Tag Archives: commercial

Everyone Loves A Charade

stupid-paradeSo I went to a parade the other day. I was curious to re-experience the phenomenon since it had been quite some time. The last time I saw a parade was from within as a member of the high school’s marching band playing my trombone.

Yeah, it’s really been that long. I avoid public events religiously. I recently lived ten years in a small town. During that time I successfully avoided all the parades, county fairs, classic car shows and even the yearly carnivals festively known to the locals as “dirt bowls.” I’m a hardcore avoider and parade dodger.

The parade started with the police and fire departments showing off their rides. Meh. I grudgingly gave them a pass since this is apparently the traditional way to start a parade. I fleetingly wondered how much it was costing me.

Then came some beauty queens riding in the back of convertibles. Meh. Mildy amoosing.

This was followed by the “citizen of the year” aka a person I don’t know in car.

At last, the grand marshal. A person in a car. I was starting to swoon from … too … much … excitement. Suddenly I realized I could have been back at home watching Star Trek: The Animated Series on Netflix.

In case you missed it, the theme of the parade was “Undying Love For The Internal Combustion Engine.”
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The China Monologues

China, the largest creditor of the United States, has been in the news of late. On Sunday the CBS news program 60 Minutes had a story about a Chinese company called Huawei, a company that makes internet and networking equipment like routers, switches, and has the capability to build things like 4G networks. Huawei has become the largest telecommunications equipment maker in the world.

I’d never heard of Huawei before but apparently my iMac already has. As I write this post the text “Huawei” is already recognized by my inline spellchecker dictionary.

A U.S. congressional report recently released worried that Huawei and ZTE Corp., another Chinese company, have become too powerful and are a potential threat to U.S. national security. The report was produced over the last 11-months by the U.S. House of Representatives’ Intelligence Committee and concludes that the companies could be working with the Chinese government for non-commercial reasons.

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Getting down on the Farm

Strange. She doesn't look so upset about being abducted while a State Farm agent looks on approvingly with a decidedly creepy look on her face. Meanwhile, a sandwich is eaten.

My agent didn't look like this. We find that unbuttoning our shirts leads to higher customer satisfaction.

State Farm.

Say it with me. It just rolls off the tongue. State Farm.

Think about it, though. “State.” And “Farm.” State Farm. The name conjures up images of a government run co-op. Yet it’s an insurance company.

A commercial they’ve been running recently shows three guys chillin’ around the house. Suddenly their ribald conversation is interupted by a baseball crashing through the window. No problem, says one of the young men. He sings, “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.”

Poof! A pretty, vivacious agent is standing in the living room. “Hey, Dave,” she says. Wow, she even recognizes her customer! And she’s dressed nice, too, her shirt unbuttoned pretty darn low. I won’t even go out in public with my shirt unbuttoned that low.

It's a State Farm hot tub party! Hey baby, is that clipboard waterproof? I'm about to make a claim on some damages!

The young men quickly realize the power of the State Farm jingle. So they bust out with their second wish and waste it on … a sandwich??? Seriously? WTF! That had better be one damn good sandwich.

Then the customer ramps up his game, though, into some good oldfashioned sexist kidnapping. “And the girl from 4E,” he says, and suddenly his hot neighbor is sitting next to him on the sofa, sitting cross-legged with her laptop. Apparently she was doing some computing when she was abducted by the guy’s State Farm agent.

The state is now set. The three young men now have two attractive females in their domicile and their sandwich. Everything is ready. The third young men now gets in with his wish.

“And can I get a hot tub?”

Woop, there it is! That agent must be holding one powerful clipboard, eh?

The baseball is forgotten and we all know what happens next.

As the scene fades, the announcer wraps it all up nicely. “Find out what else State Farm agents can do for you.”

So, if you live in an area prone to be hit by baseballs, and you like abducting women, sandwiches and hot tubs, make sure you consider State Farm as your insurance company.

Funny, back when I was a State Farm customer, I never met my agent a single time. She had legions of secretaries who did all that stuff. In fact, I never even talked to her on the phone a single time. And I can guarantee you she wouldn’t recognize me by sight. And when I did put in a claim, not only did I not get my wishes answered, they canceled my policy for the audacity of putting in a claim once. (Something that almost cost me my chance of buying a new home when no one else would cover me, either, after one claim in 20 years.)

And they call that being a good neighbor?

“Sorry, Bob. I appreciate you helping me with my house six times in the last five years, but when we made that deal my fingers were crossed. I’m afraid I can’t help you fight that fire right now. Survivor is on! Good luck, buddy. Let me know how it works out.”

Insurance companies don’t exist to grant wishes. They exist to take your money and deny claims. That’s how they turn a profit. That’s what they do.

A 2007 investigation by CNN reported that major car insurance companies, including State Farm and Allstate Insurance, are increasingly fighting claims from those injured by their insured members. In some cases the settlement proposed amounts to just $50 or the threat that any lawsuit would be made so expensive and time-consuming that it wouldn’t be worth the victim’s time. State Farm and Allstate have denied these allegations. This followed on the heels of criminal investigations by the states of Louisiana and Mississippi, which found that State Farm had wrongly denied claims stemming from Hurricane Katrina. (Source: Wikipedia.)

Perhaps insurance companies should make real commercials rather than ones that look just like a horny adolescent’s sexual Weird Science fantasy.

You call that mileage?

While watching the Super Bowl the other day, I caught a couple of car commercials bragging about fuel economy in the 40 mpg range. One of them was the 2011 Hyundai Elantra that claims to get 40 miles per gallon.

40 mpg? That’s it? This supposed to be what is considered good?

That got me thinking. I decided to build a graph.

First, where we were. The initial point on the graph. I picked the Ford Model T. Says Wikipedia: “According to Ford Motor Company, the Model T had fuel economy on the order of 13 to 21 mpg.”

To keep the graph fair, I used the lower value of 13 mpg. This will make the improvement over time that much more dramatic.

I then made a linear line showing the increase in MPG over time between those two points. The 13 mpg of 1908 and the approx. 40 mpg of 2008.

In other words, in about 90 years we’ve gone from 13 mpg to about 40 mpg. Think about that. With all of the advances in technology in the 20th century, that’s all we could do? Wow!

Of course, using only two data points leaves out a lot of interesting activity in between. Here’s a graph that shows detail activity from the 70’s to present day:

Source: PewFuelEfficiency.org (PDF)

This graph shows a nice increase across the board between 1975 and 1987 or so. Of course, you have to notice that in 1975 the average fuel economy was only about 15 mpg. What the hell?

This car from 1908 could beat the average car of 1975 in fuel economy

So yeah, the pricing crisis in the early 1970’s prompted that increase in fuel economy. But then look what happens. We get complacent. We have a short memory. For over 20 years fuel economy has remained as flat as a pancake. And that’s just pathetic.

Oil is a finite resource. Put simply, if we could double fuel economy we’d use half as much. (In theory. Of course, if that happened demand would go up, so it wouldn’t be quite that simple.) Even so, fuel economy is probably the single most important lever we could move at this moment in time – if we had the collective will to care.

I’m amazed that car commercials can tout 40 mpg as some sort of achievement when really it is nothing more than a pathetic reminder of how little we’ve done.

Oh Holy Blight!

It’s Christmas time. You know what that means. Bring on the “holiday themed” candies that have absolutely nothing to do with Christmas!

I don’t know if Hershey’s Kisses were the first, but it feels like it. So I blame them.

With Kisses it was okay, almost acceptable, and maybe just a little bit cute.

According to Wikipedia, 1962 was the first year that Kisses were available in different colored foiled wrappers (red, green, silver) for the Christmas season. After that the sky was the limit: Easter (1968), Valentine’s Day (1986), Fall Harvest (1991), Independence Day, Breast Cancer (pink), camouflage, and more.

My god, when is enough enough?

Other candy makers, of course, couldn’t be content to let Hershey’s Kisses have all the fun. Tonight at the store I saw holiday-themed Butterfinger candies. Zoiks.

I saw Jelly Belly candy canes.

But, the topper of all, I think, has to be the “holiday gift packs” of Tic Tacs. These are friggin’ breath mints! I saw these at the store tonight, too. For a breath mint they sure took my breath away. Maybe that’s what breath mints do.

This thought immediately shot like a bullet through my skull. “Finally! Someone has found the ideal product that will, at long last, fill that aching void in the American soul. Thank God we now have holiday-themed Tic Tacs!”

I need to go to the mall. Stat!

“Hi Santa!”

“Hi Timmy! Have you been a good boy?”


“And what do you want for Christmas this year?”

“World peace, daddy to quit drinking, my parents back together, and oh yeah, some holiday-themed Tic Tacs.”

“Ho ho ho, Timmy! What a sweet boy. You shall have your Tic Tacs!”

Feeling blue about my hopes being dashed

Last night my wife and I were watching a little TV. Survivor: Nicaragua to be exact. During one of the content breaks I happened to note a commercial for an automobile.

No, I can’t recall the make and model being advertised. Effective commercial, eh? 🙂

My critical thinking skills were, however, functioning at a sufficient level to throw an alert about a line of bullshit in the commercial.

If my memory is correct, the commercial bragged something about: “This car can’t be properly appreciated from outside. You’ve got to get inside it.” (Paraphrased from memory.)

So what was this first bullet point they raised that you are supposed to “appreciate” from the inside?

The car features blue gauges lit with LED.

Jesus Christ! Holy fuck shit!!! Really?!? You have got to me shitting me!!! Blue LED??? OMFG!!! I’m going to fucking kill myself that I’m such a pathetic loser I don’t already own one of these awesome motherfucking masterpieces of engineering and design!!!


Alas, then my critical thinking skills kicked in. (For me they are sometimes involuntary.) Game over. Epic fail. Sorry and thanks for playing, old chap.

Just what was it that I realized? This: If the car is that motherfucking lame that the blue LED is the absolute first thing they mention, then the list of actual real attributes for this car must be lame as hell. It must be a real POS. (Piece Of Shit.)

In other words, I’m going to avoid this car like the plague. If I’m ever able to remember what it is.

The funny thing is, I’ve known people who bought new cars and the first thing they wanted to show me was the gauges lit with LED. Oooooh. Aaaaaah! How cool. Not. Are we a society in love with our automobiles or what??? So maybe this sort of advertising will work on some people. Gah!

Sometimes you can learn an awful lot in a mere 30 seconds. Something tells me, though, this isn’t exactly what the marketing firm had in mind.

Despicable Me

Okay, it’s game on. The makers of the movie Despicable Me stole the name of my memoirs. 🙂

Based on the commercials I’ve seen the movie is about two Twinkie treats who get into a fist fight. One is a cyclops and the other has two eyes. What does this tell us? At least one of them is a freak within his own kind. 🙂

The point of today’s post is about the humor of this scenario. How many jokes can you crack about the commercial based on the premise that the characters shown are Twinkies and are engaged in a fist fight?

Here’s my entry:

What could have started the fight? One Twinkie said to the other, “Your mother is a Ho Ho who eats Ding Dongs!”

Trust me. There is plenty more where that came from!