The late Bill Hicks once said of those in the marketing business, "There's no rationalization for what you do, and you are Satan's little helpers." That may be going a bit too far, as there are many noble and dignified persons making a living off advertising. But when watching the NFL playoffs, it's hard not to at least understand where Hick's was coming from.
This time of year, megacorporations kick their dumb-person brainwashing tactics into high gear and because the Broncos have been eliminated from the playoffs there's a good chance they'll attempt to capitalize on your sadness and drag you deep into this toxic cesspool of commercialization. While you won't be able to totally escape these ubiquitous nightmares, the list below should at least give you a head's up on which ads to try and avoid -- or comically indulge in as I often to.
5. Who's dying now? Question: At what point did Americans become completely fascinated with crappy, ephemeral television shows about dead people? Every time I turn on the TV, somebody is dying and somebody is making a cheesy television show out of it. But it hasn't always been this way. In the '60s and '70s there were delightfully pleasant shows like Bewitched, The Brady Bunch and Happy Days. In the '80s there was Diff'rent Strokes, Saved by the Bell and The Cosby Show. Television took a turn for the weird and decaying in the '90s with shows like The X-Files, Tales from the Crypt and Homicide: Life on the Street; but there was still Friends, Seinfeld and Rosanne. Now, everything is about death. And it's not even close. Six days a week at least two primetime television slots are reserved for shows dealing directly with death, and every day of the week you can count on a minimum of one hour of death-related primetime television. And in case you missed anybody dying, CBS has a late-night weekend segment of television titled "Crimetime Saturday" which is reserved for reruns of shows like CSI and Criminal Minds. Of course, this isn't even taking into consideration the countless other dead people shows you can find running at any hour outside of primetime.
These shows have many things in common but mostly it's the world's worst punchlines, a paradoxical sex-death driven storyline and large audience of very sad, sad, lonely people that are their primary calling cards.
Commercial to avoid: Elementary. After receiving generally positive feedback, Elementary, which centers around a modern-day Sherlock Homles and his sidekick Watson (played by Lucy Liu), will be back for a second season. Because it will premier following the Super Bowl, CBS will be doing its very best to shove Elementary's first episode directly down your windpipes, unaware of the fact that whatever viewership they do obtain is strictly a result of America's bloated and inebriated masses peeled over on their couches, too drunk to change the channel.
4. Beer is only as cold as the refrigerator it's in About six years ago some genius (no, really) at Coors came up with a brilliant marketing scheme. The concept was to convince consumers that the coldness by which they swallowed their shitty beer somehow made it taste less shitty. From there, Coors Light embarked on a mission to design their products to do whatever necessary to keep cold (although none of them really worked), and in the process totally disregarded (A) the intelligence of the human race, and (B) the fact that coldness of beer is determined entirely by whatever outside temperature-controlling mechanism or climate the beer resides in.
Apparently this man -- better known as Andrew England -- lived by the refrigerator-magnet mantra "Never underestimate stupid people in large numbers," because Coors Light's "Cold Campaign" has become one of the most successful of any alcoholic beverage corporation in history. Needless to say, none of this changes -- not for one second -- just how blatantly idiotic the Colorado-based beer giant's advertizing techniques have been over the last handful of years. The most insulting of which happens to be a series of mountains on the face of their products that turn blue when the bottle is cold. Because let's be completely honest: How badly would it suck to have to use your hands to determine how cold your beer was? All that half-second, slight degree-change in temperature making your hands anything else but hot and comfortable. Ugh. What a complete drag! It sends shivers down my spine just thinking about it! (Ironically, the one thing I never understood about the Coors Light campaign is that if you ever find yourself outside on a blistering hot summer day, the chances you'll be drinking Coors Light always seemed to be pretty high. At least, that's how it was where I grew up. Warm Coors Light was the only way to "enjoy" Coors Light.)
Commercial to avoid: Mountain climbers. Look, it's (sort of) understandable that you've found a highly profitable formula that works and you're exploiting it for every last penny you can. But at least make some funny commercials while you're at it. Remember the Coors Light NFL press conference commercials? Those were not only enjoyable, but apt for this time of year. Now Coors Light is just getting lazy. The concept of digging your product -- totally intact, nonetheless -- out of the snow is on par with removing it from the freezer or any other banal idea your average pea-brained second grader could think of right off the bat after being asked, "How can we make something cold?" At some point it just gets stupid. That point, for Coors Light, is either just on the horizon or already being realized. This commercial makes me feel it's the latter.
3. Conjunction junction, what's your dysfunction? Erectile Dysfunction, like all medical conditions, should be taken seriously. But when producers of remedies for ED don't even take the subject seriously, how is the general public supposed to? Viagra and Cialis, the two most mass-marketed ED companies in America (and Denver, most importantly), have treated their product with a slight sense of irreverence for years. They play this "Yeah, we get it, we're in on the joke" type of role, but at the same time, they're also trying to get you to come to grips with an unfortunate health problem and simultaneously sell you a solution (or product) by any means necessary. It's an odd combination, to say the least. In general, ED commercials could be worse.
I'm lost as to how outdoor activities like sailing or driving a truck (above) have anything to do with maintaining an erection, but they're a hell of a lot more tolerable than that jackass who used to walk around with a robot smile or the euphemistic Jimmy Johnson telling me in his thick southern accent to "Go long!" because Americans (by which, he fully meant Texans) "buy the biggest and best of everything!" (Side note: If you haven't already seen this deconstruction of the aforementioned Jimmy Johnson commercial, it's well worth the watch.)
No, the real problem with ED commercials is the lengthy list of side effects that takes more than half the commercial to announce and includes ridiculous not-worth-the-boner sacrifices like loss of vision or hearing and "long-term injury" resulting from your balloon not deflating after four hours. There are likely many men out there willing to do some odd things for an erection, but I can't imagine losing one's eyesight is high on the list.
Commercial to avoid: "The Age of Knowing How to Make Things Happen" is also the age of getting a boner. I guess that's how I'd title it. Anyways, some dude is basically out in the middle of nowhere just driving around and steers directly into a mud puddle at about .2 miles per hour. No need to gas it or anything; he's just driving. He then conveniently has two robust horses in a trailer that he uses to pull both his truck and trailer out of the mud. Somehow Viagra wants us to believe this equates to ED. He's solving problems, I guess. Apparently that's what you do when you get ED: You solve problems.
2. Action movie sequels and millions of them America loves action. It loves movies. But most of all, America loves combining the two into the proverbial and beloved "action movie." In an action movie there is a hero. It is a caucasian male 99 percent of the time. That male runs into a problem then uses an arsenal of explosives and superhuman powers to kill many things and entice good-looking women to have sexual relations with him. That is the recipe for an action movie and America will be damned if you every try and change it! It is a sacred prototype Hollywood has been profiting off since its inception and will likely continue to do until its demise? Here is a list of action sequels or remakes scheduled to be released in 2013: Fast and Furious 6, Iron Man 3, Man of Steel, A Good Day to Die Hard, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, 300: Rise of an Empire, Thor: The Dark Worlds, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, Riddick, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, The Wolverine, Kick-Ass 2, Red 2, Star Trek Into Darkness.
I mention the above list because come playoff time, action-movie previews are as common as flying pigskin. Like the core structure of their plot, they all follow the same advertizing methods too. Most have a lot of slow motion. Most show explosions, gunfire and just plain fire. There is a dramatic orchestra playing in the background, however these days there's a good chance it could have a tinge of dub step. There is usually a one-liner from the main character. And if you're lucky enough, there is a deep, scratchy narrator voice that pronounces words so slowly that he often completes one (questionable) sentence every thirty seconds.
Commercial to avoid: A Good Day to Die Hard. First off, can someone please explain how you're able to "die hard" in the first place? Unless Bruce Willis has been on the phone with Jimmy Johnson and decided to "Go long!" I'm not exactly sure how he can go about dying hard. Then of course, in this movie it's a "good day" to die hard, which begs the question: Is it ever a good day to die... hard, nonetheless? Title aside, A Good Day to Die Hard is the fifth installment of the Die Hard franchise and it's certainly making its presence known during NFL timeouts and commercial breaks these days. With the frequency at which this commercial is airing, you're gonna be begging to die hard, soft or regular before the playoffs are over.
1. Pitbull together with Bud Light is the worst There is just no other way around it: Pitbull together with Bud Light is the absolute worst. It's just plain atrocious. I have nothing against either one of these major corporate brands, except for... well... they suck. They both just suck. Bud Light sucks. Pitbull sucks. They both got together and were like, "Oh, you suck too? Really?!? Well, how about we get together and combine our suckiness and invite millions of other sucky people to join in and give us their money while we all go on sucking in harmony?" A breakdown for why Pitbull sucks is as follows: He raps in Spanglish. That's pretty much it. But I guess he also kind of dances like a tool and sells his soul to other corporate powerhouses like Kodak and Dr. Pepper. Pitbull even recorded a song on one of his albums strictly for a Dr. Pepper commercial.
A breakdown for why Bud Light sucks is as follows: Have you ever tried it? Well, there you go. Bud Light first got together with Pitbull in an attempt to connect with minorities, because apparently the company's white trash well has been completely tapped. But it's not like Pitbull gives a rat's ass. Once he's done filming his awesome dance moves and fist pumps he prefers to wet his palate with Corona, Ketel One and Patron Silver. At least, that's what he requests when on tour, along with Coke Zero, Dentyne Ice (Peppermint only!) and ten white hand towels! And judging by his track record, I think it's safe to assume he endorses all of those products -- including the white hand towels. Commercial to avoid: Every single one. Seriously. When you start hearing the Spanglish rap -- just run. Run far, far away. The most common one making the rounds these days I have posted above. It is a montage of incredibly good looking people conveniently holding their Bud Light bottles in a still yet presentable manner despite dancing, walking down stairs and, well, being thirsty. It culminates with a euphoric Pitbull doing what Pitbull does best: moving around (dancing?), smiling, wearing sunglasses inside and grasping a product for an advertizement he's currently being filmed for. It's quite the sight to see. And for those, like me, who struggle with the bilingual rapper's preference to be an ad and not a real person, at least we'll always have Alaska.