting is that some try to claim that they are all natural. You know; if there was a plant or herb out there that actually did that, men may have consumed it to extinction by now. They never seem to address that point…

The erectile dysfunction products continue to find ways to be stupid. Cialis tells us that by using it, you can respond to her “when the moment is right”. Let me be clear about this. If you cannot respond, then the moment isn’t/wasn’t right. Cialis is not part of that equation.

In addition, what about the disclaimer in the Cialis and Viagra ads that tell you if you experience a sudden loss of vision or hearing, you should contact your doctor. Excuse me, but if I can’t hear, what good is calling him on the phone going to do. If I can’t see, how am I supposed to find the phone.

Pizza Hut has a stupid ad – - the one where people are eating pasta at an “upscale Manhattan restaurant” and they do not realize that it is Pizza Hut delivery stuff until the maitre d tells them. Then they all laugh and giggle about it. Imagine how much they would be laughing if they were not being comped for the meal and had to pay Manhattan prices for Pizza Hut pasta. I think there might be more rioting than laughing…

There was an interesting juxtaposition of ads on an NFL game just a couple of weeks ago. First we had the Pizza Hut ad for a special dinner where you could get 3 lbs of pasta, a medium pizza and bread sticks – - carbo loading anyone? – - as dinner for yourself and friends. The ad showed this dinner being served to six people. SIX!

Immediately following that ad came the NFL promo for “Play 60” where the NFL and its players are trying to fight childhood obesity. Excuse me, but if the NFL did not show an ad where SIX people were expected to eat 3 lbs of pasta, a pizza and breadsticks as dinner, there might be less obesity in the country of the childhood and adult variety.

Finally, to bring this all full circle, I am always amused by the infomercials that explain if I call in the next ten minutes, they will give me a “free gift”. Excuse me, but if you have to pay for a gift, it isn’t a gift. Just like Denny’s can’t “give away” a breakfast for $4.00.

I tell you, this is all very sad … and annoying.

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports…

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  • Peter  On November 28, 2008 at 9:09 am

    Some time ago, the “five dollar footlong” folks (not) briefly (enough) referred to their sandwich as a “yum rocket.” Disturbing.

  • Rich  On November 28, 2008 at 2:37 pm

    All the body functions are repulsive. Perhaps the most repugnant is that infomercial starring the pencil musctached, slicked-back hair guy advertising some colon cleansing product. Yuck!
    Howevah……maybe that should be put on after the five dollar footlong spot…..

  • The Sports Curmudgeon  On November 28, 2008 at 3:13 pm


    I must admit that I never did see the “yum rocket” spots. Those must have been truly disgusting.


    I didn’t even think it was necessary to bring up the colon cleanser infomercials in terms of ads that are repulsive and in bad taste. But you are correct, juxtaposing them with the five dollar footlong ads would take bad taste to an even lower level that previously achieved.

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