I thought they would end. Despite the many thousands of previous disappointments and all I know about the slime-dripping greediness of the modern ad weasel, I honestly thought they would stop.
I’m talking about the TV spots foe that car company, the ones with grainy flashbacks of kids driving Big Wheels and playing with Ataris, pleading desperately with their adult selves that the memory of those childhood triumphs trumps the bow-bearing gashound now parked in the driveway. You know the ones.
“If it sells product, keep running it up the flagpole to see who flings their wallet at it.”
I said to myself, these ads are Christmas-themed. Christmas is over, relegated back to the Land of Misfit Commercialized Holidays for another three hundred and sixty days or so. The commercials have nothing to connect with now; surely — surely, they have to stop. That’s what I said, anyway.
Until last night, when I saw four of those stupid spots in the space of an hour during some college bowl game or other. It was then that I remembered, violently, the First Rule of Mass Media Marketing:
If it sells product, keep running it up the flagpole to see who flings their wallet at it.
This is followed closely, of course, by the Compulsory Corollary to the First Rule of Mass Media Marketing:
If wallets are flung at it, run it up all the other flagpoles you can get your clammy paws on, and don’t take it down until the money’s all gone. And shoot anyone who gets too close to the poles.
I realized then what I should have known all along — if the relevant auto peddlers are seeing a sales boost from these ads, we’ll be seeing them for months. If there should be a tiny upturn conceivably attributable to this marketing campaign, you can expect to still be hearing, ‘It’s the bestest present… ever‘ at your 4th of July cookout. Maybe while you trick-or-treat.
I wouldn’t have a terrible problem with this, normally. For the most part, the ads are harmless — even cute — and only as annoying as any other pap the money-grubbing markwters might sling at our eyeballs.
Except that one spot that starts out with the girl. She’s standing there in her CindyLou Who curls and footie pajamas, in a vision from a Christmas long past, arguing with her present self that the present that year was the best ever. Behind her, in the living room, is a pony — an honest-to-god, living, breathing, feed-me-a-carrot-I’m-oh-so-cute pony. Some other little girl appears in the doorway, dropping her horsey action figure in disgust as she comes face-to-snout with the genuine article — much to CindyLou’s delight. Flash-forward to the present day, and the now-grown woman whispers, ‘Perfect.‘ when she sees the shiny new ride her S.O. has just gifted her.
That’s what we’re given to work with. For a chick like that, this car’s even better than My Pretty (Real) Pony from 1970-whatever. That’s their selling point. Instead, all I think when I see it is:
I can relate to Big Wheel Boy or the Atari kid. The latter’s a stretch, of course, because I was an Intellivision snob back in the day, but I can see where they’re going with it. Those are great gifts for a kid of the time, and a memory to cherish, but they’re also somewhat realistic. It makes the ads charming.
Meanwhile, here’s Little Rachel Rich laughing at her little friend because she has a fucking Clydesdale hanging out in her foyer, and they want to sell me the same brand of car this jackhole’s about to drive? Seriously? I’d rather drive to work on the horse.
Maybe it’s just me. I always tend to read too much into commercials. On the other hand, isn’t that what the things are there for? All I know is that if the adbags are trying to entice me into buying luxury shit because I’m supposed to identify with some budding Paris Hilton or Imelda Marcos clone, then one of us is doing something wrong here.
The thing that keeps me awake at night, sweating and shaking, is that it’s probably me.Permalink | 4 Comments