Friday, June 29, 2012


Some of the most entertaining parts of all media are well constructed commercials. Numerous times I've seen commercials that were better than the show they were inserted into.

Humorous commercials tend to become mainstays in pop culture more often than serious ones, but serious ones can be effective too. I think quality is the most important factor.

What I am getting at is I fancy myself somewhat of an amateur commercial connoisseur.

The Dos Equis guy and the Old Spice guy doing alternate takes on the "Chuck Norrisisms" was clever and each different enough to be enjoyable and memorable.

The animal mascots (i.e. the Aflac Duck or the Geico Gecko) are passable but not as lovable or memorable as say.... the Noid or Spuds McKenzie (Look em up kids). But they are still good stock for the bulk of commercials.

But there is an entire genre of commercials that completely drop the ball. They have been dropping the ball for 30 years in fact. They are making the oddest commercials ever, yet they have done it so rampantly and with such determination that we the people have just accepted it.

Well, I'm not accepting it any longer. (I'm not sure this really warrants a call to arms....but it seems like a good day for a call to arms so....)

Who's with me?

Guess I should explain myself before you answer that.

The industry I speak of is the car industry.

They might not need a bailout if they would fix their commercials (Ok. That may be a bit of an exaggeration)

But the automotive industry as a whole decided to make commercials one way and every company apparently agreed to obey. It hasn't mattered if the company was Japanese, American, German. They ALL did it. They ALL continue to do it.

Let me see if I can set up the script for the commercial (I conjecture the original idea was formulated sometime in the 70's and from my research seemingly it has been repeated in every car commercial since).

The car commercial starts out fine. There is video of the car handling well through some lush winding country roads while a narrator rattles off millions of facts about the car (4.2 Litre, V6, leather interior, infinitum). I believe as a whole most of this could be eliminated. The commercials could be more engaging and just explain generally what sets Car X apart from all other cars. But that's not where they miss the boat. That's more of an issue with style. The commercials tend to be boring and non interesting but if the manufacturers want to have a guy describe the schematics down to the shape of the last lug nut as we watch the car do what it does be it.

But they NEVER leave it with that.

At some point in the car commercial you will inevitably get THE SCENE. The scene that is absurdity at its finest. The scene that has been inserted into car commercials for so long that I think producers of the commercials subconsciously block out the filming of the scenes as much as we, the consumer/viewer blocks out viewing them.

The scene (virtually always in slow motion): The car sliding sideways over standing water on the road.



Isn't that the ONE thing the car is NOT supposed to do in that situation?

Why has this been accepted as the norm in car commercials? It has not just become the norm, It is EXPECTED. It almost has to be there for a car commercial to be considered a car commercial.

I guess someone back in antiquity thought that a car sliding sideways as the wheels fail to grip the road looked "sexy". Too bad that isn't what a car is supposed to do.

This IS an advertisement FOR the car, correct?

So far I have seen the car take some pretty hefty turns without much trouble (good job), the disembodied voice guy has described in nauseating detail virtually every technical reason this car is better than the rest (not hyper excited about that but I can still be on board), THEN they show the car doing what NO CAR SHOULD EVER DO. Slide sideways in a small amount of water.

I just find that if the car companies are going to tell us how awesome their car is then sneak in a shot of the car hydroplaning, why don't they take it a step further? I think all car commercials should begin as they do now, with the car driving normally, disembodied guy rattling off at the mouth. But then just cut to a quick shot of the car barrel rolling. I mean if they weren't on a closed circuit with a professional driver behind the wheel that's exactly what the hydroplaning car would do about 2 seconds after the scene cuts away and the car actually catches traction again.

It is an anti commercial inserted into a commercial.

So, to all you car companies out there, allow me to help. Get a funny spokesperson, or hell even get a tolerable animal mascot, or honestly ANYTHING other than showing us your car failing at turning through a small puddle.

And to you commercial producers out there that are under strict orders from these companies: GO ROGUE!! FIGHT THE MAN!!! Refuse to insert the anti commercial scene into your commercial.

When it comes time for you to shoot I beg of you....say:


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