If You Think The Government Wastes Money. . .


Advertising has always been interesting to me. It’s an entire industry designed to influence what you buy.   The top 100 firms in terms of advertising spending, spent 120 billion dollars in 2009. Proctor and Gamble led the way spending nearly 10 billion dollars on advertising.  That’s a large amount of money considering some of the results. I want to talk specifically about two commercials I’ve seen lately that bother me.

First, Apple spent 503 million dollars on advertising to tell me that if I don’t have an iPhone, then I don’t have an iPhone. Really? That’s the best they could come up with. Now to be clear, I don’t have an iAnything. I’m basically against the iProducts. I’m not just trying to go against society, I have a problem with products that are only allowed to work with each other or people who pay for access. For instance if you download a song from iTunes you can put it on your iPod. You can’t put on anything else, because it is downloaded in the .m4a file format. .m4a is Apples proprietary file format that no one else uses. They could just use .mp3 files which will work with any program ever developed to handle digital music but they don’t. That means if I wanted to use file on my MP3 player that was bought from or ripped by iTunes, I have to go through the process of converting the file format. Microsoft also does this with .wmv, and .wma files. The open-source crusader strain that I get from my father causes that kind of thing to annoy me. I’ll admit that I do have one computer that runs Windows. I use it strictly for playing video games that I can’t play on any other platform.

That’s not the worst part of this though. The worst part is that the commercial is stupid. I know of two things that the newer generations of smartphones do, that my Palm Treo does not. They have GPS functions and in terms of the iPhone it connects to the iTunes store. Which as you can probably tell, I wouldn’t use that anyway. So I don’t need Apple to tell me that I don’t have an iPhone. I don’t want an iPhone. If I did I would go out an buy one.

Sadly, that is not the worst commercial I’ve seen recently. That honor goes to Subaru and a new commercial for their SUV, the Forester.  Before you continue watch the commercial at YouTube. The commercial shows some kids playing hockey and then they ride home in the Forester. The narrator says “When you’re responsible for this much of the team you need a car you can count on.” It then boasts that the Forester was a 2010 IIHS Top Safety Pick. This would be fine. It’s a pretty standard car commercial. It touts the safety qualities of a light SUV. Great, right? Here’s the problem. Did you happen to listen to the music in the background?  That’s a song by the Irish group, The Pogues. It’s called “If I Should Fall From the Grace of God.” I don’t know what Subaru was thinking. You should never use Irish music in a car commercial. Why? Because there are only a few Irish songs that aren’t about drinking, or in this case, death. These are the lyrics we hear during that commercial:

If I should fall from grace with god
Where no doctor can relieve me
If I’m buried ‘neath the sod
But the angels won’t receive me

Let me go, boys
Let me go, boys
Let me go down in the mud
Where the rivers all run dry

This land was always ours
Was the proud land of our fathers
It belongs to us and them
Not to any of the others

Let them go, boys
Let them go, boys
Let them go down in the mud
Where the rivers all run dry

If you think that’s the right music for a car commercial, you’re crazy. I’m seriously thinking about going into advertising if this is the standard that major corporations are holding them to.  I can think of plenty of things people already know that I can tell them. How about:

“If you don’t put gas in your car, it won’t go anywhere. We may have lost nearly 5 million barrels of oil in the gulf, but we’ve still got plenty. Stop by the nearest BP station today.”

Too direct? Maybe. Leave your comments on bad advertising that you see.

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