October 5th, 2008


Annoyance in Advertising

On this lovely Sunday morning (well, I HOPE it's lovely, anyway; I haven't actually been outside yet), I bring you a list of commercials that I've taken issue with recently. I'm sure there are plenty more that I'm just not thinking of.

1. The ads for services that check your credit report 80,000 times a day, even though I've heard that's actually bad for your credit score. At least the songs on the freecreditreport.com ones are catchy, but I'm not sure whether that's a good or a bad thing. "They say that you should always dress for the job you want, so why am I dressed up like a pirate in this restaurant?"

2. Speaking of songs, one that isn't catchy at all is that "Viva Viagra" one. I'm not sure if I've actually seen that one on television, but I found it via a YouTube link, and I have to say it's one of the most disturbing things I've ever seen. Seriously, it's a bunch of guys hanging around and singing about their impotence. Hey, advertising writers, you DO know that wouldn't happen, right?

3. That commercial that implies your child will likely be kidnapped or murdered if you don't implant a chip in them. Aren't those locator chips exactly the kind of thing that Libertarians are afraid will lead to a 1984 kind of scenario?

4. I actually haven't seen one of these in a while, but the commercials that pretty much state that wearing some funky body spray will make random girls crawl over each other to have sex with you. There are also some gum commercials that use the aphrodisiac theme, but they don't bother me as much, perhaps because they're not as sexist. (Or maybe I'm really just annoyed by these commercials because the products don't really work that way. :P)

5. Any car (or other vehicle) commercial that presents some really low gas mileage as if it's a GOOD thing.

6. Any Digital Voice commercial, just on principle. My own slogan for digital phone service: "Tired of only getting bad reception on your cell phone? Now you can get it on your land line, too! Plus, it doesn't work when the power goes out!"

7. Yogurt commercials. Not so much the commercials themselves, I guess, but the fact that they seem to only show women eating yogurt. Hey, I've eaten yogurt my whole life! Why do the advertisers have to present it as a feminine thing?

8. I haven't actually seen one of these in years, but they're still worth a mention in such a post: those game commercials where some obnoxious kid yells out, "I won!" at the end. I remember seeing a complaint about how it was almost always boys who won, but I was just so annoyed by the yelling in general that I didn't even notice the sexism.

9. And finally, we come to the kind of commercial that's really been bugging me as of late, and that's the ones where a bunch of young people sit at a table in a restaurant and goof on each other. Who do they think that are, the cast of Friends reincarnated? Like that one Olive Garden commercial. "You do the math; I'll do the alfredo!" Oh, shut up. Not to mention that pasta is a really dumb thing (for the customers, that is; it's smart for the restaurant) to get in a never-ending bowl, because it's quite filling. I often don't even manage to finish ONE helping of restaurant pasta. I like the Olive Garden, but I think I'll wait until they change specials before going back there. They really need to bring back the shrimp and crab ravioli, because that was some good eatin'.

So, what commercials get on YOUR nerves?

Snakes in Space

When I was in sixth grade, I wrote a few stories (although I think I only actually completed one) about an evil serpent named Froomosongs. He was basically a snake with legs, because I had the idea as a kid that "serpent" referred to a fantastic creature with legs, while "snake" was a perfectly ordinary animal without them. Actually, it seems like "serpent" is used both ways, but I think I might have gotten the idea from the Genesis story. Since God cursed the serpent to crawl on his belly and eat dust (you know, if all snakes really ate was dust, why would anyone be afraid of them?), I figured he must have had legs prior to that. I'm not sure if that was my own idea or one that I read or heard somewhere. Anyway, the first Froomosongs story I wrote was "The Return of Froomosongs" (obviously paving the way for a prequel that I never wrote), in which the serpent escapes from a cave on a planet of mythological beings. I don't remember too much about what actually happened in it, although I do recall that the teacher liked my reference to the serpentine fiend "spewing poisonous venom." I think my next one (which I might or might not have finished) was "The Revenge of Froomosongs," which had the villain causing trouble on several different planets, including one inhabited by furry thirteen-legged animals. I had some other ideas involving Froomosongs, but I don't think any of them ever came to fruition.

An even earlier story I wrote involving snakes involved my travelling throughout the solar system, and meeting weird creatures on each of the planets I visited. Jupiter had a baseball diamond maintained by the Diamond Cutter, a footrace run by the Muses, and a bear who provided us with lunch. Pluto had an ice cave inhabited by ghosts and aliens for radios for heads, and I believe either Uranus or Neptune (or perhaps one of their moons) was home to a turtle who always told the truth and a pig who always lied. I also remember a giant Lunar Mouse that could jump from one planet to another in a single leap, and some guy named Mistasooktoes. But the part relevant to this entry is that I was accompanied throughout much of my journey by a winged female snake called the Wingdra. She was like the Hydra, but had an abundance of wings instead of heads. And I don't think this character actually appeared in the story, but one of her brothers was the Taildra (and I'm sure you can guess what his primary characteristic was). I know the Wingdra and I rescued Persephone, but I never finished the whole thing. I had an idea that it would involve a battle in the heavens (I think I'd already started having the villains of the piece get together), but I didn't get around to writing that part.