Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The $2.5 Million Headache

Last Sunday was the Super Bowl. Did anybody with a TiVo really watch the game ... or did they fast-forward through the rather dull first half, and zip straight to the commercials?

This year's "Super Bowel" commercials went for a record $2.5 million for a 30-second spot. Some were heartwarming (I'm still getting over sugar shock from that "Budweiser" spot where the baby Clydesdale tries to pull the beer wagon) and some just made absolutely no sense at all (did anybody like the "GoDaddy" ad they ran this year?)

But one ad annoyed the living crap out of me. (Would you expect anything else from anything starring Kathy Griffin?)

If you don't remember the commercial for "Sierra Mist", you can view it to the right. In a nutshell, Kathy is an annoying (of course) airport screener. She abuses her federal authority by making a beeping noise whenever she waves her screening wand over some poor sap's bottle of Sierra Mist, and informs him that she'll have to confiscate the soda. When he calls her on her rather transparent abuse of power, she threatens him with a body cavity search.

I know I shouldn't let a television commercial make me mad ... but this one is so easy to hate. We have here a representative of the federal Gubmint -- remember, all airport screeners work for the TSA now -- who is using her badge to intimidate and harrass innocent airline passengers out of their sodas. You may think I'm overreacting, but I'm not; when I was flying out of Las Vegas one month after the 9/11 attacks, all of the luggage screening was still done by hand.

The screeners went through our bags while we watched. Fortunately for me, they were quite cheerful; when they came across my cigar case, the screener asked me if the cigars were Cuban. I told him no, they weren't, but they were pretty good cigars nonetheless. Somehow during the conversation, the screener revealed that if he so chose, he could take those cigars if he wanted to. No check on his authority, no recourse; he could just take anything he wanted from my luggage, in the name of "airline security".

And that was before airport screeners became agents of the Department of Fatherlan-- er, I mean Homeland Security. Now, of course, all airport screeners work for Dubya. And, so it would seem, would Kathy Griffin.

But let's disregard the overt abuse of federal power here to relieve some poor, dehydrated guy of his soda. Let's look at the bigger picture. Behind the guy being hassled, are dozens of airline passengers who just want to get on their freakin' plane. They have to stand and wait while Ms. Kathy shows everybody just how important she is. What is the message this is sending to the airport screeners of tomorrow? "It doesn't matter if people make it to their planes on time. If you see a passenger has something that you want, just take it, no matter how much it inconveniences its owner or all the people standing in line behind him."

I think it's safe to say, that this commercial and its implications wouldn't have bothered me nearly as much if it had starred Scarlett Johansson instead of the host of "Average Joe" ...

* * * * *

In other Super Bowl commercial news, the Gillette Company spent $2.5 million to inform us that the way people have shaved for years -- whether it was with sharpened whale bones or straight razors or even Gillette's own Blue Blades, twin-bladed Atras or triple-bladed Mach 3s -- has been completely and utterly insufficient to cure the stubbly beard. Gillette announced that it takes no fewer than five blades (plus a "Flexible Comfort Guard" and an "Enhanced Indicator Lubrastrip") to provide a comfortable shave and cure the rug burn that your wife will inevitably get from your pathetic kisses if you don't use the maximum number of blades.

As if this weren't enough (and, by God, don't you think it oughta be), Gillette also announced their battery-operated version of the same five-bladed Fusion razor. Why battery-operated, you may well ask?


Think about that. Sharpened steel blades touching your tender flesh, and vibrating. I just cannot wrap my brain around that concept (although clearly, there are some people who can). And, being the genius marketers that they are, Gillette must soon come out with an erotically-sculpted version for women, commercials for which will air on "The View":

(husky female voice-over) Hey, ladies ... facing another long, lonely night ahead? It's just you and your stubble ... but Gillette has the answer. Find satisfaction while you shave ...

(Clearly, I need to go lie down for a while.)

posted by Gary @ 1:18 PM


At 2:54 PM, Blogger jane said...

lol @ the vibrating razor. At first they were claiming the vibrations helped get a closer shave, but they were taken to court by another razor company & had to stop saying that as it wasn't scientifically proven.
My favorite commercials were the Budweiser bear & the Dove commercial about little girls. I know the latter wasn't funny, but it was much needed IMHO.
As for the GoDaddy commercial, I barely remember it, but Tarzan laughed so it must have been good. :)
btw, I'm sorry for battling the other night, I was going to bed & didn't even notice it was your blog until the a.m.

At 2:59 PM, Blogger Fidget said...

a weird quacking snort noise escaped from when when I read over the razor part. I think i'm scared

At 3:41 PM, Blogger Jetting Through Life said...

Oh Gary... you sound like me ranting about things!! LOL!!

I liked all of the Bud commercials. The Godaddy one was alright... The others were semi-funny... Overall, mediocre at best.

The Kathy Griffen commercial you were talking about sucked. I was traveling after 9/11 with my infant child and was harassed with my water bottle and her bottle with formula. TSA literally made me drink her bottle. Bastards. So I feel your "pain".

As far as vibrating razors... My husband has one. Making one for women would be a BAD thing... No more excuses why we didn't shave today... We'd have to explain the water bill!!


At 3:52 PM, Blogger Seawave said...

Clearly the game held much less interest for you than the commercials, which seems to be the case for most Americans nowadays when it comes to the Super Bowl (I too stand guilty of the same) - a statement in and of itself as to the state of entertainment in America today when the commercials garner more reaction and interest than the program itself.

Your anger over the TSA commercial, while at first glance may seem to be extreme, does point out on further examination how complacent we have become in our country with regard to our freedom, and government influence over that freedom. A commercial creating lighthearted, casual humor over such blatant abuse of power is a good example of that complacency.

A vibrating razor? I missed that one. I think *I* need to lie down. The images that conjures up are a bit frightening. Shudder.

At 6:27 PM, Anonymous jared said...

I actually think my favorite was the one with fly, where the doctor kills it right when the family walked in. I actually laughed out loud at that one.

At 9:38 PM, Blogger Angie said...

Wow, Gary...take a deep breath, darlin.

I liked the streaking sheep. :)

At 11:04 PM, Blogger The Blogging Boss said...

You did not digress in this hard hitting post. Thanks for it.

I was traveling in 2001 every week and that all came to a halt on 9/12, when I was booked to fly out, but.... the skies were closed.

The day they reopened I was back on my regular flight plan and not only had the towers fell and the Pentagon had a hole - life in the airport as we knew it was gone.

Aliens came in with wands, most of them obese and loved to say "step to the side, sir..." and then yelled "Male scanner...."

She could not ask me to loosen my belt buckle you see.

I had my luggage rummaged through as the 2nd to the last to board the plane. You dreaded getting in line, because you knew 5-7 of us would be pulled out and publicly humiliated as our bags were dumped, dirty underwear and all...

And then... Aha! A moment of truth.

I decide that I needed to strategically pack my bags on the way home. Place my sweaty gym clothes on top. Next layer, my dirty underwear, followed by a layer of dirty socks. You get the pic. A few layers and they would not care if I had a semi automatic weapon at the bottom. :)

As far as the commercials in the SB. For 2.5 million they were disappointing overall. The worst commercials were the S T U P I D
Escalade commercials. Good grief.

Rant on, Gary!


At 1:03 AM, Anonymous gigglechick said...

as my new tenant, welcome... but keep in mind that I design the website for Jim Gaffigan (the guy that was snapping the rubber glove in the sierra mist commercial...) so say what you want about griffin -- just bite your tongue on the gaffigan boy

again... welcome

At 8:21 AM, Blogger Dr.John said...

My goodness the Busch haters have even found away to attack him because of a commercial. What creativity.
By the way the razor works very well. You hold it up in front of your face. The face sees the five vibrating blades and throws out the wiskers that it has been holding hostage.

At 12:50 PM, Blogger Daedalus said...

seawave beat me to the point. yes, it does show complacency in our culture. people just say 'oh well, that's life' and let abuses go on. at the risk of sounding extreme, it's this kind of attitude that allows democracy to fall apart. i mean, 1930s germans weren't an evil people - they were just having too much fun to care about what was going under their noses.

At 8:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it is rather odd that in your post you never seemed to be able to imagine that the Sierra Mist commercial creators felt the same as you about airport security, and they knew many other people felt the same too, so they made a commercial that people could relate to with a humorous spin. Maybe I'm missing the point of advertising? It didn’t come off as even as promoting the current state of airport security, so what is your real issue with the commercial? I think it is just with the thing it mocks? If so it is sad you can’t make it past that. Just to let you know, they didn't actually make people wait in line while they stole someone's soda. In fact, they actually paid people to be in a commercial. Anyways, I found the commercial amusing.

At 7:00 PM, Anonymous George said...

I was pretty gutted about the officiating but my favourite add was Fabian Add. I like things with supprise endings

At 12:42 AM, Blogger superbird said...

the sierra mist ad is sexist and thats the message. you would never have a commercial with a woman being threatened with a cavity search. do it to a man it is funny try it with a woman there will be a lawsuit! look at americas funniest videos, where another poor guy gets his gonads smashed ha ha reeeaal funny. when are we gonna see some woman or girl get kicked in the cunt or boob. oh thats right its only funny when it happens to a man. tom ferry ketchikan alaska


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