June 23, 2010
Shit's about to get political up in this biz.
There's the poorly executed ads, the ads gamely struggling to market a terrible product, and the advertisements made by ham-fisted creatives who wouldn't know proper pacing, humor, or salesmanship if it burrowed into their thigh meat. But even the most content-free pile of flashing lights and bellowed voice-overs selling sugary snacks on a Saturday morning can hold its ad head up high and be thankful it isn't a Truth PSA. If effective, memorable advertising has a gold standard, Truth ads are as far from that standard as fillet mignon is from a Ziploc baggie of amputated fingers.
Holier-than-thou agenda aside, the naked assault on logic and critical thinking on display here is enough to describe this ad's own private circle in Hell. If advertisements had a Hell, which I guess would imply that advertisements had a soul. But would that apply to print as well as television? What about the little stickers on race cars? Would they be the unbaptized babes of the advertising afterlife? Would coupons be the Jews? You know... snip-snip?
Truth's subtle little tactic, in case you weren't able to follow along with the subtlety, is that if one thing is bad for you but isn't being advertised as bad for you, and by exaggerating that strategy through the fine art of parody, we can wake up 'merica to just how **<--EVIL-->** the tobacco companies are. Hence, Glass Pops. How droll.
Let's explain Truth's fallacious argument in a manner which they may have some hope of understanding, as a high-school SAT-prep question:
cigarettes are to Glass Pops as unprotected sex is to...
d) anal fire rape
Cigarettes are (spoiler alert) dangerous and bad for you. They can ruin your health in all manner of hideous and frankly disgusting ways, despite making you look cool as shit while they're doing it. What Truth seems to be overlooking is that "ruins your body" is not the major selling point of tobacco. It also feels amazing. Glass Pops, on the other hand, are dangerous, ruin your body, and have zero pleasurable effects. They are effectively pain sticks and serve no other purpose, and this makes the comparison a pile of STFU.
The folks at Truth have a very difficult time understanding that smokers are not smokers because tobacco executives beat them in a one-on-one debate. They're smokers because smoking feels good and the chemicals in them are physically addictive. Glass Pops, they do not feel good, and they are about as addictive as under-nail bamboo skewers. The entire ad is based on a deductive fallacy as elementary as "Adnoxious is a web site. Epicurious is a web site. Adnoxious can provide me with a tasty yet wholesome citrus quinoa recipe for my next garden party."
Well, maybe, but you're going to have to get through a lot of rape jokes first. Forewarned.
So, "What if all companies sold products like tobacco?" (And yes, Truth, it makes no nevermind how powerful and thought-provoking you think your tag line is, it still needs a god-damned question mark. Grammar truth.) First of all, I'm taking your word for it that tobacco companies still advertise at all. It's not like they still have Tweety fellating Pall-Malls in between Loony Tunes anymore, and it's been years since I've seen one of those Kool print ads with a dozen women in one-pieces lounging by a pool. But while tobacco execs are never going to win Humanitarian of the Year, they've been tasked with selling a product that, if consumed properly, kills you, which has to be one thankless fucking endeavor. Coming to work each morning hoping you haven't slaughtered your consumer base can't be good for the ulcers, so cut them a little slack for not using a picture of a tracheotomy stoma as a billboard.
But the real ass-boil in this ad comes after you get past the ridiculous comparison and silly presentation. Let's assume Glass Pops were a real product, this was a real commercial, and there were people out there buying and eating delicious Glass Pops. What, then, is the problem that Truth has with this commercial. This guy comes on and gives you real information about the dangers of their product, information that you can use to determine whether or not the risk is worth it to you to consume it. He's using no trickery, no hyped statistics, no manipulative imagery or spokesmen. He's standing in front of millions and urging everyone to get the facts and use personal responsibility before engaging in risky behavior.
Isn't that exactly what Truth wants the tobacco industry to do?! If the CEO of Phillip Morris bought national ad time during the Super Bowl and with zero irony or artifice told an audience of millions that cigarettes were harmful and to please stop using them if you are concerned about health risks, I would have thought the offices of Truth would have run sticky with self-righteous orgies for weeks. So what's with the sarcasm and poorly-punctuated message? Is there anything at this point the tobacco companies can do that will make these pricks happy?
Imagine Greenpeace producing a PSA showing a group of hardened whalers silently sobbing over the slaughter they hath wrought, laying down their harpoons, and hugging dolphins ending with the line "What if everyone acted like whalers?" That's the kind of confusion I'm grappling with here.
Chances I will not buy tobacco products thanks to this ad: I'm tempted to start smoking again just to spite these assholes.
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June 17, 2010
As Chef Boyardee conclusively proved, nothing makes children react explode with nova-like rage than the suggestion they consume a plant. If it isn't deep-fried, dipped in caramel or both, you'd have as much luck getting a kid to eat a carrot as you would teaching a kitten calligraphy. This is as solid a truth in advertising as you are likely to find, as universally understood as the fact that once a month, women menstruate windshield-wiper fluid.
Thank goodness Hidden Valley is here to defuse the ticking time-bomb of psychotic fury that is your child's aversion to vitamins. Their creamy balm of salad salve is all that stands between your progeny and crippling beriberi, rickets, or any number of other hilarious-sounding deficiencies. It helps if your definition of "balanced diet" includes the phrase "fat-slathered." It doesn't have to be right at the top, even.
Let's not beat around the dressing-drenched bush, Hidden Valley. You aren't making vegetables any more delectable. You're making everything taste like ranch. You could dip a fistful of lug nuts and pigeon bones into that gallon-sized bowl of dressing you got there and it would taste the same as a piece of cauliflower.
Do you think after emptying the fourth or fifth bottle of ranch dressing into that bowl, the mom took a moment to wonder about the exact moment she lost her fucking mind? Just out of frame, she's chewing on the end of her ponytail and murmuring, "I'm a good cook. I'm a good cook. I'm. A. Good. Cook."
Don't get me wrong, ranch dressing is some tasty stuff. Few people would dispute that, and you lunatics in the Pacific Northwest seem to think it's a fair replacement for other foodstuffs like ketchup or bread. But just because something is tasty does not justify loading into a fire hose and spraying your children with it under the guise of proper nutrition. That would be as insane as trying to make high-fructose corn syrup sound healthy.
Chances I will buy Hidden Valley ranch dressing thanks to this ad: Proper hidden valleys are filled with iguana dinosaurs and giant apes, not flavored mayonnaise.
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June 14, 2010
Women are not easy beasts to understand. They are lumbering, sweaty things who communicate in squeaks and titters about their need for proper-fitting underthings and how much they hate their co-workers. It is best, in my experience, to avoid contact with them whenever possible, venturing from safety only when insatiable sexual need forces you to suffer through a dinner with their parents. Only after her father soundly criticizes your choice of television programs for three hours and you have been rewarded with--let's call it "nectar"--for four minutes may you venture back into your subterranean hovel.
Like a category-5 hurricane or a Guatemalan sinkhole can occasionally remind us just how powerless we are against Nature, all women have secret maelstroms of crazy swirling in their hidden nethers, waiting to gobsmack you down into blank-eyed helplessness. "This she-mate of mine," men (and the stubblier of lesbians) often think to themselves, "is a levelheaded and intelligent companion, capable of erudite observation and pithy witticisms. Her raw, moistened sexuality is equaled only by her searing mental prowess. Why then is she bawling because I don't want to buy her a Blu-Ray copy of Ice Princess"? Back to your hovel. This is not for you to know.
But before we digress into a lousy "ain't women weird?" Bill Engvall routine (Here's one if you really feel the need. God help you if you do), I'll say that as befuddled as I am by the fairer sex, I have spent a fair amount of time around them, which is more (SO much more) than we can say about the mad men currently in charge of Laughing Cow's television campaign. To wit, I am aware--albeit only marginally, to be fair--that women cannot be brought to orgasm with cheese.
They live in a cheese-colored world, where happiness comes foil-wrapped in a wedge of toothpaste-colored fat. The women portrayed in this commercial find more pleasure in Laughing Cow snack "foods" than a scabby hooker finds in a syringe of eyeball heroin. The paroxysms of panty-melting pleasure into which this collection of dairy-crazed sows froth themselves would make Erika Kole, star of Interview With an Enema, blush with girlish modesty.
But the creative minds behind this ad didn't just stop at "Broads like cheese a lot." They couldn't. They WON'T. Variety is, after all, quite a tempting spice, and there are so many ways to misrepresent how much women like stuffing their fat faces. Why stop at one?
We have the "I'm feeling so impishly guilty about fisting three fingers of cheese into my face cave, I'm adopting an expression like my fiancé just walked in on me blowing the stripper at my bridal shower" girl.
There's the "Guess where my other hand is" girl.
Is it just me or is this chick showing an awful lot of tit for a cracker-spread ad?
Poor thing. Her soul-crushing suburban existence has so numbed her to pleasure, the only way she can feel anything is by chafing her nub while eating cheese pretzels. From the state of her hair, looks like she's been at it all morning, too. Thus are fetishes born.
Finally, there's a woman who has abandoned all pretense of sanity and has given herself completely to the unholy demons of The Laughing Cowe.
Imagine you're at a pleasant afternoon social engagement and a woman sitting alone in a hideous chair begins rocking violently in her seat, collapsing in on herself with laughter. Along the reaction spectrum, would yours be closer to, "Fuck me standing, that must be some good cheese," or, "Does she think that cracker is telling her jokes?" In the real world, she'd be permanently hooked up to a lithium drip and only allowed to write with crayons, but here, she's just a joyful soul helpless in the face of delicious hilarity.
I don't know why Laughing Cow decided only women enjoy (according to their packaging) "light spreadable original cheese flavor wedges," (mmm) but throwing in some curd-crazy males would have been a nice gesture towards equality.
Commercials like this are so terrible on so many levels, it makes me physically winded. There's too much to notice. It's like watching a tornado uproot a mini-mall and trying to describe every piece of nail-salon debris that whings by. Sexism? Yes, we have a duffel stuffed with sexism. Ridiculous soundtrack implying that women should never, ever stop eating? Yes, and made all the worse by the fact that the original music video for the "Don't Stop" song features a woman being tied to a railroad tie and run over with a steam locomotive, which only makes psychopaths hungry for cheese, if I'm remembering Psych 101 correctly. And does the ad cap everything off with a batshit voiceover that makes as much sense as enrolling a bagful of hornets in architecture classes? Well, shall we take a quick gander?
"With only 35 calories a wedge, feel free to laugh all you want."
I laugh for a few reasons. The suffering of old and/or orthodox religious people is one, and funny things is a close runner-up. It is a fairly complicated list, so let me walk you through one salient point you may have missed: the caloric content of my snacks is nowhere on it. Even if that number were very, very small or very, very large, it would be a diverting curiosity at best, not a sidesplitting Vaudeville routine.
Unless you're this lunatic, of course.
Christ, woman. Put down the cheese before you pop an artery.
Chances I will buy Laughing Cow light spreadable original cheese flavor wedges thanks to this ad: Erika Kole also stars in Bong Water Butt Babes, FYI.
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June 11, 2010
I really don't see what all the fuss about BP is lately. Turn on the TV, radio, or telegraph these days, and it's all "Gulf Coast" this and "destruction of the ocean" that, and it's so easy for the public to sit in their suburban palaces and cast blame from the luxurious comfort of their beanbag chairs, isn't it? But maybe everyone should get off their sky-high horses for two seconds and realize BP has been on the front lines for more than 20 years fighting Australian cattle bloat.
Smug assholes. You try getting a cow to burp, you think it's so fuckin' easy. I think we all owe our benefactors at BP a hefty apology. Fruit baskets would not be out of line.
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