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Home > Lucki Stars > Adding Insult

Adding Insult
Lucki Melander Wilder

Lucki, I think we're kindred spirits on the advertising thing.  I notice many of the same little nuances,
and have often thought I should keep a notebook handy to write them down.  -- Tom Ligon, SF author

It's surprising (or perhaps not) how many times I "Say what?!" to TV advertising, and want to share the fun with someone (everyone?) else.

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What's He Doing?

Pair of turkeysGot two real turkeys to talk about this time. (Sorry, got bit by the alliteration bug. Twice.)

The first is the critter (not a spokescritter 'cuz it never says nothing, though it does gasp once) who's trying to quit smoking. Cold turkey. No, slo-o-ow turkey. So it starts using this withdrawal drug that has all these withdrawal-like side effects. Which is not the point I'm going to talk about here. 'Cuz I already have. Both as it comes to qutting smoking and to meds in general. No, I'm going to talk about what the turkey is doing, not what the product is doing.

Now, mostly the advert is silly fun. The slow turkey:

1.   Dips its toe in the pool and recoils at the cold. (There's its only line: that gasp.)
2.   Floats high and dry on its inflated raft.
3.   Uses its beak to gently turn the page of the book it's reading. (Now that's a trick worth learning.)
4.   Snuffs out its half-smoked cigarette.
5.   Dumps it, ashtray and all, into the (fortunately empty) trash can.
6.   Waters its flowers with a garden hose.
7.    Mows the lawn. (With a hand mower. Good eco-conscious turkey.)
8.    Swings its leafblower along the garden path. (Smart turkey. Wearing something to protect its ears.)
9.    Fills its wildbird feeder.
10.  Hangs the bird feeder on a branch. (Seems to have a bit of trouble there, but no biggie.)
11.  Strolls into the garage.
12.  And happily kicks up its heels as the garage door closes.

All in all, that's sorta cute. Very active turkey. Doesn't matter that he's slow. Knows how to get stuff done and how to relax. A lesson we can all learn.

Turkey near the sidewalkOnly one misstep. Let's go back to step 8 up there. 'Cuz first of all, I think leafblowers are one of the worst inventions ever. (So are leaf vacuums, but at least they do collect the leaves for disposal. Stupidly wastefully, though.) Using all that fuel and emitting all that pollution and all those decibels to blow leaves off the sidewalk. Not even to collect them. Just to blow them away until the wind either blows them back or dumps them on your neighbor's sidewalk. How frikkin' lazy can you get? What happened to its eco-consciousness? Hey, jerkwad, stop being such a bozo, get out your broom or rake, and actually clean those loose leaves up yourself! You could probably use the exercise. (Okay, admittedly raking leaves and shoveling snow are two of my favorite exercises. So maybe I'm prejudiced. But come on.)

But the real misstep is that there are no leaves on the turkey's paved path. Not a one in front of it. And no little piles blown onto the lawn behind it. Nada. Zero. Zip. Zilch. After all, the trees are still green. What was the director thinking? Too expensive to animate a few leaves? After animating the whole turkey? Gimme a break.

The second "turkey" is an actor I'm in no way, shape, or form enamored of anyway. Never have been. So when I have to endure one of his car commercials, I really am not motivated to suspend my disbelief nor brook any nonsense. And there's weird nonsense in all of them. Which, since he's also one of the producers, may make sense.

But this one is more than weird. It's seriously crazy weird. And it's offputting. At least to me.

Pool balls, rack, cues, and chalkActor and eight friends around a table eating and talking. Then everyone gets up to leave. Pretty abrupt, but whatever. Nor was I quite sure whose home it was, 'cuz even the actor left while someone else was still in the house. But on the way to the door, he encounters - like, from his frozen deer-in-the-headlights reaction, unexpectedly ... and irresistibly - a pool table with an unfinished game. Really? Who leaves a pool game unfinished? Obviously not him. 'Cuz he wanders over in a daze. Revs up for a vertical-cue, curving trick shot. Evades all obstacles, including the eight ball. And sinks the ball perched at the edge of the pocket. Without dropping the cueball. To the amazement of the friends watching from the door. Then he wanders out to his car and drives away. 'Cuz, you know, the car handles as amazingly as that cueball did. (Of course, if the car had to spin like that ball did, I wouldn't want to be in it.)

Turkey in full (narcissistic) displayThe editing, especially of the shorter cut (which I saw first), left me a little confused. Almost made it seem, at first, that he'd hit the cueball and then butted it again. I finally figured that out, anyway. (Though ya gotta like Steve Markle. The pro who actually pulled off that masse for the actor.) And we never know if the actor really just set all that up ahead of time to impress his friends, in which case I suppose one could opine maybe that masse was a blood test and he did pass it.

Anyway, for all the - well, introspective is a nicer word than narcissistic - flavor of this commercial series, I think this one takes the cake. And I really don't think the actor is playing a character. I think he's playing himself. 'Nuff said.

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Entries During

2019-03-14 What's He Doing?

2019-02-05 Whose Is What?

2019-01-01 Whose Idea?


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Whose Is What?

So the guy is sitting with the gal on her sofa. His arm around her shoulder. And they want to get kissy. Don't know where or how far it's really headed; but okay, let's let them enjoy the moment as she shuts off the TV and they lean in

Only one problem. She has a chaperone.

Her dog. Her big dog. Her big, agile, over-friendly, insistent, attention-demanding dog.


= Emits a single, sharp bark.
= Bounds over the back of the sofa to get between them.
= Wriggles around half-upsidedown against their chests.

(Understand: dog's big enough that, even though the couple are no longer touching each other at all, it can sprawl across both of them and still have it's head, neck, shoulders, forepaws, and tail on the couch pillows.)

= Runs across their legs and along the couch from end to end.
= Plants itself in the guy's lap with its hindquarters tucked firmly in between him and his gal.

Dog doing bone math on a chalkboardThat's one smart pet she's got there, don't you think?

Well, once he gets out from under the dog, the guy does what any guy would do. He goes shopping. For, you know, just the thing.

And he comes back with just the thing. Just the thingS. Plural. Gal and dog greet him at the door. He flourishes the thingS. Gal says "Aww." Dog says "Arff." They obviously love his thoughtful thingS.

Only one problem. Because of how they're all standing in the doorway, he's presenting the dog with a big multi-color bouquet. And the gal with a big chew-toy bone.

(And yes, of course I realize that was a double entendre. Intended or un. Either way, chalk it up to the director, right?)

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Whose Idea?

This guy is a head honcho. Maybe the CEO who has to report to his Board. Or maybe he's lower on the totem pole. We don't really know. But we do know he has a quick chat with someone downline of him. Let's call her a department head. And the (possibly) CEO tells her the company must economize on something. Obviously he doesn't know on what, or he'd tell her on what. Guess he's hoping for inspiration from his staff.

So the (possibly) department head has a quick chat with someone downline of her. Let's call him a frontline manager. And she tells him the company must economize on something. Obviously she doesn't know on what, or she'd tell him on what. Guess she's hoping for inspiration from someone.

And the (possibly) frontline manager has a quick chat with someone downline of him. An intern. Just about as far downline as you can get and still be there at all. And he tells the intern that the company must economize on something. Obviously he doesn't know on what, or he'd say on what. Guess he's hoping for inspiration from somewhere.

Well, the intern tells him about a simple way to save. A good way. Really? Yes. Wow, what an idea!

So he promptly runs to the (maybe) department head and tells her about this simple way to save. Never mentioning the intern.

And she promptly runs to the (maybe) CEO and tells him about this simple way to save. Never mentioning the frontline manager.

Stealing an idea from a subordinateAnd the CEO is ecstatic. A simple way to save. He's glad he thought of it.

The question is: Do I really want to trust or purchase anything from a business that thinks stealing other people's ideas and claiming them as your own, just to make points with your boss(es), is humorous? Or should ever be touted as part of anyone's corporate culture? I mean, what does that say about their corporate culture?

The Bahá'í Writings talk about this kind of thing. While in Paris, 'Abdul-Bahá was asked, "Should Prayer take the form of action?" He responded, "Yes: In the Bahá'í Cause arts, sciences and all crafts are (counted as) worship. The man who makes a piece of notepaper to the best of his ability, conscientiously, concentrating all his forces on perfecting it, is giving praise to God. Briefly, all effort and exertion put forth by man from the fullness of his  heart is worship, if it is prompted by the highest motives and the will to do service to humanity. This is worship: to serve mankind and to minister to the needs of the people. Service is prayer."

He based his answer on things his father, Bahá'u'lláh, said. Like "It is made incumbent on every one of you to engage in some occupation, such as arts, trades, and the like. We have made this -- your occupation -- identical with the worship of God, the True One." 'Abdul-Bahá also once wrote that "...each child must be taught a profession, art, or trade, so that every member of the community will be enabled to earn his own livelihood. Work done in the spirit of service is the highest form of worship."

Shoghi Effendi also wrote that one of the principles of the Bahá'í Faith was "the exaltation of work, performed in the spirit of service, to the rank of worship" and, to ensure Bahá'í communities would keep this in mind, reminded our National Spiritual Assembly here that "work, specially when performed in the spirit of service, is according to Bahá'u'lláh a form of worship."

Can't be much clearer than that. But in the ad, their credit-stealing at work wasn't worship. It wasn't high motives. It wasn't true service. It was stealing. No one even ever said thank you. And if they're okay with treating each other that way, what are they doing to us customers? Just askin'.

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