These are uncertain times in which we live. I remember an age not long ago when things were simpler, when a body could make sense of the world around. There was a reassuring clarity back then, a blanket of predictable routine and rhetoric shielding us from the unknown.
In short, it was a time when it was safe to be a slave to advertising.
“I didn’t just go ‘cuckoo’ for Cocoa Puffs. I went fricking postal for Cocoa Puffs. I once nearly killed a guy with his own Quaker Oats.”
Back then, it was easy to watch or listen to commercials, and to take heed like a good little consumer. Me, I followed all of the instructions that our robot radio and television masters transmitted. For instance:
Clearly, I’m a sheep. Pitch me a message, and lead me to water. If you’re sellin’, I’m buyin’, baby.
So why is it so hard for companies today to send a clear message? Back in the day, the commercials would tell us what to do — and we’d do it. We’re Americans. We’ve got lots of extra money to spend, and we’re not all that bright. Fish in a barrel, people!
But then, companies got cute on us. Now I watch TV and see the ads — and I don’t know what the hell to do. Just think about some of the modern ad campaigns we’ve been saddled with:
“Microsoft. Where do you want to go today?”
I don’t know — skiing? The Bahamas? Somewhere else where there are no computers?
“Behold… the power of cheese.”
Okay, fine. I’m beholding. But when do we eat?
“Just do it.”
Do what, exactly? Eat the cheese? Take that vacation? Help an ignorant brother out here.
“Like a good neighbor.”
Great. When I need to borrow hedge clippers, I’ll know who to call. Now how about some insurance help, there, slappy?
Um… yeah. What’s your point? And what’s that dripping off your upper lip, by the way?
“Is it in you?”
What, the milk? Or the cheese? This is about the cheese again, isn’t it? When can I eat the goddamned cheese?!?
Even the commercials without slogans — or even words, for that matter — don’t make any sense. That Pepsi ad, with Jimmy Fallon and Parker Posey prancing around like a couple of epileptic marionettes? No.
I’m a Pepsi drinker, and that spot doesn’t make me want to drink Pepsi. That spot makes me want to feed those two head-first into an industrial blender, and frappe the living bejeesus out of them both. Who writes these things, anyway?
My only solace is that my TiVo — my blessed, beautiful TiVo — lets me avoid most of those damned commercials, as long as I’m not watching real-time TV. But still a few slip by, and I’m left frustrated and confused, with potentially enticing products still on the shelf, and disposable income burning a hole in my pocket. So:
“Who’s gettin’ a Dell?”
Not me, jackass. Damn, you ads used to be cool.Permalink | 2 Comments