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TV Commercial Blunders

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From time to time I see TV commercials that simply get it wrong.  They blunder in sending their message to the public.  I am going to use this page to point out the mistakes as I see them.

SUBARU OWNERS DON'T CLEAN THEIR CARS?

Update May 15, 2016  I love the commercial about the Subaru Forester that the father hands down to his daughter. It's a cute commercial. As the Dad gets ready to hand the car over to his daughter he cleans it out and finds reminders of the daughter growing up including a crayon from when she was a little girl, to flowers from a Prom. While it is heart warming, it also makes you wonder if Subaru Forester owners ever clean out their cars? If I were buying a Forester on the resale market I would hope that under the seats aren't reminders from years earlier. I also wonder why Subaru's ad agency didn't do something a bit more up-to-date such as show the Subaru in videos of these same special events. Home videos have been around longer than the teenager in the commercial. Subaru, you missed it on this one. The commercial is below.

KRAFT MACARONI COMMERCIAL MADE ME LOSE MY APPETITE

Update March 8, 2014  Kraft is running a commercial for its macaroni and this one made me lose my appetite.  It shows people so "desperate" for macaroni that they are eating scraps that are meant for the trash, a dad destroying his kids "macaroni art project" to get some macaroni to eat, a "grandpa" eating off a serving platter at dinner while the rest of the family is saying a prayer, and a mom stealing a big rig loaded with macaroni.  It used a music track of the song "What I Did For Love," and the romance of that song does not match the events portrayed.

LINCOLN KNOWS HOW TO CUT OFF PART OF THE NEW CAR MARKET

Update May 19, 2013  Lincoln made a blunder with a new commercial for its luxury cars.  The commercial shows a car owner, presumably about to pick up a date, drive away when his date approaches the car with a dog in her arms.  The commercial shows the Lincoln owner envisioning the grown-up dog "messing up" his car.  What a wonderful way to cut off the dog-owner section of the new car market!

LA QUINTA, THE HOTEL CHAIN, SHOULD PULL THIS COMMERCIAL ABOUT PULLING OUT ALL THE STOPS

Update April 1, 2013  Even though I am writing this on April Fool's Day, it is not an April Fools joke.  In fact, it's very serious.  La Quinta, the hotel chain, has taken the phrase "pull out all the stops" and turned it into a TV commercial with a company executive literally pulling out stop signs and traffic signals for a business presentation.  A cute commercial?  Yes it is, and it even includes the sound effects of cars colliding outside the business presentation room. 

But pulling out stop signs is a very dangerous thing to do.  There was a case of three teenagers who removed stop signs as a prank.  But because the sign was not at one intersection, there was a fatal traffic collission that took the lives of three teenagers.  The teenagers who stole the stop sign were sent to prison.  Here is a link to the news report:  

http://www.nytimes.com/1997/06/21/us/3-are-sentenced-to-15-years-in-fatal-stop-sign-prank.html

TV commercials though cute should not give anyone bad ideas.

ACURA RECKLESS DRIVING COMMERCIALS

Update December 19, 2012  I am very surprised that Acura, the car company, is running TV commercials for its new models that involve celebrities including Suze Orman and Dr. Phil driving recklessly.  What are they thinking over at Acura?  You'd think a car company would promote drivers keeping their eyes on the road.  What's next, drivers drinking while driving or texting while driving?  I can just imagine -- toasting the new model with a bottle of booze, or while driving texting how much you love the car to your friends.  Yeah, that's the ticket.   Watch the Suze Orman commercial below.

GOLDEN CORRAL, JUST WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO DO?

Update January 29, 2012  For several weeks I've been seeing this commercial promoting the Golden Corral restaurant chain that shows people literally diving out of a moving car rather than go to another restaurant with the couple in the front seat because the other restaurant offers a skimpy two-fer offer.  The couple, in the commercial, glady defies injury and death to get a two-fer deal at the Golden Corral restaurant instead. 

Really, Golden Corral, just what are you trying to do?  Send a message that it's okay to dive out of a moving car to be first in line and save a few bucks at your place?  Here's the commercial (below) which was put on YouTube:

BUILDING A BRAND WITH YOUR ADVERTISING

Update June 4, 2011  Well, this goof hasn't made it on TV yet, but the blunder has been made online and in brick and mortar advertising.  Caesars Entertainment made the blunder and Ross, the discount department store that sells bargain priced clothing from department stores is the beneficiary.  Here's what happened:

Caesars Entertainment, the casino company and perhaps the most valuable brand among casino companies in the world, used a photo of a mother and daughter with shopping bags on its website www.Caesars.com to illustrate the various shopping opportunities that the company offers.  Unfortunately for Caesars Entertainment, the same photo is used by Ross for its store displays.  Obviously Caesars purchased a "stock photo" which by itself is OK, but unfortunately for Caesars and fortunately for Ross, the same stock photo is used by Ross.  So this means that Ross could benefit from the additional visual cross marketing that well-to-do shoppers might get from visiting the Caesars website.

Lucky Ross wins from the Casino.  Bargain-priced Ross gets a boost for its brand from the premier casino company in the world.

THIS TOOTHPASTE DISPENSER WILL SPREAD GERMS

I just saw a TV commercial about a toothpaste dispenser that you hang on your bathroom wall, and insert a tube of toothpaste in.  The dispenser is supposed to squeeze out the last drop of toothpaste.  That's a good idea.  But the bad idea is this: to squeeze out "just the right amount of toothpaste" you insert the end of your toothbrush into the device, and push on a lever so the paste is dispensed on the bristles.  Oops-- everyone's toothbrush will touch the same lever-- and that's got to spread germs.  I was so upset with the concept shown on TV that I forgot the name of the product.  What a bad idea.

AT&T ROLLOVER MINUTES TV COMMERCIALS... SAVING MINUTES MEANS SAVING MONEY.  BUT...

I always thought these AT&T cell phone commercials were catchy with the savvy mom telling her family that AT&T cell phone minutes don't expire so you can roll them over from month to month.  It really is a catchy idea.  But hold the phone -- the rollover minutes don't roll over forever.  After a while the oldest rollover minutes do expire.  The commercials have the catch phrase "saving minutes means saving money" but if you don't use all your minutes and they eventually expire the only one who is coming out ahead is AT&T.  Look, you shouldn't be buying a cell phone plan with more minutes than you will need or you will use.  If you find you have a big rollover balance, cut your contract minutes and save money.  Remember that every minute that does eventually expire represents extra profit for AT&T.

NEW YORK NEW YORK HOTEL & CASINO WENT TOO FAR

Most of my comments on this page concern TV commercials, but I am devoting this space to a radio commercial that I think went too far and probably alienated more listeners than it attracted to the business.  The commercial is for New York New York Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.  Obviously the theme of the commercial and the theme of this casino resort is to mimic New York City life and culture.  But New York New York went too far this time -- because in the radio commercial I just heard it used a very offensive Yiddish word. 

The commercial says "don't be a shmuck...."  Sometimes shmuck is spelled schmuck but no matter how you spell it, in Yiddish and among true New Yorkers a shmuck or schmuck is a very offensive word similar to calling someone a prick or a dickhead or a penis which are words that you would never use in a commercial either on radio or on TV. 

When New York New York starts calling anyone a shmuck it not only offends me but it makes me think just how rude New York New York must be -- and I don't think that the image of being a rude place is what New York New York Hotel & Casino wants. 

So, here's a tip for the marketing managers and advertising executives of New York New York Hotel & Casino:  Use the word shmuck when you're yelling at a driver on the West Side Highway in Manhattan who cuts you off, or use the word shmuck when you're referring to a store clerk who deliberately short-changed you.  But don't use the word shmuck when you're trying to sell your hotel and casino as a fun place to be.  There's no fun in the word shmuck.

ARE THESE LEXUS DRIVERS THRILLED OR TERRIFIED?

I am confused by a new Lexus IS TV commercial that shows Lexus IS drivers burning rubber and zooming around city streets.  In the first place, it's definitely reckless driving.  Secondly -- those expressions on their faces -- are they expressions of being thrilled or expressions that they are terrified by their reckless driving?  And with gas prices as high as they are, would you really want to drive your car like that?  And with the cost of brake pads and brake service what they are, is this any way to treat an expensive car?

SUMMER 2009 CAR COMMERCIALS--  WHAT ARE THEY THINKING?

Two auto makers are running new TV commercials this summer that make me scratch my head and ask "why are they doing that?"  I understand that car sales are down, so perhaps that is why they are running these commercials that don't do a very good job of selling their cars.  Entertain?  Yes, these commercials do that.  But sell?  No way.

The first troubling commercial is from Mercedes and shows their new "E Class" car zooming, speeding, roaring and then crashing through a giant plate glass window and settling in a showroom.  The car nearly misses several people in the commercial and sends glass flying.  What does this have to do with selling a car?  Nothing.  Is it entertaintaining to watch a car blast through glass?  Yes, the first time.  But not the second, or the third time, or the....

The second troubling commercial is from a car company whose name I don't know.  I'm sure the name of the car company was mentioned in this TV commercial, but it wasn't mentioned enough to overpower the rest of the commercial's content which was very disturbing.  You'll know what I'm talking about, too.  It's the commercial that ends up with a consumer at a running track and his friend is hit by a javelin and the punchline to the commercial is from an announcer at the track meet asking the victim with the javelin sticking out of his leg to not move until the distance of the javelin throw is measured.  Okay, now what was the car in the commercial?  I don't know.  I'm too busy being concerned about the javelin.  In fact it made me think about why javelin contests were eliminated from high school track and field contests decades ago-- because a student was once killed in one of the javelin events.

SCOTTRADE HAS A HELICOPTER... IN THIS ECONOMY?

I used to think that ScotTrade's TV commercials for its online discount stock brokerage featuring its CEO piloting a helicopter were cool.  The helicopter showed that ScotTrade was high tech, and that ScotTrade and its Chairman were literally on top of the market, and the TV helicopter commercials showed ScotTrade had prestige connected with it.  But... that was before the recession, and before the financial bail outs, and before corporations were selling off and grounding their corporate jets, and before corporate waste and greed and gazillion dollar bathrooms caught the ire of Congress.  In this economic environment, ScotTrade would be better served getting its Chairman out of the sky in the helicopter and back on the ground... or even better... in the trenches talking about savings instead of showing off his expensive corporate toy.  Corporate helicopters, like the ScotTrade helicopter, just don't "fly anymore," if you get my drift.

SUPER BLUNDERS IN THE SUPER BOWL

I saw some commercial blunders during the broadcast of Super Bowl XLIII.  Bud Light showed an office worker being thrown out of an upper floor office building window when he suggested that the company could save money by not serving Bud Light at office meetings.  Throwing employees out of windows during rough economic times is not a good idea, Bud.

A Doritos commercial during the Super Bowl showed an employee at an office throw a snow globe through the glass of a vending machine so he could loot the machine.  Another bad example in this economy.  Crime should never be made the subject of a joke.

Spring has been running a series of commercials in which certain workers "run the world."  There was a commercial featuring Firemen which I thought was creative and made a point.  But in the commercial featuring delivery services, one of the delivery workers found "a freshman" at a school stuck in a school locker.  Another bad example to put on TV.

And then there was the Jack In The Box commercial with lovable Jack being hit by a bus.  Gee, do you think the bus drivers of America like that?  And how about the kids of America wondering what will happen to Jack after being hit by the bus?

DON'T JUMP OFF THAT HIGH RISE

Verizon has a TV commercial running for its Rhapsody music service that is delivered over cell phones, and frankly Verizon goofed with this commercial.  It shows a woman taking a dive off of a high rise building in a city.  Yes, it looks like she is a suicide.  In the commercial, however, her plunge is stopped by a "bubble."  Yes, it's creative but it sends the wrong message.  And I hope some strung-out kid doesn't watch that commercial and think they can take a dive off of a high rise building and be rescued by a bubble.  Take this one off the air, ASAP.

PIZZA VIOLENCE

The Dominos Pizza commercial promoting its new pasta entres is perhaps the biggest offender.  In particular I am referring to the family with the mother and father getting violent with the "pasta character" in the commercial.  It's bad enough that the father takes a pair of tongs to the character, but it is absolutely disgusting that the mother is shown striking the Pasta Character with a tennis racket.  We don't need more violence on TV.  And we certainly don't need a mother being the leader of the violence.  Shame on Dominos.

THE MAYTAG REPAIRMAN IS SUPPOSED TO DO NOTHING

For years Maytag has been building the reputation of the Maytag repairman as having nothing to do because Maytag appliances are built so well.  They seem to have missed that point in their recent commercial that shows the Maytag repairman fixing a voting machine.  Fixing the voting machine is certainly OK for the Maytag repairman to do (because he has no washers ro dryers to fix).  But at the end of the commercial, when an elections official thanks the Maytag repairman, the repairman responds with Gotta go--Busy day.  Maytag you blew it.  The Maytag repairman should have responded with "thanks for calling me, I have nothing else to do."

CHRYSLER AND THOSE OVER 35

Chrysler has been running a series of TV commercials showing a "sales event" that is crowded with shoppers.  Perhaps I am wrong, but I don't see any actor in the commercial older than 35 years old, and most appear to be under 30.  That tells me that I am too old (I'm 56) to be shopping for a Chrysler.

PROP WHAT?

The political spots for California state issues for the last election were abudnant and confusing, and just about every five minutes I saw a commercial for No On Prop 7.  I've seen three different spots, and when watching them I didn't have a clue as to what Prop 7 was all about or why I should vote against it.  These commercials remind me of a babysitter who yells "no no no" but gives me no information about what I am doing wrong.  I'm too old for a babysitter.
Is there a TV spot that you think "misses" it's mark?  Email me at Alan@alanbestbuys.com and thanks for watching and good shopping!  Alan Mendelson

Here on our new media website "Moneyman" Alan Mendelson who is the original Best Deals TV Show reporter on KCAL9 and consumer advocate, shows you the best deals on TV, and the best buys, bargains and where savvy shoppers go to save, and how to get the most for "your money" with the best of Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura County, Riverside County and San Bernardino County.  Our Best Buys TV Show has the best TV deals and is the only regularly scheduled weekly best deals TV show in Southern California.  We show you the best buys and best deals on TV and more deals and bargains on www.alanbestbuys.com and www.bestbuystvshow.com and watch for our Las Vegas TV show Vegas Best Buys.  Some of the content can come from paid advertising and from our advertiser paid TV infomercial programs.  The Best Buys TV Show is a paid infomercial program which may also include news and information which is not sponsored or paid for by advertisers.  AlanBestBuys.com has the highest ranking among competitive sites in Southern California according to the independent website ranking companies Alexa.com and Quantcast.com and our Best Buys TV Show is the most watched shopping and consumer information show in Southern California.

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