Generally speaking, televised commercials are terrible. It’s bad enough to have your Breaking Bad marathon interrupted every few minutes by a group of companies each begging you to purchase shoddy products you don’t want or need, but it’s even worse when the ads are painfully unfunny and/or extremely annoying. Of course, the icing on this crummy cake is the repetition; you will end up seeing the same ads every commercial break for weeks or months at a time.
So, when an ad comes out that is even more awful than the standard you would expect from a commercial, you know it’s got to be really bad. I have decided to start taking a closer look at this offensive form of marketing and reveal why these certain advertisements bother me as much as they do.
I will start with the ad I have been seeing the most of in recent weeks, whether I’m watching television or Hulu Plus. It is the latest in a string of ads featuring Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Cowher working for Time Warner and attempting to hock its products. Of course, why this multimillionaire sports celebrity would take a day job in a sales department is never explained.
For whatever reason, though, Bill Cowher is more passionate about the products and service plans of Time Warner than he is his own football team. So much so, in fact, that he even tries pushing them onto other celebrities. Cowher demonstrates this when he just so happens to run into the cast of Hot in Cleveland.
The meeting between these stars occurs at an airport where passersby are kind enough not to bother the celebrities for autographs or pictures, even when they’ve had a flight delay and are just sitting there, bored. The Hot in Cleveland ladies are complaining about not being able to watch TV in the airport (talk about your first world problems). One of them even expresses her disappointment in being unable to catch up on Hot in Cleveland, which she is somehow behind on despite the fact that she is directly involved in the production of every episode.
Coincidentally enough, Bill Cowher was close enough to eavesdrop on this conversation, waiting for the perfect opportunity to jump in and make a sale. The lack of the girls’ portable TV gave him his ticket in, and he goes directly into his sales pitch without even introducing himself. After his spiel about how much Time Warner is great, he gives the ladies a tablet free of charge and vanishes like a Christmas ninja.
The commercial banks on the big punchline at the end where Betty White gives her co-actress a burn by suggesting that her nickname is, “Anytime, anywhere.” The joke is that this is a tame way of calling her a whore, and the ad tries to push how funny it is with an extended shot of Betty silently gloating with her facial expressions. This is the part where the audience is supposed to say, “Oh Betty, you’re so naughty!” I enjoy Betty White and all, and I do have a lot of respect for her, but this isn’t the kind of joke you can say and then just sit and bask in the gloriness of it.
I am sure we haven’t seen the last of the Super Bowl champion coach pushing cable service plans on people, but this spot definitely belongs in my list of terrible commercials I call “Commercial Crap.” I am sure you have seen it by now if you have watched any TV at all, but if you are so inclined, you can watch the thirty second ad below. Feel free to let me know whether you agree or disagree with my assessment, or tell me what other ads you think are awful.