Sometimes I feel like the last person in Brooklyn with cable. If I try to ask someone if they saw the latest episode of this-or-that, at best, I'll get an apologetic "I haven't had cable in a while." At worst, it inspires a look akin to suddenly smelling something nasty. Is it so strange that I haven't made the transition from cable to a life of Netflix and HBO Go?
Bob forbid I ask someone if they've seen a certain commercial. Even friends and family that still have cable think it's ridiculous that I pay attention to ads. My parents DVR everything for the sole purpose of fast-forwarding through them. I, however, genuinely enjoy 30-second snippets of creative persuasion. Maybe it's because I have a number of friends who are in commercials, maybe it's because some ads are truly entertaining, or maybe it's a bit of schadenfreude when they're just so bad.
I've been keeping a mental list of the commercials that didn't entertain me in 2014 so much as they surprised me with their WTF-ness, and since it's the time of year when Internet writers put together lists of things that happened in the previous 12 months, I decided to play my part and share what I've observed. You're so welcome.
Summer's Eve Cleansing Wash
Aside from the weirdness of the lady in this ad referring to vaginas as "a woman's V," the guy's response to realizing he's using vagina wash as body wash -- overreacting by doing a series of "manly" things like chopping wood, pulling a car with his teeth and belly-flopping -- is pretty offensive. Even if it were somehow possible for vulva cleanser to make a man more feminine, is being more like a woman so bad that you have to take drastic macho measures to undo all that pH-balancing?
Veet Wax Strips
Speaking of gender and offensiveness, how 'bout this Veet commercial? Apparently, being womanly equals being not only hairless, but hairless AT ALL TIMES. This ad is telling women that even a little next-day stubble will freak out your boyfriend. But I guess that's not a surprise when your boyfriend is clearly homophobic.
I seriously thought I dreamt this commercial, it's so bad.
OK, so Big Veal realized that even meat eaters are kinda weirded out by eating baby cow, so they figured it was time to make veal cool again. But how?
Here's how: Film a low-budget commercial featuring 30-somethings having the most natural conversation ever at one of those super-popular Columbus Day dinner parties everyone's been having. And what better to serve at a party celebrating the Italian dude who "discovered" an already-inhabited land than Mexican food full of veal?
Well, I'm sold.
Elder abuse isn't funny, but in this commercial, it's the freakin' punchline. Not cool, Kayak.
L'Oreal Miss Manga Mascara
Doesn't it suck when a decent product is marketed horribly? Such is the case with this mascara from L'Oreal, whose first mistake was calling it Miss Manga. Not that I'm some kind of cartoon historian, but I imagine that a lot of the gals seeing this commercial have no idea that manga is a Japanese style of comics -- there'd be no anime without manga. Arguably, L'Oreal is implying that this mascara imitates manga's signature wide-eyed look. Fine.
But what's with this voiceover? Is it supposed to sound like an anime character? Is it supposed to sound -- ugh, I hope not -- like some stereotype of a Japanese voice? I can't decide if there's something kinda racist going on here, but it makes me uncomfortable.
Also, my friends who know more than a thing or two about manga tell me it's pronounced MAHN-ga.
What's sadder: the implication that Dr. Warren is so desperate to advertise eHarmony that he's resorting to acting like a guardian angel at speed-dating events, or the implication that the "goth" guy will never find love? (As someone who was rejected from eHarmony a few years ago because of not having a religion, I have a feeling ol' Mister Black Squiggly Lines would get rejected from the site, too.)
Rick Scott for Governor
Before the midterm elections last month, a lot was said and written about this ridiculously sexist political commercial that turns choosing a wedding dress into a metaphor for voting. But now that Rick Scott was actually reelected, all I have to say is: WTF, Florida?
I'm not going to get into a discussion about the portrayal of fat people's overeating struggles in this commercial or debate whether or not weight-loss drugs should even exist. No, I'm just going to ask you to fast-forward to 1:26 and listen to the side effect listed.
"High doses may cause mental problems."
I'm sorry, what?
What the hell are "mental problems"? Can we get more specific? Depression? OCD? Phobias? Hallucinations? All the mental problems? And since when is "mental problems" an acceptable clinical term for psychiatric disorders and not what your not-yet-socially-sensitive niece says about the boy who rejected her? I laugh inappropriately every time I hear that.
Which commercials have made you shake your head this year? (Assuming, that is, that you have cable.)