What’s funny? Stalking.

Everybody loves a nice, lighthearted joke about stalking right?

All. Day. Long. Stalking jokes.

Yep, everybody is going to love our new stalker-themed Jeep ad.

BadTweets

Except, maybe, the 6.6 million people who are victims of stalking every year. So what if, you know, roughly a quarter of women experience stalking at some point in their lives. Those people might not be able to take a joke. Whatevs. So what if stalking is a crime in 50 states. It’s not like it’s always a felony. Can’t people take a joke?

See, when funny and cute girls are the stalkers, it’s super funny and cute. It’s comedy gold! So memorable; so much less edgy than those rape jokes we eventually decided not to use after that killjoy focus group. Plus, it’s only like 7% of men who’ve been stalked. Well, at least that’s how many wusses admit it. Women would never stalk other women, duh, so it’s not like this could upset anybody. Hell, most men would totally be excited if they had a stalker. Amirite?

Better idea: let’s put a stalker joke in a promoted tweet so it’s effectively stalking people too!

Genius!

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Too Sexy (Obese) for My Shirt

W. K. Kellogg, founder of the Kellogg Company, would be quite proud of the latest round of advertising for Pop Tarts. After all, he pioneered both nutrition labeling and inclusion of toys for kids in his packaging. Pop Tarts are a natural culmination of his work: food with less nutritional content than the packaging, marketed as toys!

The ad is amazingly straightforward and honest.

Colorless tubby blobs wander aimlessly through a monochrome world. Parents, these are your children. Yes, this ad is directed at you, because “I’m too Sexy” by Right Said Fred was released 21 years ago.

Boom! Bright colors and patterns! Bright things must be foods, so eat them! Woooo, look, when I eat all of those artificial colors, my pasty self turns colors too! Just like inside me really does! And I get a sugar buzz – naturally – ’cause there is at least 16 – 18 grams of sugar in these things. It’s listed on the label as High Fructose Corn Syrup, but I know it’s really just Corn Sugar.

“Pop Tarts. How good does your favorite flavor make you feel?” (Implication: pretty f’n great!)

“Introducing new wild fruit fusion.” (No actual wild fruit or fusion ingredients)

“Try on the latest must-have flavor.” (Prediction: obesity awaits)

“Pop Tarts. Joylicious.”

Pretty soon you’ll be too “sexy” for your shirt too. It will no longer fit.

Truffula Tree Certified (and a note on standards)

I’ve been getting emails about this one, so it must be a doozy. Just watched it. Wow.

Truth be told, for an ad to make it onto my radar, I must either witness it myself while watching live TV (very infrequent occurrence) or catch wind of it from a friend. Occasionally, I’ll watch commercials interrupting a show I’ve got in the DVR queue, but not very often. I make a note of these, and attempt to locate them online. Unfortunately for the blog, many of the especially terrible ads I find are not uploaded to YouTube (or they’re uploaded as sloppily edited camera phone videos of a TV). If I can’t find the ad, there is little use sharing it here. However, if there is an ad you find to be wicked bad, feel free to send me a link. Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.

If you grew up or raised a child in the United States, you almost certainly became acquainted with the work of Dr. Seuss. There’s The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, Yertle the Turtle, and, of course, The Lorax.

Published in 1971, The Lorax presented a fairly straightforward gloomy cautionary tale of the over-consumption of natural resources. The title character, claiming to “speak for the trees,” is an early-’70s environmentalist. That was 40 years ago, just before the oil embargo and long gas lines. Naturally, now that the Lorax is looking ahead to the end of his career, it’s time to bank some cash. Time to sell out.

How better to sell out than to start certifying things as Truffula Tree friendly? Or touting the environmental friendliness of an SUV. Maybe it’s time to make up some words too, and make them sound impressive and important without bothering to define them – Skyactiv – that sounds crunchy-friendly. Now, let’s tie all this in to a new movie to make sure lots of people get lots of money and none of it goes to any environmental causes. Sweet. Lorax retirement planning complete.

This ad is horrendous. It’s sure to alienate every. single. human. person. who would otherwise consider purchasing an “environmentally friendlier” SUV. Nary a soul will be soothed by Skyactiv technology with Truffula Tree Certification.

Imagine when the vehicle is 12 years old, sitting on a secondary market lot for $5999. Hopefully some used car salesperson in 2024 will have the good humor to mark “Lorax Approved” on the windshield. Maybe a child watching the movie today will by then be sufficiently jaded and invested in irony to make an offer. “One Truffula seed, not a penny more.”

Education Rejection

Mmmmmm. Corn Dogs.

Alas, not an ad for corn dogs.

Education Connection sells… something. It’s not clear. But they apparently will connect you to “the right” online college so that you can take classes “on your own time.” The imaginative lyrics, rhyming “bye” and “bye” at the end of the first two lines, really makes a statement about the quality of the education to which you’re going to soon be connected. Not a very good statement. The song is awful.

One wonders what demographic population would be attracted to the popular ’80s look of the singer and unpopular early ’90s sound of her song. From the video, it is safe to assume that those targeted include owners of comfortable metal-tube futons who alternate between ergonomic greek revival column standing desks and said futons when doing homework.

Oddly, our tour guide songstress seems change careers from corn dog hawker to website shill to professional singer during the ad. This is the logical path to fame for an American Idol contestant, but not really the normal (or abnormal, or even outlier) road to becoming a college student. It’s a shame, because she’s got some sweet herky-jerky dance moves that would really benefit her in class.

Do tell, what does Education Connection offer? “They matched me with the right college for me, for free!” (note: a little introspection and a web search will also work) But, now I’m forced to wonder (because you’ve just said you’ll do it for free) – does… getting matched up… with the right college for me… usually… cost money? If so, this Education Connection sounds like a value! Whoa! If I “log on” now, I’ll get a free “Success Kit” which is worth $100!!!

Yep, it’s worth $100 to the for-profit colleges and universities that will soon receive their own success kit: the names, addresses and emails of lots of people who have identified themselves as interested in taking online classes. Such a deal. Almost like they planned it that way. Good thing they don’t have a celebrity spokesperson; I might have not seen through their slick scheme.

Oh, wait.

Both ladies seem to think that “Logged On To Education Connection” means “Walked On To Education Connection.” Perhaps that’s why they are still seeking that elusive degree?

Drive-Thru Diet

Taco Bell has a long history of fairly fun, interesting ads. Some are funny, because they’ve engineered them to be funny.

Some are funny because, well, c’mon – Drive-Thru Diet?

Christine, imagined as a hipper counterpart to equally unimaginative fast food dieter Jared Fogle of Subway, somehow found a way to eat taco bell food and lose weight. What’s that, you say? Visit the informative Drive-Thru Diet website for more info! Sure Christine! How soon can I click?

Ah, the details. She lost half a pound per week for two years by eating only 1250 calories per day, down from her previous apparent gluttony of eating 1750 per day. But she didn’t have to give up that yummy fast food! What else Christine? What else?

I am totally on board now. I can make a FRESCOLUTION! That’s a Fres-Co-Lution, or FRe-SCol-Ution – no – FRESCO-lution. Maybe they’ll tell me how to pronounce it when they start sending me my “e-couragement” cards!

But I find my eyes wandering. What’s that up there beside the Drive-Thru Diet?

OK, I’m thinking outside the bun. What, pray tell, could FOURTHMEAL be? It’s right there beside the Diet, but eating a fourth meal doesn’t seem to be consistent with the idea of a diet. Let’s click on over.

Aha! FOURTHMEAL is the meal between dinner and breakfast. Surprisingly, no Drive-Thru Diet items are available at FOURTHMEAL. Because, of course, if you’re on the Drive-Thru Diet, you’ll have already consumed your daily ration of calories by the time you’re having SECONDMEAL.

The Drive-Thru Diet campaign could not be more cynical. Taco Bell food cannot reasonably be considered a part of any healthy eating plan. Sure, if you ingest two ounces of neon volcano nacho cheese daily, forsaking all other foods, you’ll soon lose weight. And friends. You’d need some severely delusional rationalization skills to believe you’re likely to lose weight while making a run (for you, fatty, that’s drive) to the border.

Taco Bell’s FOURTHMEAL campaign is, by contrast, the most sincere pitch they can muster. When you have no other options, because sane places are closed, here is something to eat. Oh, and you can also buy it for lunch and dinner, but we won’t pretend it’s healthy.

Honesty. How reFrescoing.

Broderick, Broderick…

Ferris Bueller, you’re my hero.

Except, not really anymore.

Here is the whole, uncut, extendo-version.

It’s amusing. It’s an homage. It’s a clever remake.

It’s pretty much a complete sellout, and delivers a heartbreaking message: Even if you were as cool as Ferris Bueller, when you get old, you have no friends and have to drive a Honda CR-V instead of a Ferrari.

Broderick goes to the museum. Alone.

To the Amusement Park. Alone.

To the Racetrack. Alone.

To the Beach. Alone.

To Dinner. Alone.

Whatever – even without Cameron or Sloane, it’s fun. “The Hangover” and “Old School” director Todd Philips packs the two and a half minute Ferris-fest with many, many, many little pieces of the original film. Cameron’s Detroit Red Wings sweater makes an appearance. The CR-V boasts a “SO CHOICE” license plate. But the ad wouldn’t have been complete without the iconic Ferris Bueller vest. It’s there. Did you catch it?

Nostalgia aside, however, the message is somewhat better than the current Honda “Leap List” spots. Although the people composing such lists do at least seem to have companions in their lives…

Maybe Broderick should have actually called in sick on this one?

Tailgrating

What could be more social than tailgating? Beer, brats, bros – the elements are all there for a wonderful day of sports enjoyment.

If you watch a sporting event on TV, you’ll see an average of 4, 362 ads during the course of the event. At least 200% of these ads will be staged at a tailgate party or at a viewing gathering at a bar or house. The announcers of the game have a 92% chance of giving you 5.2 useless and inane statistics per breath while saying, “…you talk about the X…,” and, “…from the standpoint of…” in 55.8% of sentences during clear weather – unless it’s the playoffs, when the number drops to 44.8%.

But if you’re actually at a tailgate party, surrounded by merry friends, monomaniacal fans and a misappropriated feline, AT&T has a best-practices guide for your behavior. Be a jagoff.

The basics:

Your Friend: “Hey, buddy, I care about you and like for you to feel included. Did you hear this really interesting news I just heard?”
You: “Um, yeah, jackass – heard that already – Where have you been?”

Advanced cases:

Your friend: “Hey guys! I respect your knowledge and would like to learn how to do something. Can you help me?”
You: “You’re dumb – we already know how to do that and won’t help you learn.”

Or

Your friend: “I love you and don’t want you to be eaten by a tig-”
You: “Dude, the tiger is already full.”

All of the sweet, thoughtful people in the ad are dismissed as behind-the-times, and we’re supposed to want to emulate the only two d-bags.

This isn’t the only version of the ad. Though the heroes are now women, the same “emulate the a-hole” dynamics are hard at work here too. Terrible.