Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Why Roberta Can't Watch Commercials

You think you see or hear too many of them? The bulk of my working life, I've been places where commercials are our lifeblood; where my fellow employees were quick-witted and cynical. It rubs off.

So -- a major pizza-delivery chain is touting its latest offering, hot bread with a chocolate dipping sauce, by having a cute actress stand in front of a bakery, dressed like a baker, and offer 'em up to passers-by in a fake-Continental accent (probably supposed to be French. Fail). Once they've commented favorably, she whips off the baker's apron to reveal -- consternation! -- the logo'd uniform of the drive-by pizzeria and drops the accent. "...But they're really from [name of pizza chain here] and I just delivered them." Oh, wowsers. Gack.

...But in my mind's eye? Off comes the baker's apron and under it, the benevolent purveyor of starchy, treaclely glop wears the stained rags of a bag lady. "Heh heh," she cackles, "They're not from the bakery, I dug 'em outta a dumpster across town, scraped the green off, and made the sauce by adding plenty of sugar to some stuff I found in an old beer bottle along hthe freeway. Seeya, suckers!"

Srsly: don't take candy from strangers.
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But there's depths to which I have not yet admitted to sinking. A major soap and lotion company (and it is good stuff) has been running a series of painfully earnest ads aimed at the admittedly preposterous body image advertising tries to sell women.*

The latest one opens with a fresh-faced tween-ager looking at a poster that dissolves into a barrage of overwrought, Barbie-doll images, then stops on another shot of her with a phrase, "Girls today face more pressure than ever," before proceeding with the usual well-meaning stuff.

The Mean Roberta, though, sees the supered line and mutters, "Not the skinny ones!" (What, like you weren't thinking it, or worse?).

Hey, really, soap-people? E for effort but you don't get self-esteem just by deciding to have it. True beauty may come from within but self-esteem calls for accomplishing something. It sure doesn't need to be losing those last ten pounds you really shouldn't, or even making the cheer squad. But lacking alternatives, it somehow always gets back to that. Y'might want to mention Marie Curie or Grace Hopper every once in a awhile, hey? Florence Nightingale? Maybe even C. L. Moore?
* I have no problem with "pretty;" you don't sell look good/feel good stuff with ugly people. But the degree of Photoshopping, tweaking and all-round lily-gilding that goes into most of it results in looks that are not merely at the far end of the bell curve but actually unreal. WARNING: THINGS SEEN ON THE TUBE APPEAR BETTER-LOOKING THAN THEY ARE. Use only as directed. Or less.


Anonymous said...

I seldom watch TV to begin with, and never netwerk tv, but the radio spot fro the car insurance company- you know the one where the guy waxes poetic about his insurance provider- make me want to pull out a 38 and shoot the radio, every time. I have to change the channel, it's too annoying.

Alan said...

Between the DVR, Netflix and iTunes, I haven't watched an actual commercial in years.

iPod let me stop listening to the radio years ago too.

I'm more than willing to pay a couple of bucks for something to watch it commercial free. I save 20 minutes for an "hour" long TV show. That 20 minutes is worth the money.

Turk Turon said...

Me, too!

I cancelled cable-TV six months ago and I only watch my DVDs now, plus internet clips.

Those damned spots!

Turk Turon said...

Hey, Roberta, did you know that C.L.Moore was a Hoosier?

I know you knew that she was an admirer of H.P. Lovecraft.

Roberta X said...

I certainly did know C. L. was a Hoosier! --That makes Northwest Smith a hometown boy, right? ;)

Anonymous said...

Trust you to mention Grace Hopper :)