Ads Are Stupid

A purple thing with eyes will make you buy cheeseburgers. Shaking rumps will make you buy beer. Bears are supposed to do something too.

an unsophisticated look at dumb tv commercials

Product: McDonald’s Dollar Menu

Synopsis: Donald Trump praises an unseen listener for some amazing deal. ‘I don’t know how you do it,’ Trump says, suitably impressed, picking up a Big Mac with his neatly manicured hands. The unseen listener turns out to be Grimace, the classic McDonald’s semi-mascot, who looks like what would happen if you melted Barney the Dinosaur on a giant cookie sheet at 800 degrees. ‘Together,’ Trump declares, putting his arm around the monster’s shapeless neck and shoulder region, ‘we could own this town.’

Alternate Ending: Trump and Grimace mate, giving birth to small, purple assholes.

Product: Kia Spectra

Synopsis: Tom Tom Club plays. It’s that song Mariah Carey samples every couple of years. The blippy, bubble-gummy one about ‘my boyfriend.’ The only Tom Tom Club song. Scene: a cute blonde drives a Kia Spectra with a boyfriend who’s allergic to her puppy and puts it in the back seat. What is he, an evil puppy hater? Next scene: the same cute blonde drives a Kia Spectra with her new boyfriend, a hippie with foot odor. The otherwise lean commercial spends a whole extra second showing the hippie putting his bare feet onto the dash, in case we didn’t realize hippies stink. Next scene: the same cute blonde drives a Kia Spectra with her new boyfriend, a Wall-Street type, very ‘80s, talking on his cell phone. The cute blonde rolls her eyes. (Her hair style’s different in every scene, by the way, indicating a passage of time, in case you thought she was a three-timing slut.) A narrator notes—without using these words exactly—that while the cute blonde’s hair and boyfriends change, the Kia Spectra doesn’t. Then she runs out of gas and ogles the beefcakey roadside assistance guy, presumably boyfriend #4, via side-view mirror.

Alternate Ending: Many-timing slut Mariah Carey arrives, flanked by entertainment lawyers and P-Diddy protégés, demanding full rights to cute blonde’s boyfriends and the Tom Tom Club song.

Product: Target Stores

Note: The person who told you Evian is ‘naïve’ spelled backwards will undoubtedly insist on calling Target ‘tar-zhay.’ Nod politely. This is a very lonely human being.

It’s a capacity crowd at the basketball game, folks. Vendors are dispensing free bottles of Motrin pain reliever to the fans, presumably because of the overwhelming noise, but wait… a player on the opposing team is standing at the free-throw line. He dribbles twice, prepares to shoot—but everyone is rattling their Motrin bottles to distract him! A message reads, ‘Prices so low, you don’t have to hold back,’ leaving one to wonder why the vendors didn’t hand out seven-piece sets of All-Clad Emerilware Cookware to bang together. The nervous player shoots and misses by a mile. The errant ball hits a male cheerleader in the head. It isn’t Will Ferrell, but it will be in Target’s 2003 ad campaign.

Alternate Ending: Crowd eats Motrin, ‘sleeps.’

Product: Coors Light

Synopsis: Asses/mini-skirts. Clinking cans. Aerial view of football field. Smiling cheerleader. Low-five! Fattish guy in a parking lot with grill, frattish white guy throws football, frattish black guy catches it, date-rapish guy kisses girl. Someone eating meat from various angles: Meat, meat, meat! Painted-face retarded man in clown wig cheers at stadium! Fans go ape in living room! Team mascot/desperate non-SAG actor in animal outfit cheers on field. Smiling twins with pom-poms. Fan makes ‘yeah!’ or ‘rawk!’ sign. Tackle, tackle, tackle! Tit-shaking cheerleaders, rumpshaking cheerleaders, more fans, retarded guy in clown wig, twins, mascots/desperate non-SAG actors in animal outfits drop-kicking one another, fans chanting/grabbing Coors, cheerleaders looking sassily back over their shoulders, winking, having led cheers.

The song playing throughout is called ‘I Love Twins.’ Actual lyrics:

I love playing two-hand touch
Eating way too much
Watching my team win
With the twins

I love quarterbacks eating dirt
Pom-poms and short skirts
Fans who won’t quit
And those twins

And I love you, too!
Here’s to football!

Alternate Ending:
Something nuclear.

Bonus material: There’s a discussion of the commercial (including attempts to reproduce the lyrics and advice on where to download ‘one of the best commercials going right now’ to your personal PC for repeated viewing) on the message board of Brad Meltzer, author of the New York Times bestsellers The Tenth Justice and Dead Even. I’m as confused as you are.

Product: Hyundai Elantra

Synopsis: A young woman in a Hyundai showroom asks a burly salesman how much Elantras cost with automatic transmission and air conditioning. He tells her. It’s a reasonable price. ‘Shut. Up,’ she says and thumps him on the boob. The salesman has a thick, muscular boob. ‘Boob’ is probably the wrong term. Then she asks him what if the Elantra had, say, power locks and mirrors? Still, a reasonable price, he says. ‘Shut. Up,’ she says, again compelled to thump him on the boob. She’s cute and hip, yes, and clearly models her behavior after Elaine in certain episodes of Seinfeld, but she’s also pretty comfortable thumping someone’s boob in a familiar way. It’s like her thing. ‘And keyless entry?’ she continues. ‘Same price,’ the salesman says. ‘Please don’t hit me.’

Alternate Ending: Salesman hits back, hard, hulking over the astonished woman, saying, ‘How ya like me now, muthafucka?’

Product: American Express

Synopsis: Jerry Seinfeld in a tent, watching a bear show on a big Toshiba television, which is cripplingly funny because he’s watching TV in a tent! American Express allows you to purchase tents and televisions—you could make your own cripplingly funny ad! The bear show notes that bears have a ‘secret competitive nature’ and we see a couple of bears drive by in the background… in a golf cart! Jerry says he’d like to see this secret competitive nature in action, but he doesn’t see the golf-cart bears because… he’s watching television in the tent! Use American Express! It’s cripplingly funny!

Alternate Ending: Bears remove their costumes to reveal—Jason Alexander and Michael Richards of TV’s Seinfeld! We learn they’re also the football mascots in the Coors Light ad.