Evidence that TV Commercials Have Gotten Really Crappy

Call me jaded (Jaded!), but I’m not buying what they’re selling on television anymore. I don’t watch nearly as many commercials as I used to, having learned to fast forward through them in the 1980s with our top-loading VCR. Oh yeah, I went there. I can ignore ads old school and with my DVR. Good thing skipping ads is so easy, except when OnDemand makes it impossible. I will even opt for the longer running ads on Hulu so I can skip out and grab a drink. See what I did there? Even when the ad is playing, I leave the room! Only the furnishings will be subject to Madison Avenue’s messaging! Muahahaha…

Yes, again, all of this is simple stuff. But somewhere in the midst of skipping through, cutting out, and ignoring, I think commercials gave up on us. They don’t even try to sell us products and services anymore. Consumer spending may still be around 70 percent of the US’s economy, but maybe we’re not buying things because we were introduced to them in the middle of Private Practice.

I’m not asking for epic, 1984-reminiscent, one-time run ads like the Macintosh computer. I’m talking about simple things, like soap, cereal, dinner meals, and the like. For an ad by Proctor & Gamble’s Crest, for example, we see a series of extreme close-ups of people’s smiles. Entrust your smile to Crest. Not a bad idea, right? Except the soundtrack to this is the alienating, morose theme from the movie The Bridge, a film about suicide.

Or there’s this ad for a new kind of way to jazz up boring chicken dinner—try Philadelphia Cream Cheese’s “cooking cream!” Cooking cream? Say it with me: cooking cream. I know it’s alliterative and all, but once I get past the joy of similar consonant sounds strung together, the idea itself hits me, and it is disgusting. Sure, I’ve used cream cheese in cooking from time to time, but to dump a container full of cream cheese and herbs into my sauce pan of chunky chicken [sic] is a bit over the line for me. Maybe the commercial sells it better than I think it does.

I have to admit, that chicken wallpaper is pretty amazing. The product, however, is can’t-go-there land for me.

From the land of annoying advertisements, there is this:

See, why do people have to ruin Foreigner that way? Is Foreigner that hard up for royalties these days that they’re willing to let Stouffer’s change their lyrics and let this aggravating ad change the melody? Now I never want to eat spinach dip again, and truth be told, I wasn’t that much of a spinach dip guy before this commercial “came into my life.”

Anyone else have some examples to share? Add them in the comments and let’s snark!

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Categories: Pop Culture, popular culture


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5 Comments on “Evidence that TV Commercials Have Gotten Really Crappy”

  1. Willow Rose
    August 30, 2011 at 9:25 am #

    I never watch TV commercials. Most of the time I use them to do a bit of reading or writing, get a drink, water my garden, etc. Or I’ll just change the channel and watch music videos or another show! ANYTHING but commercials–I very much dislike them 😛

    • evmaroon
      August 30, 2011 at 9:39 am #

      I think at their best they have their own fun to them. They’re such tiny narratives; it’s challenging to get a story out in 30 seconds, to say the least. So that’s why I get a little bent out of shape when I feel like the writers and advertisers didn’t even try, or couldn’t be bothered to research where a jingle came from.

      • Willow Rose
        August 30, 2011 at 10:51 am #

        Ugh jingles. I get that they’re supposed to be annoying and get stuck in your head so that you will remember the product, but there are so many horrible ones out there. And several that don’t even make me think of the product it’s supposedly trying to sell!

  2. September 9, 2011 at 10:03 am #

    I can’t say anything about food commercials that Sarah Haskins hasn’t done better (WHY Jamie Lee? WHYYYYYYYYY????); they’re kinda verbooten in our house anyway (kid with an ED and all).

    But jeebus in a jumpsuit, G Gordon Liddy???? [insert Bill the Cat noises here]

  3. November 12, 2011 at 2:31 pm #

    I only ever see them on Hulu and am normally not paying any attention. When I do pay attention to commercials I am usually transfixed and repulsed at the same time. They generally strike me as brash, inappropriate, or bewildering. Ads for children’s products make me feel disoriented with all the jump cuts and yelling. I grew up watching tv ads but they definitely feel like they’re reaching.

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