Thursday, February 11, 2010

Commercial Trends That Must Die

Super Bowl Sunday is the day all of America's best and brightest advertising executives wait for the entire year. Much time, resources, and thought is put into the advertisements, and it's often a company's best chance to get their name out there and educate eager consumers about the benefits of their product. So naturally, you would expect this day to be full of original and funny ads, showcasing the skills of the people working for these companies and not be the typical idiotic commercial fare featuring talking babies and guys not wearing pants.

Of course, if you thought that last Sunday, you were wrong. Really, really wrong. Most of the super bowl ads this year made me long for the DVR. In addition to not being funny, many were blatantly offensive (and I'm not talking about the relatively innocent Tim Tebow pro-life ad), completely lacked originality, or were just plain horrible. The deluge of ads also revealed some trends that are seen disturbingly often in commercials today. Here are the key ones that should die, preferably in some way involving fire.

Talking Babies
Made famous by the wonderful people at E-Trade, last Sunday we were subjected to another series of talking baby ads. Get it guys? THE BABIES ARE TALKING. Babies don't usually talk do they? No. That's why what we're watching right now is so incredibly funny.

Talking babies have long been a go-to joke that will appeal to the generally dumb masses (a popular TV show instantly comes to mind here). It's a lame, one-joke premise, and it's time for E-Trade to move on and stop abusing innocent children by forcing them to be in their brutal commercials.

Guys Really Like Beer -- Look at the Crazy Stuff They'll Do to Get It!
This seems to be the most popular trend in beer commercials today, and of course the Super Bowl had some more. The most textbook example of this genre of commercials was the Bud Light commercial featuring a group of people making a human bridge so the beer truck could drive into town.

These commercials are cripplingly unfunny. The joke in every single one is exactly the same, and usually involves a completely outlandish presence with a lot of bad physical humor and sight gags. The lack of humor wouldn't be bad by itself, but of course in these commercials it's all done with the disturbing subtext of alcoholism -- if running all the way across town and holding hands with people so a truck can drive over your spine, allowing you to obtain your precious, precious booze isn't addict behavior, then I don't know what is. If I were an advertising executive for a beer company (and I can only pray that one day I will be), I would prefer to focus on the taste of the beer rather than emphasize how hopelessly addicted people are to it.

White Males Have Been Repressed For Far Too Long -- It's Time for a Revolution!
This trend has been around for awhile, but it took a particularly hateful turn last Sunday. From having to hear CBS commentator Jim Nantz refer to a man as a "spineless schlub" because he had to go shopping with his girlfriend instead of watching the game (the horror, the horror!) to an insanely misogynistic Dodge Charger commercial stating that their car was "man's last stand" against things like "watching your vampire TV show" and "carrying your lip balm", it was a good day for white males seeking to release themselves from the shackles of their oppressors.

Yes, we middle class white males have it hard for far too long in this country. I'm sick of having to carry your two ounce container of lip balm, I want to watch football and drive cars! Perhaps one day, black people and women will understand the sacrifices that us middle class white men have to make on a daily basis. I mean, I have to CLEAN THE SINK AFTER I SHAVE. Do you have any idea how time consuming that is? Between that and having to eat fruit for breakfast (real fruit, not skittles), it's amazing that it's taken this long for us to stage a rebellion. Well, now it's happening, and we will finally be free and get the rights and privileges that we, as middle class white men, deserve.

Budweiser Clydesdale Commercials
Every year Budweiser attempts this act of subterfuge, where they hope to distract from their previous ten commercials that involved objectifying women and promoting rampant alcoholism by making everyone go "OOO LOOK AT THE CUTE LITTLE HORSEYS." It may work on most people, but I'm not falling for it anymore. Either make all of your commercials mawkish and sugary or don't do it at all. Clad Women Commercials
I think by now most people can find barely clothed women without the helpful advice from to "go to to see the shocking conclusion?" Wait, you mean that there are women potentially undressing on a web site? Well, I must go there immediately! This kind of PG-13 sexuality just looks hopelessly outdated in the age of the internet, not to mention that it's another example of the rampant misogyny seen in far too many commercials these days.

Doritos Commercials
This isn't really a trend, but man Doritos sucks at making commercials. While a part of me enjoys watching them brick every single attempt at humor during the Super Bowl, most of me wishes they would just give up.

I'll try to end this on a positive note, and leave you with the obvious best super bowl commercial.


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