Thursday, December 31, 2009

My end of the year list: Bad Advertising!

Everyone seems to make a list at the end of the year. I would guess it is now part of those internet traditions that everyone is aware of. Books, movies, bad celebrity dresses, stupid quotes, etc. So, in keeping with this tradition, here is my list of deceitful, manipulative, stupid or annoying television commercials that I hope to never see again in 2010.

1. Capital One Credit Cards: This series of commercials have to be one of the weirdest ways to promote a credit card whose fine print is no doubt littered with landmines that will increase your loan rate at the drop of a hat. Visigoths ransacking villages, a dumbass in front of a computer whose dog is much more intelligent than he is and survivors of an airplane crash who are stuck on an island trying to get off are the spokesmen and women for Capital One. But the big selling point for this particular credit card is you can put your own picture on your card! Absolutely fu*king amazing! Let’s order a couple and one for little Sally as well, even though she is only six years old! What a STUPID selling point. Anyone who actually orders one of these credit cards on the basis of being able to put your picture on it deserves whatever happens to them.

2. Free Credit Reports Dot Com: This one has been in the news a lot, so this isn’t going to be much of a surprise. But advertising something “free” if you buy their service and is something that you can get free anyway from another source anyway is not really “free” in my mind. That’s like telling someone that they can get a free car jack, as long as they buy this car. No, that’s not even a good analogy, because to be a true analogy, you would need to be able to get a car jack for free somewhere. This is a commercial put together by lying SOB’s that do not care they are lying. “Free”, my ass.

3. The Big Head “Burger King”: These commercials, to their credit, are not deceitful. They are just weird and creepy. In these commercials, Burger King comes off as some sort of creepy stalker guy who never says anything. He’s just there. The ad agency behind these ads obviously figured that the Jack In The Box commercials are such a big hit that they would make their own! The only problem is, they failed miserably.

4. Ads for health insurance companies: Now, these aren’t all for the same company. This one is more of a category or genre. All these commercials are trying to accomplish is to make you feel all warm and cuddly about your insurance provider who is STILL going to find any reason they possibly can to drop your coverage if you get really sick and need it. One commercial that comes to mind actually doesn’t even really mention insurance. It’s just some kid talking about her mom who donates her piano, which she had as a kid and really loves, to a school or some other kind of organization that really needs it. Heartwarming. *Sigh* How nice… The problems are, of course, this has absolutely NOTHING to do with health insurance and it never addresses the fact that the CEO of this company will probably make about 85 mil this year while dropping coverage for anyone who might come down with a cold.

5. Verizon “Maps”: These commercials are annoying on their own. I especially disliked the one with Santa and his reindeer, which mercifully is not shown anymore since Christmas is over. But the point here that I haven’t seen anyone make is the colors of the maps. Verizon’s is red, and boy, it covers almost the entire U.S.A. A.T.&T’s map, on the other hand, is blue and barely covers anything. Yeah, this is deceitful on its own merits, since they are implying that ALL cell phone coverage provided by each company is what is shown, not just the 4G variety. But red vs. blue? That’s an interesting choice, especially when you look at the politics behind Verizon. I wonder what target audience these commercials are aimed at?

6. Jewelry commercials: This again is more of a category than a specific series of ads, because all the big jewelry chains do this. I wrote about this one before Christmas. But it’s not just Christmas. Valentine’s Day is also a biggie. I’ll just repeat what I said before.

The Christmas ads that really burn me are the ones for jewelry. I really dislike ostentatious displays anyway, and big, fat diamonds are about the best way to show that. Talk about a totally worthless expenditure of money to support an industry that has a corner on the market. That aside, I am really annoyed by the implication that buying someone a really bright, shiny bauble is the ultimate in romance. All these people in these commercials are young and beautiful, and they act like they came out of a romance novel. Tell me, what guy in his right mind would go out in the middle of the forest and wrap a living tree in lights, just so he can spring a diamond necklace on his girlfriend? And that assumes that he has a REALLY long extension cord or lugged a car battery out there as well. I think that these ads are really targeting the lazy bum who really isn’t normally too keen on keeping his wife’s or girlfriend’s feelings close to his heart and sees that buying jewelry would be a nice, easy (albeit expensive) way to immediately get back in his wife’s or girlfriend’s good graces. The women in these commercials always, without fail, are just awestruck and have this look on their faces that they would do absolutely anything for this guy who just bought her this piece of junk.

7. Geico Insurance: I admit I kind of liked the caveman commercials and the ones with the gecko are tolerable. But the ones with the stack of money with googlie eyes are weird and don’t even make a lot of sense.

8. Mixed message ads: This, again, is a category. It seems very trendy now to have commercials that are about two things at once. Sometimes, tie-ins are evident, such as toys of the latest Disney movie at McDonalds. But sometimes, there doesn’t even have to be an obvious tie-in. They are just trying to ride the latest wave of popularity. One playing now is about a bunch of guys eating a Big Mac that has something to do with James Cameron’s latest film, Avatar. I just do not get that one.

9. Miracle Whip “We will not tone it down!”: I won’t say much about this. Just watch it. Miracle Whip, the ultimate in rebellion!

You have any nominations? I may promote good suggestions from any comments received into this post itself. Boy, won't that be a thrill for YOU.

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