Someone, somewhere, ranted about stupid commercials. Since I understand that commercials are not simply slapped together and tossed out without any thought, I took a bit of an issue with the term "stupid commercials". They are not stupid, not even close, but carefully crafted productions designed to induce you to remember the product name. If they fail to do that then you might call them stupid, I'd say they were just failures; somewhere, somehow, the planning went astray.
If you look into commercials and advertising, you will find that advertising firms spend a long time on each commercial and ad. They research the product, they develop strategies, they plan campaigns with more skill than most generals. They do polling on the target consumer; colors, words, graphics. They hire psychologists who help them choose all of the above and guide them on content. They hire top-notch directors to film commercials and renowned artists and photographers to design the print ads. No, nothing stupid about advertising.
Yes, some do bomb. But not because they were just slapped together and no one tried to figure out what would capture the consumers' attention. Some commercials are definitely annoying and seemingly stupid. They are that way by design. For instance, look at the Head-On commercials. Poor cinematography, blaring sound, and annoying repetition. Seems stupid but it gets the product almost burned into your brain so the next time you get a headache, or at the store looking for headaches, you will remember.
Years ago there was a series of commercials with a supermarket worker named "Mr. Whipple". The commercial was for a product called Charmin, a toilet paper. Mr. Whipple, who looked like the stereotypical store employee in his work apron, would pop up looking frustrated and angry while he castigated women shoppers (and the occasional child) for squeezing the packages of toilet paper rolls. The phrase "Please don't squeeze the Charmin" leaked into the public consciousness and became a part of the culture. The commercials were annoying because Whipple was annoying. But they worked.
All of which brings me to my vote for most annoying commercial. The Mac vs PC ad series. What bugs me about them is the snobbery inherent to the Mac guy. The PC guy is the one you are supposed to laugh at, of course, but he is also a bit lovable. The nerdy geek with a kind of silly charm. The Mac guy is supposed to be casually cool; the guy that always managed to glide through school and had the most fun; the guy who was the life of every party; the guy who the girls all thought was cute. I always hated those guys. I'm sure it was out of envy but I don't care. I always wanted them to trip over their shoelaces or spill their pudding on their shirts at lunch or some other dumb thing. So why would he ever induce me to buy a Mac? How could a guy who always managed to make the girl I was trying to impress go all googly-eyed sell me on anything? Even though I know he played a credible Trekkie-style geek named Brandon in Galaxy Quest.
And that is why I won't be buying a Mac anytime soon.
A Night Unremembered
6 years ago