Thursday, August 18, 2011

Bathroom Monologue: A Comedy of Commerces

It began in the computer aisle. Seeing the unfortunate effectiveness of political attack ads, Apple launched its own attack ads at Microsoft computers. Apple’s Mac brand had long struggled to be relevant in the world of laptop and desktop computing. So naturally they hired a fat, sad man to announce “I’m a PC.” A more popular, attractive actor announced, “I’m a Mac.” They played out unfunny vignettes in which Mr. Mac was to appear superior to Mr. PC. By the end of the first year, you wondered if Mr. PC wouldn’t hang himself at the end of the next commercial.

Meanwhile Apple emerged as a powerhouse in handheld devices. No cell was as infamous as their iPhone. And so T-Mobile created its own series of attack ads featuring a pretty girl in a pink dress dismissing someone similar to Apple’s Mr. Mac. Pretty Pink Girl is apparently a T-Mobile. It was the same condescending cherry-picking of features as Mr. PC had once endured.

But Virgin Mobile didn’t appreciate that T-Mobile might be getting a boost off of their parody-parody. They commissioned their own ads, in which a couple of sexy club-goers represent Virgin Mobile customers. The T-Mobile Clubbers blast by her in a simulation of fun life, which apparently no other cell phone users get to have. In their parody-parody-parody, Pretty Pink Girl hates her saccharine existence. Mr. PC awkwardly mills around the club behind her in some form of vestigial insult.

Meanwhile, Apple, T-Mobile and Virgin Mobile created one of the most antagonistic and unentertaining series of commercials in the world, rivaling the obnoxious natures of the political attack ads that inspired them. Old Spice dominated the entertaining commercial business thanks to the charismatic and shirtless Old Spice Guy. So they decided to defend commercial breaks by launching a series of attack ads where Old Spice Guy ceaselessly outwitted Mr. Mac, Pretty Pink Girl and the T-Mobile Clubbers.

Hearing that Old Spice Guy is vying to play Luke Cage in a Marvel Comics movie, Warner Brothers and DC Comics launched their attack ad. In this ad, Old Spice Guy was a dumpy only man in a towel, while Superman was ridiculously toned and witty. The advertisement accentuated how much cooler and edgier his Man of Steel movie would be than whatever they called Old Spice Guy’s thing. Mr. PC appeared in one ad to lend Old Spice Guy a straight razor, with the implication that these two mascots had taken up cutting themselves.

The Catholic Church took offense at Warner Brothers’ ad. This was not so much because of the suicide jokes, but because Superman is a nigh-omnipotent role model, and Catholics have their own brand of that product. So they did an ad where a dumpy man in a blue spandex costume announced, “I’m a DC.”

As to be expected, the second religion showed up in an ad a bunch of politicians jumped on it without checking what it was. It’s uncertain which Republican ran the first attack ad against the Catholic Church, but they probably didn’t know they were doing it. The first Democrat to attack the Republican’s attack ad probably did know what he was doing. It escalated to the point where Senators were paying for Superbowl ads to defend theology as glibly as humanly possible. It was the single unfunniest Superbowl ever. The NFL even took out an attack ad against its own advertiser’s attack ads, screened after the final play of the game. In it, a stuffy white man announced, “I’m a Republican.” Then a second stuffy white man announced, “I’m a Democrat.” Then Terry Tate tackled the crap out of both of them.

It was a debacle, but at least it got us Campaign Finance Reform for all attack ads. Suddenly Apple was sued for spending too much on “first degree being-annoying,” and several counts of “inciting further annoying bullshit.” It’s unclear how the laws will hold up in appellate courts. Rumor has it that lobbyists are raising funds to let the State Supreme Court’s dissenting opinion be broadcast in the form of a strawman attack ad.


  1. My head is, not around with green goo.
    Long ago I voted to stop watching TV so I don't see the silly ads. I confess to watching the Old Spice guy on YouTube though.

  2. Ahh America, always letting the courts be the final arbitrator.

  3. If I have a comment, I don't know what it is. I am rolling with laughter.
    I look like my avatar.

  4. "Appellate courts" gave me a grin.


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