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Eh, for overnight. Commercials you like, commercials you hate, and how you'd re-write them - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Eh, for overnight. Commercials you like, commercials you hate, and how you'd re-write them
I've been thinking about commercials. I personally adore the one with the talking VW minibus, where the woman says that all SUVs are the same. The minibus lists all the differences between the VW SUV and the one she has, which of course leaves her with no recourse, then it says, "So you mean, like, spiritually we're all the same... I can dig it."

It manages to get the differences across and be amusing, and also seems to get its own product's image right in there. Long live the talking hippie minibus!

I've already brought up how much I dislike the line of AT&T commercials with that irritating woman droning on about saving rollover minutes. What an asinine idea: Our product will turn you into the penny-pinching harpy you most fear being, and your family will hate you.

Here's how I'd re-write it:

Scenes of the woman going through the house.

In the bathroom, she stops the daughter from throwing out a hand-soap bottle. Instead, she takes it and starts draining the leftover into a new bottle.

In the kitchen, her husband is going to throw out leftover food. She produces a few other items, and he whips up something new and interesting.

In the back yard, the dog wanders away from a bone, and she puts it into a locker for him.

She goes inside, to find the oldest son (the other apparent star of the commercial), ditching those orange disks they use for minutes. She dives for them.

Son: Hey, mom, it's cool--AT&T saves them for us!

He shows her the phone, with rollover minutes displayed. She smiles and pats him on the shoulder, then relaxes with a phone call of her own.

So, what commercials do you like, what commercials do you dislike, and how would you re-write the ones you dislike so they'd appeal to you more?

With that, I'm going to bed.
41 comments or Leave a comment
author_by_night From: author_by_night Date: May 25th, 2009 10:56 am (UTC) (Link)
1. Most anti-drug commercials. Not because I'm pro-drugs or anything, but because I only graduated high school a couple of years ago... I know what works and what doesn't work, and "if you smoke pot you can't play sports and will get bad grades" doesn't work. I'm not saying the athletes didn't do drugs, but the worst offenders were the grunge/skater kids who didn't play sports because it was a "prep thing." (And the bad grades thing is more about being behind in school than anything else - but that's another rant.) I don't know how I'd re-write them, but I'd love to see an anti-drug commercial that seemed to actually be geared not towards the kids like me who weren't going to do drugs anyway, but kids who might actually be at risk. Let's help kids by actually reaching out to them, not reaching out to the Breakfast Club version of them.

2. Commercials where kids are sassing their parents - more specifically, this Mrs. Paul's ad where this five year old complains about it in this really snooty voice, so her mother gives her the "right" fish.

If my daughter sassed me like that, I'd ditch the fish idea altogether and have her eat something else. Man.

3. There's this radio commercial for something called "MEGA", and whenever I hear it it's something like:

"1234-567-MEGA. That's 1234-567-MEGA. 1234-567 MEGA. Call 1234-567-MEGA now. 1234-567-MEGA."

To top it all off, the person who says it sounds obnoxious to begin with.

Edited at 2009-05-25 11:10 am (UTC)
matril From: matril Date: May 25th, 2009 04:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
Totally agree about that fish commercial. Five-year-old food snobs? Yech.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 25th, 2009 05:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
If my daughter sassed me like that, I'd ditch the fish idea altogether and have her eat something else. Man.

Eep. I haven't seen that one. You're nicer than my mother would have been if I'd sassed that way. That would have been the time for, "You will eat what's been put in front of you, end of story."
From: (Anonymous) Date: May 25th, 2009 12:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's Aeterna ... I seem to have forgotten my password.

I hate any commercial that consists mainly of some guy with a very obnoxious voice yelling at the top of his lungs for an entire minute. I'm not clear on exactly how anyone thinks this would sell a product. It just gives me a headache.

I think some sort of leisure activity provider (restaurant, spa, something of the like) could take advantage of this gut reaction of annoyance like this:

About two seconds of Loud Annoying Guy screaming at you to buy his product.

The screen abruptly goes black, Loud Annoying Guy is silenced. Voices are heard from the background.

"I'm tired of watching this, why don't we go get something to eat?"

"Hey, how about (restaurant name)? I've heard they have really good (food type)."

"Sounds good. Let's go."

Footsteps. Door opens, closes. Car starts, drives away.

This may not go over well with the TV powers-that-be, since it would entice people to stop watching the show (I'd be quite tempted myself, I think).
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 25th, 2009 05:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
I like it.
keestone From: keestone Date: May 25th, 2009 01:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
"Feminine hygiene products." In general, but if I ever hear "have a happy period" again, I may start going, "HULK SMASH!"

Maybe it's just my aesthetic, but I'd like a menstrual products ad that a) acknowledges that the situation sucks, b) doesn't try to pretend that if we use their product everything's going to be hearts and flowers and we'll all suddenly be salsa dancing in white miniskirts and rollerblading in white bike shorts. I'd totally go for a product that had a tagline like "makes your day suck just a bit less," or "just a little less hassle in your day," and didn't color everything pink and lavender.
miss_polyhymnia From: miss_polyhymnia Date: May 25th, 2009 03:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 25th, 2009 05:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oof, yes, the "happy period." Go. Away.

Personally, I liked the SNL spoof of one of those pills that makes rarer periods, where they're on the whole happy kick, then say, "And when the time does come, warn the local police, so they can lock you up pre-emptively."
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 25th, 2009 06:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ah, here it is.
keestone From: keestone Date: May 25th, 2009 09:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hulu doesn't play outside the states, so I'm just going to have to take your word for it. It sounds like it might be funny, but it also sounds like it might push other buttons.
forked From: forked Date: May 25th, 2009 03:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
'Don't smoke' commercials always make me want a cigarette. I'm not really sure what that says.

And I too hate the 'roll over minute ones'.

And while I don't watch much live tv and so am not up on my commercials, someone linked to this public service one on being a dad and I LOVE it:

It's just SO cute and sweet. Only thing I'd change? At the end have the little girl be the one to say 'OK, one more time,'- cause I think it would have been cuter.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 25th, 2009 05:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, yeah, they don't play that one nearly enough. I'd watch a whole series of that guy and his little girl.

We have the dumbest anti-smoking campaign. A kid is identified as a "socially alienated person" (a SAP) because he's smoking. He lights up, and his friend's arms turn into sausages, and he gets chased by a dog. In another, one friend turns into a deer and another into a lion. It was bad enough enough when they had their original tagline, "Bad things happen," but now they've changed to "Don't be a sap," which makes the whole thing not just stupid, but also incomprehensible.

Edited at 2009-05-25 05:46 pm (UTC)
nundu_art From: nundu_art Date: May 25th, 2009 04:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
I detest anything with that man who screams at you. Now they've made a 'reality' show with him!!!!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 25th, 2009 05:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
Which one? :winces at entire concept:
nundu_art From: nundu_art Date: May 26th, 2009 12:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think his name is Billy Hays? He started out with 'Oxyclean', which I buy in spite of him. They even had him helping with the commentating at the Super Bowl this year. Yuk! Now there's some sort of reality show on one of the channels pitting him against another advertising guy. I don't know what the concept behind the show is, as I won't watch it!!!
(Deleted comment)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 26th, 2009 09:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
Commercials are a guilty pleasure of mine. Sometimes, I don't really get the concept (like the AT&T one I mentioned... what are they thinking?), but a lot of times, I like to see what they do, and how they're going for you. The Clydesdales are a great ad line which does nothing except make you feel warm and fuzzy toward Bud, but you know, a couple of beers down, that may well seem like a good enough reason. "Hey, bartender, gimme one of 'em with them horses..."
malinbe From: malinbe Date: May 25th, 2009 04:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Mmm, I don't think we have many commercials in common, but there's this Colgate one that look imported from the US and that maybe you've seen. I hate it when big brands do that, it just looks stupid and most of us cannot relate to things like cheerleaders or cereals-for-breakfast.
Anyway, in this Colgate commercial, different people are shown in supposedly everyday life situations one could aspire to. I don't remember all of them, but there's this businessman doing some presentation and smiling widely.

The only woman in the group is a bride, grinning stupidly and apparently posing for a photo. I hate it. Being a bride is the only thing women have to relate to in that commercial. That's the only occasion when you'll want your teeth to be white. Grr. It infuriates me so.

For once, I would not import a commercial, but produce my own. We have outstanding commercials, we've won international prizes many times! And then, I would not have the only woman being a bride. Have the bride if you want her so much, but just, please, include a woman in REAL everyday life situation most of us can relate to.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 25th, 2009 05:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Eyeroll. I definitely haven't seen that one. How annoying.

Commercials would certainly make more sense if they made reference to things that make some kind of cultural sense!
riah_chan From: riah_chan Date: May 25th, 2009 04:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Honestly, I don't watch TV anymore and when I do, it's streaming video or something like that... I don't see commercials anymore.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 25th, 2009 06:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have to admit to having a sort of soft spot for them. I think I was a copywriter in some former life, and I like sitting in judgment on commercials.
sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: May 25th, 2009 06:03 pm (UTC) (Link)

Q is for Quiznos

The most godawful offensive commercial since the Calvin Klein jeans ad with the pedophile photographer goes something like this:

"Put it in me, Scott..."
"I don't want to..."
"We've done it before. Now say it, sexier..."

It's a sandwich shop commercial. A creepy oven is telling the teenager in the paper hat to toast a sandwich. I wrote to them, begging them to make this GO AWAY.

I wouldn't rewrite it. I'll never eat there again. I can't even think about Quiznos anymore without getting a little bit ill.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 25th, 2009 06:05 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Q is for Quiznos

Oh, I know! That's just... AAAAAGH! I don't want to think about what that guy is doing to my sandwich.
(Deleted comment)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 26th, 2009 09:16 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Q is for Quiznos

Their prime rib sub is semi-tasty, and they like to locate near bus stops? ;p

Their ads are horrendous, though. Those weren't even mice. They were like, mutated rat things. Definitely not appetizing! Subway's ads are much better.

Ah, yes, here they are.

Edited at 2009-05-26 09:17 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous) Date: May 25th, 2009 07:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't see many commercials, since I don't own a TV, and only ever watch it at the grandparents'. I am, however, subjected to plenty of radio commercials at work. Can't say I particularly like or dislike any of them*, though... they just baffle me. Especially one that goes something like this: "Having a bad hair day? We have the solution - buy a new lipstick!"

*or if I do, I'll only remember them after posting

~Hermione Stranger~
persephone_kore From: persephone_kore Date: May 25th, 2009 08:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Having a bad hair day? We have the solution - buy a new lipstick!

That's kind of hilarious.

There was one... I don't know, ten years ago maybe?... that had a line about "You, lucky one, are about to experience the wonders of Warm Toast." I no longer have the faintest idea what it was a commercial FOR, but my family still occasionally quotes it.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 25th, 2009 11:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't think anything will ever beat, "I'm not a doctor, but I play one on TV." God knows what that was for, but talk about your ultimate ridiculous soundbite.
ksellers From: ksellers Date: May 26th, 2009 09:46 pm (UTC) (Link)

Old Spice

If its the same one you were thinking of, it was Neil Patrick Harris (aka Doogie Howser, MD) selling Pro-Strength Old Spice. I remember that commercial because it was one I saw probably a hundred times on mute before I ever heard it, which for some reason made it funnier when I did.

Here's a link for one - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TusJ8HSLaUs - but there are a couple others.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 27th, 2009 02:33 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Old Spice

No, it predated Doogie. That one is making fun of the commercial I'm thinking of--Googling nets that it was for some pain reliever or other, and it featured a soap star saying, in all seriousness, "I'm not a doctor, but I play one on TV" in order to hawk the product!

ETA: But the Doogie one is the best send-up ever.

Edited at 2009-05-27 02:33 am (UTC)
alkari From: alkari Date: May 25th, 2009 10:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
You would love our TV program "The Gruen Transfer", Fern - I think you can probably pick up some past episodes from the Australian ABC website, as it's just finished the second season. It was about advertising - the good and the bad, why things work (or don't), and covered things like advertising to children, ads for health products, food, unpleasant government messages, etc. There was a presenter and two regular experts from the advertising industry (who were poles apart in almost everything!) plus two guest experts each week. It was hilarious, but also very interesting, because it was actually the industry analysing itself, and often being very critical.

A surprise hit for Auntie ABC and they've sold the concept to several other countries. Of course, I doubt it would ever have seen the light of day on commercial TV, because it would have alienated too many sponsors!!

I tend to tune out in ads, and loathe the shouting at you ones, but there have been some absolute gems that stay with you. The Toyota Hilux "Oh Bugger!" ad, which originated in New Zealand and then just took off in Australia - those were the only two words used. The ad for the yellow pages telephone directory, where an employee realises she's has missed the advertising deadline and tries to sneak out home before her boss (a woman, yay!) finds out. Boss looks out the window, sees her about to get into her car, leans out and yells "Not happy, Jan!" They changed the ad slightly over several seasons, but always used those two women and that phrase. It's now entered popular culture for when things go wrong or someone really pisses you off. Now THAT is a successful ad!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 25th, 2009 11:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'll look for it. I'd guess it is hard to find sponsors for!

I'll have to go looking for those.

I'm also a devotee of the Geico gecko, who manages to be cute and impart useful information about company that turned to actually save me some good money every month.
myf From: myf Date: May 25th, 2009 11:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
I still say 'That'll be the phone, Reg' from that old Telstra ad.

I liked The Gruen Transfer a lot, although sometimes it really did point out that the ad people had no link to reality. What I found interesting was the discussion about the recent Commonwealth Bank ads which were made by a US ad firm and focused on the stupid ways in which a US ad firm could advertise banking services to Australians (I think in one ad they call New Zealand 'Shebangabang'). I liked those ads, not tremendously, but they were interesting (and we always love poking fun at Americans) but the panel really hated it. I wonder if it was because they didn't get the job to make the ads, or because it encouraged the consumer to laugh at ad agencies?
alkari From: alkari Date: May 26th, 2009 01:56 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, I disliked those Commonwealth Bank ads, right from the first, although they were slightly amusing in terms of the reality gap that happens between the USA and Australia in many things.

And I adore the segment on each Gruen show where two agencies create a 'pitch' to sell something totally impossible. Last season's spoof of a David Attenborough nature documentary to sell the benefits of global warming was hilarious!
myf From: myf Date: May 26th, 2009 04:29 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, when I say I liked the Commonwealth ads, I mostly mean 'compared to every other ad for banking institutions'. I mean, we have the AWFUL ANZ 'now' campaign (that woman sounds constipated) and the terrible ads for RAMS and Aussie. So comparatively, not that bad.

Did you see The Pitch about sizeism? Wasn't allowed to be shown on the ABC. Controversial.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 25th, 2009 11:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ha, I'm watching several Gruen clips on YouTube. I'm lovin' it.
starnightmuse From: starnightmuse Date: May 25th, 2009 11:59 pm (UTC) (Link)

Comercials- Many interesting + 1 bad one rant

I don't remember many BAD commercials *I either don't care for them or i block them from my mind*

but the that i dislike A LOT is the AXE ones. it drives me insane.
because they seem so shallow. "guys use AXE and all girls around you will want to do it with you" ARGH what a way to degrade women, seriously.

I'm not sure how I would fix it since it's a deodorant ad and the point is the smell... but I guess the scenario I would think is this:

guy walks in and all the girls in the room turn to look at him, because he is good looking and dresses sophisticate and classy and he also has that air of "there is something extra to him"
An intellectual looking girl bumps into him and drops her books. he helps her out. she notices he reads Faulkner or Plato and is interested. she asks him out.
next shot is them at the end of date and the guy is dropping her off with a goodnight kiss. as they break off she whispers "you smell amazing." and gives him her phone number.
and then shot of him in the bathroom with AXE

now for the enjoyable commercials.

oh! speaking of Axe and the anti-smoke one, there this one anti-smoke commercial (it's a fake anti-smoke one but it really does come across as one) that I found that sort of makes fun of Axe (or the British version of it-lynx)
and I do think it brings a point of stop smoking that is relevant to guys who like dating.
here is is it's call "You Smoke, You smell" (and Tonks is in it ;P ):

This is quite a long commercial, so I don't think if anyone had watched on TV more on Youtube, but I LOVE this singing improvised T-mobile commercial:

interesting and does shows one purpose of the phone (even if it only appears in the end).

this one I just love the special effects. Every time I catch it I just stare in wonder at "how did they do that?! for a Sprite Commercial:

I always loved these two Disney ones, I find them cute:

stepinsidelove From: stepinsidelove Date: May 26th, 2009 01:44 am (UTC) (Link)
Those commercials for taco shells have been bugging me lately. The ones where some little kids make suggestions (what if the bottom is flat? why not have crunchy and soft?) and the whole village celebrates "genius, Mexican style". I can't decide whether the commercials are slightly racist or extremely racist. Like the Mexican idea of genius is about taco shell shape and not about... I dunno, actual genius? It just gives me a creepy feeling that the message is "That's smart - - for a Mexican!" I wouldn't even know where to begin fixing that one.
alkari From: alkari Date: May 26th, 2009 02:00 am (UTC) (Link)
And for those who are puzzled by mention of The Gruen Transfer , here's a link:-


(Deleted comment)
From: glynngriffiths Date: May 28th, 2009 06:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
I know I rather completely missed this post, but I just saw a commercial that really had to be mentioned. It's for Enzyte - a drug for "natural male enhancement" - and this guy is dressed as Santa at his office party. A voice-over introduces you to 'Bob' with a heavy dose of innuendo about his 'sled' and 'sack'. And then it ends with a line of women waiting eagerly to sit on Bob-Santa's lap! You can see it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7vOPPXkqm4, if interested. I'm not at all sure how I'd go about improving it - you know, besides removing Santa from an ad about sexual enhancement, and -um- not having a queue of women waiting to sleep with the goofy guy taking their product. Oy. The things you discover when you're home sick.

I also have to say that I, too, love the Geico gecko. :)
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