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Home > Lucki Stars > Adding Insult

Adding Insult
by
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.

Email me to subscribe or give feedback, or to call attention to your own (un)favorites. Not all feedback necessarily appears in this page, and may be edited for links, typos, multi-source redundancy, and relevancy. That doesn't mean we consider negative feedback irrelevant or refuse to post it, as negative feedback can often help us learn to do more and better.

2021-02-15
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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Entries During
2021-2022

2021-02-15 Medium Miss

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

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2021-01-20
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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2021-01-08
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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