Commercial Pet Peeves

Watching TV is one of my favorite time wasters and heckling commercials is my second favorite. There are many, many irritating things in almost all of the commercials that we are inundated with on a daily basis. Things that defy logic, are ridiculous, or are just plain stoopid that I have no choice but to say something about it. Good thing these blog things were made or else I would explode keeping all this in. (Actually, my wife is happy that I have an outlet for this. She's getting pretty tired hearing me talk back to the TV day in and day out.)

Here are some of my recent commercial pet peeves (I'm willing to make this a reoccurring thing if this goes well):

For the longest time the slogan for Dippin' Dots was "The Ice Cream of the Future." They used that slogan for years, ever since they were created 20 years ago. Umm...it's 2007. I think the future is here and it's now a thing of the past. Their new slogan should be: "The Ice Cream Fad of the 80's."

I DESPISE the Transitions commercials. Allow me to tell you why:

1. In the past, NOT the future, (the 60's to be exact) Corning first developed photochromic lenses. They were made of glass at first, but I just had to say this because I remember people having these special glasses back in the 70's. So when I saw these commercials with their "In the future..." opening line, I cried foul.

2. All the actors sport the ever-present "smug look". For some reason, ad agencies think that we want to see yuppie-ish hipsters walking around with consumer items that we can't afford with smack-worthy, "aren't I the coolest thing since sliced bread for having something that no one else has" look on their faces. Please stop, people.

Here is the most recent Transitions spot. Here is another one. Hatred is such a soft word when describing these things.

I've come to loathe with a passion KFC's use of "Sweet Home Alabama" in their commercials. It's just a small snippet, but just enough for you to hate the song even more than before. I know that it shouldn't bother me here, but it just doesn't add up. Most songs that you hear on commercials these days have a certain reason, whether it's the song title, or theme. This particular use of a pop song does not have any rhyme or reason. Also, you have to ask yourself, why? Why use a song celebrating Alabama for a restaurant chain that hails from Kentucky (remember that the original name was "Kentucky Fried Chicken")? Just because it's Southern doesn't mean you can lump it into the same category.

Have you seen the latest GLAD ForceFlex commercial where two guys rob a bank and have the cashier stuff as much as she can in the bags? The joke is that the bags stretch and she ends up taking so long that they get caught. Ha ha ha. Next time you see it, notice these things:

They do not have ski masks or anything covering their faces.
They do not use any sort of firearms.
They do not use a note, they just ask the cashier to fill the bag.

This is all very deliberate on the client's part for fear of getting sued by banks, in case some idiot(s) might get some big ideas because they saw it on a commercial. One pet peeve of mine about this spot: there's no way that that cashier would run out of money to put in their bag with the bank being as big as that one. I know it's part of the joke, but I'm not buying it.

Ad campaigns that need to stop:

Energizer and that confounded Bunny. Okay, we get it. It keeps going.

The Gatorade "Is it in you?" campaign -- It doesn't look like they're sweating Gatorade, guys. It looks like someone just dumped the drink on them. It's an okay concept that probably sounded great on paper, but just doesn't come off that well on TV. Bottom line: you're paying way too much for all that post work.

Chick-Fil-A's Eat Mor Chiken -- the cows are tired. Put them to rest. Please. (Oh, before you do that, Mr. Fil-A -- could you please open up a restaurant in Portland? Please? There's none up here in the Northwest! That's a crime right there. Just one, please? Thank you.)

On a lighter note:

Peep this All-Bran commercial and watch the wonderful tongue-in-butt-cheek visual jokes going on in the background. This spot was pointed out to me by my wife. (Me thinks she's trying to tell me something.)

Click here for the director's "cut."


  1. Maybe we'll have to freeze some Chik-Fil-A sandwiches and send 'em your way....

    (I hate that they're closed on Sundays. What's a guy to do when he wants chicken and pickles on the Lord's day...?)

    On the off chance that I catch a commercial when I'm TiVo-ing past them at lightspeed, I am astounded by the stupidity.

  2. Honestly, I haven't had any respect for KFC since the cowardly (chickens?) got rid of any reference to Kentucky AND frying in one fell swoop. Makes me wanna blow cigar smoke in some health nut's face. Hey, now I know what I'll do when I walk home tonight! Thanks, Ward! Oh, and I think our old pal Mikey Schultze put it best when he said: "Robert, ad agency people only know how to do one thing-talk." They certainly can't CREATE! Oh, wait, they can do one other thing...IRRITATE!

  3. RE: The "Future"- WHERE IS MY JET PACK???

  4. Chris -- EXACTLY. I'm miffed by that one. Check out this book: Where's My Jetpack?

  5. Love this entry. I too heckle the commercials, but it's like shooting fish in a barrel, really. Still, I can't help myself, they beg for me to do it to them. I'm totally with you on all of your calls - especially the "KFC"/Sweet Home Alabama . . . aaargh! SHUT UP ALREADY! ok I feel better now.

  6. Wow, dumb commercials bring out a whole different side of our loveable Ward. I totally agree however, especially about those smug transitions bastards. They all look like they belong in the Matrix.

  7. Ha ha, and Kentucky Fried Chicken actually started here in Salt Lake City, Utah. A little far from home...

  8. i hope does become a regular topic on your blog. i like about 1 out of 5 commercials i see on television. but heres 1 of my most favorite commercials: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCQgBcn3F8A

  9. Hey Ward, this is quite a different post than usual. I bet you posted this right after watching TV, huh? I love how it feels like I was there watching them with you as you ranted about them. I don't really miss making commercials per say, but it was always fun to try to make an impact in 30 seconds.

    Luckily, I don't think I've seen most of the commercials you mention here. I hardly watch TV anymore (I'm not saying this in that liberal, urban culture snob kind of way, it's just the truth). Sounds like most of them would make me want to vomit. I'm surprised you have TIME to watch TV, considering all those kids you have to wrangle into bed, etc., let alone write about them in your blog! Fun stuff.

    I DID catch this one the other day though. It's weird how Devo created a new song for the new Dell commercials. I don't know how I feel about that. Cool song, cool art direction...but for Dell? but ya gotta love those quasi-futuristic girls. You can see it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhtgw-tOj-o

  10. Here in Spain ads are better than programs...
    That's why I think that there are so many...If you're watching The Simpsons (20 minutes more or less) you'll have 5 minutes of ads.

    As one friend of mine said in the Freak Pride in Madrid: "We'd like to thank E-mule Television(...)":D

  11. Ward I am right there with you on the "transitions lenses" commercial. i HAD a pair of the glasses that turned sunglasses in 5th grade...that was 1982. Makes me crazy!

  12. Those commercials for the Visa check card... don't you swipe the card and have to sign the screen and what not? The ad haves us believe that just a swipe and off you go. No putting your purchase in a bag..no reciept. Swipe and go.

    Real life.. paying cash is way faster.

  13. This really gave me a good laugh firt thing this morning. I often feel the same way about commercials as you. I also happened to notice exactly what your wife noticed about that All Bran commercial...too funny. Good to know I wasn't "imagining" that. I'm not sure if I've ever left a comment before...but I like your blog.

  14. Laughing at this...
    My husband and I have a continual dialogue about stupid commercials!

  15. Glad to know that you guys are enjoying this. I was a little concerned about sounding too harsh on this post, but dangit! Stupidity mustn't continue without some bashing, you know?

    I could go on and on about cereal commercials, but since I've done a few myself, I think I should remain mum on the subject.

    Or, maybe not....

  16. Is it me or have commercials for cereals like Trix and Lucky Charms been put in a speeder-upper machine? Of course I loved them as a kid, but it seems that the pace of the dialogue and storylines have been getting faster and faster over the years.

    Our fave little leprachaun can do more in 30 seconds than other cartoons can accomplish...all..day. Wait. Sorry, I'm tagging onto another commercial.

    Anyway, if I hear one more frostedluckycharmsaremagicallydeliciousandpartofthisnutritiousbreakfastbesideshelpingcurecancerlandthe spaceshuttleandprotectyoureyesfromharmfuluvrays piece of lightning-fast dialogue I will scream.

    Fred and Barney, what happened, guys? You were so laid back in your Fruity Pebbles-pushing in my time. Maybe all the sugar finally got to you. I make an open plea to the Flintstones: Slow down! Enjoy your time on TV! It goes by SO fast.

    End of rant.

    Great post, Ward. Thanks for the links, too. Gotta love The Innernet.

    BTW: still researching Lou Peters in my downtime. Nothing yet.

  17. what's the point of stupidity if not for bashing?? ;)

    I love this post ... nice to know there are others 'out there' who notice such things..

    and that bran commercial... I'm still laughing as is my 11 yo son ;)

    thanks for the giggle and the rant that went with it!

  18. As a freelancer I watch a bit of TV when I work and I seem to pay more attention to the commercials than the shows themself, I love this post! I really hate the Dr. Scholl's "Are you gellin'?" commercials, I yell at the tv when ever it comes on and my husband just rolls his eyes :) I also know I watch too many commercials when I start to notice the same actor in multiple commercials and comment "wow he's really moving up!"
    I love your blog!

  19. Ahh, yes. Those "gellin'" spots are very high on the irritation scale. Thanks for reminding me of them. I think.

    Thanks for the nice comments, guys, about this post and this blog! Much love back at'cha.