2005-09-09 / On Second Thought

Who remembers Lee Ioccoca? It’s not a criticism, it’s an observation.

Mike  Cox
Mike Cox Just when it was safe to start watching TV commercials again, disaster occurred. I accept unimaginative, banal ads on television. The people who write such things are sheep who follow trends and try too hard to be cool.

What most ad execs don’t understand is how fast the cool world moves; by the time an ad is written, accepted, produced, filmed, and aired, the cool event it is trying to emulate has long since gone the way of pet rocks and hula hoops.

So I don’t expect much from television commercials. I do expect them to be tolerable to a couple of my senses and not capable of causing me to scream at the TV. Last week, I once again saw Snoop Dogg on the television and satellite dish I paid good money for.

The irrelevant former rapper was dressed like NY ad execs imagine golfers dress. For some reason, the stereotype of golfers begins with loud, pastel, clashing outfits. I have walked golf courses for four decades and have never seen anyone dressed like TV golfers. Never. But folks continue to use outlandish clothes as a starting point when making fun of golfers.

I don’t know why this is; there are thousands of ways to realistically poke fun at the guys who chase the little ball around. I can give any producer a long list just from the guys I’ve played with over the years.

In addition to Snoop and bad stereotypes, this particular ad gave us the perfect storm of idiotic advertising by throwing in Lee Ioccoca. Most Americans who buy cars and watch TV this century have no idea who the man is. He is a relic from years ago. The Dodge folks might as well have trotted out the “Where’s The Beef” lady.

So I am once again trying to stay away from commercials. And that’s sad. There have been great ones over the years. Check out the Super Bowl each year and you’ll see good ones are still doable. They’re just no longer necessary.

TV ads have fallen into the same rut as food, music, and literature. Pure mediocrity. There are a couple of reasons for this. We no longer have anyone willing to risk good money on something new and different. Also, our mega–sensitive society has nearly run out of things to poke a little innocent fun at. So everything is turning vanilla.

Another commercial, this one advertising a candy bar, is even dumber than the Snoop Dogg Chrysler ad. But it is politically correct. The ad shows a group of men dressed in orange vests and caps. They’re either hunters or Clemson fans. None of these guys resemble any hunters I’ve ever known; they look more like the office geek.

Anyway, a deer wanders by and the fake hunters get excited. It’s obvious no one is going to kill the deer. That is way past acceptable. Suddenly, the hunters throw candy bars at the animal until it trots off, unharmed and unafraid. A runner, also geeky, happens by and starts eating one of the candy bars. End of commercial. You explain it

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