Saturday, December 20, 2008

10 Most Annoying Commercials of 2008

Earlier this week, Gawker highlighted some of their picks for the most annoying commercials of 2008. While their picks are good, none of the commercials that have been vexing me all year made the list. Annoyance is, after all, subjective. If it wasn't, Miley Cyrus wouldn't have a career. So here are the ones that usually have me lunging for my Tivo remote to skip ahead.

1. Optimum Triple Play's Creepy Puppet World

Oh, god, this one wasn't going to be my number one pick, but it came on just as I was typing this. Most Saturday afternoons, in between running errands in the morning and going out at night, I watch Fox 5 for a syndicated House rerun, the evening news, and At the Movies. (Yes, yes, I live on the edge.) And over the course of those two hours, I am subjected to this commercial at least three times. I thought the Optimum reggae commercial was as annoying as they could get, but whenever I think things like that, I get proven wrong. In other news, I think Heroes cannot possibly get any worse. Anyway, this commercial is just...unsettling. I think it's the anthropomorphic angel numbers and wig-wearing chihuahua that really put it over the top.

2. The T-Mobile Companion Flight Stooges

Admittedly, I am ignorant to how this whole "free companion flight" thingamawhosit works, but if it's just a basic "buy one, get one free" deal, wouldn't it be smarter to buy two tickets and get two free so your whole family flies half price rather than buying four tickets for your family and using the freebies to blackmail someone? Oh, but then you couldn't have passive-agressive tea time with your Stephenie Meyer-lookalike friend and her mentally challenged companion!

3. Nissan Versa Makes Marc Anthony Even More Teeth-Grating

Small. Big. Minimum. Maximum. Kill? Yes.

4. Le Male Aime Le Male

I don't object to the commercial for Gaultier's Le Male cologne on an artistic level. I mean, it's pretentious and French Art Housey, but so are most perfume ads. I do, however, wish they hadn't made the cologne look like a one-way pass to Team Rainbow, because it's already hard enough convincing insecure straight guys that wearing something other than Axe won't make them gay.

5. XBox 360's Head-Splitting Adverts

There is actually a series of advertisements that pan around an XBox 360 user to show that the back of their head can hinge down and reveal...I don't know, how cool XBox is or something. All of them creep me out, but this one creeps me out the most because the woman smiles so slowly and with only one half of her face that it pretty much looks like she's having a small stroke. Not exactly what I want to associate with a product that I already know can cause seizures.

6. The Febreze Huffers

The only examples I could find on YouTube are from 2007, but Febreze is still coming out with similar commercials so my point stands. I'm not a fan of advertisements that make it seem like I'll turn into a drooling moron if I use that product. The Febreze commericals are a big offender on that front, as they seem to imply that using Febreze will cause me to throw myself down onto the Febrezed item, snorting at it like a socialite on a coke-coated toilet seat. I'm not saying that adverts that tell me I'll be instantly cool and popular by using their product are any better, but I don't see the upshot of selling brain damage as a side effect.

7. Glade Candles

Again, it's the drooling moron paradigm, with the added bonus of making Glade Candle users seem like the kind of people who would pronounce Glade as Glahday, Target as Tarzhay, J.C. Penny as J.C. Pennay, and Cabernet Sauvignon as Please Kick In My Teeth.

8. Bleeding iPods

Contrary to popular opinion, I'm actually usually a fan of iPod commercials - hey, I've discovered some great music that way! - but this one bugs me because all the paint is clearly supposed to start flowing at the same time on the "you" but the red jumps the gun and it bugs me every. Single. Time.

9. eTrade's Talking Baby

This commercial is annoying and creepy, you know what? If you need me to tell you why this commercial is annoying and creepy, I don't want you reading my blog anymore.

10. Axa Equitable's 800 Pound Gorilla

This is a metaphor many people already seem to have a lot of problems with, and now thanks to Axa, the wrong version will be even stronger to the weak minded. Guys? Seriously. The elephant in the room is the unpleasant thing you intentionally ignore. The 800 pound gorilla is the thing that can do whatever it damn well pleases because IT'S AN 800 POUND GORILLA. Different metaphors, different damnassed metaphors!


But all is not lost in the land of commercials! Most of the good ones have just gone to cable - such is the way of television migration. Two standouts this year came from Showtime, one for Weeds and one for Dexter. These are commercials that often prompted me to halt my incessant Tivo fast forwarding to watch every time they came on, they're like little works of art in their own right.


Lindsay said...

Oooh wow, I hadn't seen that commercial for Dexter before. Nifty stuff, man.

smd said...

Isn't it awesome? Showtime gives good promos.They were running the Dexter one a lot during Big Brother After Dark over the summer so I saw it...a lot. And never tired of it! Which, given my limited attention span, is kind of miraculous. There's another cool dream promo that was running earlier, in case you haven't seen it:

Sex Mahoney for President said...

Maybe it's just that I've been out of the country for a while, and I don't have a TV, but ads seem so ridiculous.

Sex Mahoney for President

smd said...

I think they're just getting worse because of the DVR factor. They figure subtly clever ads won't make you stop fast forwarding to see what they're hawking, but creepy anthropomorphic angel numbers will. Which is true! The first time. After that, it just makes that vein in my eye twitch.

(Also, hey, welcome back stateside!)

Anonymous said...

I actually like the AXA campaign. Even with the mixed metaphor they're memorable.

smd said...

Yeah, the AXA commericals themselves aren't bad, certainly better than the creeptastic Optimum Triple Play offerings. If they had just swapped a gorilla for an elephant I'd put them at a solid win, even. But thanks to their shoddy metaphorical skills, we're all doomed to hear "the 800 pound gorilla in the room" for the rest of eternity, and I just can't forgive that.