I don’t watch a whole lot of TV and, in turn, I don’t see many commercials. I do, however, watch a whole lot of sports so I consider myself an expert in that small subset of commercials that air during sporting events. I tend to be really out-of-touch on things like the Snuggie and P90X, which were on sale for at least 15 years each before I had ever heard of them. On the other hand, I saw the trailer for Grown Ups at least 284 times and learned what Beef O’Brady’s was by watching the Beef O’Brady’s Bowl. So there are pros and cons; in a perfect world, I would be naive to all this stuff, but I’m not, so I’ll complain instead.
Commercials during sporting events not called the “Super Bowl” are a little bit like offensive lineman. No one really pays attention to offensive lineman or commercials unless they do something bad. Let’s face it, I’m not going to go buy your product because your commercial is good. However, you can annoy me and make me hate your product. A commercial has never made me buy a certain brand of clothes, but I did boycott Old Navy for six years because their commercials were so dumb.
As a sort of public service announcement, here’s a list of really terrible commercials. Good luck picking these apart next time you see them:
1. Miller Lite “Man Up”
Beer commercials are usually some of the better advertising on TV. Not so with these travesties of commercials.* If you haven’t seen these commercials, essentially they consist of various sissy and/or douchey and/or Afflicition shirt-wearing guys that don’t care how much flavor their beer has. Given the option between more flavor or less flavor, these characters have the nerve to suggest that it doesn’t matter how much flavor their beer has. According to Miller, this is the wrong answer. Clearly the right answer is more flavor, whatever the hell that means. More flavor means Miller Lite, obviously, as any beer lover will tell you.
* The MGD 64 commercials where the guy is trying to work off his Michelob Ultra by doing calisthenics while drinking get honorable mention here as being ridiculously awful. I like some semblance of reality in my commercials. I’ll grant a little suspension of disbelief, but I need to be able to relate to a commercial. I know of no person, man or woman, that is so concerned about calories that he/she would actually do squats while drinking a Michelob Ultra. The commercial would even be okay if I could make a joke like “how gay do you have to be to do that?” but I can’t, because I have a few gay friends that wouldn’t even think of doing something that idiotic. What market segment are they trying to reach here? I can’t even imagine what that test group consisted of.
I also find it ironic that this is the same company advising beer drinkers to “man up.” Apparently it’s plenty manly to drink your nearly clear pisswater so you don’t have to ride an exercise bike while you burn off your slightly less clear Michelob Ultra.
There is a variety of people that Miller Lite suggests to “man up.” Among these include:
A misguided American wearing a European man-thong
A Corey Hart fan that simply wants to wear his sunglasses in a club at night
A football fan that tries to look like a cougar but instead botches the makeup job, making him look more like a house cat
A middle-aged guy that inexplicably brings his mom (who calls him “Peanut”) to watch him drink at the bar with his buddies
An even-more middle-aged guy who even more inexplicably has a tramp stamp
A really middle-aged guy who really inexplicably flaunts social mores and welcomes potential legal repercussions by wearing a skirt to the bar
A guy that wears a lot of dragons which, I can only assume, is meant to symbolize Ed Hardy wearers
A guy that carries a purse which he swears is a carry-all
Eight commercials, eight swings and misses. Seriously, who are these commercials trying to target? Is there some skirt-wearing, purse-carrying young gentleman somewhere that thinks these commercials are hitting a little too close to home? I can only imagine this poor un-self-aware guy: “You know what, these guys are right. I do need to start caring about my light beer. Never again will I order the nondescript light beer with far less flavor. Nay, it’s Miller Lite for me!” For that one guy, these commercials might be perfect. For the rest of us, I say it’s time for Miller Lite to man up and get rid of these commercials.*
* It took me three and a half posts to get my first terribly corny joke. Not bad.
2. Anything Buffalo Wild Wings related
You’ve seen these commercials. A bunch of fans are sitting in Buffalo Wild Wings watching two nonexistent sports teams go at it in a tremendous game. In a world where there’s apparently only one game on TV per day, these poor fans want the game to keep on going, lest they have to go home to their otherwise miserable lives. Lucky for them, they’re at Buffalo Wild Wings, which has the power to force games to continue through a variety of strategically placed photographers, security officers, and groundskeepers. I don’t want to hurt any of these individual commercial’s feelings, because they’re all terrible, but I’ll pick out the most egregious example here:
* Look at those comments on there. Who are these people that actually think this commercial is funny? Talk about an argument for the pro-choicers out there.
First off, what fans from New York and Boston from any sport are getting chummy with each other while watching a close game together? I seem to vaguely recall a rivalry between baseball teams in those two cities and a certain Super Bowl that ended poorly for Bostonians. In basketball, apparently, they’re best friends though.
Second, what kind of d-bag fan gets excited when the other team scores to tie the game with five seconds left? Seriously, look at that guy – he’s wearing a Boston jersey, jumps up to cheer when New York ties the game at 102, and proclaims that he wishes the game would never end. Who would do that? What’s so wrong with this guy that he wishes the game goes on for an indefinite period of time more than he wants his own team to win? We’re like 2 1/2 seconds into the commercial and I’m already annoyed.
At this point, Boston douche #2 steps up and wants the game sent into overtime. This is even worse than the first guy. The first guy just doesn’t want to go home to his verbally abusive wife and kids he doesn’t love. Guy #2 says “No thanks to a dramatic last second shot for my team, let’s go into overtime.” Well, if this guy wants it, it’s time to page the photographer.
Back from a timeout, Boston gets a wide open breakaway after New York decides to put on the full court press tied up with five seconds left. Not sure who ends up winning the game, but the New York coach probably needs to be fired either way for this choice of defense. The photographer gets the big flash out and times it perfectly on the uncontested breakaway. Unfortunately for real Boston fans, the player is very sensitive to flashes; whereas most of us would have blinked uncomfortably a few times, this guy loses the ability to stand and crashes into the basket support as if someone just fired a cannon at him. Cut back to the bar. It’s overtime and everyone’s excited, even these so-called fans whose team just missed a wide-open layup to win the game.
Finally, we get the last scene, with five seconds left in overtime. The photographer takes a picture of the mascot, who is holding a t-shirt gun. Clearly, the time to shoot t-shirts is with a few seconds left in overtime, hence the gun. Poor mascot is stunned by the light. Instead of blinking like the rest of us, the tiger thinks the best course of action is to fire the gun out onto the court. The t-shirt hits the Boston player in the post at the same time a pass is coming his way, leading to the rare nuts/head one-two punch. At this point, it’s pretty clear both coaches are getting fired. The ball hits the player with .7 seconds left on the clock. What coach calls up a play to work the ball to the post that late in the game clock? Maybe that’s why the Boston/New York fans were cheering together – they both know that their coaches’ poor clock management precludes them from advancing in the playoffs.
Long story short: BWW’s wings suck and so do their commercials. Stay away.
Lately I’ve seen a marked increase in strawman commercials.* These are the commercials where the advertising company simply makes up a different company to compete against.
* For those that don’t know, courtesy of Wikipedia: “A straw man argument is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent’s position.”
For example, these Discover commercials that I’m forced to watch because Discover sponsors a BCS bowl:
To recap: Discover has better customer service (or rewards or transfer fees, depending on the commercial) then USA Prime Credit. Well sign me up! I wasn’t sure about Discover, but now I know that they’re better than the nonexistent company that they just make up two fucking seconds ago, I’m on board.
An even more bizarre example is this Subway fiasco: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WClGO-iWlJg
Again, they made up a company, but it appears they’re trying to take a shot at Burger King, whose slogan is “Have it Your Way.” Apparently Subway feels that they can’t compete with that, because they bastardized the slogan to read “Made Only One Way.” That, my friends, Subway can top!