Positive Cynicism – Questions that commercials make me ask

Aaron Davis

Aaron R. Davis

Commercials are supposed to make you want to find out more about a specific product or service. But a lot of the commercials I’ve been seeing have been making me ask questions completely unrelated to what’s being advertised.

Why are those guys at Taco Bell going to what they think are great lengths to save ten cents on a burrito? Are they squirreling money away to splurge on a large drink?

Did the Burger King really need to break into McDonald’s headquarters to steal the Egg McMuffin blueprints if he wanted to rip it off so bad? I mean, he couldn’t have just sent someone to buy one and then reverse-engineered it? All Burger King really does differently is to create it … upside-down! Now there’s an innovation for you.

What is it about Jimmy John’s that people crave it so badly at times of great adrenalin? Be it a car accident, giving birth or just being mortally threatened by minorities (a theme the Jimmy John’s people are getting a little too comfortable with), people just seem to love overpriced, disgusting sandwiches.

Why is Mother Nature such a bitch? I mean, she really seems to take a lot of delight in ruining a woman’s adventurous weekend by giving them their “monthly gift.” It’s like Tampax was created just to get back at her … and judging by the commercials, I can see why. I kind of want to spit in her coffee just for taking such delight in her cruelty.

Is it really a good idea to screw with the hormones in your body so badly that you only have four periods a year? Sticking with the menstrual theme, those ads for Seasonique are really, really obnoxious. “Who says you have to have 12 periods a year? Who? WHO?! WHO SAYS IT?! WHO?!! Tell me so I can eat their souls!!!!” I’m really waiting for commercials along a similar line: “Who says you have to take a shit everyday? Who? Tell me who the nonexistent bad guy is so I can feel superior!”

Why is putting your kids and/or grandkids and/or aging mother in your commercials supposed to make me want to buy a car from you specifically, local dealership?

Why is it that the Geico Cavemen can be urbane, hip, whiny, obnoxious and completely douchey, but they still can’t do anything with their hair?

Do the makers of Activia really think I want to hear about Jamie Lee Curtis’ constipation? I get it: Jamie Lee Curtis loves to shit. Yeah, I think deep down we can all appreciate that. But none of us want to talk about it.

Do people really love those Free Credit Report assholes? Bad enough they’re advertising a scam, but they do it in such an overbearing, smug, “ain’t-we-cute?” manner that I just want to take out a hit on these guys.

What the hell is wrong with the people in the Cheez Its commercials that they think of every elaborate, Rube Goldeberg-style machines to get cheese flavor in a cracker before they think of … cheese flavoring! Do they go to the Red Lobster and marvel that modern science can get cheddar flavor inside of a roll, too? These are like the real life versions of Wile E. Coyote. Look, you can spend all of your life trying ever-more-complex machinery to catch that damn Road Runner, or you can just go the simplest route and buy a shotgun. Seriously, it’s cheese flavoring. Look it up on the Internet!

Who actually eats Hot Pockets and why do they hate themselves so much?

Do Mac users really appreciate being represented by a douche lord with no personality like Justin Long? It just makes us PC users think all Mac users are douche lords. What does he have to be so smug about? Macs suck just as bad as PCs, they just suck in an entirely different way. A more basic way. For morons who think using a Mac makes them more artistic. Because they have no personality.

Didn’t anyone think it would be distracting to use the song “Lollipop” on the Dell laptop commercials? First, it’s distracting because they changed the lyric to “Her kiss is sweeter than a cherry pie” so they didn’t have to say her kiss was sweeter than an apple pie, because Dell doesn’t want to remind anyone that Apple makes better products. Then, it’s distracting because they shortened the commercials in order to avoid the sexual implications of the words “cherry pie,” which was itself distracting. And finally, it’s distracting to watch these idiots lurching their way through a multi-colored Wonka Factory without thinking that these people are a decade too late to be dazzling us with the iMac “Colors” commercial. Come on, guys …

Who the hell does Volkswagen think it’s fooling with its “punch dub” campaign? It’s called punch buggy, and it only applies when you see a Volkswagen Bug, not any old Volkswagen product! And you can’t play it when you’re literally inside a Volkswagen dealership without just looking like an asshole. That’s some bad karma right there, you cheater. Seriously, if anyone punches me in the arm and says “red one!” and it’s not a Bug they’ve seen, their hand has become forfeit.

Does Twix really want to send out the message that eating Twix makes it easier to scam on girls? Those are just skeezy.

Who the hell is Kris Allen and why do I care if he likes driving a Ford? Like I trust a guy who likes to listen to his own music in the car. I get it, you think you’re fascinating.

Who are the people out there who think talking babies are funny? Seriously, please tell me so that we can round these people up and put them away somewhere so that we don’t have to see commercials that imply wild nights of baby sex anymore.

How do I get a date with Flo, the Progressive Insurance gal?

And finally, we need to talk about these ads the ASPCA keeps putting out with the sad, abused animals. I will straight up dive for the remote control in order to turn the channel away from those advertisements. They’re the worst kinds of ads: they make me feel bad about myself.

Look, I’m on the ASPCA’s side here. I’m in their corner. I don’t hate them the way I hate PETA; the ASPCA is too busy actually helping animals to worry about being trendy or courting celebrities to get naked in print ads. The ASPCA is a noble organization that does good in this world.

But the ads … They’re just too much. I know there are abused pets out there. I have an adopted pet rabbit that was treated poorly by his original owner. I believe in pet rescue. I think how well people treat animals is a mark of their humanity. But those ads make me want to cry, not because I feel bad for the animals, but because no matter how much I ever help the ASPCA, I could never do enough. It’s one thing to run ads that make me sympathetic to abused animals. It’s another to make me feel inadequate in my ability to provide the help the ASPCA wants from me.

But you know what? At least those commercials are for something a little more important than how using a particular product will make you look cool and clever. So maybe they’re a little less obnoxious than some of the other commercials I’ve bitched about today.

Or maybe I should stop watching so much TV.

Aaron R. Davis lives in a cave at the bottom of the ocean with his eyes shut tight and his fingers in his ears. You can contact him at samuraifrog@yahoo.com.

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Comments(3)
  1. Darius Whiteplume April 6, 2010
  2. Joel Murphy April 6, 2010
  3. Lars April 6, 2010

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