Wednesday, July 21, 2004


Ad Pollution

I must be getting old. I feel like Andy Rooney lately. I’m starting to ask questions that start with “ever notice that…”

There are these ads that don’t tell the whole story…

The Naked Cowboy. He’s not naked! What’s with this jockey shorts crap? There are tourists walking all over Times Square looking for something that’s not there! All the nudity left the square when Disney took over. The tourists, starved for nudity, are looking for the guy who does “Cotton Eye Joe” at Yankee Stadium between innings to be waving his package at the corner of 46th and Broadway and they’re being short-changed. Literally.

Pharmaceuticals. Ever notice at the end of the headache/arthritis/insomnia/high cholesterol/erectile dysfunction combo platter wonder drug advertisement that promises to treat all that ails you there’s a long disclaimer about the product’s inherent danger? I’m waiting for the one that states: some patients on certain days of the month may experience unusually rapid hair growth and baying at the moon…

Cruise ships. Why no ads with people feeling the effects of intestinal parasites?

And while I’m on the subject of intestinal distress, how about that Pepto Bismol commercial where the office workers are doing the upset stomach/diarrhea line dance at the copy machine? At least a few actors got paid for it, though if any of them ever become stars, you know that will be the clip that gets played the first time they go on Leno or Letterman.

Earlier today, I was on the First Avenue bus going uptown. I was thinking about these ads, and how low some of them have sunk. As though I was answered by a higher power, another bus pulled up alongside as I was staring out the window, lost in thought. On the side of this bus there was a large poster for the Fuse channel. It was a take-off on those iPod ads with the bright colors and the silhouette of the person dancing to the music. On a lime green backdrop there was a silhouette of a man, bent over, holding a remote control, watching a TV. Another hand was reaching into frame from behind, holding a Zippo lighter, setting fire to this man’s combustible emissions, flames blasting out of his posterior. Nothing more can or should be said about how low advertising has plummeted. An ad executive would call this a highly successful ad, since I remembered the product. It will now be taking up space in my brain, possibly taking the place of something I find much more important, like the score of a Cubs game I saw ten years ago.

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