LA VALLEUR COMMUNICATES: Musings By Barbara La Valleur — TV Ad Mayhem

I lied when I said my next blog would be On to The Daily News of Wahpeton-Breckenridge. Life happens.

Like this past week spent in bed, not by choice mind you, with a wicked bacterial infection. Not functioning, I turned on the TV in a useless attempt to not feel sorry for myself in my pain and misery. I’ve missed my calling.

It wasn’t the programs that stand out. It was the REALLY BAD ANNOYING ADS.

I’m not going to name products because I’m not willing to promote in any way, shape or form, their products. What I will share are the ads that are incredibly annoying, absolutely irritating, where’s-the-remote so I can mute the sucker!

Top Annoying Ads:
— Food hitting people in the face.
— Him & her holding hands in unconnected bathtubs.
— A guy dumping lots of stuff down the toilet to prove a point.
— Mini van ad hitting people.
— Older woman looking like a slapstick actor throwing a tire through a business window.
— Kitchen ad with bitchy woman slamming doors.
— A big bug about to climb in a swimming pool and then driving away on a motorcycle.
— Man with a shark eating his arm.
— A group of people in an elevator talking about bowel movements.
— Mayhem, a stupid man in a pink vehicle running in to polls and cars.
— ALL foot fungus ads.
— Any animated household tools that talk — especially toilets (give me a break!).
— ALL anti-mucus adds.
— Numerous ads of different products where women are portrayed as dim, stupid or demeaning.
— Really loud commercials, especially the really fast-talking gibberish
Tachylalia, usually pharmaceutical or spa ads.

There are so very few clever, memorable ads that want me to buy a product. Advertising is an important part of everyday life and influences us more than we want to admit. Americans could learn a lot from viewing the quality of British advertising. They are brilliant, make exquisite use of humor more often than we do and even in their public service announcements, which can be quite dramatic, they know how to pack a punch and have you remember what you just watched. If you don’t believe me, take in the annual British Advertising Awards at the Walker in Minneapolis in December.

Among the few ads I found appealing are:

— Breakfast cereal ad with Gramps imitating his grandson.
— The one where a man paints his chest with different pictures.
— A children’s hospital neonatal ad showing college students with their birthweight of about a pound and then showing them older or grown.
— A soft toilet paper throwing a rough toilet paper roll and cutting a swath in the
side of the guy’s hair.
— A fast-food chain showing a couple on a twin-sized air mattress because the in-laws are coming and his luggage going to the Bahamas but he didn’t.
— A car that saved ‘my’ life.
— All Super Bowl ads by the beer king.

For an ad to be truly effective, it seems to me that it has to be one that you remember and above all, doesn’t have you mute it. Yup, I’m now an ad mute expert. Perhaps even more importantly, you remember an ad because each time you see it, whether the first or 50th time, it puts a smile on your face.

Like the ad for a cell phone with a side-by-side father and teenage daughter sitting on the sofa and her squeal when he pulls out a cell phone just for her. But even in that one, which does in fact put a smile on my face every time I see it, there is the unrealistic aspect that the mother in the background is working in the kitchen.

I don’t know a mother in the world who wouldn’t want to be right there to see the look on her daughter’s face when she’s presented with a new cell phone.

Life does happen. Thankfully, I’m better now. Still, I think I missed my calling. If the ad agencies would only ask me, I could probably save them millions of dollars and raise the quality of advertising in this country. Seriously.

Leave a Reply