Saturday, October 1, 2016

"Bad Ads"

bad ads

This was a year, obviously, of terrible hostility in the political world, and one feels that it certainly might have spilled over to the several very ugly ads that I note below. If nothing else, this was not a nice community, even for those formerly friendly figures such as “Mr. Peanut” and “Flo” of the Geico world. Insurance companies and cable providers were particularly unpleasant in their relationships to their would-be customers.

time-warner cable

Two unattractive males stand over a kitchen counter while their wives in the background are involved at the kitchen table in deep and a rather animated conversation. The two men, clearly uncomfortable with male communication or even male comradeship, look to the phone and begin a brief discussion about the wonders of each of their phone services, sparring with one other about the marvel of their telephonic reaches until they finally realize they both have the same server: Time Warner Cable. Having come to that marvelous realization—the only thing have been able to find that they have in common—the guest asks of their wives: “Are they wrapping it up?” “Nope,” the other replies, the two clueless males being left without anything to further talk about. The End.


A delighted suburban couple enthuse over the fact that despite the intolerable heat of their terraces, with the installation of the SunSetter retractable cover, priced at only $700 dollars, but now available for a much lower price, has saved their lives. They can sit out in the hot sun with temperatures much lower than previously (we are never told in what climates they live or how high the outside temperatures remain), barbecue and even entertain under the roll-down and up umbrella of protection. Obviously, there is not a tree in sight of their neighborhood, but life is simply now much better—and much less expensive than anyone might imagine! Yet, given their testimonies, we can only imagine how hot the temperatures around them might still remain, and we look carefully to their brows to see if they are truly enjoying their small tent-like domains. And, we can only wonder, what happens to the barbecue flames lit up under the seemingly quite flammable cover. “Stay cooler” they shout out, as if to counter any notion of global warming!


Despite childhood attacks of their parent’s car with arrows, bicycle falls, chemical spills, wet dog entries and exits, along with the other wear and tear that any family car may suffer, Suburu, we are most told by a most friendly voice, has the highest resell value—an ad that seemingly ignores not only all the dings and bats the car might have received, but its smells and the daily ignominies of everyday living. Even if it sells, why would I ever want such a worn-out vehicle, particularly if they are selling it at a higher price than others?

time-warner cable

A man on a stage shouts out, again and again, in a kind of inspirational message that people can change, particularly since Time-Warner Cable has made a change in telling people precisely when they will appear to fix and change their cable networks. The man shouts as if he were a born-again preacher, the audience blindly following him like he were revealing something important to them that might actually effect their future lives, reminding me a bit of Trump’s supposedly “spell-binding” message.

liberty auto insurance

A black couple who have a perfect driving record discuss how when they have a sudden accident—whether they have or have not had such an accident yet is indeterminable—that they have no benefits for their “prefect record,” indeed they are charged far more for having such a record. If they had “liberty” insurance, evidently, they might be allowed a one-time exception. Their conversation seems to center around the words “perfect” “anything” and “nothing.”

time-warner cable

A couple attempting to sell their house return home to discover their neighbors comfortably sitting in their living room, enjoying all the privileges of their Time-Warner Wi-Fi coverage. The poor real-estate agent is beside herself with the frustration of the selfish neighbors who are delightfully taking advantage of their neighbor’s wonderful reception. One wonders, as they wander in and out of the kitchen, preparing themselves snacks, whether they might ever again leave. Presumably the couple might even be convinced to remain in their well-connected domain.

time-warner cable

A clearly angry airport worker, tossing her customer’s bags upon the cart which will take them to the belly of the airplane, throws them about, even allowing some of them to open and spill their contents onto the tarmac. But suddenly when she hears of Time-Warner’s change (it’s hard to know where she hears this news—maybe in her earphone) in their scheduling procedures, she suddenly comes awake, determining, like the cable company, to change her behavior. She takes a single suitcase and lovingly places it upon the cart, evidently leaving all the others to be destroyed by other, unknowing workers—or perhaps not even loaded.

affordable energy

More abundant energy needs more affordable energy. I’m Rick and I support affordable energy—presumably the energy that helps to create global warming and all the other things that destroy our atmosphere. Good for you Rick! I admire your cover up of what you’re truly saying!

I’m Rebecca and I’m Andy, goes another ad. Join us to support affordable energy. Meaning coal, fracking, oil-wells, and smokestacks I presume. They don’t bother to make that clear.

hartford insurance company

Perhaps the nastiest series of TV adds this season was from Hartford Insurance Company, which suggested that a certain warehouse could easily send harmful productions, if ordered, to small businesses. One suggested that with a simple order one might request a device to increase the local pizza-warm up to such a high degree that it would cause a major fire, the over-weight abuser of that system obviously being found guilty of causing major destruction to his company.
      Another, while pretending to celebrate the appointment of a new “associate” partner of an architectural firm, made sure that the champagne cork would explode in such a way that it caused a unsupported bookcase to collapse on the new company member, while the elders looked at her in passive dismay.
      The final, nasty Hartford add, suggested that this strange warehouse needed to ship a painting to a law firm. The painting, evidently had the eyes removed, so that some poor litigant was terrified by seeing “real” eyes—presumably those of the head lawyer—move behind the portrait, sending him, quite illogically, into shock and an entire physical breakdown, which the secretary simply mocks.
      What, one has to ask, was the purposes of these really unlikeable adds, and what were they saying about Hartford’s ability to insure one against the accidents they might face? And was Hartford, after all, responsible for these “accidents?”

I might certainly never seek Hartford insurance to protect me, since they, themselves, were evidently, the criminals in these three advertised events!

mister peanut

The formerly loveable Mr. Peanut is seen, as a motivational speaker, lecturing a college class of young slackers, arguing that he, unlike their own colleagues, will never let them down, helping them to function better every day, even while they sleep, while they, in stupid agreement, shake their heads in mindless confirmation. If these new millennials are the spokespeople for Mr. Peanut, forget it! The witty bon vivant has become simply a bad university lecturer, and I want nothing to do with his salty assertions.

mister peanut

In yet another transformation of the character of “Mister Peanut” the lovely “nut” turned quite nasty in his hostile reaction again the apparently hostile “Nutcracker,” who, at the last year’s event, evidently tried to take a bite out of him. This year, at what one gathers is an annual celebration, the formerly loveable monocled dandy, turns on his nemesis, demanding his ouster from the event. No peanuts in my New Year’s platters, I assure you. They bite!

gieco insurance

The incredible successful and chipper pitchwoman Flo, has now evidently been asked to turn down her “emotional excitement,” and pretends to be a kind of “goth” figure, without presenting any of her normal irrepressible personality. She, quite boringly attempts to do so, only becoming momentarily excited by one of the company’s claims before moving back into her bland non-commitment. What are we supposed to believe? That she cares or no longer is committed to her product? Should we take this insurance company seriously or simply dismiss them as not committing to their own previous statements?

Los Angeles, February 4, 2017