More Problems in Advertising

I’m aware of the value of product packaging. Even with my strive to see through advertisements and their insane efforts (The latest annoyance? A stampable toilet cleaning puck that keeps your bowl clean a WHOLE WEEK!! Wow! Packaging!), I can still see why someone might want their bottle of handsoap to smell pretty and kinda match the decor. Guests and whatever.

But sometimes it goes a little far, such as with this repackaging of Scope.

Old Scope. I'm squat and ugly, please hide me in the cabinet and forget about me.

New Scope. Why yes, I do look like a decanter. Leave me out as almost-decoration on that fancy shelf you installed in the bathroom - and remember every day: Sssscope!

Clever, but unfortunately crosses the line of subtle image shifting to full out obvious gimmick, too blatantly suggesting that purchase of this product is an important stepping stone in your shift from a Just Anyone with mismatched furnishings and a regular toothbrush to a financially cozy, stylish, good looking, whiter teethed One of Them.

Feeling like this?

Buy some of this!

You'll feel like this!

Nice try Scope, but I’m sticking with that fun stuff that makes the crap in your teeth turn bright blue in the sink.

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A New Improved Way to Get Your Kids Off Your Back

Hey everybody!

It’s time for some great parenting advice from an obnoxious twenty something who doesn’t have kids!

Not sure what to do when your kids are out of control? Are they screaming in the back seat for the eleventh hour in a row en route to Aunt Ethel’s for that family dinner you’d rather not be at anyways? Do they have an annoying habit of yanking on the phone cord for your attention until they disconnect you from your long lost best friend in Alberquerque?

Well then, I’m sure it comes as no surprise that in the days of yore there were those of the opinion (probably including Aunt Ethel herself) that a quick shot of silly juice was enough to soothe just about any toddler ailment from teething pain to pesky bed time meandering.

Nowadays, we know better. Letting our children have booze is a bad idea. Letting our children have peanuts is a bad idea. Letting our children have milk products is a bad idea. As is sunlight, tap water, synthetic fibre and bubblegum. Not to mention letting them loose in a playground with outrageous gravel, now that we have brightly coloured squares of ubersafe chopped up former tire bits to cushion their feeble, feeble knees. And if you have the nerve to cover a boo-boo with any sort of non-antiseptic bandaid, or dare leave your counters bare of their daily recomended dose of Lysol, well then! You’re headed straight to the stocks, you bad parent you. At least if you believe those Brand Power commercials (because those no-name granola bars tell your kids you don’t care.)

Thankfully, the two modern worlds of over-sanitizing the crap out of kids and the occasional need to get said kids to shut the hell up have collided ad last. Yes, it’s true, kids are getting snockered on hand sanitizer. Now of course like most products designed to improve your child’s overall health, hand sanitizer should be guarded carefully to avoid overdosage. You know, kind of like Flintstones vitamins.

Look, I've got shoes! How toxic can I be?

But at least now you can enjoy the comfort of knowing that while your energetic little one is contentedly dazed, he or she is also being protected from all the scary germs out there by way of licking chemicals off of their clean little paws.

Of course, I guess you could also use soap….or even make use of this ‘immune system’ thingie. But hey, that’s just me.

except probably not

 

Inappropriate Uses for Mayonnaise

So this may come as a complete and utter surprise to anyone who hasn’t had the pleasure of being graced with my presence during a micro-conniption, but sometimes things get under my skin a little more than perhaps they ought to.

Today’s culprit is mayonnaise.

At first I was pissed at Hellmann’s mayo, with it’s innocuous claims of support for the ‘real food movement’ and it’s warm-toned commercials featuring healthy looking, natural hair coloured people lavishing their appreciation for such a fine, locally grown product with more sincerity and emotion than anyone should feel towards a condiment.  I couldn’t find the Canadian version on youtube, but the UK version isn’t much better.

Imagine our version as less preppie and more organic-cotton-hip, undeniably aimed at the urban, young adult, go-green culture. I watch it and go ‘woooooaaaah Toronto’ (or maybe Vancouver, they seem pretty hip and earthy too.) I don’t mind this culture – I’ve got a solid food planted in it. I just hate being pandered to, and this is how Hellmann’s pissed me right the hell off.

Hey social and/or environmental activists, we're your brand!

In fact, when a saw a second commercial regarding mayo that pissed me off a little bit extra, I was confounded for hours trying to find it on youtube before I realized it wasn’t even Hellmann’s. I’d been blinded with disdain for them because I consider ‘buy local, eat real food’ to consist of shopping at farmers markets when available, not choosing one massive corporation over another. I am all about growing your own food or supporting Canadian farming – but not paying six levels of middle-men advert execs in the process. Anyways, with all this fist-shaking, I hadn’t even noticed an even more irritating culprit.

Miracle Whip.

Have you seen this ad?

 

Yeah. For reals, yo.

To get the full effect, you can watch the whole commercial here. I know, I know, it’s a pain sometimes to click links and follow them. But this one wasn’t on youtube either, and I can’t embed it in wordpress. I’m just glad I found it, so just click on it, por favor. It’s a thirty second commercial, and you’ll probably get the gyst of it about halfway through.

So! Continuing on then.

Dear Various Mayonnaise Producers:

You make a condiment. It goes nicely on my sandwich, in potato salad or in devilled eggs.  And these are all lovely, appropriate and often delicious uses for your product. However, that’s pretty much the extent of it.

Mayonnaise, the average person would agree, should not be used as a thick, fattening conduit for the voice of a generation. And on that note, what exact voice do you think we have? That we’re so principled about “keeping it real” that we’re going to get up in arms if you have the nerve to suggest we change the ingredients of whatever we’re bringing to a picnik? “Don’t eat the egg salad Janine brought, she buys her food from THE MAN!”

I don’t care how organic or special or real or hardcore you think your shit is. It’s MAYO!!! Nobody dips their fist in it and then walks around with their sticky digits held high up in the air crying “Death to Capitalism!” It just doesn’t happen.

Hellmann’s – I’m not a total hippie, seeing as I too have my fair share of over processed crap sitting on the shelves. But in my ongoing efforts to avoid being a hypocrite, I’ve gone through your website in an attempt to find out where you do in fact get your ingredients. Your eggs are ‘free range’, a term thrown around all too casually and often paired up with lush imagery of green grass, clear skies and sunlight.

We're totally on your side

By the way, this is considered 'free range'

Oh, and I’ll be damn sure to ask my local farmers the next time I’m out buying berries if they happen to have any calcium disodium EDTA. Yeah, that’s nice and local.

Also Hellmann’s, you’re owned by Unilever. Just like Dove, Axe, Knorr, and every other major brand trying to sell itself as something special in their ongoing effort to make a buck. Look, if you’re out to make money, just say so. If you’re of the opinion that birds are put on this earth to be cooped up and fed to us, then fine. Just don’t lie to my face about it.

And you, Miracle Whip. It seems you’re trying evoke the mental words of ‘punk’ or ‘rebel’ or dare you say ‘anarchy’. You with your smarmy faux attitude and slightly rakish young lady – can’t be hardcore with long hair, can you? Are you trying to be hip? Are your lined up little jars going to start sporting skinny jeans if this latest campaign to thwart your do-good competitors falls short? I say again to you – MAYONNAISE!!! You want to be Gen-Y? Here’s Gen-Y: we’ve grown up with the internet and enough information to understand how marketing is driven – well enough to see through your crafted appeal to our embittered habit of spending money on things that say we’re too cool to spend money on things. You’re the salad dressing version of buying an anarchist t-shirt at the mall.

So I’m eschewing mayo. Too much damn aggravation. Do you want to know how you can tell if something is real? If you can’t stack it on the shelf for an eerily long amount of time. And how to tell if something is unique, special, and ‘not toned down’? Make it your damn self, that’s how.

Oil and eggs, people. Throw in some mustard and get a blender!

Dear June

Dear June,

The month, I mean, as opposed to anybody in particular named June. May was a little awkward for me, since it’s very difficult to scream ‘fuck you May!’ when one of your bestie’s has the same name, no matter how shitty the month has been. However, I don’t know anybody named June, so here goes.

jcle

My name is June and I will fuck your shit up!

It’s only day 1 of you, dear June, and you’re already pissing me off.

Firstly, you took forever and a goddamned day to get here. Do you not realize that I’ve got a year-in-the-making vacation scheduled mid-you? How about showing up on time instead of making each day drag on until it feels like my time off is still six months away? Can you swing that? Hell, I show up to work on time, and I’ve only been there for two years. Have the centuries of your existence in the Gregorian calendar made you so bitter that you just started showing up whenever you damn well feel like it? Apparently so.

Secondly, you’ve chosen to start on a Monday this time around. That’s just thrilling. Because Monday’s don’t suck enough without it being the first of the month as well. I’m sure you don’t care, dear June, but in my particular industry there are reasons (that I won’t go into here, as rumour has it my uber bosses now float around the interweb) why the first of the month is particularly shitty. Nobody likes the first of the month. Bills are generally due on the first of the month. People are shitty, cranky, and oftentimes downright unreasonable on the first of the month. They’re impatient, busy, and intolerable. And as an added kick, most people I’ve had to deal with today are a little bit extra pissy since you’ve decided to start off with shitty grey weather instead of your much hoped for clear skies and warmth. Good job, keep up the excellent work.

Also, speaking of keeping up employment, of all days to load heaps of criticism on my work environment, it’s sure awesome that you chose today. Really adds the icing to the cake. Nothing makes me feel better about my life, 90% of which costs money, than to hear from the source of said money “by the way, you suck.”

Super.

Lastly, it’s really sweet of you to send my landlords over to fix a plumbing problem in my bathroom today. I haven’t yet fixed some of the damage caused to the walls and floors by former rabbits/tantrums/roomies yet, so the extra paranoia has been a great touch all day. I’m hoping that they didn’t venture into the bedroom, where the damage is my fault as opposed to the condition of the main areas, where the damage is mostly due to unsticky floor tiles and ancient plumbing.  However, I still don’t know. Why? Because on the way out, my landlords naturally turned the lock on the doorknob to my apartment, instead of just the deadbolt above it. Unbeknownst to them, as I rarely need to call them, I don’t use it. It’s a shitty fiddly closet lock, and rather superfluous with a deadbolt above it. So on my way out, I flip the deadbolt and head on my merry way. Never in a million years would it have occured to me this morning that they would, as good landlords, lock up properly after vacating my place instead of the half-ass job I usually do. It’s only today that I find the need for that second key, locked neatly away inside my apartment with the key to the garbage room.

Greeeeaaaaat.

So now they’re on their way, from way north of the rush-hour besodden city, with much in the way of unnecessary apologies. I can’t even pretend to blame them for this one. This particular mishap is nobody’s fault but my own. But given how the rest of this day has gone so far, I’m going to go ahead and just pile that on with everything else you’ve screwed up today, dear June.

Consider this a performance review, June. If you don’t have a better attitude starting tomorrow morning, you’re fired.

By a fat guy in a wig, no less.

Weird Advertising Tags

Do you ever hear an ad once in a while that makes you stop and go “wait, what?” I do. All the time. I am fascinated with advertising in that it’s really no more than a brilliant, manipulative – almost brainwashing, really – tactic to push our dollars around the world. There are days when I think I should have gone into advertising, but then there are days when I’m pretty sure I could be an expert sculptor.

I love good advertisements and will go out of my way to reward good advertising. Shit, I’ve got buy some type of kitchen cleaner. And you can’t test them out like you can with makeup (like the back of my hand looks anything like my face, thanks). Might as well try the one that made you think “Ha! That is awesome!”

But in my constant quest for good ads, I seem to hear a lot of those usually underbudgeted weird ads with the weird slogan, or tag, or whatever you call that last little punchline. Like that jeweller by the Buffalo airport, where a diamond won’t cost you “an arm and a leg” (mannequin limbs jostled merrily towards the camera) Really? Limbs? That’s your…that’s your selling point, eh? Okay, just checking. You sure? You’re sticking with it? Alright then.

“Garaga – a choice you’ll never regret.” Garaga does garage doors, did you guess? It’s not really weird so much as…well it’s sort of like starting your resume with “I ain’t never been to jail.” (And yes, I’ve seen that resume, on Craigslist.) Yeah, sure, they’ll probably want to know your history at some point, but is that really what you want to focus on here? You won’t regret us, honest! Now just…just give us your wallet.

There’s a dentist’s office that advertises on the subway. Apparently they specialize in kids, and I can see how you would want to emphasize that. A mother wants to know, when choosing a doctor for little Johnny’s diseased molars, if the waiting room will have fun fuzzy toys or an ominous, massive fish tank that her kids will get yelled at for tapping. But their slogan was “We like kids and they love us.” Totally great and innocent until my brain comes along and starts wondering “Why the difference, the specific choice of love vs. like? Do you not enjoy the children as much as they appreciate you? Are you being swamped with little tots that you really think are just kind of – meh – okay?” And you’ve got to be careful when talking about your affection for children, what with pedophiles lurking around every corner. Or at least pedophile jokes. No, not the dentist for me.

This last one wasn’t so much of a punchline as a general idea. It was for one of those men’s de-grayifier “we swear you’re not just dying your hair” dealios. This slightly older gentleman is sitting in a well-appointed living room for a charming afternoon of reading or whatever. And these two somewhat adorable girls appear with great purpose and say “Dad, it’s time! You’ll make a really good catch for someone!” And they wave a box of de-grayifier at him.

What.

The.

Fuck.

Are you serious? Wow, what a market. Widowers CLEARLY in need of a babysitter – how the hell did those girls get a hold of that shit without his knowledge? Did they leave the house unattended at get it from the store? Did they swipe it from the shelves while he was buying their Barbie Bubblegum toothpaste? Klepto bastards! And hi, um, maybe it’s a little weird that your eight year old is suddenly super interested in your extra-curricular activities.

And finally, a commercial that while lacking in bizarre tags, certainly lends itself an air of “you can’t be serious.”

Terrific. Terrrrrrific.