I watch a lot of TV, probably too much, so I’m a veritable commercial expert (I don’t have Tivo). Let’s just agree that most commercials are terrible and really, the only time people get excited about them is during the Superbowl. However, there are some commercials that go the extra dreadful mile. They’re so bad I can’t in good conscious let them go unchecked.
So here’s a list of five commercials I absolutely hate.
*I’m not including any local commercials because everyone expects those to be awful. I’m only including national spots that in theory should be well produced and well acted. In theory.
Any Commercial For Any College Ever
If you watch college sports you’ve probably seen a commercial similar to this one. They’re supposed to make you want to go to their school, but every time I see one of these commercials it seems like they reek of desperation. That’s especially true if the school has no famous alumni or top ranked schools. If that’s the case, you get a commercial bragging about Southeastern North Dakota State’s “top” animal husbandry program.
Plus, they’re not needed. The basketball game is the commercial. Unsurprisingly, people respond much better to slam dunks than suspect production values and dubious claims. It’s science.
I’m not entirely sure if this is fair because I’m almost positive you can’t make a good commercial for dong pills.
What bothers me most about Enzyte commercials is how clever the producers think they are for not actually saying the pills are meant to lengthen your johnson. It’s not clever. In fact, it’s about on par with the time your middle-school band changed the tittle of Blink 182’s “Dammit” to “Jam It,” so you could play it in at the school talent show.
The second thing I don’t like about this commercial is that it basically says your happiness is directly proportional to the size of your wang. Look at Bob, his life is AWESOME and people respect him because he bought pills that add an imaginary quarter-inch to his donkey. Listen, I’m sure that’s just one of many contributing factors as to why your wife left you and took the dog.
I mean, it’s not like you could talk things out or go to counseling or pick up a new hobby as a couple. Buying snake-oil, sexy-time pills while having a mid-life crisis seems much more reasonable.
I’ve watched Olive Garden commercials since I was kid, and I’ve never seen a good one.
They’ve gotten particularly bad recently. Now, I’m forced to debate if Olive Garden actually thinks these commercials are effective or if they signed a contract with an ad agency and just can’t get out of it.
I wonder what the director’s notes were when shooting these advertising abominations. “Everyone act like mannequins that just became human!” No that’s not working, umm, “Act like a JC Penney catalog!” Hmm, still not awkward enough, “Everyone act like you’re at a family reunion you don’t want to be at and awkwardly laugh at bad jokes while tip toeing around your aunt’s drinking problem and your grandmother’s wildly inappropriate racism!” Perfect!
Also, no one likes Olive Garden that much. Olive Garden is the place you go when there’s a two-hour wait at the restaurant you actually want to go to. And if I ever have to eat there (I hope to Zeus I don’t) with people who do like it that much, I’m going to use that $5 soup to try to drown myself.
Le Cordon Bleu
This isn’t the exact Le Cordon Bleu commercial I had in mind when writing this list, but it’s similar. In the commercial that spawned my original ire for Le Cordon Bleu, a group of unrealistically diverse friends are congregated and encourage one of their dorky brethren to pursue a culinary career.
First of all, nobody’s friends or family have ever been as supportive as the actors in Le Cordon Bleu commercials. Their enthusiasm just seems facetious.
Secondly, I feel like very few people grow up dreaming to go to culinary school. Yes, some do, but according to Anthony Bourdain kitchens are mostly made up of outsiders, immigrants, rejects and fringe members. Telling someone to go to culinary school with such conviction is basically like saying, “Hey, you’re a screw up right? You’re not smart enough to get into a real college and you’re too unbalanced to work in an office, so give culinary school a shot! They let you have knives!”
The Shake Weight
I’ve brought this commercial up before, but I think it warrants another mention.
I think I hate this commercial so much because I can’t be that hilarious when I try, but these dicks managed to do it unintentionally.
If I can reiterate a point from my other article, didn’t they screen this for anyone? How many green lights did this have to receive to get on TV? I refuse to believe that no one said, “Hey, wait a minute, you know what that looks like…” Yeah, sure, I’ll take you seriously Shake Weight spokesperson, right after you stop giving an ole’ fashioned to that dumb bell.
Actually, come to think of it, this commercial might be brilliant in its brazen idiocy. It instantly spawned a pop-culture meme, and I don’t know many people who haven’t heard of the Shake Weight. It was even parodied on South Park.
I guess the lesson is if you want to be successful, you should be so self-unaware that you make a sexually suggestive ad and hope an immature online community decides to mock it.
God bless America.