Sunday, June 08, 2014

Commercials That I Hate - UK Edition

I've been here long enough now to start hating television commercials, and rather than continuing to throw things at StereoNinja's perfectly innocent tv set, I thought I'd come complain about them here.

Watch Dogs - I don't know if they are running the same series of promos in the U.S. as they are in the UK for this new PS4 game (that everyone I know who games thinks is total crap). It's a game set in Chicago, and while the commercial shows a graphic Chicago that is well done enough for me to recognize, the voice over is completely nonsensical. It starts out with the phrase "I hacked the city to make it my weapon". Well I'm here to tell you that, no sir, you did not. You are implying a level of organization to the running of Chicago that I assure you doesn't exist. This statement is accompanied by a scene in which some guy pushes a button on his magical city-controlling remote which stops a CTA train at somewhere that isn't a real stop so he can get on. I fell out of my seat laughing because a) you don't need a magical remote for this, CTA trains stop in the middle of the tracks for no apparent reason ALL THE FUCKING TIME, he could just stand at basically any point along the tracks and at some point during the day the train would inexplicably stop near him; and b) I assure you there is no wireless controlling system on the CTA that you could "hack" into to stop the trains. If there were, I wouldn't be able to link to this video from just a few months back of a CTA blue line train pulling into the station at O'Hare airport at full fucking speed before jumping the tracks and hurtling up the escalator like it was about to miss its fucking flight. The CTA is still working on replacing old track, some of which was laid roughly 100 years ago. An upgrade to a centrally controlled hackable train operating system is something I expect to happen some time after we get flying cars. The voice over goes on to say "My enemies may run Chicago, but I control it." I'm sorry, who are your enemies, the Latin Kings? Tony Rezko? I'm not sure how hacking trains and street lights is supposed to help you defeat political corruption or a street gang that boasts Chicago police officers among their membership. But yeah, go ahead and hack that centrally controlled traffic light system that doesn't exist.

Canesten is a UK brand of creams, pills and pessaries for the treatment of yeast infections, or as it is quaintly called here, thrush. They sell these products individually but also in combination packs, much in the same way as American brands like Monistat. Unlike Monistat, however, their new commercials promoting their combi products are illogical and vaguely disturbing. You wouldn't wash your hair without using conditioner, they reason, so why would you use just one product to treat your crotch infection instead of two? I don't know, Canesten, two medicines are probably better than one, but not for the same reason that it's a good idea to condition your hair after you've washed it. There is a huge difference between using a pill and a cream to make your nether regions stop being on fucking fire as soon as possible, and wanting to be able to get a comb through your hair. These things are not even remotely related, or at least hopefully they aren't because if you're trying to use conditioner to get a yeast infection out of your hair I'm worried that you might have bigger problems.

Currys PC World - I don't know if you know this, but the World Cup is starting in about a week. I know it because pretty much anything that can be sold in the UK is being cross-promoted with it, which leads to me thinking I've bought the wrong Coke Zero every time I go to the shop because the yellow and green World Cup logo makes it look like Coke with lime. Currys PC World, purveyor of fine electronic products, has jumped on the bandwagon as well, reasoning that now would be the perfect time to buy that giant tv that dwarfs the rest of your living room and makes your friends think you're a pretentious asshole showoff because HOLY SHIT THE FOOTBALL IS ON, as if the Premiere League isn't on the air constantly. But whatever, that's a reasonable premise for a commercial. The problem is the tack they've decided to take with their sales pitch, which boasts not one but TWO of my most hated advertising tropes: all women obviously hate sports, and mens are stooopid amirite? Because why be offensive to just one gender when you can negatively stereotype nearly the entire population*? These are actually a series of basically identical commercials in which generic huband tries to trick generic wife into getting a new ginormous tv, ostensibly so she can watch some show that's totally for the womenfolk, like a gardening show or Downton Abbey, when in reality, super man type person wants it so he can watch the World Cup, but, you know, BIGGER. Unfortunately, since MANS ARE DUMM, he always screws up his pitch and half of the word "football" slips out by accident, which leaves wife type person with a shitty look on her face because ohmygod my husband is so dumb and also how dare he want to spend time watching a sport that 90% of the country is also watching nearly all of the time? Seriously, everyone knows that marriage is all about tricking your spouse into letting you buy shit they don't want and then them resenting you for it to an unreasonably disproportionate degree. OR, maybe you could have gone with something less tired, insulting and frankly obvious. Something like man comes home and finds wife planted in front of giant tv she didn't tell him she was buying, screaming at the football match like a lunatic and he shakes his head bemusedly and hands her a beer. Maybe something like that could sell some tvs? I don't know, I'm not omnicient, but it might be worth a try instead of the same boring and unrealistic gender stereotypes that everyone advertising to a household market has already (poorly) used. Seriously, fuck this commercial. In the ass. With a football.

*Those not subscribing to the presumed gender binary excluded, but only because they can't figure out an angle for selling you their crap.


Emily Wilson said...

You know what I WAS pleasantly surprised to see on a UK commercial? A lady breast feeding! Apparently it's super common for women in the States who are breastfeeding in public to be chided for their "indecency".

Ven said...

I cannot stand the Canasten ad. To be honest, pretty much any advert selling products targeted for women rile me-yoghurts, razors etc. There was an advert a few years back where you didn't know what the product was, it just showed a psychedelic, flowery background for about 15-20 seconds. Then around 2 weeks later they showed the full advert and it was by Tampax for scented tampons-I was seriously pissed off-why the hell would a woman need a scented tampon?! It raged me so much I blogged about it (back in the days of Myspace). Then I did follow up blog about Always with Silk.

amberance said...

Oh my god, EVERY yogurt commercial is ridiculous, all they are doing is making me not buy yogurt.

charlotte browne said...

Because men don't eat yoghurt. Ever. This is a well known fact in the uk. Even though I've never been a yoghurt fan and my dad always buys some for himself. I also hate those tv ads. Gotta say at least the itv goal face ad showed women as interested in football as men.