Ad Nauseum Part 2

Posted: Monday, January 23, 2012 at 2:15 pm
By: Doug Lund
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I have to tread carefully here because if it weren’t for television commercials I probably wouldn’t have had a career

pigbut if I see that helmet-wearing pig tearing down a zip line screaming wheeeee one more time, my eyes will roll back and I’ll go into convulsions sort of like that woman who claimed hearing the voice of South Dakota’s own Mary Hart on TV caused her to have epileptic seizures. The first time Maxwell (yes..the little piggy has a name) appeared in a Geico ad,  he was a student getting a ride home from school  and driving everybody in the van nuts by hollering weeee weeee weeee out the window.  Ha, ha. Clever.  A take-off on the poem that has delighted little barefoot children for years. I get it. But there’s a fine line between novelty and aggravation and whether he’s in a car or suspended from a wire, that little oinker creeps me out. What made the ad even more annoying for me was not being able to understand those two words Maxwell says as he passes a fellow zip liner. After a little Google research, he’s apparently saying “Pure adrenalin.” Wheee.

  I didn’t used to mind the Geico gecko but even this green little pitchman with the cockney accent is wearing mighty thin.

And speaking of insurance company overkill, I think the gal who plays Flo on the Progressive ads is very good but, again, constant repetition of the same commercials just rubs me the wrong way like a starchy stiff collar chafing my neck.

mayhemOh, and what was Allstate thinking when they created that Mayhem character? Here, let’s see if we can scare viewers into buying Allstate insurance with a zombie-like guy in a suit who is immune  to injury while causing  people to crash their vehicles and have life-threatening accidents.

They’re all doing it; trying to save us money on insurance through ads that, I guess, are supposed to be humorous. Oh, yeah..can’t stop laughing when that Farmer’s insurance guy uses a flame thrower to ignite a big ball of lint or when an old NASA space capsule comes crashing through the roof  onto a giant Jack-In-The-Box. Even my own insurance company sees fit to spend hundreds of millions to run irritating ads like the ones that feature a guy who keeps wrecking his car and calling State Farm for help even though he’d recently  dropped his coverage for something cheaper.  Or the 3 a.m. phone conversation the husband is having with his State Farm agent that sounds like he’s talking to his mistress which arouses the suspicions of his wife.

So Lund, if you can’t stand those commercials..why not switch channels,after all, the remote is always within reach. It’s true, I have worn out several remotes but it seems that even competing networks take their commercial breaks at the exact same time so there’s no escape.  When we’re home I record most everything on the DVR so I can zap through the ads faster than a screaming pig on a zip line.

To be fair, there have been a few TV commercials past and present that I never grew tired of.

Old Home filler up and keep on truckin' cafe

Old Home filler up and keep on truckin' cafe

Remember C.W. McCall and Mavis “Old Home” ads? We’d see them every night, of course, during the Keloland 10 O’clock weather which was sponsored by Metz Baking Company. It was always a big deal when a new spot came out featuring the dog-eyed truck driver and gum-chomping waitress..not to mention the catchy lyrics, narration  and music from the brilliant mind of Bill Fries an Omaha ad agency executive who came up with the characters and also wrote the song “Convoy” which stayed atop both the country and pop charts for six weeks in 1975 .

Oh, and who can forget the deliciously funny commercials by the late Jim Varney who became a national phenomena with his bumbling rubber-faced character Ernest P. Worrell.

Lewis Stores hired Varney for an ad campaign

Lewis Stores hired Varney for an ad campaign

The site of him mugging the camera talking to his pal, Vern, about various products, then getting his fingers smashed by a falling window or being shocked by a TV set with a shorrrrrrt in it, never failed to break me up.  

More recently, those commercials featuring the E-Trade baby always bring a smile as did the Geico spot featuring Abe and Mary Todd Lincoln in which she asks her husband for his “honest” opinion on whether or not the dress she had on made her butt look big and he was forced to answer truthfully bringing priceless reactions.

Okay, maybe I do watch a lot of commercials. I know I’m looking forward to the Super Bowl not only to see if New York can work its magic on New England again but to observe all those mega-million dollar advertisements. I can’t wait to see how the Budweiser Clydesdales will try tug at the heartstrings this year or the humorous ways Doritos has come up with to peddle tortilla chips or to find out

Danica: Racy in more ways than one

Danica: Racy in more ways than one

 how brazenly will attempt to sell web site domains by exposing the diminutive bosoms of it’s spokesperson, race car driver, Danica Patrick.

The only problem with Super Bowl Sunday is finding time away from the TV to go grab some of the food and beverage products advertised or relieve oneself of what’s already been consumed..which, now that I’ve just turned another year older, is a requirement that occurs with even more frequency. Knowwaddamean Vern?


  1. Tim says:

    Nope, I’ve had a TiVo for years. Dont watch commericals :)

  2. Lynnal Nelson says:

    Oh Doug, I laughed when I read this! Our little Yorkie absolutely HATES the little pig on the zip line! He hears the very first whee…….runs to the tv, stands on his hind legs & barks til the commercial is done!!! I agree with all you said about all of the ads! but I too, wait for super bowl just for the commercials, there better be some good ones this year!!! Have a wonderful day!

  3. Jerry Bloemendaal says:

    To think Mr. Lund that I have to mandatorily buy the stupid ins. and my ins. premiums have to include the the stupid cost of these stupid commercials.Instead of raising my premium cost to cover stockholders, cut the stupid commercials.

  4. Linda says:

    How about the cable channel that has the ads all night long with the starving and abused pets? Starving kids. Just think if they spent all the money they spend on ads on food for starving children or care for the pets it would be nice. I love the game shows. But………

  5. Roy says:

    A person can win a sure fire bet on the amount of commercials shown. Bet someone that you cannot get past three remote clicks before you get a commerical from someone. You will win every time. They are everywhere all the time, including the TV stations advertising themselves. Some of those self promos are presented by someone we all know. Have a good winter break.

  6. gary says:

    When my late uncle would become irritated with advertisements he would refuse to buy their product. His suggestion was for short, cute commercials like-“Use preparation H and kiss your hemorrhoids goodbye”.

  7. Paul says:

    Sounds like your watching a lot of cable television. Cable networks have longer and more frequent commercial breaks…and you’re paying for it.

  8. Robert Zimmerman says:

    The Mayhem character from the Allstate commercials is from the show 30 Rock. He creates havok for the main character, Liz Lemon, so his role as “Mayhem” makes sense as most viewers will think of 30 Rock and his character, Dennis Duffy. Pretty good idea, appeals to the younger crowd, and using fear is the angle of most insurance companies…it’s a very powerful motivator and is also used by our government and media to get what it wants.

  9. Per Pål P says:

    CW and Mavis….I wonder how much bread they sold….had to be fantastic….
    I sure miss the Hamm’s Bear too….

  10. Michael says:

    I record the programs I want to watch on my DVR so I can fast-forward through the commercials and don’t have to watch any of them. That being said, Flo is hot. Mavis was, too.

  11. Michael says:

    If you feel like reminiscing, you can watch all those Old Home Bakery C.W. & Mavis commercials on youtube. They’re all there.

  12. Per Pål P says:

    Michael…Are the old Hamm’s Bear commercials on youtube or somewhere ?

  13. Michael says:

    They certainly are. I suggest you spend some quality time on Youtube!

  14. DRH says:

    My new favorite to hate…the new Subway campaign with the “Taste Fairy”. What were they thinking?

  15. Per Pål P says:

    Mange Takk Machael…. Aren’t they GREAT ? I’m on my way to get a case of Hamms for the weekend…..they’ve sold me again….MMMMMMMM Hamms….

  16. Jess says:

    Actually that little piggy – and I had no trouble understanding his “pure adrenalin” – and Mayhem are two of my favorite commercials on right now. And I like the guy who calls about his discontinued insurance. I HATED Vern! So glad those are gone now. So it’s all a matter of personal preference. They each are a hit with some viewers and not with others. I would venture a guess that if you don’t like the commercial, you are probably not its target audience.

  17. Charlie Smith says:

    Would like to some one spoof the commercial. Have the zipline end at the hog processing plant.

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