Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Weird Moments in Advertising (I'm a Mac)

I don’t know if I can get someone whose name I don’t know and who I have little hope of tracking down fired, but it may be worth a try.  I’m talking about you, Person Who Cues Up the Commercials for Channel 11 During the Weeknight 7:30 Family Guy Reruns.

Someone’s clearly been leaning on a fade-in switch before it’s actually time to cut away to the commercial, with the result that a cued-up, frozen frame from the start of an ad appears for a few seconds, well before the Family Guy segment is complete.  On the night of November 11, it was the ghostly face of Regis Philbin appearing, bizarrely enough, just after Stewie complained about Tuesday afternoons at the strip club not bringing out the “A squad” and asked “Is there anyone in here who hasn’t had a c-section?”  And as if in answer: the still image of Regis lying on a psychiatrist’s couch.

It happened again this past Thursday, the 20th, though this time with the less-alarming image of a Pizza Hut box.  Somewhere out there is someone with the power to end this.

More complex is the problem of the “I’m a pc” ads that I gather are supposed to make us realize that (contrary to the impression given by recent Mac ads) each pc user is in fact an interesting, unique individual.  Well, I hate to sound snooty, but am I the only one who thinks that virtually every individual proudly proclaiming “I’m a pc” in those ads sounds like an annoying — and oddly unattractive — loser?  Those ads have done more to make me feel comfortable with my Mac than the original Mac ads ever did.

And I was pleased to hear that the plug was being pulled early on those creepy Bill Gates/Jerry Seinfeld ads, which I guess were also meant to humanize and hip-up Mr. Gates but, what with Jerry’s nervous questions and fawning and Gates’s near silence throughout, just made Bill Gates seem all the more alien and disturbing, possibly even android.

I’m a Mac, I guess.  Someone fire the anti-Mac ad agency after we’ve finished getting rid of that video editor at Channel 11.


dave said...

Interesting case study in free markets, since channel 11 has about 15 other TV stations running Family Guy reruns to compete with. In fact, if you had simply switched the channel to TBS, Cartoon Network, or FOX, the odds are probably pretty good that someone somewhere was showing the same segment.

Todd Seavey said...

Obviously, Family Guy is not something that should be left to the vagaries of the market, and I favor at least a Cabinet-level department to ensure broad public access — without Regis images — to the material. J.S. Mill favored education subsidies, and this would merely be an extension of that argument, akin to the educational partial-rationale for the NEA and NEH.