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Charlie Hatton
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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
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Can’t We All Just Get Drunk, Get Online, and Get Along?

Has anyone else noticed how snarky TV ads are getting lately?

(And no, this isn’t going to be a ‘back in my day‘, shaking an impotent fist at the lousy young whippersnappers, frothing around the false teeth sort of post.

First of all, I know commercials have always been snarky — I just think they’re getting worse lately, and if you’ll stop damned interrupting, I’m about to explain why. Keep your corset on, there, Frances.

And secondly, I still have my own teeth. Which may or may not be frothy right now — that’s for me to know, and you to infer from how ridiculous I sound.

And finally — and most importantly of all — my fist is plenty potent, thank you very much. Virile, even. Horny little devil, really, it is.

Yeah. There’s the froth now. I knew I couldn’t hide it for long. Bitches.)

Anyway, back to the commercials. Maybe it’s just that time of year, but I’d swear that companies are suddenly taking their cues from political ‘smear campaigns’. Sure, advertisers have always badmouthed their competitors, every chance they get. The airwaves are full of shit like:

Chevy got a four-star rating. Those bitches at Ford can’t say that.

More dentists prefer our tooth-rotting crappy gum to the other guy’s tooth-rotting crappy gum.

Eat at Burger King! The Wendy’s guy is dead! McDonald’s gives you hemorrhoids! You’ve got no choice!!!

Okay, I might be paraphrasing a little. But you get the idea. We’ve all seen them.

Lately, though, the stakes have been raised. Now, it’s apparently not enough to verbally pimp-slap your rivals on the air — these days, you’ve got to do it using their own commercial idea. Damn. That’s some raw shit, people.

The big one lately is the Budweiser-Miller duel. They’ve been having a back-‘n’-forth slap-‘n’-tickle ever since the Miller guys came out with those ‘Play Beer’ ads being shown on heavy rotation on the networks, especially during football games.

You know the ones — they show some guy drinking Bud, or handing out Bud, or licking Bud off the floor after a party, and then these guys dressed as referees throwing flags at the guy, and replacing his Bud with Miller. Fine. I didn’t mind these ads — they were cute, in their way. And that one on the beach had a really hot chick in it — and that’s always a plus in a beer commercial.

(Or for that matter, any commercial. Personally, if there were more T&A in political ads, I might pay more attention. Just a thought.)

So, I guess the marketing weasels at Bud got wind of this — hey, even slimy adbastards watch football sometimes — and decided to strike back. So now they’ve got their own set of clips showing fake refs — only now they’re stealing Bud, presumably to drink it themselves.

(Though why anyone would guzzle either brand of pisswater is beyond me. Screw ‘brewed fresh’, to hell with ‘the high life’ — all that mega-mass-produced, watered-down beer is bland-assed garbage in my book. Give me a good IPA or a nice, dark stout any day. But that’s just me. I’m a beer snob, drunken as charged.)

Now, these Bud ‘revenge ads’ seem a little whiny to me, frankly. Maybe I just think they should come up with their own angle. Or maybe I’d rather see them take the high road, and just promote their own product without resorting to mud-slinging. Mostly, though, it’s just that they don’t have hot bikini-stretching girly-girls in their ads. The bastards.

(They do, however, get bonus points for pulling the guy who played that annoying Bulldog guy on Frasier out of cold storage and slapping him in one of their commercials. Where the hell has that guy’s career been? Hanging out with Ted Williams’ frozen head?)

So, basically, I thought that was as far as it would go. After all, the shit-beer companies are constantly at each others’ proverbial throats — or livers — so this sort of thing isn’t terribly surprising. But then, today, I saw the next generation of ‘payback marketing’.

This time, the target is AOHell. Which, as a techno-weenie, is just peachy with me, but I’m still not sure I like the ‘adopt, adapt, and mock like a Frenchman’ strategy. It seems a bit too easy, somehow.

Anyway, here’s the angle on this one: the original AOL commercial shows a guy — or a woman, I haven’t really paid close attention — walking into an office, telling the receptionist (s)he’s got some ideas to talk about. The receptionist then goes in to see the ‘boss’, apparently, and says that ‘some users’ are here to see him. ‘Which ones?‘ ‘All of them.’ Cute.

So, NetZero got their grubby underpricing paws on that, and copied it pretty much verbatim. Only, instead of the visitor having ideas to share — thereby showing the back-and-forth that the goobers in charge of AOHell would like to have with the goobers that use it — the guy says, ‘Hey. I’m leaving. NetZero kicks your ass.‘ And then the running in to the boss’ office, and the ‘Who?‘, and the ‘All of them‘, and there you have it.

And again, I don’t really care about the specifics of the companies involved. I pay way too much for a fast, reliable connection, and for not having to put up with pop-ups, or pop-unders, or outages, or slow patches, or tech ‘support’ morons who don’t know their asscrack from a trackball mouse. And I’m happy to pay it, because — we’ve covered this already, people — I’m a techno-weenie. So, NetZero, AOL, all those other bargain ISPs — don’t care, really. Let ’em kill each other off, for all I give a damn.

But if they resort to copying each others’ commercials to do it… well, that’s just damned confusing. I don’t watch a lot of commercials to begin with, what with the TiVo and all — if I’ve got to start watching them all the way through to figure out who’s who, then I’m gonna be really pissed.

Not that it matters, I guess. I’ve already picked an ISP, and a bunch of favorite beers, and dammit, I’m not switching. I’m exactly the kind of always-online, brew-guzzling bastard they’re looking for, but they’ll never have me. Ironic, in it’s own twisted, special, ‘frantically searching for a way to neatly wrap this fricking post up’ way.

On the other hand, that’s probably not the message I want to send these market-speaking mouthbreathing ad-monkeys. Sure, they’ll never see dime one of my cash, but that doesn’t mean I want to be ignored — I should at least lead ’em on for a while. So I guess all I want to say is this:

Cut the bullshit, people. Stop sniping at each other, and thinking you’re being cute by stealing ad ideas, because it’s getting fucking annoying. Just go back to plastering barely-covered boobs all over the screen, and maybe — just maybe — I’ll think about using your product. Until then, keep your shit off of my TV screen. That is all.

Eh, what the hell. I don’t expect it to work, but it never hurts to try, right? Boobs for beer, boobs for bandwidth — whatever it takes. I’m not picky.

Permalink  |  1 Comment

One Response to “Can’t We All Just Get Drunk, Get Online, and Get Along?”

  1. Steph says:

    Boobs for beer? Did I read you right? I have boobs. You have beer?


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