Why American commercials drive me mad

Oh come on, what is it with these friggin commercials? Really?  You know what? There is a number of different trends in American commercials and some of them are driving me mad. “Oh Come on man”, as someone I just imagined might say, “they’re just commercials, what’s the big deal?”. “Well they treat me like a moron”, I would likely say in reply, “And they treat you like one as well”. Let me explain a little more.

Whilst there is humour in some of the commercials and this is used to highlight the product, a great deal of commercials follow the current marketing adage: present a problem, then present the solution. This is in theory pretty sound and I guess it must work, otherwise it would not be used so much. But I always have in the back of my mind, a grinding suspicion that they are mainly trying to sell to idiots.

Take the commercial for stamps.com. You know the one, it starts with the annoying guy and this gem “There’s nothing worse than going to the post office and waiting in line”.  Errrrrrrr, really? What about if I knocked on your door then when you opened it, I took a run up kicked you in balls, would that be worse? Nope, theres nothing worse. What if I someone burnt down your house, would that be worse? Nope, nothing worse. What if a dog ate your children, would that be worse? Nope. Post Office – Hmm, clearly it would appear I don’t go to the post office often enough. It’s a bit tedious when there is a queue, yes, but nothing more than a small inconvenience. And I’m not the only one this guy annoys. Check out his “re-mixed” quote with war footage here (also embedded below), or some more discussion here. The odd thing is, this product might even be good!

Gamefly is another odd one. There is a commercial doing the rounds where members speak, it’s an edited version of this one. I like the guy at about the 38 second mark: “before Gamefly I could never play all the games that I wanted”, well Boo Hoo. I can’t go on all the holidays that I want to, or read all the books that I want to, but that’s life, get over it. But hang on, there’s a chap with a cheeky little smile on his face (about 32 seconds in) “I love the classics”. – WELL I LOVE TO GET OUT A BIT MORE, LOSER!!! – Man, I like a bit of PS3 action but ..  < < .. > > (that’s me shaking my head a lot).

Max my speed.com again is another. This I feel, is a bit preying on the elderly to rob them of some cash. “My PC is now a 100% faster” Really? What were you doing with it, downloading too much porn? Wading through mud? Not turning it on? What are you doing with your computer that downloading some software, will clean out some files, that it then runs at double the speed? This really is for people who have no idea what they are doing on a computer. A problem is created for them and a solution given. It might work a bit, PCs generally speaking, do not run as smooth as Macs and can get bogged down a little easier, so cleaning them out every so often is a good move. But ten times faster, 100 percent faster, ..  < < .. > > (that’s me shaking my head again).

Those are just a starter, and truth be told, actually these ones more amuse me than annoy me. They are (drum roll), the “as seen on tv” commercials, where everything goes black and white. Take this one for chef basket:

“Making pasta can be an adventure, – ouch, – you have to grab tight with pot holders, there must be a better way” – Or as I say, oh no it’s all gone horribly, horribly wrong. The world has turned black and white! What will we do? Oh hang on a mo, there is a solution. Chef basket makes it colour again. It has plenty of uses, hmm actually it does seem kind of useful. Is it really that good? Do you find with “as seen on tv” products that there is a slight whiff of “if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is”? They always seem that way to me. But they sure look useful. Or as they say in this version of the commercial here: “This is one time it is ok to put all your eggs in one basket. – Indeed.

Actually I did buy the Yoshi blade. It is very sharp and cuts very well. Unfortunately we managed to break the tip off it within the first week of ownership, after we (meaning my wife), dropped it on our stone countertop. And my wife managed to cut off the top of one of her nails with the “free” potato peeler, so I guess that is also sharp, and doubles up with a second use if you misplace your nail clippers.

Anyhoo, as usual I digress. Check out these scales, Up, Up, and a Weigh. See what they did there. Yes, just from the pun, I imagine you’re immediately impressed and wanting to buy aren’t you? But wait until the 50 second mark. Oh no, it’s all gone black and white again. There must be some bad things going on here, and indeed there is. Weighing your suitcase on some bathroom scales. Oh no, the stress of it all. How do we manage on the occasional times that we might have to do this? I think the sweat generated from lifting it onto the scales is going to drip on my shirt. I think my hair is going to fall out, I think, oh hang on, there’s a solution, and it has an easy to read, display too. It’s a good job they did a reproduction news item at the beginning of the commercial, otherwise I might have thought it was a real problem. Lucky for them I’m a moron, let’s get on the phone and order. Or on the other hand, let’s not.

Another favourite is Wonderfile, where it all immediately goes black and white. Oh no, a big pile of papers all over your desk? I think your head might explode. How are you going to manage this? So try Wonderfile where everything is neat and tidy. Where you have to er, well, um… solve the problem yourself, prior to using the product. Yes your new wonder file will work wonders with your files, if you spend the time neatly tidying and putting them into some kind of order, beforehand. Otherwise you’ll still be looking through seemingly random piles of paper, only now placed in a file. Or you could just tidy up the piles of paper on your desk anyway, and save yourself some cash.

Still I mock too much. The “as seen on tv” products always look to have some randomly useful stuff: I want some flex seal. I’m not sure what exactly I would flex seal, but I’m sure I can find something. He made a boat using a door and it didn’t go black and white, what more could you want?

Insta hang also looks kind of useful, although things do go a bit black and white there for a while, when hanging a picture the old way. Not sure it ever went black and white for me though whilst hanging pictures but let’s roll with it. Although I start to wonder if I could use it to hang my boy on the wall by his t-shirt. I probably should not get this one. Or only let my wife use it.

EZ moves looks good for people afraid of a bit of hard work, or if you simply want to appear super human strong to your neighbours by pushing your car without driving it.

I think I watch too much TV. Or is it the TV I do watch, has the same annoying commercials, I forget which?

Hang on. don’t click to a different page yet, there’s more. Commercials with stupid animated animals also begin to grate. What is with that stupid Gecko? I don’t think he’s smart, cute, clever, fun or even English. I want to boot him out of that stupid car park and see where he lands. I want to stamp on his head and tell him never to bother me or my TV screen again. He actually puts me off Geico products. And clearly the only way to follow that up is with an annoying squealing pig right? The only place that Pig wants to be seen in my house, is on a dinner plate, cosying up to some apple sauce. Squeal at that little piggy. Although it occurs to me that the Geico rhetorical questions are amusing, so horses for courses and some such nonsense.

So what really drives me mad about American commercials is this:

  1. Being treated like an idiot.
  2. Being told a situation that requires some mild effort on my part, is a huge problem. It isn’t. Putting some effort into something isn’t even something we should aspire to, it is merely something we should do.
  3. Annoying animated animals. You are neither smart or clever, and deserve to make an appearance in a video game that involves you being shot at.

If this continues, I’m going to either not care, or lose it to the point where I’ll be going to a tailgate party wearing a forever lazy, just as they do here. Hopefully it will be the former. What do you think?

Lexicon word of the day: deleveraging.

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