Showing posts with label commercials. Show all posts
Showing posts with label commercials. Show all posts

Saturday, November 29, 2014

"Nobody's Perfect"

I tend to watch the same TV channels. Thus, I see the same commercials, over and over.

I wonder, at times, if ad agencies focus-test their ads before running them. Because here's one I would have nixed - Liberty Mutual. Now, somebody's paying big bucks to run these ads, and yet they're (I'm pretty sure) having the exact opposite effect of what the client intended.

Here's what I get from the ads:

PERSON: It's only a matter of time before you rip some guy's bumper off.

ME: So, I'm supposed to foot the bill for you, because you don't give a shit about the damage you've  done to my car, because, after all, nobody's perfect. Well, frankly, with your blase attitude, I will make a point of staying far, far away from your "driving skills". You're just a somnambulistic inch away from making me fork over my exorbitant deductible, all because I need to indulge your fatalistic mindset.

Not to mention the girl who names her car. What the hell?  And then she throws him over, willy-nilly, when she gets that big insurance check, after she's "bumped" somebody's fender.

Here's the deal, Liberty: I'm not buying what you're selling.

On the way home from work last week, I found myself behind a guy who was weaving precariously toward the right shoulder, then drifting into the left lane and back again. This was 2:30 in the afternoon! I couldn't get close enough to report his license number, because, well...I didn't want to get that close. I obviously couldn't pass him, due to the side-swiping potential. I'm guessing he had Liberty Mutual Insurance, because, you know, life just happens. It's nobody's fault, really. Oh, I killed you? Sorry, I guess.

He probably was wearing that same ill-fitting denim jacket that the sartorially-deficient woman in the commercial is wearing - because, like her, he has no sense of decency. Or sobriety.

On the plus side, however, speaking of insurance (and who doesn't like to speak of insurance?), I'm rather partial to the Geico ad with the motorcycles, because I knew - I just knew that wasn't some prefab "commercial tune" they slapped on there. And I was right. The song was too good.

And I found it! It's the Wallflowers, and it's called One Headlight:

So, in a nutshell, if I was shopping for insurance, I believe I would go with Geico. Because their songs are cool and they don't treat me like a scrunched-up piece of plastic.

So, there's your focus group.

Saturday, August 3, 2013


DVR's are a wondrous invention, aren't they? I hate to trot out the old "in my day" chestnut, but really, don't you find that commercials last longer now than the actual TV shows they interrupt?

Perhaps network channels feature more interesting ads, but in our house, we watch a lot of cable, and if it's not the "Act Now and Get Two For the Price of One!" stupid little quirky inventions that we didn't even know we needed, it's Fred Thompson beating us about the head, smiling eerily, telling us that we really need to get a reverse mortgage. Or William Devane, shouting, "Gold!" every seven minutes. (And c'mon! William Devane? From that eighties soap? At least Fred Thompson was in a good show.)

I find myself disappointed to realize I'm watching a live show and I can't fast-forward it. This, if for no other reason, is why people tune in to PBS. Honestly, we'll watch any sort of crap; English castle retrospectives, some guy hiking up a hill; just to not have our senses sullied by inane people shouting that we need to call in the next five minutes!

Seems to me that people all over this great land have begun to put their collective feet down. Oh, Nielsen knows it. Everybody pre-records shows now. It's completely skewing the Nielsen numbers. Plus, a lot of us watch shows online - whether it's Hulu or YouTube. Know what I do when Hulu sticks a commercial in the middle of a show I'm currently engrossed in? I flip over to a new window and do something more interesting to kill time. Try as you might to get me to buy an Audi, I'm busy playing Candy Crush Saga.

Look for the days of product placement. Some day, all the advertisers will suddenly catch on that we aren't falling for their incessant pleading that we (please, please!) rush out and purchase their product. I don't care how many cool indie songs they slap in there.

No, instead, we'll see Jethro Gibbs dabbing from a can of MinWax as he tidies up the boat in his basement. Sheldon Cooper will hold up a pair of Fruit of the Looms and tell us they're just like the ones his me-maw bought for him when he was a kid.

And frankly, that'd all be okay with me. I like a little entertainment to go along with my forced Madison Avenue servitude.

The only people I know who make even slightly entertaining ads anymore are the Geico folks. Their ad agency employs somebody with a strange, wondrous mind. First it was the little piggy, and now this:

You have to laugh, because it's so dumb. Don't we all like dumb? Yes, we do.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Things I Learned (Or Was Told) in 2010

In keeping with my theme of reflection for the year 2010, here are some things I learned (or was told):

1. No one blogs anymore

Is that true? Or is it just true that no one reads blogs anymore? And did they ever?

I read some blogs. I read those whose authors are good writers, or those that say something I'm interested in, or those of people in whom I'm interested.

Frankly, I wish I had time to read more, but I just don't. I have to draw the line. I can't read everything that might or might not be interesting. We need a service we can subscribe to, one that emails us links to blogs that we, personally, would be interested in reading. Something that can be personalized to each individual. Business suggestion for someone out there! Free idea!

The funny thing is, I never went into this whole blogging biz with the thought that anyone would read mine. Nor was that my intention.

I've always written. Always. When I used to tear pages out of the typewriter (anyone remember those?), I certainly didn't expect anyone to read them. Why would I expect anyone to read my blog? I write this more as a diary than anything else. Even when I post the videos I've made, it's not for the purpose of marketing. It's to have a written record of things I've done. For me. I'm always shocked (shocked!) when I get comments (the ones that aren't spam, written in Chinese).

2. ReverbNation is a great way to waste a whole bunch of time.

Don't get me wrong; I like ReverbNation, for what it is. This isn't a knock on the site. We have a page there.

I don't see that it's done anything for us as a band, but then again, what has?

Awhile back, after FAWM, I set up my own page as a place to post my acoustic songs (Red River's is here). I guess I was bored one day. I started browsing for Americana artists, to hear some new unsigned music, and I became a fan of some.

Now suddenly, my whole email box is filled with "Bill Blessyourheart just became a fan of yours on ReverbNation".

Not to be cynical (ha ha), but I just don't think all those people are my fans. If you'd heard my sad, lame guitar/vocal renditions, you'd understand.

No, these people want fans of their own. That's understandable. It looks better on your page to have a lot of "fans". But I'm one who always not only "fans back", but I try to listen to at least one song from every artist and post a comment. It's getting too burdensome! I can't possibly keep up!

It's a game, and I'm thinking I might not want to play anymore. But thank you to the two people who posted really thought-provoking comments on one of my songs. I really do appreciate it.

3. I'm not a social networking kind of gal.

Facebook is fine. I usually check it out once a day, to see if anyone has posted anything interesting. But I just looked, and the last time I updated my status was on October 9! What am I supposed to say? "It's chilly today"?

Twitter is even worse. I feel like I should say "something", but I don't know what. So, I just gave up on it entirely.

I tried to join a songwriting site, but they don't like new people butting in. Those sites are like small dysfunctional families; they're close-knit, even in their sometimes hatred and disdain of one another. I posted a couple of times, but was either ignored or condescended to, so I just moved on.

Social networking is not for me.

4. I hate TV.

Here is what I watch on TV: one national news channel, two sitcoms that I really like, and American Masters and American Experience on PBS. That's it.

I watch the local weather. I can't abide by the rest of the local happy "news", which isn't news at all, but a coffee klache we're all invited to.

The other thing about TV that makes me hate it is the commercials. First of all, they're too damn loud (however, a bill was recently passed that will ban this! Best thing Congress did all year!)

Secondly, they make men look like morons. It's embarrassing. I like my husband; I think he's a good guy. I don't think he's a hapless loser. But apparently, all national advertisers think differently.

There was one commercial this year that I liked, and I would even replay it if it showed up on my DVR:

That's cute! Sorry, but it is.

5. I'm basically done buying CD's.

Unless the Eagles put out a new CD, or Mark Chesnutt, or Dwight Yoakam, I'm done.

I believe I bought two CD's in all of 2010. One was by George Strait, but that's really for collection purposes. I have all of George's CD's, and I'm not breaking the chain. This, even though George's song quality has diminished, as he's tried to stay "relevant", sadly.

The other was Marty Stuart's "Ghost Train". Good! Just GOOD. I don't need to say more. Buy it and find out.

I'll buy a single download here and there from Amazon, but I'm done. I've got enough music (good music) to last me the rest of my life. Until Nashville swings the pendulum back, they've lost me. Sorry to be blunt.

6. Words can hurt and they can soar.

There's a very, very nice man on, who comments positively on all of Red River's videos. He's just a nice man. I don't deceive myself that our songs and our videos are anything even remotely outstanding, but John Apice posts a nice, uplifting comment on every video I upload there. He knows how to lift the spirit, and I truly, truly appreciate it.

By the same token, one of Red River's videos on YouTube got a thumbs-down. Why would anyone take the time to do that? If you don't like it, click "stop" and move on. It seems mean. And that was one of the songs I thought was one of our best (well, there you go, thinking again).

It seems silly to even remember that tiny slight, but I do. Words (or little negative icons, in this case) can hurt.

7. Give me some new gadget, and I'll be your friend forever.

There were two things I wanted for Christmas: a Kindle and a USB turntable.

I wasn't real sure about the Kindle, because I love, love books. I like the feel of a book; I like going back to certain passages and re-reading them. I like the heft of a book. I like putting my bookmark in the crease at bedtime and reopening it to that spot the next day. I'm a book geek.

But everyone raved about the Kindle, and on the practical side, I don't have room for all my books anymore. I donated a bunch this fall, and only kept the ones I really can't bear to part with. So, a Kindle seemed like a good idea.

I think I like it. The jury is still out, but so far, so good. It does help that Keith Richards is a really good writer. Who knew? My first e-book, and I'm enjoying it.

The USB turntable is just another world all together. I, yes, posted about it a week ago, because I'm in love with it. I am replaying and converting all my old albums and singles - and I haven't heard some of them in more than 20 years. I even like just looking at it. I forgot what it was like to play records.

An added bonus to the whole turntable thing is, I now remember what really good music is like. Say what you will; if you hated country music in the 60's and early 70's, because it was too "corny", rock on. I like it. I like it a lot. And did you know, most of those songs didn't even have bridges? And most are under three minutes? Just like the Beatles songs. I think songwriters today are really over-thinking things.

So, it's not only a new cool gadget, but it's a (re)learning tool.

8. Anything I create is for me.

Songs, videos, what-have-you. I'm 55 years old. Even if the brass ring was dangling out there, I wouldn't have the dexterity to catch it.

I've got things to say musically, I've got some pretty pictures to put to music, I've got words. Lots of words. I like words. Always have. Words are magic to me.

Nobody has to like my music or my words or my pictures. I like 'em. That's enough.

So, eight things I learned (or was told) in 2010. Some of them were probably obvious, but I just didn't realize it before. Now I know.

Happy 2011. Great; now I have to get used to writing 2011.

But on we go! Maybe I'll learn nine or ten things in the coming year.