Thursday, November 13

The Friday Random Ten+5 isn't buyin' what you're sellin'.

We've had a lot of fun mocking Olive Garden's dumbass TV ads over the last few weeks, but simply making a stupid ad isn't a mortal sin; people do it all the time. What really drives me nuts is when not only an ad but an entire marketing pitch, or the gimmick an entire marketing campaign is based around, is an insult to my intelligence. Like, it's one thing for Olive Garden to annoy us all with a bunch of idiots sitting around yakking about how many combinations they can come up with for the never-ending pasta bowl, but if they started making a big deal about serving their pasta in SQUARE BOWLS! or claiming that their alfredo sauce could lower your cholesterol level by as much as three points, then I think we'd be justified in joining the Earth Liberation Front and burning down their restaurants. With that in mind, this week's +5 is the Five Dumbest Marketing Pitches/Gimmicks I've Seen Recently:

The mountains that turn blue on the side of Coors Light bottles
Not that I don't think those "press conference" Coors ads are funny, but in one of the recent spots, where they "debuted" the bottles with the mountains that turn blue when the beer gets cold, some dude actually asked the question "How do you know if the beer is cold without the mountains?" How do you know when the beer is cold? I'll tell you how to perform that test, Hawking: Reach into the cooler, grab the beer with your hand, and if the fuckin' bottle feels cold, congratulations, you've got cold beer. Never mind that all of this blue-mountain nonsense is just a way to cover up for the well-known fact that Coors Light tastes like goat piss. (How do I know what goat piss tastes like? That's an honest question that deserves an honest answer, and that answer is "I don't care to discuss it.")

The "Drinkability" of Bud Light
Man, beer companies are like the shaolin masters of meaningless gimmicks and pitches like these. Bud Light's latest attempt to get you to consume their swill is to tout its "drinkability," which allegedly means that their beer is "easy to drink." I don't know, though, do y'all really encounter beers that you would characterize as difficult to drink on a regular basis? Do the bottles have little fists that punch you in the face as you're trying to take a swig, or do they have little puzzles on the cap that you have to solve before you can drink? Are there razor blades floating in the beer that cut you as you're sipping? All of those things could conceivably make a beer less drinkable, but other than that, I've never viewed beer drinking as a particularly difficult exercise. If anything, it's a little too easy most of the time.

Touting the fuel economy of full-size SUVs
With gas prices fluctuating more wildly than Bill O'Reilly's moods at "that time" of the month, the Big Three auto manufacturers have finally discovered that fuel economy is important to a large segment of American drivers. Good job, geniuses, only took you 10 years after the Japanese figured that out. Unfortunately, after decades of foisting bloated Saracen-like SUVs on us, they got caught with their pants down and are now trying frantically to convince us that their existing products don't kill a dozen baby seals every time you nudge the gas pedal. So they tell us stuff like "The Chevrolet Tahoe has the best fuel economy in its class," which may or may not be true, but the "best" fuel economy in the full-size SUV class is still something like only 19 miles to the gallon. So that's kind of like saying "The McDonald's Big Mac has less saturated fat than any fast-food burger" or "The Boeing 767 fits into a typical two-car garage better than any wide-body airliner in its class." Stop trying to convince us we're not actually killing the planet, GM, and just build a damn electric car already.

Taco Bell's "Triple Steak Burrito"
Taco Bell is another company that's extremely well versed in this marketing bullshit -- they keep touting "carne asada steak" as a prime selling point, as if "carne asada" was some special premium beef that comes from cows who are fed beluga caviar and given hot-oil massages every night, when "carne asada" is actually just Spanish for "roasted meat." Well, now they have their "Triple Steak Burrito," where the ads have four douchebags sitting in a fancy restaurant and they're each ordering their steak a different way, and the fourth douchebag is like, "No, man, I'm going triple." What does "going triple" mean? Are they putting three different kinds of steak (porterhouse, filet, New York strip) in there? Of course not; all they're doing is giving you three times as much of the same crap to stuff into your fat, stupid face. This apparently comes from the same "just add more shit" school of thought that gave us the four-patty Burger King "stacker," the five-blade Gillette razor, and the Ford Excursion. All of which are killing our society. Yes, even the razor.

truTV's "Not Reality, Actuality" slogan
Don't get me wrong, truTV is a great place to turn to for an hour or so of turn-your-brain-off police-chase-watchin', crackhead-arrestin' entertainment. But "Not Reality, Actuality" has to be one of the dumber slogans anyone's come up with in the last 20 years. Not that I don't get what they're talking about -- instead of "Survivor"-type contrived-reality shows, they show "Cops"-type real-reality shows -- but still, in everyday usage, aren't "reality" and "actuality" pretty much interchangeable? I mean, Wiktionary describes the word "reality," in part, as "the state of being actual or real," so what the fuck, truTV? Come up with a better tag line so I don't have to feel quite so embarrassed about staying glued to the TV for those "Beach Patrol"/"Ocean Force" marathons. (I've got a thing for lifeguards, OK? Sue me.)

Ahh, catharsis. And now the Ten:

1. G. Love & Special Sauce, "Cold Beverage"
2. 3rd Bass, "Hoods"
3. Sigue Sigue Sputnik, "Love Missile F1-11"
4. Wu-Tang Clan, "Can It Be All So Simple"
5. The Dust Brothers, "Homework"
6. U2, "Running to Stand Still"
7. Dave Attell, "Fireworks"
8. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, "Stand Above Me"
9. The Jesus & Mary Chain, "Sugar Ray"
10. Underworld, "Holding the Moth"

Your turn -- put your own Random Tens and/or most despised marketing pitches in the comments.


Jason Bini said...

I do admire the Bud Light ads for the sole reason that I wish to think that its Bud Light's way of really being satisfied with a mediocre beer. 'You know its drinkable, but it wouldn't be our first choice in beers either' is all I hear from those ads.

Universal Remonster said...

"Square Plates!" You been listening to David Cross lately or something?

I agree with your list, pretty much all redonk..... except I like the five blades. My vote would have gone to the "pulse" option on gilette razors, which really just incrementally increase the chances of you slicing your face open.

Also, not like I love Coors Light, but if it is absolutely fucking freezing cold it is the easiest beer to shotgun or funnel. I'm not extremely proud to know that from experience.

Josh M. said...

I do not now want to be saved by zero. I never have wanted to be saved by zero. I will never want to be saved by zero.

I do, however, want to disembowel the person behind those ads with a rusty butter knife.

Jonathan M. Reed said...

Aw, Josh, the "Saved By Zero" jingle is the best annoyingly catchy jingle since the old "Free Credit Report dot com" song.

As to a beer's drinkability, I can name a few that I find hard to drink -- anything fruit flavored or above 10% alcohol tends toward undrinkable in my book, and I'll swill just about any brew set before me just to add to my knowledge. Case in point -- Brooklyn Brewery's Black Chocolate Stout, available at the holidays, clocks in at a whopping 10.5 percent alcohol. You taste the booze in every swig, and unless you're hell-bent on getting your drank on, it's not advisable to chug.

Will said...

Any ad with a jingle or song should have a hard cap limit on its # of ad buys.

Saved by zero wouldn't be bad if I heard it say, once or twice during a marathon 11-12 hours of football watching.

But it's every commercial break (well, until a few weeks ago--now it's just every 527 group in the US's take on Saxby or Jim Martin.)

Anonymous said...

I actually kinda get what they are saying about the drinkability thing. To me they are talking to the people who are sitting around all day drinking beer and after a while you can't keep downing heavy inports. You need something thats a little bit more watery and drinkable..... maybe..... I guess that one just doesn't make me pull my hair out like the Oiive Garden one's. But how can you not mention the most annoying ad today. CHAD from Altell. I swear he's a gator fan.

Eric said...

Seeing as I'm stuck one state to your west that is only slightly more bass ackward than yours, you know as well as I do that bars don't always (rarely) offer the much needed assortment of beer; hence, "drinkability" can at times be a quality to desire.

With that in mind, my last trip to Athens ended with a ransacking of the 5 Point beer/liquor store, and more cases of good beer that is damn near illegal to cross two state lines with. Hell, even my wife had to sit on top of a case before we could drink it down to find more room in the back. (j/k) Go Bandit, Go!

Anonymous said...

As a beer snob (or nerd, if you prefer) I can tell you that "drinkability" is in fact a legitimate characteristic of beer. A couple of commenters have already touched on this. For example, while both may be excellent, a spritzy, fruity witbier would probably be more drinkable than a thick, chocolaty imperial stout. The former is light and refreshing while the latter is like a heavy dessert in a bottle.

In this case of Bud Light, of course, the drinkability comes from the fact that it's basically fizzy yellow water. So yeah, Bud Light has high drinkability (assuming you can stand what little taste there is), but no more so than any other light American lager.

Like the SUV ads, Bud Light is basically highlighting the worst facet of the product, and trying to make it a selling point. I guess the marketing types are getting cocky or something.

Anonymous said...

Easy there Dougie, Seinfeld's schtick wasn't funny the first time around.

You remind me of Janeane Garafaolo, neither smart nor funny, but with the appearance of both.

anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AuditDawg said...

The "I'm Lovin' It" ads from McDonald's can go straight down the pipe for all I care. Obviously, those commercials are exactly how urban youths act and react when McDonald's is introduced into the equation.

Anonymous said...

Adding to the McDonald's hatred -- that they pat themselves on the back for offering a "Southern" style chicken sandwich in their commercials, as if their concoction is creative genius, is both sacreligious and a slap in the face to those who know what a real fried chicken sammich should taste like. I hate that commercial with all of my soul.

dean said...

There was commercial a couple of years ago for Smirnoff(sp?) Ice where this dude gets out of his convertable muscle car, whips out a blade and flattens all four of his tires. The message was to drink responsiblity. Give me a freakin' break. Did the dumbasses who came up with this have any idea what 4 new tires cost? Honestly what dumbass would do that? What are going to do the next day to get your car back to your place? It just reeked of stupidity.

NCT said...

One of the funniest things I heard in college was that a college students' three favorite beers were, in this order: free beer, cold beer, and Miller Lite.

Of course, I was a pretentious prick, so I went through a phase where I brought St. Pauli Girl to keg parties. And now, a beer's drinkability to me is directly proportionate to its hops. And I prefer domestic. There's nothing quite like the brightness in the nose from a freshly tapped keg of Sierre Nevada Pale Ale.

1. Tori Amos, "Raspberry Swirl"
2. Depeche Mode, "A Question of Lust" (live)
3. Paper Lace, "The Night Chicago Died"
4. R.E.M., "Romance"
5. Cowboy Junkies, "I Saw Your Shoes"
6. Howard Jones, "New Song (Peter Black & Hardrock Striker Mix Edit)"
7. Fleetwood Mac, "Over My Head"
8. The Carpenters, "This Masquerade"
9. Hole, "Miss World"
10. Neil Diamond, "Holly Holy"

opsomath said...

Good call on the SUV fuel efficiency. The biggest offender in my mind is where the poncy dude driving the Escalade is like "You know what they should hybrid? This thing." NO THEY FUCKING SHOULDN'T. What a worthless waste of tech and cash.

Even more creepy though is the trend of the car dealer ads to brag about how much FREE MONEY they have to loan you. They sound like Scrooge McDuck after taking a couple tabs of Ecstasy. FREE MONEY! Come on down! Nine MILLION dollars! (I am not kidding.) Seriously, have we learned nothing from the economic implosion?

1) David Gray, "Babylon"
2) B-52s, "Love Shack"
3) Andrew Osenga, "New Mexico"
4) Radiohead, "The Gloaming"
5) Switchfoot, "Lonely Nation"
6) Five Iron Frenzy, "Eulogy"
7) Ella Fitzgerald, "Making Whoopie"
8) Fall Out Boy, "Thanks For The Memories"
9) Aerosmith, "Dream On"
10) That damn "Drums"(nah ah ah ah ahaha ah) song that's on the radio all the time.

Anonymous said...

More annoying that these ad campaigns? Liberals whining about the imaginary rights of baby seals.

Anonymous said...

Funny anon at 9:52. That reminds me of the protestors around the corner from my house, whining about the imaginary rights of unborn fetuses. Geez, get your own life and stop thumping that bible in my face everytime I drive by.

AuditDawg said...

We can now officially add the Honda generator commercial with the old women that roll up in the tricked out SUV to my most hated commercials.

Anonymous said...

This is just too easy of a category - watch a football game and you'll see at lest five more that are even dumber than the ones you have. It's just the nature of advertising. Much tougher would be to come up with five that make sense/are not annoyingly stupid.

Anonymous said...

Have to take issue with the razor thing.

I know of few over-advertised products that perform as well as that damn Fusion.

And, it actually saves money: the blades last for months.