Positive Cynicism – More questions commercials make me ask

Aaron Davis

Aaron R. Davis

It is an unrelenting fact of 21st century advertising now that commercials don’t make any sense. For every commercial that is informative or entertaining (or, rarely, both), there are a dozen that leave me scratching my head and wondering what I’m supposed to take away from the viewing experience.

Why is it that the three biggest dangers to my car — according to the obnoxious idiot on the new Allstate Insurance commercials — flighty teenagers, hot chicks and wind? Really? The biggest risk my car is taking is being in a world where women exist?

Has Twix really decided to shift their commercial focus from their candy bars making it easier to scam on chicks to making it easier to cheat on your wife?

How did someone not think those Kia hamsters were going to be an abomination? They’re just so … creepy. I could tolerate the first one, but now they’ve gone too far into the Uncanny Valley to get back out of it.

From too much life to lifelessness: who actually enjoys the continuing adventures of suburban mannequins shopping at Old Navy, the highest end of low rent? Is Old Navy actually making a subtle point about the plastic superficiality of the people who apparently shop there, or is it just a coincidence?

Do the “kids in America” really adore Totino’s Pizza Rolls, or is that just wishful thinking? Will they regret their love later in life when their guts have rotted out from that junk?

Also, are the rights to the song “Kids in America” available for 50 cents? Because it seems like I’ve been hearing it everywhere in advertising for the last decade.

How out of control did frivolous lawsuits with giant payouts get over the last 20 years that so many local law firms have now taken to the airwaves to convince you that the best thing you can do with your annuity or long-term settlement payout is to hire them to get you a lump sum (which I imagine is somewhere in the neighborhood of 45 percent of your settlement) so they can make another profit off of you? Jeez, those lawyers have certainly got the system gamed, don’t they?

First they convince you to sue your doctor or Wal-Mart or someone who happened to be on the street when you slipped and fell, then they get you a long-term settlement and then they convince you that you should hire them again to negotiate a settlement on your earlier settlement, so they can take some of that money. I have to hand it to them, they’ve really found a way to sink further into the slime, and if the sheer amount of commercials is anything to go by, it’s paying off for them. I can’t imagine what the next step in that racket’s going to be.

How many more little animations will we have to endure before razor companies get that we understand the five-blade concept?

Are those awful Mac vs. PC commercials really so popular and viable that not only are local carpet stores ripping it off, but so is T-Mobile?

When is someone finally going to buy me a Roomba?

Is that the best line the makers of Burlesque could think of to cap off the commercial with? “Don’t underestimate us farm girls.” Really? Does Christina Aguilera look to anyone else like she’s ever even driven past a farm, much less could’ve grown up on one? It’s just not convincing casting.

How many other people want to see that little hipster douche bag from the 2011 Highlander commercial get run down and dragged six blocks by a 2011 Highlander? Ugh, is this what parents are raising now? Mini-hipsters in bomber jackets with shitty haircuts who think they’re the end-all be-all of coolness? “I have a low tolerance for dorkiness.” “Just because you’re a parent doesn’t mean you have to be lame.” Seriously, are parents just automatically neutered when they have children?

For the last several years, we’ve been subjected to mom-and-dad-mobile commercials made to coddle the nutless wonders who desperately needed a truck engine in their suburban cars in order to make them remember what it was like to be a bull instead of an ox. Now we’ve got their spoiled brat offspring taunting us from their high chairs about how lame we’ve become? Dude, this commercial doesn’t work on me, because I don’t care what your kid thinks of me, and if I had a kid, I really wouldn’t care what he thought of my life choices, either. He’s a kid. He should be mowing the lawn or something.

And then there’s the biggest non-Charlie Sheen-related annoyance on my television: the McRib is back.

Now, normally I would just ignore this annual visit from the cold, processed pork nightmare. I know there are sick freaks out there who love those disgusting sandwich mockeries, and they’re free to hasten their way to the grave however they want. But the commercial this year is so smug, so disgusting, that I just can’t get over it. I can’t even hear it without feeling my blood pressure rise ever so slightly.

Have you seen this?

A couple begins to move in on each other as a soft love song plays, their mouth parted slightly, their eyes closed, looking every bit the loving couple. And then it turns out that these two are in different scenes, each one leaning over to go down on a McRib. They make love to the greasy handful of meat and bread with their faces, barbecue love stains dripping along their chins as they look to the sky in orgasmic bliss, and back at the sandwich with guilty lust that demands to be sated.

Close up after close up follows, an aggressively multicultural parade of McRib lovers fellating the sweaty McDonald’s meat that they’ve waited all year to dally with. Teeth gnashing, tearing at the sickening chunks of pork product, licking at the sauce, these poor souls hurry to get as much in their mouths as they can hold without gagging.

And somewhere, looking at profit margins, Ronald McDonald smiles his dominating smile.

You know, now that I think of it, that commercial deserves some kind of award.

I can’t think of any piece of film that better or more accurately encapsulates what life in America is all about.

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.

  1. Sasparilla Gretsch November 9, 2010
  2. Kristin November 9, 2010

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