Saturday, April 09, 2005

Selling to the Lowest Common Denominator

Am I the only one that’s noticed that television commercials are getting incredibly stupid? I’ll admit that I watch a fair amount of television, usually while I’m knitting. I don’t know if my tolerance is getting low or if I’m suddenly more aware or if the commercials are actually that stupid. I suspect it’s the commercials.

I’ve seen this one a few times: it’s the Tampax Pearl tampon commercial where the couple is in a rowboat in the middle of a lake and all of a sudden! the boat springs a leak. Oh my! What to do? Well, if it was me, I think I’d notice a HOLE in the bottom of the boat that looks like someone shot a bullet through it, but hey, that’s just me. So now, Mister and Miss Adorable Couple are in quite a pickle. There is water coming into the boat. The man scrambles, looks for a solution. Girlfriend sits quietly for a moment, considering the problem and then reaches into her tote bag and pulls out an entire BOX of Tampax Pearl tampons. Ladies, back me up here – on a date, got your period, take a tampon or two or even three . . .but the whole BOX? In a tote bag? On a BOAT? A ROWBOAT??? Where in the hell does she think she’s going to have the opportunity to use an ENTIRE box of tampons? Even the boat only has one hole in its bottom. And the next question is – if that tampon can stop an entire LAKE from coming into the boat, why can that same tampon manage to leak while you’re wearing white pants?

Another commercial that’s been annoying me is the KFC commercial where the whole family is gathered around the table, looking at each other the way that you would look at a stranger who sits next to you on the bus when every other seat is empty. Who are these people? Why are they here? What could they want? Wait, Mom is going to explain. We are here for dinner. The family is confused. “Dinner? What’s that?” they wonder. And Mom produces a bucket of KFC. Yay, Mom. The tagline of the commercial is priceless and shows exactly where America is as a nation: “Time for a real dinner, bring home KFC.” So, let me get this straight – real dinner is now takeout chicken as opposed to takeout burgers or tacos or sub sandwiches. I’ll admit I don’t cook dinner every night. There are times when I can only cook once a week – but I don’t think I’ve ever tried to kid anyone that bringing home KFC was like Mom had been in the kitchen all afternoon creating a meal. This slogan replaced the “KFC is Kitchen Fresh Chicken”. Whose kitchen? Not mine. Not yours either, I’ll bet.

Weight loss commercials are interesting too. Every diet program out there, from Weight Watchers to L.A. Weight Loss (does that stand for Lard Ass?) to Jenny Craig all parade these women across the screen in a clingy little number spouting about how she’s lost 83 pounds or 112 pounds or some other wondrous number and in small print it says:
“Results not typical”
Then show me what IS typical. I don’t want to see your wonder girl in her wonder bra! I want to see the ordinary people with typical weight loss. I got the chance to meet a typical weight loss customer just this morning. She has been going to L.A. Weight Loss for about 7 months. She has lost around 35 pounds. She’s happy and I’m happy for her. I am not happy for Wonder Woman on the commercial.

The new Burger King commercial is just plain creepy. It’s the one for the “New Breakfast Whopper”. It’s a Whopper, all right at 730 calories. It has two of everything – two slices of egg, two sausage patties, two slices of cheese, two slices of bacon, two pieces of bun, and two paramedics to carry you to the emergency room once you’ve consumed one. The sandwich is creepy enough, but when you throw in a Burger King with a plastic head staring in the window at you while holding out his arms and all the birdies in the sky coming to roost on them – that shit is downright horrifying. I don’t want me no part of that. Uh uh. That’s Alfred Hitchcock food. And for breakfast.

Where are the Budweiser frogs when you need them?


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