Advertising Miscues

I had less than an hour, but I could watch these guys all day.

I’ve had a draft kicking around in Trello (the project management program I keep my drafts in) since January 2015. I think it’s time I write this post and move the card into the “Published” column. The original idea came in response to Mattress Firm wrapping their Sunday ad around the comics. I hate when they do that, especially when I can’t find the comics because of the wrapping. Mattress Firm may be the closest mattress store to where we live, but I hope, when we need new mattresses, that we can find them elsewhere.

Advertising affects my opinion of brands. It does. My wife refers to me as a ‘marketing sap’ – mainly because I made her buy Hellmann’s Dijonnaise because their commercial theme was a take off on “The Duke of Earl” – you know, “de de de dijonnaise, de de, dijonnaise de de, dijonnaise” – I mean, who doesn’t want some of that?

While that’s a good example, there are also bad examples.

The most recent bad example is the commercial for Direct TV, that features people who like when bad things happen to them. When I was trying to prune my cable company bill, it came down to my adding streaming from Direct TV or YouTube TV. I went with YouTube, in part because I don’t like ads that make fun of people.

A similar and even worse ad is the one for Little Ceasar’s where the father doesn’t get the pizza from Little Ceasar’s and the kid rips off the “#1” from the guy’s “#1 Dad” cap. Little kids don’t judge parents, don’t punish parents and better eat what parents feed them – at least in my universe. I don’t like Little Ceasar’s pizza anyway, but if I did, this ad would keep it out of my house for years.

I also don’t like ads that either are stupid, or make it seem like they think I’m stupid. There’s an ad playing for Sunsetter that includes some very bad math – you know me and math. If you don’t, math errors are to me what grammar errors are to a lot of you, including my Editor. The Sunsetter ad features a perky couple showing off their shady patio:

Blah blah blah awning stuff, blah blah.

“We got our Sunsetter awning for under seven hundred dollars.”

Blah blah blah more awning stuff, blah blah.

“Now, you can get a Sunsetter awning for as low as five hundred and ninety-nine dollars, with this two-hundred-dollar-off coupon.”

Blah blah blah limited time, blah blah.

In math, that looks like this:


And that’s impossible. You cannot solve for x. There is no x for which that would work.

If you search for this ad on YouTube, you’ll find that the “as low as” price used to be $499, in which case you could solve for x. In order to avoid the cost of reproducing the whole commercial, they just dubbed in a higher price.

In addition to stupid and mean, there’s one more class of commercials I don’t like. These are commercials that are just plain wrong, and most of them deal with improper use of music. Lots of commercials have music, and many are good matches. For example:

In this commercial for a remastered release of Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours” album, they used music by Fleetwood Mac, including “Go Your Own Way” – that’s 100% appropriate.

In this stupid commercial for Anoro COPD medicine, they also use Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way” – that’s totally wrong. The only thing worse would be if Anoro was for constipation.

This (good) use of Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide” in Budweiser’s 2013 Super Bowl ad will simply make you cry.

Since I work for an insurance company, I have to be careful who I accuse of being wrong. GEICO, whose “We all do dumb things” commercials in 1999 – 2000 are some of the best commercials ever, missed the boat when they ran an ad for motorcycle insurance to the tune of “Midnight Rider” by the Allman Brothers. It might have worked, if co-founder and lead guitarist Duane Allman and bassist Berry Oakley hadn’t both died in motorcycle accidents in almost the same place, one year apart back in the early 1970s.

Since I want to end on a positive note, one insurance company that our company is affiliated with, and the company with which I’ve had auto and home owners insurance with forever (no, they are not paying me or giving me a discount for saying this) has the current best ever commercial for insurance. The ad is embedded below the gallery; it features Green Bay quarterback Arron Rogers and his dog as “Walking On Air” (the “believe it or not” version by Joey Scarbury that was the theme to “The Greatest American Hero”) plays in the background. I am a lifelong Steelers fan, but I love this commercial.


Since this is a post that has been kicking around forever, I’m including some photos from my trip to Florida a month ago. Note: When Maddie heard that this post was featuring a dog, she thought it should be her.

78 thoughts on “Advertising Miscues

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  1. I too love that commercial with Aaron Rodgers and his dog. The funny thing about it, though, is that even though I remember the two of them driving around in the truck together, I have trouble remembering what company produced the ad. Like most commercials, the link to the product actually being promoted is pretty weak.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s funny that you mention that, Mike. I had to check to see who it was. I was happy to see that it’s a company I like. More than anything, it makes me miss having a pickup truck ;-)

      Like

  2. Oh I am with you 100% on all these commercial comments. Hubby has been complaining for years about the way ads make adults/parents look so stupid and I loathe that Little Caesar’s commercial. Ifone of my sons ever thought about such ridiculousness they wouldn’t have had pizza for a year! As if little ones don’t already thinkt they control things enough these days. Of course much of that is induced by the same parents who are writing these commercials….😏
    Thanks for making me himesickfor my beach. Sigh. I love those birds…..
    And Maddies! Hey, she tore up a perfectly good, toot,ta toot! (I’ll tell you guys about that one later) My Dad….have a great week, Dan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awww, I love this comment – I look forward to your story, but those paper towel rolls are still ‘toot toots” in our house :-)

      The commercials that make anyone look stupid steer me away from the products they represent very fast. That’s not cute, that’s disrespectful behavior and it would not have been allowed in the house I grew up in or raised a child in. I think we’d be in a better place if it wasn’t allowed anywhere.

      I thought you would enjoy the birds. I forgot that I had never posted those pictures. Have a great week!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Awww…who’s the most adorable Maddie ever? I think she could sell anything in an ad…I would certainly buy it.

    The only commercial that is really bugging me right now is a radio ad for Charmin in which a woman sings, “My heinie, so Charmin shiny.” No, no, no, no. Not ever. That is stupid and conjures up images I don’t want to have.

    The Aaron Rodgers/State Farm commercial is the best. I love when Aaron and the dog are in the truck and both of their tongues are wagging. Too funny!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Toilet paper commercials are getting closer and closer (and apparently beyond) the line. The ones with the bear family on TV is bad enough to make me mute/change channel.

      Our first Irish Setter loved to ride in my truck. That commercial makes me think of Mitzi and how happy she would be. It would be a better commercial for a truck than insurance (for me) but I do enjoy watching it. I think Maddie could sell the awnings. Laying on her cot, in the shade.

      Like

  4. Who is it that first said, “Why do we need algebra? We’ll never use it when we get older!” ?
    There a lot of commercials I find humorous and actually enjoy seeing, but when it’s over, I ask, “What the heck were they advertising?”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love the ad, and Maddie really could produce her own blog. What a beautiful girl, and she for sure knows when she needs to pose for her fan club. I can watch seagulls and birds forever because they are always doing something different. I mute the ads. I know they aren’t marketing to me. That became clear when they took Longmire off because the audience was too old. Yes, I hold a grudge. :-) If my mute button ever stops working for my TV, it will be replaced immediately. I can’t watch TV these days without it because I find it dangerous to my mental health. Good post. :-)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You and me both, on the mute button, Judy. I’d go cazy without that these days. That show hasn’t been off the air that long (has it?) I think you’re entitled to that grudge.

      It’s funny, because i did tell Maddie to pose for her fans. I think the look was more “I don’t understand you” but it works.

      I odn’t like being in Florida, but I could watch those birds all day. It’s the only reason I go to the beach, but they always deliver. I had a cute little video but I think I linked to enough videos today. Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. hahaha Love the commercial! I see so few of them these days. I have a TiVo that tapes everything and I let it. There are so few good ones. I have been known to yell at the TV when they screw up. My favourite? Sink, sank, sunk. gggrrrrrr Hi Maddie!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Uh oh – I had to look that up, Pam. (slinking away from the comment box, now).

      There aren’t very many good commercials these days. I remember when there were more good ones than bad ones. Now, some are just awful, and some make me shake my head and ask “what were they thinking?”

      Maddie nods lovingly.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I had a supervisor once who told me if you remember the ad but not the product, it’s not a good ad. I saw the Aaron Rodgers commercial for the first time last night and loved it! But I didn’t know what they were selling–just like those adorable little hamsters riding around in those cars..Soul??
    Maddie–you are adorable! I love seeing your photos.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh, thanks a lot. I mean, you’ve written yet another wonderful piece. But thanks to you and your links to commercials — and the links that then appeared in the sidebar — I just spent more time on YouTube than it would have taken me to save on my car insurance!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I replied (from my phone) to a bunch of comments, Teagan, including this one, but they didn’t show up. I mute the TV a lot, but I like some commercials. The newspaper is still wrapping the comics in that ad – Auuuugh!

      Like

  9. Aw, dang — you were right about the “Landslide” commercial. After that, I’d run out and buy Budweiser — if only it didn’t taste Charmin-able. By the way, Maddie has the sweetest head — you all must find yourselves applying little kisses often.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Ads are muted here…except for the few I think are actually clever and funny. There has never been an ad for any product that induced me to buy it. But there’s a boatload of ads that have turned me against the product simply because the ad was so stupid or offensive ….or both!

    Great photos. Love the birds, especially the ‘awkward’ one. The last one of Maddie posing for her adoring fan club….her expression is too damn cute. Yes, she could sell anything. Who could resist the redhead? But let me tell you, MiMi would move a lot of cat beds if featured in an ad for one! Lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Ginger. I think MiMi could sell just about anything, but certainly exercise equipment. She flips and jumps like a gymnast. I’d be happy to let the awning company film an ad with Maddie on her cot in the shade – who wouldn’t buy one?!?

      I have to admit to buying some products because of the commercial. You could ask the Editor about a product called “Alumaloy” – or the Dijonaise. She used to make me a sandwich for lunch, and she mixed mayonnaise and Dijon mustard. I liked it, but I seriously asked her to buy Helmann’s.

      I will avoid Little Ceasar’s though…

      Like

  11. “if Anoro was for constipation,” LOL – Oh Dan, yes, this post was marinating, it was time to bring us this joy!
    That motorcycle thing was a really poor choice. Just.. oh wow.
    I very much dislike the versions of spoiled children and thrilled parents i see on tv. Of course, it’s more disturbing to see it in real life.
    I actually recently did some algebra, when explaining to child that if “it starts at 6:30 and then after that we get an hour of instruction and then we go home” means that there is no knowable solution to when it’s over. I cannot determine the pick up time without the length of play. So there, algebra helped me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 100% in agreement with the real parents/children that make those commercials valid. When did adults forget the role they are supposed to play? I’m guessing the people that did the motorcycle ad just asked Pandora for a “riding” song and didn’t do any further research. I’ve almost used songs here, but I always listen to them and on a couple of occasions, I’ve decided that “yeah, this doesn’t work for everyone…”

      You get bonus points for adding math to real life! Go Joey!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Hi Dan – missing out on States’ ads … I think I’ll stay away – I never stick around to watch them – some excellent, some just dreadful. I ignore any of those mathematical instructions that appear … there’s always a ruse … and hate the put me down ads – have a good week – and more of Maddie please! Cheers Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

    1. More Maddie? MORE Maddie? Ugh, I might as well change this to MaddiesNoFacilities.com :-)

      She did give you guys a nice look today.

      Marketing math never works in your favor – never. Thanks Hilary.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I tune out advertisement. I learned too much about it in college. Now I just stop attending to them when they come on the screen or invade my view of things. In fact if I do remember an advertisement I’m resentful– and tend to avoid that product because of it. So there!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I forgot how annoying commercials are…we watch most of our shows streaming or NetFlix…we had to watch one of our daughters behind the scenes episodes (Travel Channel – Expedition Unknown…really not trying to plug it….she’s co-exec producer on that show) live and had to sit through the commercials….ugh…had forgotten how many and how frequently……

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sorry to remind you about them, Kirt. I tend to mute them, and I am watching more on Netflix and streaming. I notice on Youtube TV, when ESPN changes to a “We’re showing a commercial” screen and I think – Yay, I’m not seeing it! I guess that’s when they show the local commercials.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. First things first. You may be an evil Steelers fan, but since you appreciate the AR ad/s, I love you forever. Seriously, all of those he’s been in have been great and humorous as well. That’s not our insurance company, but I do love the ads.

    Since I shop a lot at Costco and Aldi, I don’t do too many name brands, but we see a number of commercials, a few good, mostly irritating. Sports programs seem to mostly feature beer commercials or car/truck ads, virtually all of which make me want to throw something at the TV. Now and then we see an ad we really like, that seems to tell the truth, or touches our hearts. Why on earth doesn’t Budweiser still do ads with the Clydesdales??? I mean, I wouldn’t drink their beer anyway, but I’d love the ads.

    OK, I have to get my mind of Aaron and back to work, so I’ll say good-bye for now. I think my life is probably blighted anyway, since I drive and love a Toyota Sienna van,, the second of its kind and our fourth van…and I asked for one rather than a car. :-)

    Cheers!

    janet

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have enjoyed all the Aaron Rogers commercials. He is very good in them, and they are funny. I loved the one where he attacked the bug with a golf club. This latest one makes me miss my pickup :(

      The “dilly dilly” ads for Bud Light are pretty good, but I would never drink that beer, let alone buy it.

      Sorry to draw your attention from work, Janet. You can blame that “evil Steelers fan” if you have to :)

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! I knew I’d get someone with that, Audrey. It’s a catchy tune.

      I did ask Maddie to pose. I don’t think she understood me, but I did get a picture I knew you guys would all like.

      Glad I could make you giggle :-)

      Like

    1. State Farm !

      Yeah, I had to look. I just love when they are riding around having so much fun. I wish he played for the Steelers, but he is a good QB and apparently a pretty good actor.

      I am streaming more and more and spending less time with commercials, John. It’s a welcome change.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I can’t stand most commercials on TV. Most times that’s when we flip the channel. The one with the kid and the pizza…just no …it’s awful. … I do love the captions you have for the photos, and Miss Maddie is very photogenic! :)

    Liked by 1 person

  17. You have said the words that I feel. Little Caesar’s? If my child behaved like that… unfortunately too many children do. That’s why it’s a commercial. Well, no Little Caesar’s in my house. The Allstate commercial with the “mayhem” is creepy and wrong. No Allstate for me. Budweiser commercials with the Clydesdales, the puppy, and the Dalmatian are the best of the best. My husband gets choked up. Aaron Rogers is fabulous in his commercial! The Farmers insurance commercials are terrific. I think we have the same list. Miscues are gigantic, because “It takes 10 “atta-boys” to make up for one “oh, s…”. Thank you for a great post, Dan.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I often wonder how on earth many ads get approved. I fear that our national IQ may be judged by the commercials on TV 😕
    Like you, if I hate a commercial or printed ad, I’m not likely to ever look past it and use their service or product. And yes, we have the same god-awful Charmin commercials. Seriously, everyone knows what toilet paper is for, everyone uses it. Can we please stop the commercials!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a good point, Joanne, we’ve all pretty much made our choice on toilet paper. I’m not going to start using what the bears use.

      If intelligent life is listening in on out TV broadcasts, that explains why they haven’t made contact. “Those guys? Must be dumb as rocks…”

      Like

  19. Nice post to find send into pub mode!
    and I also dislike ads that make fun of people…
    and I hate defamatory jokes – esp. when people make fun of religious groups.

    and I went to the mayo commercial (which was funny – but I did not get the Duke of Early connection??? not sure I know that…) but I noticed they also said their brand beat the leading brand 2 to 1 – but then did not show the leading brand – just show two of their containers…. so slick!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I can’t stand ads. I see them and I think of politicians. So I just don’t bother looking. Even the 5-sec YouTube ones seem to last forever for me.

    Again it is lunch break over here and I had to laugh at the equation you have used to explain the Sunsetter awning ad. I’m at my desk and one of my colleagues came by to see what I was laughing at. She didn’t get the joke, though.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ha ha – Math, it doesn’t have wide audience appeal. Thanks Peter. I work to avoid as many ads as possible. I never listen to political ads. I hit ‘mute’ and pick up a book or look at my laptop. I can’t stand politicians.

      Liked by 2 people

  21. I have some of the same peeves, and won’t buy from them. Ever. Elephants memory. One of them is Verizon… They blew up a woman for fun to sell a phone service? WTF? I am sick of games and ads that target killing or harming women… I am not talking about games where men and women are soldiers or some such thing (though NONE of these games thrill me) so equality and not targeting, but women need all the help they can get.. I’ve been known to write to the companies also. I think my favorite insurance ads were the ones with the mayhem…
    Actually, I think we’ve had enough of cruelty in this country. I love the Budweiser commercials. If I drank beer, that’d be the one of the canned beers.
    So glad to be able to read a blog post from you today… Its been a long time!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Sure thing. It’s nice to hear someone else say that about the media. Yeah-honestly me either,…honestly me either. When making money at the expense of people is in the norm, it is tragic. Men are conditioned of what is manly, and women are expected to hold up to an image that takes more than low-mid income level to maintain or achieve. I’m going to write this weekend and talk about the effects of media and my experiences, April being awareness month and all. I really do like that one picture a lot-animals are close to my heart.

        Liked by 1 person

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