As in past years, I have spent plenty of time in my rocking chair in front of a television set watching sports during 2012. I did that because I enjoy it; being retired from gainful employment, my objective is to fill up as many hours a week as I can doing the things that I enjoy doing. For me, that is what retirement is all about. As with just about everything else in life, my extensive time in front of a TV set meant that I must take the bitter with the sweet. I had to watch lots of advertisements and some of them were really bad or annoying or stupid. Some of them hit the trifecta here and managed to be all of those things at the same time. Whatever, they are the “price of admission” here.
To make the barrage of silliness bearable, I keep a notepad with me to make a list of the Bad Ads and turn them into an annual rant. That is my version of the old adage:
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
Before I get to the listing of this year’s bad/dumb ads, I would like to pose three questions to the folks at companies that spend millions of dollars to produce ads and then millions more to have them run during the sporting events that I watch:
1. Why do you make only one ad and run the same ad over and over and over again?
2. Do you think I am too stupid to have “comprehended” your message the first time I saw the ad? How about after the fifteenth time?
3. Do you think that by repeating the same silly things over and over again that I will not believe them at first but then come to believe them later? That strategy does not work for half the politicians every few years; why would you rely on the same strategy if it only works 50% of the time?
Let me begin… Diet Dr. Pepper has built an ad campaign around the idea that Diet Dr. Pepper is “Not For Women”. Let me get this straight, women in the US represent about 52% of the population and the folks who make and distribute this noxious concoction in a can figure that the best way to increase its market share is to write off that 52% of the population. I have seen toasted bagels that were smart enough to see the lunacy in that idea.
There was a series of ads for some variety of Gillette razors where they sent some goof around the world with only one razor cartridge to show that the blades would last more than a month. Super! Now, if they would stop spending that kind of money to try to promote that product in such a stupid way, they might be able to cut the price of the cartridges such that one need not take out a home equity loan just to buy a package.
Scott’s Lawn Fertilizer had a series of ads where a Scot was telling his neighbors how to improve their lawns and he kept yelling “Feed it!” to his cretinous neighbors. Here were my reactions to these ads:
1. If I ran “Mr. Scot” through a wood chipper, blended the resulting mess with a lot of water and let it steep for a month, would that be good fertilizer for my lawn?
2. I can have a greener lawn with only 1% of the work if I go out and have someone install Astroturf.
There is an ad where a guy proposes to woman seated on the aisle in the front row of an airplane. The flight attendant goes on the intercom to tell everyone, “He went to Jared.” Then the guy dips his fiancée in the aisle and the flight attendant admonishes him to return his fiancée to her full upright position. Look, the entire series of “He went to Jared” ads over the years have been about as annoying as a poison ivy enema, but now the ad agency is trying to convince me that after I go to Jared, I will propose to my future wife in such a way as to demonstrate three things:
1. I do not have any concerns about inconveniencing others
2. I have the social graces of a wildebeest
3. I am one of “The 1%” – the 1% of the populace that is hugely annoying.
There were a series of ads for the Chevy Volt where various owners bragged that they do not go to a gas station very often. One said he had not been to a gas station in 4 months. Well, isn’t that just swell… I tell you what. It has been more than 4 months – in fact, it has been forever – since I had to plug my car into a wall outlet in my garage in order to enable it to drive anywhere come morning.
Memo to Chevy Volt people:
1. The Chevy Volt fills its gas tank every damned night via an electrical cord.
2. By consuming electricity, the Chevy Volt produces its full share of greenhouse gases albeit somewhere other than at the end of its tailpipe.
These ads remind me of the Q&A joke that goes like this:
Q: What is the difference between a cactus and a Chevy Volt?
A: The cactus has the pricks on the outside.
Chevy had two more blockheaded ads this year. One featured a bunch of jackasses driving their Chevy SUV all over the place until they could find a locale where they had no cell phone coverage. At the end of that quest, the gang stopped and enjoyed being able to get away from it all. Just a thought here… If these chuckleheads had only thought to hit the “Off” button on their cell phones, they could have camped wherever they damned well pleased without the useless search they set upon themselves.
The other was for a Chevy truck that was “taken out for a test drive” and came back with about 50 lbs. of mud all over the hood. The “customer” and the “salesman” then chose to seal the deal by wiping their hands through the mud before shaking hands on the deal. Are you ready to go out and buy a Chevy truck now that I have reminded you of that compelling advertisement?
The Volkswagen people tried to promote sales of the Passat by showing some clodpole emptying his two-car garage and putting all of his stuff out on his lawn so that he can reclaim the garage for his new Passat and to give it plenty of room in said garage. Let me get this straight. If I buy a Passat, I will then do things like store all my Christmas decorations on my lawn all year long to make room for the Passat; and at the same time, I will announce to the entire neighborhood that I am an asshat. OK, now that I understand the message here, I am motivated to go and find my nearest Volkswagen dealer…
Nature Valley Granola Bars told us this year that they were “made from real ingredients you can see.” Honest, that is what they said. The only possible reaction to that assertion would be, “Well, duh!” Try to imagine making something in your kitchen out of invisible and unreal ingredients.
Red Stripe is the “Hooray Beer” – that tastes as if it has already been consumed once before. This year, they had an ad where some nitwit arrives home with a 12-pack in hand because some friends are coming over. He puts the beer in the freezer to chill it and then gets busy doing other things until he is afraid the beer may have frozen and blown the bottles up. He goes to the freezer to find that all is well. At that point, some background singers celebrate the fact that he did not explode his beer bottles.
Memo to the Red Stripe Dolt: Next time set a timer so you will not have to worry. Oh, by the way, have you ever heard of buying your beer from the refrigerated section of the store so that it is cold when you bring it home? That might be another strategy to consider.
Old Spice deodorant wants me to “Believe in my Smelf”. Well, if I were going to do that, I would simply not bathe for a month or so and I would certainly not use any deodorant. In such circumstances, I suspect that my Smelf and I would not have many friends…
There is an ad where a whole bunch of chucklebunnies are thrilled to get multi-packs of 5-Hour Energy for Christmas. Seriously, have you ever considered that as a gift you might give to someone in your family? I posed that question to a friend who said that some people find it useful and therefore it might be appropriate as a present. Nonsense! If that were the case, then lots of people would be getting Charmin Toilet Paper for Christmas. It too is useful for lots of folks…
The “Layaway” ads run by various folks (WalMart and Best Buy are ones that I have on my notepad) are annoying because they are in fact Christmas shopping ads and they run in August. I know that running “Christmas shopping ads in August” is not a violation of any law in any jurisdiction, but it ought to be.
I did make note of when actual Christmas shopping ads began. For sporting events, they began this year on November 4 and the offending companies were:
There is an ad for something called HuluPlus that tells me that if I subscribe to this – whatever it is – I will be able to access “more than a thousand TV shows” on my tablet or smart phone. Let me be very clear about something:
I could not name 1000 TV shows. If I cannot name the show, why would I think of watching it on my tablet or on my smart phone – or anywhere?
There are probably only a half-dozen TV shows that I might want to watch. If I promise never to watch any of the other 994 options, can I get the service for 0.6% of the retail price?
There is an Internet banner ad that shows up aperiodically on various pages that I visit to gather information for my rants. This banner ad tells me that if I subscribe to some service, I will be able to “see my arrest records” along with the arrest records of other folks I may inquire about. Excuse me, how big of a lunkhead would I have to be not to know my own arrest record? Moreover, if I had one, why would I want to go online to view it?
There is another Internet banner ad that is beyond thickheadedness. Clicking on that ad will connect me with some folks who will then instruct me in ways to increase my chances to win various lotteries around the world. Sure they will… Think for a moment here; imagine that you actually had some way of winning lotteries around the world more than once in a lifetime and you knew that it really worked. On your list of “Things To Do Next”, where would “Tell Other People How To Do This Too” fall? If other people start winning the same lotteries you enter and are as successful as you are, then your take from the lotteries will decrease. Unless of course your “system” is bogus…
I was perusing the TV listings to check on what games would be shown in what time slots one weekend and ran across a statement that some TV movie “may contain nudity”. Excuse me, but nudity is sort of a binary thing; either there is a shot of an actor/actress who is without clothing or there is not. How can that be a conditional thing?
By the way, do the folks at Capital One or at ESPN realize that they are trying to convince everyone that “Capital One Bowl Week” runs from 15 December until 1 January? Has anyone in either organization ever seen a calendar?
A review of Bad Ads seemingly is never complete without a contribution from the Erectile Dysfunction industry. This year, Viagra ran an ad campaign telling men that this is the age of knowing how to get things done. Let us leave all the double entendre and locker room snark aside here and focus on the situation that they present to us. A man is driving a truck and a horse trailer; this hammerhead drives this compound vehicle through a mud puddle that would present a challenge to a Sherman Tank and – Surprise! – he gets stuck. He solves the problem by getting two draft horses out of the trailer and uses them to pull the truck and trailer out of the bog. So what is the message here as it relates to Viagra:
Use Viagra and you will be mistaken for a horse?
It will take two horses to get your sorry-assed equipment working?
Viagra allows you to be dumb enough to get stuck in a mud hole and still get where you want to be?
By the way, have you noticed that in all of the Viagra/Cialis ads they tell you to ask your doctor if your heart is healthy enough for sexual activity. Imagine for a moment if people who use those products took that statement literally and called their doctor every time they were about to commence sexual activity. There would sure be a lot of busy signals at a lot of the answering services for doctors…
Geico seems to have consigned the Caveman to the backbench; for that, we can give thanks; that gimmick had run its course. However, someone at Geico and one of its ad agencies thought this was a good idea:
An ad campaign where people took a taste test to determine which insurance coverage they preferred.
I would have to use a thesaurus to come up with just the right synonym for stupidity to describe that decision.
There were simply too many ads this year dealing with bowel movements.
A woman gets on a plane, walks down the aisle and asks if anyone on the plane ever suffers from gas, diarrhea, or constipation. As the embarrassed passengers “fess up”, she gives them various products made by Phillips to alleviate their conditions. That is extremely annoying all by itself but she takes the “Annoyance Meter” to its highest level because as she is doing this, she is wearing a T-Shirt that says, “I’m Regular”. Cue the Church Lady here:
“Isn’t that special…”
Jamie Lee Curtis hawks Activia yogurt that supposedly keeps your alimentary canal working at peak efficiency. In one ad, she stops some unknowing woman on the street to discuss how she has gotten herself regular after overeating on Holiday food. They stand there and converse on the subject. This has to be a “girl-thing” because I doubt that too many guys would talk to a stranger they met on the street about taking a dump.
There is a late-night infomercial that spends a half-hour telling you the importance of a clean colon. The product is called Dual Action Cleanse and the phrase that is repeated over and over is:
“Get your colon in working order with Dual Action Cleanse.”
Ladies and gentlemen, there is nothing left to say after that…
Some ads are so annoying that one need only say a few words and the tsunami of annoyance sweeps over you:
“Na- Na – Napa Knowhow”
“Discount Double Check”
“Here We Go”
Debbie Boone is on the air pitching an alternative to facelifts. I do not want to look the way she looks on camera during these ads any more than I want to look the way Jerry Jones looks on camera after his “traditional” facelift. The ad says that the alternative procedure will “address wrinkles and frown lines”. One good way to relieve me of my “frown lines” would be to keep ads like this off my TV.
There must be a special ring of Hell reserved for ads by fast food companies. Let me be clear, I do not own stock in any of these companies nor do I own any franchises. To me they are all equal opportunity offenders:
McDonalds had an ad where some guy was crooning that he was in love with the McDonalds girl – for unspecified reasons. Now if this guy came to my neck of the woods and went into any random McDonalds and started singing that song, I would have to categorize him as stone-cold blind.
Taco Bell ran an ad where a guy and three friends allegedly drove 900 miles round trip to eat a special taco creation not available in their locality. Seriously. Now I have yet another reason not to go to a Taco Bell. This is a place that attracts too many folks whose synapses connect in ways that convince me that they are unbalanced.
Taco Bell has a current ad that confirms what I just said about their clientele. A guy is out with four friends at a “steakhouse”. It must be a nice place; there are crystal wine glasses on the table. He “talks to the waiter” and then puts his menu on the table and leaves his friends sitting there so he can go to Taco Bell to get their Extra Large Steak Nachos. Then he eats them outside leaning on the hood of his car. Not only is this guy a culinary idiot; he is a social misfit. Just the kind of person I want to run into when I am out and about.
Taco Bell had an ad back in the summer where the premise was that most folks thought Taco Bell could not make a great burrito bowl and Taco Bell was out to prove them wrong. They hired a “world class chef” who prepared her new bowl dish “with unique ingredients” such as roasted corn, rice, black beans, cilantro and guacamole made from Hass avocados. Two questions here:
1. Which of those ingredients is unique?
2. Taco Bell makes Mexican food – bad Mexican food but Mexican food nonetheless – so which of those ingredients would you guess had never been in a Taco Bell concoction before this “would class chef” showed up?
Burger King had an ad where some chick on a beach suggests to her friends, “Let’s have a barbecue today.” Then, instead of lighting up the smoker grill there on the beach or back home on a patio, they all rhapsodize over a Burger King Barbecue Sandwich. Excuse me, if I want barbecue, I am not going to a fast food burger joint just like I would not go to Red Lobster if I wanted a cheeseburger.
DiGiorno frozen pizza ran an ad where some dork rushes into a room to announce that he has formulated the Theory of Pizzaplicity. According to the theory, you can get two DiGiorno frozen pizzas for the price of one delivery pizza. His friend is clearly as big a dork as the theoretician is and says, “I think you just doubled my IQ.” Sadly, he is likely correct on that front.
Pizza Hut offered something called the $10 Dinner Box. It has a pizza, some breadsticks and some cinnamon sticks in it; talk about pumping carbos… But that is not what makes the ad annoying or dimwitted. At one point, the voiceover for the ad says, “The $10 Dinner Box costs only ten dollars.” Whoa there Hoss; slow down and let me catch up here. You mean to say that I can get a $10 Dinner Box if I give Pizza Hut $10. That is amazing… Clearly, Pizza Hut is chasing the ninnyhammer demographic.
Domino’s Pizza now makes a pan pizza that took them 3 years to develop and they tell us in their ads that it “may be our best pizza ever”. Folks, that is not setting the bar very high at all.
One final note here. The Dos Equis ad campaign featuring “The Most Interesting Man In The World” has jumped the shark. Allow me to suggest that The Most Interesting Man In The World go to wherever he must so he can join the Geico Caveman, Speedy Alka-Seltzer, Bucky Beaver, Elsie the Cow and Spuds MacKenzie as advertising characters of the past.
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………