Ad In, Ad Out
With David gone, I’ve been watching his TV more often. And being a gifted observer of life, I can’t help but notice some things.
Like commercials, for example:
Professional driver on a closed course. Thanks to my not-so evil twin’s massive flat screen, I can actually read the disclaimers at the bottom of automobile commercials. And they’re ridiculous.
A car spins and skids across the street into a tight parallel parking spot. A truck uses its brakes and a massive chain to bring a landing plane to a halt on the runway. A pickup careens through rough terrain and finds itself in Loch Ness.
The companies selling these vehicles—or more specifically, the lawyers in said companies—feel the need to tell us these are “professional drivers on a closed course.” Often they will add the line, “Do not attempt.”
Why? Does the disclaimer really keep YOU from throwing an industrial chain on your truck to stop a moving plane?
The Commish of the More Taste League. One of may favorite ads in the past six months features John C. McGinley as the fictional commissioner of the fictional More Taste League (which apparently exists only to force 20-something white males to drink the very real Miller Lite).
If you are not familiar with McGinley, you should be. From his first movie role 20 years ago in Platoon and his turn as Charlie Sheen’s stock trading buddy in Wall Street to his performances as one of the Michael Bolton-loving “Bobs” in the classic Office Space and his wiseass character Dr. Perry Cox on NBC’s Scrubs, he rocks.
Line for line, pound for pound, dollar for dollar, he is the greatest actor of our … nay, of ANY generation.
As “The Commish,” he verbally assaults non-Miller Lite drinkers. And it doesn’t get any better than his trademark tone: sarcastic, slightly frustrated, and completely lacking humility.
Seasonique birth control. Split screens representing split personalities are a simple rhetorical device, never used more effectively than in this commercial for Seasonique, the pill that gives women fewer periods.
I’m riveted. One facet of this brunette’s personality, the spunky “Emotional,” saunters about on the right side of the screen while wearing a revealing booby shirt. She grins like a fun-loving coed, praising this new, different pill that lets her bleed less—and have menstruation-free sex more often.
So far, so good.
Meanwhile, the “Logical” persona of our heroine occupies the left side of the screen. She sports a tired ‘80s haircut, wears her argyle sweater over a neck-to-wrist plain white shirt, and scowls at “Emotional” while delivering lines like, “You KNOW how I feel about ‘different!’”
Later in the ad, “Logical” sits upright in her plain white chair, searching on her latop, without any apparent feeling, for medical information. She looks every bit the librarian—and not in the junior-high schoolboy wet-dream fantasy way.
“Emotional,” on the other hand, sprawls in a fuck-me pose on the fuck-me cushion of her fuck-me comfy chair. She even casts furtive glances at “Logical” as if to say, “If you weren’t my doggish alter ego, I’d rip off that travesty of a sweater and do you RIGHT NOW!”
The message is clear: Logic is boring and asexual but emotion is hot and horny. This ad sure could use some disclaimers.
Left side: “Do not attempt.” Right side: “Do me.”