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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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Plainly PETurbed

So the canine family is driving down the highway, jonesing for the rest stop they all obviously need. Mama, Papa, Sis, & Junior look quite relieved when their navigation device tells them they've arrived. Only there's this big glitch. The SIGN. In your face. Oh dear!

"No Pets Allowed" sign

Of course, "No Pets Allowed" doesn't apply to them. They're not anybody's pets. Nope. No tags hanging from their collars. As far as we can see, the only licenses they need (the adults, that is) is drivers' licenses. So by definition, they're, ya know, PEOPLE. The rest stop is all theirs for the using.

So they pull up in front of the place (apparently there's no parking lot, but they don't even bother to hug the curb), quickly consult on how bad they gotta go no matter what, roll down the driver's window a bit for air flow (yeah, that's gonna help keep the car cool when it's not even under a tree), and out they all jump to bark their way to the facilities.

Junior, released from his child seat, is the last to hit the ground running. But not for long. Short as he is, and for all his dogged determination to catch up, he's far behind the rest of the family when he hears something. Something show-stopping.

He turns around. And sees a very disgusted-looking tiger tabby in the driver's seat. Meowing a query and a plea. It's their pet cat. Who, of course, isn't allowed in the rest stop. And is protesting.

Well, that's a bummer. Junior waves a paw at the cat and whimpers his sympathy. The cat, with a grumble, claws at the window. (Which, incidentally, is open sufficiently that if it fights hard enough, the cat might be able to squeeze its way out sideways. Remember: Cats don't have big anchored clavicles like we do. They've got these little bitty rudimentary free-floating collarbones. Which is why, unless they're obese, they can squeeze themselves through any space as wide as their whiskers. Maybe the dogs forgot that.) It should protest and claw. Rightfully so. Leaving that poor pet in the car IN THE SUN. One hopes Junior cares about that. But what can he do? After all, he's just a pup. And he's gotta GO.

Maybe yon doggy family needs to be driving a car named not after the sailing sisters gathered together near their sea-nymph mother and earth-giant father but, I dunno, after a cosmic canine. Like, say, Sirius or Canis Major? Or maybe they need an even bigger reminder. Howzabout a cosmic feline like Leo or Lynx?

Constellation Pleides plus parents  Constellation Canis Major  Constellation Leo

In the meantime, I recommend you traveling canine contingent while away some of your hours between rest stops by deepening a bit on 'Abdu'l-Baha'sguidance re teaching kids about pets. Like:  Educate the children in their infancy in such a way that they may become exceedingly kind and merciful to the animals. If an animal is sick they should endeavor to cure it; if it is hungry, they should feed it; if it is thirsty, they should satisfy its thirst; if it is tired, they should give it rest. Also, doggone it, do the research needed to plan for your pet's needs on your trip. Find and aim for rest stops that WILL allow it in. And obviously don't leave it alone in a car in the sun.

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Entries During

2021-04-09 Plainly PETurbed

2021-03-18 Cheap Cheep
2021-03-08 Red Bear Blue Bear

2021-02-26 Puppy Prob
2021-02-15 Medium Miss

2021-01-20 Rollin' Along
2021-01-08 Dippity Dum


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Cheap Cheep

OK, so the puffbally things are kinda cute. If somewhat self-absorbed on occasion. But their unfuzzy couch-potato comrade leaves a lot to be desired. I don't care how inexpensive that prepaid service is, I don't want it if it's gonna lead me into such loutish laziness.

I mean, this conoid icon of outa-shapeness actually thinks, and baldly tells his friends, that phone chatting with them is good enough 'cuz it's not worth going anywhere to join them in a face-to-face, homey, around-the-kitchen-table, communal gabfest. (This is taking place in a pre- or post-pandemic world, of course. No masks/social distancing required.)

It's not about packing up and traveling afar, you understand. It's not about driving a couple of miles to their house. Not about trotting down the hall to their neighboring apartment. Heck, not even about going from one room to another. No, it's about walking ten feet from the studio's living-area couch to its kitchen-area table.

But no-o-o. It's too far! Ten FEET!
Cricket playing cricket, spotlighted by a lightning bug
Too far for his endomorphic abdomen, packed pelvis, and pencil-thin legs. 'Cuz obviously, hey, he never gets ANY exercise that would improve those weird-ass proportions of his. (Shut up about body shaming. It's a geometric shape, not a human being.) Nope, too blasted lazy!

Well, maybe that's an unintended but very apropos metaphor. The company (and even more so the corporation it became a subsidiary of) certainly doesn't have the greatest reputation these days for going out of their way to provide the best customer experience/service. In fact, this isn't the first company that's gone downhill since being gobbled up by that corporate owner.

Sorry, the optics just bug me. So I wanted to shed a little light on it. And do not get me started on how batty it drives me when technology is repeatedly "improved" until it becomes absolutely useless.

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Red Bear Blue Bear

Where is Dr. Seuss when you need him?

And no, I'm not talking about the six books that have been pulled. It was the estate's decision to make and they made it. (And by the way, despite the exclamatory cries of pundits and vendor websites, the books were not "banned". They were pulled by the owner, with no legal of official dictum imposed whatsoever. That's totally different.) Maybe they'll reissue the books if and when someone can make appropriate changes to the negative images. In a Seussian artistic mode but without the (conscious or sub) racist overtones. Maybe not. Their choice. I'm not bent out of shape about it. I'm not even really referring to it. I'm referring to the family (or families?) of bears in the not-in-the-woods commercials. And I was planning this article before the books were pulled. Sorry for the confusing timing.

Red Bears, Blue Bears, & Orange Too Bears

First of all, I'm trying to figure out whether or not you red and blue and orange bears in different adverts are all the same bears.

Red 1, blue 2, orange 3= Hey, are you three different families. Then why don't you ever mingle? I've only ever seen two colors of you in three ads. And in two of those, the two of you were adversarial. (OK, admittedly in the earliest versions from, like, goin' on two decades ago when the bears were still in the woods, there were more colors of bears in the same commercial, but they were more "natural" colors - pale yellow, soft orange, sandy tan, light brown - rather than glaring primaries.) In fact, even all the bears in your laboratory workplace are the same color. Ba-a-ad optics. And why do so many of your boy-cubs need glasses? Inbreeding?

= Are you perhaps from different climes? Even three separate species of bears, like polar and black and grizzly?

= Are you the same bears at different times of year? Changing colors according to the seasons like, say, stoats or arctic foxes?

= Are y'all really all white all the time, and you dye your hair? Are there also yellow bears and green bears and purple bears? Polka-dot bears and striped bears and plaid bears? Moire bears and rainbow bears and tie-dye bears?

Secondly, why are you parental bears so freaked out by a pair of briefs on the bathroom floor? They're your cub's undies. (Although why he needs them is beyond me. He doesn't usually wear any. Not on his bottom, anyway.) Pick 'em up and throw 'em in the laundry. Or, if you're that bent out of shape, in the trash. Sheesh, you need to grow up more than your kid does.
White baby cub hugging orangy mama bear in the snow
And speaking of your cub, there's no way he can unroll all that tissue all over the floor and then get it back on the roll as neat and tight as it originally was. Neither can his papa. Nor his sister and gramma. Plus which, why haven't you taught him that tissue from off the floor and/or run through not-yet-washed hands may no longer be safe for ALL uses, so it should at least be set aside for safe uses? (Especially when y'all have been rubbing it all over your faces and fur, for Ursa's sake.)

On the other hand, when you think he's not being clean, momma bear, wouldn't a private conversation be in order? Do you really have to call him out in front of all his friends like that? He's certainly doing better (if not better off) than when he was back in the woods.

Like I said, where is Dr. Seuss when you need him? 'Cuz something seems a little, uh, fishy here.

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Puppy Prob

Haven't seen Mr. Mayhem Like Me around for a while. There may be a reason. Not a good one. I mean, come on, last time I saw him, well....

'Cuz if Mayhem Like Me is now your 70-pound St. Bernard puppy, why the blazes don't you have him properly restrained in the back seat? In a dog-harness seat belt? Even better, 'cuz those really only work for well-behaved dogs, in a zipline harness? Better still, in a dog crate? Or at least behind a backseat barrier, assuming one would actually stop 70 pounds of pummeling pooch

Any of those restraints, properly applied, would be, ya know, handy.

St. Bernard handing head out of car windowBut no, he's hanging out the side window back there barking. Then turning to lick his person's face. While she drives. With his big ol' slobbery tongue in a mouth that she saw him previously use to eat p...never mind. Then lunging to the front seat to pick up her purse like a dead rat and violently shake everything out of it. Then hanging out the front passenger window - wait, when did she close the back window and why did she open the front one for him? - to hold converse with a way-smaller dog in the adjacent car. Which distracts said smaller dog's person and almost causes him to have a rear-end collision.

And her flippant excuse - hollered out as she gets around to apologizing some 10 seconds, or something like a tenth of a mile, past the stopped small-dog car -- is "He's a puppy!"

And that doesn't even get into the dangers to the dog of letting it hang its head out a side window in the first place. Where at the least, the air flow will drastically dry out its eyes. Or blow debris into them. Assuming your car doesn't first get too close to some other vehicle. Or to something beside or over the road like, I dunno, a low tree branch. Or to something that will trigger the dog into lunging out of the car altogether, through the window that you have opened all the way. Or are you OK with your dog maybe deciding a kid on a bike is really a toy that runs by itself until - and if - caught?

Nope, seems to me that neither your car nor you dog is really in safe hands at all.

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Medium Miss

There's this psychic being consulted by the young couple. The script pokes a bit of fun on the way to selling its car. I snorted at first, and then ruefully chuckled.

As often happens, there are two versions of this commerical. There's the long version that tells a complete story. Then, after a carefully calculated exposure timeframe, there's the typical shortened version the agencies place more economically to remind viewers of the longer advert.

Costumed female fortune teller with crystal ballIn the full ad, the psychic sees three things in s uccession, and addresses the couple accordingly.

1. She tells the young lady to dump her dating app 'cuz he's the one.
2. She says gesundheit a moment before her client sneezes.
3. She sees the stars of the right car for them.

Obviously the third point is the money shot. And the first point does a good job of immediately establishing what's going on. But that second point is the only one where we see the results of her actually knowing something before it happens. That is, the sneeze is indeed snoze.

Of course, she could've simply seen a nose wrinkle, made a guess, and taken a chance based on observational experience. Maybe she even intentionally wore an irritating perfume in hopes that it would cause one or both of the couple to sneeze. But let's give her the benefit of the doubt and say that middle point actually proved some sort of psychic foreknowledge.

Then there's the short version. In which the second point is totally eliminated to help fit into the shorter duration. What little proof there was? Gone! The result? Now, the whole act looks like an obvious con game. And no one really wants to take advice about buying something - especiially something as expensive as a car - from a blatant, tricked-out con artist, do they? Which may be why I didn't see very many runs of that shorter version. Or, actually, of the longer one either.

Guess the medium didn't work more'n a little bit in the big city.

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Rollin' Along

Last month, my first blog - Abiding Blog - celebrated its tenth anniversary. This month, it's Adding Insult's turn to do likewise. Yep, ten years old today. As my Number One Son would say, "Whoo hoo!"

This is the 90th entry in this blog. So I haven't actually posted one every month. OTOH, some of the entries (especially the ones with "Short" in the title) took on, like, two or five or a dozen commercials at once. So we've definitely lambasted at least 120 adverts. (And even complimented a couple ... how's that for being even-handed?) I say "we" 'cuz you've also had the chance to enjoy the occasional curmudgeonly guest rant from old friend and famed SF author Tom Ligon.

I hope you've been able to see all the commercials I panned, even if you had to use keywords to find them online. I hope you've had a hearty laugh or ten. I hope you've even found food for thought on occasion. I guarantee you I'm going to keep seeing pitches that make me go "Say what?!" Like the one with the lady who intentionally rolls:

Roll Cake - before= Out of her bed. Much to her dog's consternation. With her bedding. Into her rug. Which wraps around her.
= Out the front door. Taking curtains and whatnot with her. Down her steep concrete steps. Also taking her welcome mat with her.
= Down her sloping sidewalk. (Guess she made a sharp right-angle turn when we weren't looking.)
= Exchanging greetings with the guy working on his car's undercarriage. Who seems pretty nonchalant about the whole thing.
= Catching and wrapping a garden hose around herself. Tugging it out of the hands of the neighbor lady watering her garden. Who doesn't even scream at her.
= Through someone's back yard. (How does she keep making these turns?) Wrapping their line full of clean clothes around herself, too.
= Then happily - yes, she's been grinning and giggling and whoo-hooing all the way - down the middle of the hillside road. (Wait how did she get out there?) Into a business district.
Roll Cake - after= Where she (having once again somehow gotten back onto the sidewalk) at least says "excuse me" to the guy trying to deploy a tablecloth. Which also gets pulled into her rolly-tube. And who doesn't yell at her either.
= Past the barber and the customer whose hair he's cutting. Who just watch her go by. Who look at each other inquisitively. But who, like everyone before them, does nothing to try and help her stop.
= Slamming into the lady carrying an armload of flowers from her truck into the flower shop. Sending flowers everywhere.
= Back into the middle of the street (how's she steering that thing?) and rolling down another steep hill into infinity in her now-flower-covered cocoon. (Well, at least she'll have some flowers at her funeral, right?)
= All while the laid-back voiceover of a presidential spokesactor tells you this is how protected you'll feel with the sponsor's products. Including the techie new ones.
= Which, given the whole mess (to say nothing of all the people she adversely impacted) is, for my part, NOT AT ALL!

Really. All this to tell you to trust in the handy insurance company. But, uh, how much can it do to protect her when she gets to the inevitable intersection on that final hill ... and rolls into traffic? Without even a horn? (Although I suppose she could try screaming WHOOO WHOOOOO HOO!)

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Dippity Dum

The three princies of serendip riding out on their questAre you familiar with the story of "The Three Princes of Serendip"? The English version of the French translation of the Italian translation of a Persian fairy tale? It's the story from which the word "serendipity" derives, although only in a very roundabout way. The word's first appearance in English was on 28 January, 1754 when Horace Walpole wrote a letter to his friend Horace Mann regarding an unexpected discovery he'd made about a lost painting. Walpole likened it to the princes who were "always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things which they were not in quest of." Usually discoveries that were worth more than what they were originally seeking. In other words, unexpected happy accidents.

Well, in its latest ad, the little insurance spokeslizard shows off both his marketing savvy and his literary acumen. He reminisces about standing amidst the wild greenery beside a small lake, thinking up a likely company slogan. The first one he comes up with, though - containing one simple fraction - just doesn't have the requisite pizzazz. Too long and anticlimactic. Then he flashes on second one - containing one double-digit whole number, said twice - and is so stunned by it that he "drops the rock. And his smug, standalone, final word? "Serendipity."

Except, he was already seeking a good, a better, slogan. So the improvement he discovered, while happy, was anything but unexpected or accidental. And it certainly wasn't worth more than itself, as it WAS what he was looking for and worth exactly what it was worth.

But then, I suppose you shouldn't expect command of perfect English from someone who's speaking it as a foreign language. Which, for the average lizard, English certainly is.

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