The Good And The Ad

Here’s Gill, continuing our long tradition of talking about commercials.

Advertising has been a big thing for many years. Sometimes the ads have been unforgettable, others have left us wondering what people were thinking. From the racist and sexist to questionable advice and the annoying, here are some campaigns you might remember or would rather forget.

  • White Washed – In 1910 a soap company produced this cringy racist advertisement depicting a white child as clean and polished while the child of color was dirty and ragged looking.
  • The best doctors smoke Camel cigarettes – In the 1940’s before they knew the truly horrifying effects of cigarettes the Camel cigarette company put out this ad saying that only the top doctors and surgeons smoke Camels.
  • Too Delicate to camp – This comes circa 1958 as a print ad for a men’s clothing company. It shows two rugged men hiking and a weak female struggling. The tagline basically tells people to keep women indoors.
  • Innocence is sexy- This is what happens when the neighborhood pervert gets the right to advertise. This ad from 1974 is creepy even by 1970’s liberal standards. It’s for a product called Baby Soft, and the neighborhood pervert is talking about how sexy innocence is. (Note from Steve: I first spotted this one about three years ago. Yes, there is a video. No, you do not want to watch it.)
  • Earworm go away! earworm go away! – A few years ago a product called head-on made people want to apply their foot directly to their TV set. It became such a popular culture phenomenon that it was even mentioned in a horror movie.
  • A cold bottle of progressive – In the 1940’s, wanting to capitalize on the growing black middle class, Pepsi produced an ad featuring a middle class black family with a young boy reaching for a Pepsi in an icebox.
  • Fruit roll-ups and rice crispy treats – In the school district where I attended kindergarten they only did half days at the time, so I would get off the bus just in time for grilled cheese, tomato soup, and Masters of the Universe. During the shows that would be on at noon there would be ads for products kids loved. I don’t remember the lyrics to the fruit roll-up song other than “my friends and my fruit roll-ups.” There was also an ad for rice crispy treats featuring a kid in what appeared to be black pants and a green shirt.
  • Taking a break – More recently there was an ad for king sized kit-kat with two guys talking. One guy asked what the other guy was doing and the other guy told him that he was taking a break. To make a long story short, the guys were basically doing nothing.
  • Captain Obvious – This advertisement with a couple on a first date and the guy asking for some of the girl’s hair makes one laugh with discomfort.
  • JustFab- A few years back if you happened to be scanning the networks for something interesting to watch you might have found women literally in full orgasm (shoegasm) for a website where you would pay a price to buy shoes.
  • Hanging Oak beer – This is not an ad, but earlier this year a Nova Scotia Canada brewery opened a can of controversy with their new label Hanging Oak Beer. The picture on the can looked more like that of a noose used by white supremacists to lynch people of color. The brewery denied its detractors, however the controversy still stands.

Questions

Do you know of an advertisement that probably wouldn’t be allowed on air or in print in 2018? What was your favorite ad from childhood?

Trumpy Bear?

The other night I fell asleep watching TV. There’s nothing really out of the ordinary about that, but what I awoke to was a commercial so strange that I was half convinced that I must have been dreaming it. I was pretty sure I was with it enough to tell the difference between dreamland and reality, but I shuffled off to bed not knowing for sure.

It was still bugging me the next day, so I asked Carin. She laughed, said she’d never seen it and thought that maybe it could have been one of my dreams. I don’t often remember my dreams, but the ones I do remember can be pretty weird so it’s not like she was being dismissive of my foolishness and trying to get me to leave her alone. Yeah, I’m shocked, too.

So with nowhere else to turn, it was time to hit the Google. And…well…how about that!

Seriously, what in the hell is this? A tribute? A parody? Both? Nobody really seems to know (although Ad Age gave figuring it out a decent try).

Whatever it is, it’s just a wee bit ingenious. It sure as hell grabs your attention, for a start. And if you’re the sort of person who is inclined to buy things from the television, you might just want this no matter which side of the aisle you’re on. There’s just as good a case for it being an epic troll job as there is for it being a real albeit ridiculous attempt at making a loving collectable, and it even comes with a certificate of authenticity. Who can resist that? I’m sure it’s worth slightly more than the paper that Fleshbag Trumpy’s speeches are written on, assuming he ever bothers jotting any of that shit down outside of Twitter.

I have no idea what it’s supposed to be, but at least I know it wasn’t a dream. Now on to sorting out whether that’s good or bad…

The White Part Of The TV Is Acting Up Again

Since the whole world or at least what feels like it is talking about racism right now, I’m gonna leave this right here as a reminder that in spite of appearances and the best efforts of some, we have actually made progress. There once was a time when it was perfectly acceptable to run commercials like this on television.

That’s…not good.

It does sport a pretty catchy tune though I must say, and I’m not afraid to admit that the bit about reservations made me laugh a little.

Anyway, let’s all try to get along and love each other a little more, and maybe not elect bigoted dimwit celebrities who are qualified to do exactly 0 things to important public offices in the future, whatdaya think?

If Real People Commercials Were Real For Real

It’s no secret that companies think we’re stupid and have no problem insulting our intelligence. To me one of the worst examples of this is the “we talked to real people to get their thoughts on our brand new…” type ad. Anyone with even the faintest snort of a clue knows that everybody in the commercial is either an actor, knows enough to say nice things because they’ll get on TV or edited to come off even more excited than they truly are. Oh, and that anybody who acts like an asshole to the product is headed straight for the cutting room floor.

But what if these companies weren’t straight up lying to our faces? What if now and then some uncoached guy made it in or things didn’t go exactly as planned? It might look like these Chevy videos from Zebra Corner.






And breaking with the theme just because I’m juvenile and it made me laugh…

There’s a channel filled with these things making fun of all sorts of companies for doing this crap. Prepare to waste some time.

The First Ever Commercial Jingle, We Think

I just read a story about the rise and fall of commercial jingles and how changes in the advertising, television and music industries brought and continue to bring it about. You can read it here if that’s something you think you might be interested in doing.

But even if you’re not super interested in that, hopefully you’ll be interested in the part that caught my eye in the first place, the talk of what was probably the first ever sung radio commercial.

Nobody is 100 percent sure, but it’s believed that the honour goes to this sad sounding 1926 Wheaties ad.

Doesn’t exactly pump you up for a new day, does it? But hell if it didn’t work, perhaps because the concept was so new or maybe because the damn thing does have a strange way of crawling its way into your brain, probably making you want some breakfast if you sat and thought about it long enough.

Personally, I miss jingles. Part of this undoubtedly owes to my being a blind guy who longs for the days when I could watch a set of ads on TV without having to Google what the fuck 3 quarters of them were trying to sell me based on little more than a song I’d never heard and maybe a couple words of sensible dialogue if I’m lucky, but a lot of it is simply because they’re memorable and fun and above all, they work. When I hear Feist I don’t immediately think about iPods, but when I hear this, for instance, you bet I want to improve a home I don’t even own.

Though there is some debate, credit for the first commercial jingle usually goes to a Wheaties spot in 1926. The company that made Wheaties, the Minnesota-based Washburn Crosby (the predecessor of General Mills), tried to resurrect the flagging cereal on the radio with a song from a local barbershop quartet. It went like this:
Have you tried Wheaties?
They’re whole wheat with all of the bran.
Won’t you try Wheaties?
For wheat is the best food of man.
They’re crispy and crunchy
The whole year through,
The kiddies never tire of them
and neither will you.
So just try Wheaties,
The best breakfast food in the land.
It was straightforward, and sounded more like a dirge than the upbeat ditties that would come in the following decades. But the promo worked spectacularly, and the jingle made its way around the national market. It was a new way to advertise: The jingle was a natural fit for radio, and later television, both mediums well-suited to audio.

It Better Be A Good Prize If I’m Showing You That

This Oreo commercial is everywhere on TV lately, but no matter how many times I see it and how used to it I should be by now, the stupid thing catches me off guard every single time. Why? Well, just listen to the song.

I don’t care what the contest is called or what the title of the video is or what any of you might try to tell me, there’s no way in hell that fellow is singing anything other than “show your dong for a chance to win.” You can laugh and call it a misheard lyric all you want, but to me it’s a damn fact. My brain will accept no evidence to the contrary.

Not Special Needs

I saw this ad a few weeks ago, and it made me laugh. It also took no time at all to make a point that should have been clear all along.

I hope it makes some people think.

When I Say “Grandpa”, You Say “Bot”

I love technology, but I don’t like the idea of using it as a cure for loneliness. But a lot of people are getting this idea, and designing gadgets for people who spend too much time alone, like seniors and young single people, but especially seniors.

First up is Hasbro’s companion robot golden retriever. They have also made a robot cat, which…damn it all, makes me think of this song.

Anyway, back to the dog. It makes cute puppy sounds, has a life-like fur coat and mimics the soft breathing and heartbeat of a dog when you pet it. That does sound kind of adorable, and I can see the appeal of all the fun of a dog without the feeding and picking up of poop, but there’s another problem. This robot dog can’t move on its own, so you have to go get it.

So, if you’re a senior whose mobility is so poor that you can’t get out much, hence the whole loneliness problem, wouldn’t it be terrible to have a cuddly puppy-like thing that you’d just love to hold, but you can’t reach it? Couldn’t you at least make it so the thing comes when you say its name? I mean, it costs over $100. That’s an expensive stuffed animal.

Next up is Kirobo, made by Toyota. It is supposed to be a 10-inch doll-like robot thing that responds to speech and chatters mindlessly at you. But again, you have to carry it around, and it can’t do anything useful. I mean, at least the robot dog mimics the heartbeat and breathing of an animal, which might produce the health effects of petting a dog. Sure, you could say that talking to a lonely person is useful, but it won’t be if the conversation is meaningless. I imagine it will do one of two things: frustrate the heck out of the person trying to talk to this thing, and diminish the person’s social skills so that when they actually talk to another human, they won’t be able to do it. And you can have all of this for the low low price of $500. Hey! Wasn’t Jibo about that much? Oh, he was a little more. As much as he was creepy, at least he could be useful.

I guess I’m not the only person who doesnt like this trend. The Society of Saint-Vincent-de-Paul commissioned an ad predicting what the future would be if we went all robot caregivers. Sure, their main job is supplying folks in need of support with volunteers, but I can see their point.

I included the link and embedded the video because some of the stuff in the video is described in the article.

A robot doesn’t understand the finer points of human interaction. Everything the robot does makes perfect logical sense, but it doesn’t work at all because humans aren’t always logical.

After talking about lonely seniors, I have this overwhelming need to call Grandma. Maybe I’ll do that now.

The Rolling Stones Did A Rice Krispies Commercial In The 1960s

I know bands do commercials all the time, but the fact that the Rolling Stones wrote a 26 second song about Rice Krispies in 1964 is still strange to me for some reason.

It’s not bad. In fact I’d go as far as to say it’s probably the best thing about Rice Krispies, the most useless breakfast food on earth. Seriously, you eat a bowl of those things and by the time you’re done, the effort required to consume it leaves you feeling hungrier than you were when you started.

Thanks, Asshole!


Somebody posted this funny commercial about organ donation on Facebook yesterday, and I laughed and laughed and laughed. Note to self: Did I check that box when I got my Ontario Photo card? And I’m not even an asshole. Double awesome!