Friday, December 4, 2009

Tis the Season - To Advertise

You know how some commercials just stay with you? The advertisements that tug at your heart or make you laugh and tap your foot--the ones where you have to stay and watch, even if you've been waiting for a commercial so you could run to the bathroom?

With the Christmas shopping season in full swing, the advertisements are hitting an all time high. There's a radio commercial going on right now with the top ten reasons to buy a car at Christmas. I love top ten lists, and this one made me laugh. Three of the reasons were: the perfect stocking stuffer for your garage; the one gift you know won't be re-gifted; and three words: new car smell.

But for every great commercial out there, there's hundreds that make you grown or that just stink. Some commercials are so awful, they almost become an anti-favorite. When I was growing up, there was a local remodeling company that ran an advertisement. It showed two young adults (clearly not professional actors) sitting in a car. The "actors" barely restrained themselves from looking at the camera as they recited their lines in monotones. Instead of voice inflection, they used hesitation and stilted speech to get their message across.

Girl: Randy. could. this. be. Aunt Carol's. house?
Man: (Good imitation of William Shatner in Star Trek) It. looks. like. it. Except--a lot. newer.

Now picture the couple with self-conscious grins through the entire commercial. It was so awful it cracked us up. We recited the lines to each other at random just for the fun of it.

As always, in addition to the great advertisements and the terrible ones, you have the dumb ones. This year the dumb ones seem to fall into two categories. The first ones are the commercials with the too-little-too-late disclaimer. These are the commercials that tout a website or a phone number for kids to call. They make the entire commercial so exciting that no child could possibly say no. Then at the very end, in a hurried voice, the announcer quietly reminds the kids to ask their parents before they call or go online. Yeah, right. Like that happens.

It's bad enough when the advertisements target kids, but I think it's even worse when they air an alcohol advertisement, and then quietly remind people to "drink responsibly". Stupid phrase. This morning I heard a commercial for a tourist gambling franchise. The commercial was filled with people cheering, laughing and having fun. At the end the announcer said, "If you have a gambling problem, dial 1-800-admitit." I am not making this up.

Not quite as seriously bad, but equally annoying are the dumb commercials that use words in ways they weren't meant to be used. Nouns do not show action, people. They cannot be used as verbs, no matter how hard you try. I suppose in some ways that association has worked. For instance, for many years people "xeroxed" something when they wanted to use a copier. But that doesn't always work. Have you ever "kleenexed" your nose? "Ovened" your food? I didn't think so.

There is a restaurant in the area called Pollo Tropical. It's my understanding that pollo (pronounced po-yo) is "chicken" in Spanish. This restaurant has a commercial that ends with the words, "It's time to pollo." Seriously? It's time to chicken? What does that even mean? That is one of the stupidest phrases I've ever heard, and yes, it actually keeps me from eating there.

Kohl's is one of my all time favorite stores, but right now they've even gotten on the stupid bandwagon. Their catch phrase this year? "The more you know the more you Kohl's." What? I've never "Kohl's"ed anything in my life. I wouldn't know how, and I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be appropriate.

What I'm really afraid of is that society has dumbed down so much that these commercials actually make sense. Well I won't have it. Someone has to take a stand for intelligence and grammar and the English language. I guess that someone is me.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to secretary by computering my reports.

So what about you? Got a favorite commercial or one you really hate? Share it here!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Well don't just stand there! Say something! : )

Related Posts with Thumbnails