Ad Nausea: Marvel Visa Commercial

In the midst of the cinematic superhero boom, this ad sprang to my mind recently. This is a unique and funny spot for the Visa check card made around the early ’00’s. A lady in distress gets some assistance from a handful of Marvel superheroes!

NOTE: This was before the launch of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) or 20th Century Fox’s X-Men or Sony’s Spider-Man movie franchises, so take a good look: this is probably the only time you’ll be seeing Spidey, Storm and Wolverine standing alongside Captain America and Thor for a considerable while, and definitely the only time you’ll be seeing Wolverine wearing the yellow costume in live-action!

 

Ad Nausea: General Mills Breakfast Cereal Makeover

If you’ve been watching kid-vid networks like Nickelodeon lately, you’ve undoubtedly noticed some new commercials for General Mills cereals such as Cocoa Puffs, Trix, Lucky Charms, Reese’s Puffs and Cookie Crisp. Apparently after nearly a century of these mascots acting out their own individual shticks in their own respective commercials, lately General Mills has opted to place their various mascot characters together (except for Lucky the Leprechaun, who still appears in his own spots) in a new series of ads promising to “make it Saturday morning everyday”. Cartoon Network should be receiving a royalty for these spots, since they owe more than a little inspiration from their shows’ respective titles and visual aesthetics. Peep out this spot, which call to mind CN’s Uncle Grandpa and The Amazing World of Gumball, right down to the use of the 04b30 font and the voice of Kevin Michael Richardson as a talking orange.

 

-OK, I just figured out that the big blob is supposed to be a Reese’s Puff; at first I thought he was distant cousin to Gloop and Gleep from The Herculoids.

There’s also these new Lucky Charms spots, which are more than a tad reminiscent of CN’s Adventure Time.

 

 

-Now of course, whenever a company or studio does something new with an existing set of characters or a franchise, especially when said characters are ones people 21 and older grew up with, there comes the usual rallying cries of “CHILDHOOD RUINED!!” and “They’ve destroyed my memories!!”. Now as an adult who grew up watching the General Mills commercials, I suppose I’m now supposed to be all butt-raged and insane with anger at this new campaign. Am I? Let me see….

 

 

Yeah, this isn’t a big deal for me. Yeah, the company is bandwagon jumping onto the Adventure Time/Gumball/Uncle Grandpa visual aesthetic like so many of CN’s shows are employing right now, but that’s apparently what’s selling with kids these days, and lest we forget, the goal of every commercial product is to SELL as much as possible. Few things are simultaneously sadder and more hilarious to me then reading comments from people crying about how some new cartoon or movie or TV show or something or other has raped their innocence or whatever. That ain’t the case, for 2 reasons: First, your childhood memories haven’t been ruined by these new spots, because that’s not how memories work. You can still remember the old spots and they’re archived in many places, these newer ads haven’t wiped the older commercials from existence. Second, and this is the big one, these spots are aimed at KIDS, not at you. This is no different than Cartoon Network hiring different voice actresses to play the Powerpuff Girls in their upcoming reboot…

PPG Reboot

 

…Or Disney giving the Seven Dwarfs new designs for The 7D.

7D 5

In the case of each, while I’m not 100% certain why these changes were made (though I have my theories), the fact that they were made isn’t sending my world crashing down around me. The children whom these spots are aimed at aren’t whining about the changes, since they barely remember the older spots; it’s doubtful they’ve even seen them all unless they regularly visit them on YouTube or Retro Junk. Nostalgia doesn’t work on a generation that doesn’t know of its’ existence. Keep in mind that General Mills has been doing many of these shticks for years now, in some cases, decades; they probably just figured it was time to try something different. they might have just felt like they’ve done all they can do with the “Silly Rabbit, Trix are for kids!” or “Catch Lucky!” premises.

And I know that we’ve made a couple of these points before in other entries, to that I’ll say this: I’ll make you a deal…

Larry Wilmore

We’ll stop commenting on this crap when you stop saying it.

 

Ad Nausea/Talkin’ Nerdy: Staples Back-To-School Commercial 1996

Goldstar’s recent entry on a fairly recent Staples back-to-school ad caused me to remember this earlier Staples spot from 1996:

 

I get the obvious joke here, and it is a funny one, so no need to delve into that. As amusing as this spot is, there’s always been one thing about it which has always puzzled me…

Oompa-Loompas

“Oompa-Loompa-Dumpity-Dut, I’ve got a can of What-The-What!”

…Namely, why is the parent in this spot a dad and not a mom?

If we’re to have wholeheartedly swallowed the gender myths of our culture, it’s generally assumed that the fathers are the ones who go to work during the day, while the mothers are generally the ones who stay home watching the kids. That being the (presumably) default case, why would a dad be all super-stoked about the kids going back to school when generally speaking, the dads are typically at their jobs during the day and consequently wouldn’t notice the difference between the little brats being home or being at school?

Role Reversal 5

Of course it’s possible that it could be a Mr. Mom/role reversal situation, but if that were the case, then they should have specified that at the start of the commercial. It’s just always struck me as odd. The way Staples did it is fine, it just seems to me that the other way would have been more expected and would have made more sense. It just comes off to me like they used a father here because TV gives everything to fathers, following the archaic and outdated belief that “women can’t be funny”, which I know not to be true.

Of course, it could also be that I’d rather have seen a hot mom dancing and frollicking around smugly in front of her kids instead of some goofy guy, that could also be a factor.

You Don't Say

Yeah, shocker, I know!

Ad Nausea/Talkin’ Nerdy: Staples Shopping Cart Breakdown

Because I’ve got nothing better to do, I’m going to give my thoughts (aka, pointless ramblings) about a Staples commercial that aired about a year ago. This is one of the ads from their “Shopping Cart Dance” campaign:

When I first saw this, my initial thought was…

dude_wtf1

How in the nine worlds is this a back-to-school sale commercial? Most of the kids in that clip of the dads were toddlers! Why would preschoolers be excited about a back-to-school sale when they don’t even go to school? Also, why did only the dads have kids with them and not the moms? Just because fathers watch their kids these days doesn’t mean that mothers don’t do it anymore. Actually,  I know why; it’s because the director of this spot just took 2 unrelated clips from previous Staples commercials and randomly put them together trying to pass the people in them off as moms and dads. There’s a word for this practice: “Lazy”.

Then there’s the line “Definitely the dads!”

Larry Wilmore

Why? Why is it definitely the dads? No reason whatsoever was given for that conclusion! That line was so random! It’s like they’re giving a punch line to a joke that wasn’t told. Is this supposed to be a private joke of some kind? I don’t get it. And like I said before, those were 2 completely unrelated clips, neither of which had anything to do with back-to-school!

Film Brain

“Sense no make. Sense no make.”

This is a Staples commercial, sure, but it’s not a back-to-school commercial by any stretch of the imagination. I give it a 2 out of 5. The idea behind it wasn’t bad, but the execution was sloppy and the clips were thrown together hastily, resulting in the whole thing looking like confused mess of a commercial. This could have been handled a lot better. Next time, Staples, why not make an actual back-to-school sale commercial instead of mashing together a couple of random clips in less than a day and trying to pass said mash-up off as one?

Well, anyway, just to end this on a positive note…those dancing MILFs had some pretty sweet moves, didn’t they?

Johnny Bravo

“Whoa, mama!! I’m joinin’ the PTA!”

Ad Nausea: Look What They’ve Done To My Song!

One of my favorite rock songs is “Beth” by Kiss. If you haven’t heard it, give it a listen:

 

The lyrics are sentimental. The melody and the strings are beautiful and the story of the song gets me right in the feels. So much so that I don’t have the song on my mp3 player because I don’t want to get choked up while driving.

So you can imagine my surprise when I’m watching TV a couple of nights ago and I hear the song being played on this commercial by Volkswagen:

OK, Volkswagen. I’ve got to ask: What the literal what?

Let’s break this down: First, Mr. Dad with his hip, happening beard is going to all kinds of places, doing all kinds of different things with his kids for the entirety of the day, and Mom can’t go with them because…reasons? If Beth had to work or had some important errand to run or something, I would understand it, but this woman spends the whole commercial just puttering around the house doing literally nothing. This commercial offers no explanation why Mom Beth can’t join her husband and kids on their day of play. Does she have any friends? Any hobbies? A job? Is she an agoraphobiac? Maybe this is one of those deals like in the Lego Father and Son Road Trip commercial where women apparently don’t like to have fun and anything with two ‘x’ chromosomes would just contaminate the car with her cooties.

Second, Beth is going to give Dr. Beardo grief about not getting milk? Lady, your husband has had the kids for the entire day (it’s dark when they’re about to return) and you’ve been inside the house that entire time doing absolutely nothing! Get up off your lazy ass and get your own dang milk!

There’s something darkly ironic about the songs that you once rocked out to are now being played over the PA system of your local Target or being used for cornball commercials like this one. I haven’t been this annoyed since Good Humor used Donovan’s “Mellow Yellow” to sell it’s brand of ice cream bar the Conello. Now I know how France felt when we Americans took one of that countries national treasures the croissant, and turned it into a Crois’sandwich!

Cros'sandwich

Sacre bleu!

 

All right, Volkswagen. You took one of the most beautiful rock and roll love ballads of all time and you farted in it’s face! This calls for retribution. Stand up and take your medicine.

Ah, that was therapeutic.