How many of you like to watch television commercials; especially, the ones that run during each year’s Super Bowl? Which ones do you still remember? Were the ones that stuck in your mind, the funny ones? I read that some of the most successful commercials, are the ones that make humorous observations of everyday life. Personally, I always like ones that involve either delicious corn chips, Dalmatians, Budweiser beer, Clydesdales, Snickers candy bars, Pepsi, babies, puppies, monkeys, Bette White, or that elderly woman who used to ask, “Where’s the beef?” Do you know that a thirty-second ad for the 2017 Super Bowl, cost advertisers around five million dollars?
It’s not that some of these Super Bowl commercials aren’t marketing successes, or even fairly enjoyable; but for five million dollars! Who’s writing these commercials. There has to be somebody out there with better ideas than these. I recently learned, the masterminds of these commercials are what are called advertising executives, and their salaries average over one-hundred and fifty thousand dollars a year. How do you get an advertising executive job, and what are the qualifications? I can imagine the ad for one in the employment section of the newspaper. “Wanted – people with black, slicked-back hair, perfect, and blindingly white teeth, extreme good looks, a strange and twisted sense of humor, must have at least a third-grade education, love Doritos, expensive cars, diet drinks, and massive quantities of hallucinogenic, and mind-altering drugs. Salary negotiable.” Wow, until they got to the good-looking part, I was ready to say, “sign me up!”
The problem with most television commercials these days is, they try too hard to be cute, funny or clever. Do you remember when commercials were simple and straight to the point? How about that iconic cereal commercial from years ago that featured a cute, little mop-haired kid named Mikey? His older brother used to feed him all kinds of unappetizing things to see if he would eat them. In the commercials, he gives Mikey a bowl of Life cereal, and then is amazed when his kid brother starts eating the cereal. “He likes it; hey Mikey.” The older brother exclaims, as he watches his kid brother devour the cereal like a great white shark with low blood sugar. Of course, Mikey will eat the cereal. You’ve been giving him nothing but road kill, asparagus, and bowls full of boogers for the past month, for crying out loud!
Do any of you remember the old Pepsi commercial, with that lovely model, Cindy Crawford? She didn’t even say anything in the commercial. She just pulls into a gas station, buys a can of Pepsi out of a machine, and just stands there in a pair of denim shorts, and a tank top as she drinks it. That was it. Guess what? It worked. My friends and I, must have drunk six hundred cans of Pepsi that summer. All the other kids were quenching their thirst by drinking out of water hoses, while we were lying around like big bloated ticks, filled with gallons of Pepsi.
How about those old Marlboro cigarette commercials? You don’t see them anymore, do you? That’s because they worked, and we’re not supposed to smoke, because smoking’s bad for you. We all knew cigarettes were bad for us. We also knew they could cause cancer, and they tasted like we were inhaling grandma’s ashes from above the mantel, but we smoked anyway. We puffed away, because that rugged, manly cowboy lighting up a Marlboro was so cool. I think I still have the old cowboy hat I used to wear, as I’d sneak a smoke out behind the high school gym.
Here’s something interesting, I just learned. It seems that advertising executives, who produce television commercials, are required to use a diversity handbook, when determining the actor’s they use. There are specific ratios of different races, nationalities, and ethnic backgrounds that must be strictly adhered to when producing commercials. It’s true. The next time you watch commercials with large groups of people, check out the mix of the actors used. To be honest, it’s probably a good thing. America is one of the most diverse societies in the world, and we have always been a country that embraces our differences, and accepts everyone for who they are as people. For now, let’s just laugh at the silliness of the world, and hope that someday, we won’t need a diversity handbook. That being said; this is what you might hear, as they prepare to shoot a TV commercial.
“Okay, Charlotte. I see we have our 60% Caucasians, 17% Hispanics, and 14% African-Americans. I just got the latest census figures, and we may have to up the Hispanics to 19%, and drop Caucasians to 58%. Ricky Martin and Jennifer Lopez are also making comebacks, so to be safe, we might want to go with a 20% ratio. Don’t forget that we need to add a few mixed-race people, two or three Middle Easterners, a few people from Central Asia, and one Native American. Wait a minute. We seem to be a little light on Asian Americans. They make up almost 6% of the American population, and are one of the fastest growing demographics.” “I’m sorry boss, but we can never find enough Asian actors. A high percentage of them are going to college, and forgoing acting careers.
“Okay, do me a favor and run over to the local college and see if you can find some Asian Americans to work for the day. Let’s see now. We have the proper racial and ethnic mix. Now all we have to do is make sure we have all the other mixes right. Hey you! Yes, the big blond Swedish guy. Do me a favor. Stoop down a little. You’re towering over the Native America. It doesn’t look quite right. Okay people, we’re almost ready, but we still have a few more things to check. The 51% women to 49% men looks good, but I think we may have one too many white, middle class, Presbyterian, nerdy men with glasses, and not enough inner-city youth. All right, the Asian Americans are here. Could you ladies, and gentlemen please put away your school books. This is a beer commercial, and we need your hands free to hold the bottles. One last thing before we start. Put the Jewish guy right next to that Palestinian woman – perfect.”
Does anyone know whatever happened to the Budweiser Clydesdale’s? I don’t drink very much Bud anymore. That is, unless I’m riding a Clydesdale while being chased by Dalmatians. It seems today’s commercials are also getting more and more outrageous. I saw a commercial a year or so ago, for an electric car with a polar bear as the main character. Supposedly, the polar bear traveled from the North Pole to thank some guy for helping stop global warming, by buying an electric car. At the end of the commercial there was a heart-warming scene, with the enormous bear hugging the car owner. As the bear was hugging the guy, I was waiting to hear a loud belch, and have the bear say, “Thanks a lot man. It was a long trip, but your wife and kids were quite delicious. By the way, you wouldn’t happen to have a Pepsi to wash them down with, would you?”
Does anybody know what happened to those talking babies, in the E-Trade commercials? I haven’t seen them in a few years. I guess people realized, it isn’t the best decision, to put your entire financial future, along with your retirement goals in the hands of someone who drools, breast feeds, and poops his pants.
You may have also noticed, commercials never depict real life? The next time you see a McDonald’s commercial, take a look at all the people. What do you see? Yes, you’re right. All the people sitting around eating big macs are thin, good-looking and in perfect health. Even the people behind the counter look like a high school prom picture. Wait a minute. Where are all the ninety-year-old people working behind the counter, who can’t live on social security, and depend on free french fries during their lunch break to keep from starving? Do me a favor sometime, and walk into your local McDonald’s, and tell me what you see. Not a pretty sight, is it? It looks like Walmart on a bad day, doesn’t it?
Before I move on to my next observation, I wanted to give you some good news. I just landed a job as an assistant advertising executive. It’s strange, but I was just sitting on a park bench talking to myself, while feeding bread crumbs to the rats, when some guy with shiny black hair, and brilliant white teeth approached me. He said I had the makings of an advertising genius. I even started to come up with some possible commercials for next year’s Super Bowl. What do you think of this brilliant idea for a cigarette commercial? Picture a nun behind a convent sneaking a smoke. As she savors the smooth taste, her mother superior comes around the corner and catches her. The nun sheepishly says, “I’m sorry. I know it’s a bad habit.” The mother superior laughs at the pun, and the next thing you know, they’re both puffing away and laughing. You know something. This commercial could be worth six million dollars for thirty seconds at the next Super Bowl? Oh, sorry, I almost forgot. No cigarette commercials are allowed anymore. I guess it’s back to the old park bench.