Commercials. We love ‘em, we hate ‘em, they give us a chance to hit the restroom and for the folks who own the networks and produce the content, they pay the bills. Some commercials are great. Many are downright annoying. Some are annoying because their premises are flawed. Some are annoying because their corporate campaign has run its course and devolved from edgy or hip to become old and annoying. Some are just annoying because they’re based around spokesmen who are annoying, who are made to do annoying things.
Here’s my list of the commercials that annoyed me most over the past year.
10. Mayflower’s Ginormous Puppet
Moving is stressful, expensive and annoying. Perhaps moving is more bearable when you’re a gigantic, lifeless puppet on strings. That’s what Mayflower seems to think. Add in a blandly folksy soundtrack and you’ve got yourself one of the weirder, yet more hypnotic, ads of the year. I suspect that the art director behind this ad set spends a lot of time at anti-war protests.
9. Every Kiss Begins With Kay — “Storm”
Every kiss begins with “k” — but so does “killer.”
Jewelry ads are huge around Christmastime. This campaign aired every five minutes in the weeks before Christmas, and suggests that your loved ones’ affections can be bought for baubles. The guy here is supposed to be comforting in the midst of a storm, but he comes off as creepy. Maybe that’s because Kay used a convention that every horror flick uses — startle the characters with one thing, let them settle down after the fright, only to see them hacked to pieces by the killer at the moment of lowest tension. That sets up the audience in these ads to suspect that the guy will either have to fight off an ax-wielding killer, or he’ll be unmasked as a killer whom the girl will end up having to escape from, probably killing him along the way. Sadly, his only crime ends up being the attempt to buy his girl’s unending loyalty with some jewelry. And he succeeds.
It’s only less annoying than the Zales campaign, below, because it did not ruin any classic rock.
8. Pajama Jeans
George Costanza would wear these jeans. ‘Nuff said. Though I do love the line about the “struggle to fit into ordinary jeans.” We’ve gotten to the point now where blue jeans, themselves an icon of the dressed down culture, are just too much for us.
7. Lexus for Christmas
Let’s be honest. Sticking a full size car in your house, just to surprise someone on Christmas morning, is begging for trouble. For one thing, in most homes just installing a flatscreen TV requires drills and noise. How does one go about getting a car under a Christmas tree? Some walls are gonna have to move. And then..who picks up the payments? What if the thing leaks a bit of fluid on that pristine floor? Those tires are bound to track in a little road gunk.
6. Audi’s Green Police
This was Audi’s 2010 Super Bowl Ad. It’s extremely well produced and even fun to watch, which is part of the reason it’s so annoying. Audi seems to be celebrating the onset of Green Dictatorship, as long as its cars are part of the escape. But that will never work. First they came for the Hummers…