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Three score and ten or more

Sunday, September 28, 2008


I don't have any idea why television commercials have been running around in my mind lately, but they have.  Some commercials are just fun.  Others are so agonizing that I get cranky just running across them on the tube.  I'm sure that some that irritate me are commercials loved by others, so I won't make unbreakable judgements, I can only express my own opinion.

For instance, I have enjoyed the Geico commercials with the little Gekko ever since they began, and they have gone through so many variations that it is hard to keep track of how they began. On the other hand, the Geico Cave Man commercials drive me nuts.  It isn't so much the premise, though I don't like that very much either.  It is mostly the writing that begins one way but contains little bits of negative flow.  There is one where the Cave man is sitting in a shrink's office and being put down and his cell phone rings.  "It's my mother,"he says" I'll put her on speaker."     Why on speaker, to prove that she can speak?  The ability to speak was out of the bag a long time ago.  Why not texting, or doing something unusual that proves the Cave man's family intellect.  I just get irritated.  There are other examples but I don't want to spend all my space on Cave men.

Of all the commercials that make me want to shoot the tv.  Those by Billy Mays are close to the top of the list.  He SCREAMS about magic putty, about health insurance, about a number of other products, some of which I used, until I heard the commercials.  Just being publicized by Billy Mays enough to earn my black ball.  (I think this is partially affected by the fact that 40's and 50's bandleader Billy Mays was one of my favorites, and his name always stood for smoothness and rhythm while this new Billy Mays stands for a headache)  About the only worse commercial (to me) is the one for SHAM WOW. It appears to be a decent product but it will never cross my door.

I was never much of a fan of the little Verizon man that used to wander the commercial streets whining "Can you hear me now", but I have begun to really look forward to the Verizon "dead zone" commercials.  The play off of horror movie cliches is just too precious.  The first one, a cadaverous woman who comes to the newcomers to the neighborhood to warn them of the "Dead Zone" in their home where calls are lost forever and upon being informed that they have the people of Verizon who have elimated the dead zone, stunned for a moment she looks back with "Well, you have crab grass."   The actress' timing is marvelous and I giggle every time .  There is a whole series growing, each funnier than the one before.  It would tempt me to change my cell phone to Verizon from Altel except that Verizon bought Altel about a year ago.

Speaking of acquizitions, do any of you remember the absolutely awful commercials for Wendys that had guys in red wigs screaming incomprehensible things to audiences made up of fifty Abe Lincolns,  or some other equally weird group.  Now Wendy;s has been purchased by Arby's and the commercial are changed to little red headed girls describing a sandwich as "way better than fast food."  Did you notice that this change occurred just after the Arby's purchase.   A conspiracy nut would be tempted to go back and analyze the personal wealth of the guys in the advertising agency that did the Abe Lincoln adds to see if they were paid off to make those terrible commercials in order to lower the price of Wendy's stock in order to get Arby's a better deal 

I have about six other commercials on my list but this is too darn long already.


At 11:03 AM, Blogger Gayle said...

LOL! I hate most commercials, Richard. I tune them out whenever possible. Billy Mays is the most obnoxious one of all. He's impossible to tune out, so when he comes on I mute the sound! He makes me want to strangle him!

Well, on second thought, there's a commercial on tv where a baby actually seems to be throwing-up on the tv screen. That is the worst one I've ever seen! I don't know what those people are even advertising because I was so offended by it.

I like the gekko one's too. :)

At 6:46 AM, Blogger Norma said...

I remember my mother saying about 60 years ago that she wouldn't buy Royal Pudding because she hated the commercial. Remember that one? Don't. You'll start singing it.


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