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Random Ramblings: Bad Commercials Part 2

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In the first part of my rant about bad commercials we looked at some of the big fast food chains and how some have lost their way, like McDonald’s, while others seem to be getting on track, like Burger King. We also looked at Apple and how they can break all of the rules but their style will still sell products while Verizon is more interested in the weather than selling tablets. This time around we are going to look at some commercials that are extremely far out there but still work, what the place you shop at says about you and two genres of product that are so synonymous with bad advertising, nothing could possibly save them.

Old Spice knew what people thought of when they heard Old Spice; your dad or your grandpa’s cologne. But not anymore. After this extremely clever ad campaign hit the air people now thought, “who is that guy,” and, “how did they do that?” Luckily it also translated into increased sales for the company. It only takes a few commercials to change how people see you.

This is technically a new ad but it focuses on some of the big names Pepsi has recruited to do ads for them including Michael Jackson, Ray Charles and Britney Spears. Creative, energetic, sexy people drink Pepsi is what we used to get from their commercials.

Now apparently only crazy-ass chicks and sex crazed idiots drink Pepsi.

Product manufacturers are not the only ones who have to advertise, the stores you go to also have to get their names out there. Like with soft drink commercials, the atmosphere and the people in a commercial says a lot about the places we go to buy stuff.

I hated these commercials so much I refused to shop at Old Navy. Yes it does focus on the product (which is not bad for the price) but they are so stupid they drove me insane. Whoever was in charge of these ads should have been shot, drug out in the street, set on fire and quartered. Then they followed those up with the idiotic talking mannequins. So they went from having celebrities doing stupid shit in their commercials to inanimate dummies. Par for the course Old Navy.

This isn’t much better but at least there is some eye candy to look at. I still don’t shop at Old Navy much and it’s not because of the bubblegum pop feeling I get from the commercial; it’s just too happy in that place.

Wal-Mart used to be all about that damn flying smiley face but now they are trying to be the place for sensible, average people to shop. I think it is funny Wal-Mart advertises at all; there is a Wal-Mart in almost every city in America and you can’t help but not shop there. Of course they are shooting for a little higher quality customer in their ads compared to the real people you see at Wal-Mart. (See

Of course if they would do more commercials like this I would shop there even more!

Now compare that to Target. Target changes ad campaigns several times a year adopting different styles but almost always relying on great music. Their current batch of commercials aren’t great, the teachers listing school supplies, but I can’t wait to see their holiday commercials if they are as good as these were.

Even though Cy contends Target is the Disneyland of shopping; fake plastic, and welcoming in a manner that says “look, don’t touch,” it is still the high-end store for average people. And make no mistake, all women love Target.

There is actually nothing wrong with K-Mart’s commercials. They are quick, get the point across and are neither annoying nor memorable. My problem is the K-Mart in my town is extremely, how can I put this, ghetto. Even though the store looks fine in the commercials, I always think to myself, “I can’t go to K-Mart, what if I wear the wrong color and get shot?” In actuality it is nowhere near that bad, it just seems that way.

The king and queen of all bad commercials will always be those locally produced commercials. Why car, furniture and mattress sales people feel the need to do skits, shout at the top of their lungs and pull ridiculous stunts to sale their wares is beyond me. How about you just, I don’t know, show the product and talk to me like I wasn’t deaf in both ears.

Here is a small taste of the horrible garbage out there.

But of all of the industries out there, there are two that stand head and shoulders above the rest. No matter how inventive people get with the ad campaigns, they are just plain horrible. I’m speaking of course about perfume and prescription drug commercials.

What the what? I…I…I have no words. Well maybe a few. So if you use this Justin Beiber perfume, he will show up in your room, make out with you a little then you will both fly through the air in really uncomfortable poses. How does this sell anything?

“Charlie. Fragrance for the fast lane.” So it smells like car exhaust and gasoline? Pretty much all you have to do is type in perfume commercial on YouTube and pick one at random, they are all bad. And yes, that is Sharon Stone in that commercial.

Think about it, advertising for perfume is just stupid. No one is going to buy a perfume just because of the ad. People who buy perfumes and colognes go to the store, smell them then decide to buy. Unless we get smell-o-vision in our new TVs, this is a total waste of time. This one was so bad SNL actually did a take-off on it.

Then there are prescription drugs. Most of the world doesn’t have to deal with these damn commercials because it is illegal, yes illegal to advertise prescription drugs like this on TV. But not here in the US. So we get to deal with crap like this.

While this is pretty tame as commercials go, it has all of the tropes now associated with almost all new drug commercials. There is a person going about their life like nothing is wrong. A minor issue comes up, they take care of it everyone is happy. Of course while all of this is going on the voice over is talking about how in certain situations this drug could kill you or fuck you up pretty bad at the least. Remember to ask your doctor before accidently killing yourself with a drug your heard about on a TV commercial.

Don’t get me wrong, depression is a serious thing. But watching an animated character talk about it doesn’t really help. And why is the doctor showing a video of himself talking about the risk? Is that lazy or is he that tired of repeating himself? Bastard.

You will notice that these commercials are always at least 60 seconds long. That is because they have list all of the bad crap that could happen to you if you take it. I guess this helps get the word out to people that something can be done to help with these issues which is a good thing but in the end if you are down all of the time or can’t get it up, how about just talking with your doctor about it and let him suggest what to take instead of going in there with a wish list like you would a candy shop.

Hope you have enjoyed this short look at some of the worst ad campaigns out there. Did I miss some? Post links in the comments and share your thoughts on the commercials that drive you up the wall. I will leave with a link to one of my all time favorite commercial spoofs. Ladies and gentlemen, HAPPY FUN BALL!

Optimusgene is the chief editor and founder of He is also the co-host of the Group Therapy weekly podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @optimusgene and on Google+

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