I Can't Really Complain . . . But I Still Do
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Friday, August 19, 2005

And Now a Word From Our Sponser


Here's one for ya . . .

Has anyone seen a TV commercial within the past five years? I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that the answer is yes. Aren't they just like lil' presents sent down from heaven for each and every one of us to simply enjoy in wonder and amazement? Actually, I believe the word we are all trying to remember but systematically used up during the boyband craze of the late '90s is . . . turdburger. Grade A prime, double-stacked patties slow-cooked to perfection in their very own juices.

The most impressive thing about the modern television commercial is how they have taken what used to be a short, almost cheerful reminder to buy X product or Y product and turned it into the longest 2 minutes and 45 seconds of your entire life. I'm not kidding, if I see that weasle Jared dancing around on my screen one more time I'm gonna order a couple of his supreme BLT super subs with extra mayo and then calmly and maturely proceed to show him exactly where he can insert them. I have a set of detailed blueprints right here.

The true masters of the craft, however, are the dudes that figured out how to not only make you dry heave every time you get within 1 mile of a shopping mall, but also managed to turn all of your favorite songs into endlessly looping sales jingles that will still be bouncing around inside your head when the sun flares out. I can't even begin to thank the people at a certain perky clothing chain that shall remain nameless (and soul-less coincidentally) for taking one of the best songs ever written and converting it into something I most certainly would have stepped over had I only been paying closer attention. That smell ain't gonna come out, Bro.

Now, before we go too far in blindly bashing all TV commercials . . . I would like to point out that once every year for about 4 hours the quality of your average television spot gets ratcheted up a few notches and some of the stops are not-so-subtly yanked out. I'm talkin' about the Super Bowl of course. That promised land of multi-million dollar spectacles of psuedo-art that combine intense visual stimulation with the slickest sales pitches on the planet. Who doesn't love watching an 8 minute mini-movie where the entire cast of "Full House" gets together with the remaining members of Menudo to perform a multi-cultural song and dance number with a digitally created "Fat" Elvis? It brings tears to my eyes the way those beautiful images tug at your heart strings. When that little orphan boy finally finds his long lost father, you almost forget that it is a commercial for malt-liquor.

There is no escape, though. I'm pretty sure that they are going to keep trying to sell us stuff. And I'm also pretty sure that we will keep watching television . . . and occasionally buying stuff. So what's the answer?

Dude - I wish I knew. It probably couldn't hurt to have a few shares of Tivo stock in your portfolio, though.

Ben O.

23 Comments:

Blogger Beth said...

I cannot bash commercials. I find some so creative, so visual, or humorous that I can't wait to see them again. I don't like a lot of TV so I need something small with a lot of punch ... voila commercial! =)

5:35 AM  
Blogger MA said...

I think I'm in the same boat, as far as practicing law. It's a mixture of enjoying things other than the law and the dearth of decent paying legal positions where I live.

Good to know we're in similar positions.

9:33 AM  
Blogger madman said...

I too have a problem using the songs from the 60s and 70s to sale phones and maxi-pads. It just seems like some sort of blasphamey!

2:02 PM  
Blogger ~Kelly~ said...

I am what we call a channel changing addict. Soon as a commercial hits, so does my remote.

Enjoyed your writing. Take care.

2:22 PM  
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Blogger Caryn said...

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3:33 PM  
Blogger NYPinTA said...

Bad commercials drive me nuts. There are just insulting to the TV viewers in general. Except the ones that watch Fear Factor. They need stupid commercials. :P
I think maybe they need to do what they do in England (I think) and that is have an hour show of nothing but commercials instead of having them interupt other shows. IIRC, the hour show of commercials was one of their highest rated hours because the advertisors were forced to come up with good ads.
There are some good ads. I just can't think of any right now.

10:52 PM  
Anonymous Neil said...

It's especially sad when commercials use songs from "anti-establishment" icons like the Who and Bob Dylan. Another question is why do companies continue to advertise on the web? Has anyone ever bought anything because of a online ad -- or purposely clicked on a ad link?

9:35 PM  
Blogger The Awful Writer said...

How ironic that your anti-commercial post gets whacked with blog spam.

Anyway, liked you post. I'll have to read your other posts now, too. Damn you. Like I don't already have enough to do. :-)

9:39 AM  
Blogger Ben O. said...

Awful writer - I planned it. All morning I was thinking how I could make the world just a little bit more messed up and darned if the best way wasn't to pile a little bit more crap on top of your pile of stuff to do.

Thanks for coming by - Ben O.

9:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ben o...i love the blog. i knew nothing about blogs until i read yours. but i like the way you think. and you can always make me laugh. :)

i, too, am tired of terrible commercials taking up time during shows i want to see. i hate thinking that i just lost 30 seconds of my life that i'll never get back, and i won't even buy what they're trying to sell. but i have to say...when i watch old movies that i recorded off tv sometime in the 80s, i sometimes find commercial treasures. like where's the beef? or the hallmark commercials that literally made me tear up. or the clydesdales prancing through the snow with holly and Christmas lights. and i don't even drink. :)

so, keep it up. i will check back in to see what's been on your mind. :)

-rachel

11:07 AM  
Blogger Henry said...

I don't have a clue why--but I turn up the volume and laugh when that Tony Little Geico commercial comes on. I just love when he says, "you can DO ITTTTTTT"
I'm weird I know---but normally when commericals are on--I'm flicking-i hate them.

I think its time for a Mom cameo--
Whats mom think?
Mom--what commercials did Ben O. like as a youngster?

12:07 PM  
Blogger trinamick said...

My favorite new commercial - the Budbot where the midget is in the robot. That and the identity theft ones. I laugh my butt off every time.

12:11 PM  
Blogger Ben O. said...

You have to be nice to Mom or she won't come out and play.

I agree Rachel - the best commercials are those that are at least 5 years old. They can bring back some good memories.

Henry - I am just as messed up as you. I get an enormous kick out of watching Tony Little's career swirling around the bowl. He is a tad strange. I wouldn't even WANT to look like him, so why would I buy his workout device? (I see a post coming on)

Ben O.

12:27 PM  
Blogger Henry said...

Maybe so you can save a bunch of money on car insurance...???

12:55 PM  
Blogger KayseaLove said...

Well said everyone!

1:59 PM  
Blogger Kathleen said...

I wonder how effective commercials are these days when you can see a commercial a bunch of times but each additional time you see it you think "I've seen this before, but what are they selling?"

6:57 AM  

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