Friday, October 14, 2005

Fight the Real Enemy

Here's a list of most annoying hockey commercials one must endure while watching hockey for 6 hours. This post is mostly inspired by the NHL Network -- digital TV is a new market and I remember reading somewhere that digital channels have had a tough time filling up dedicated ad space. It's certainly true of this channel. Some of these commercials I've likely seen over a hundred times:

1. "Oooh, I'll start with you"
Canadian Tire commercials. Emasculated, henpecked man bothers neighbours or wife, pitching one of what must be hundreds of Canadian Tire products and appliances that he's collected over the years (including, presumably, the camera seen in pic). He's grown a beard, but make no mistake: this man is a pussy. Oddly, I'm mesmerized by these commercials. Who is this man? Is this domestic, suburban life really the ideal for the middle age? Are they insane? I can't ever get married. Ever!

2. "Zoom Zoom Zoom"
Mazda commercials. Lately it's a shot of a bunch of guys dressed in black, one of them yells "Look alive, guys!" and they all stand up straight, the shot morphing into arm hairs raised on a guy driving one of their stupid cars. Guh. For some reason a child whispers "Zoom Zoom" followed by some black guy singing "Zoom Zoom Zoom." It's too unintelligible to be a jingle; and it's more unfair than that, in fact meant to be an earworm for torture. It reminds me of the docu-movie "Touching the Void" in which a climber must climb down a mountain with a broken leg. Stuck on a mountain side, delirious from thirst and pain, he's nearly driven to insanity by a powerful earworm, which is the chorus for a Boney M song. Which brings me back to this commercial: torture.

3. Molson's It Starts Here commercials filmed with a first-person view. Backstage somewhere :"Okay, you're a lead singer in a band but whatever you do, don't sing!" Haha okay cool, whatta prank! Shit just happens when you drink Molson! But wait, who's this? "Michael, it's me... Miss Williams... your teacher." Wow she's still hot, I always wanted to bone her back in grade 7. "I just got a divorce." Good god! That reminds me of the time that really hot chick in a cowboy hat sat next to me on an airplane, and I think I was really drunk then, too. This Molson is like ...musk.

4. Tim Horton's guy with a big spoon. Sometimes you just have to write down a commercial's premise just to fully realize its inanity. Witness Tim Horton's latest: a guy comes in with a REALLY BIG SPOON, and when his friends ask about it he says "Well, I heard the new Tim Horton's Vegetable(TM) Soup has really big vegetables." One friend pipes in: "Paul the veggies are big, but ... [points to soup with normal sized vegetables]." That's it! That's all! Just imagine: someone had to write it down somewhere, someplace, because somehow it became a commercial! Then they played it a lot.

5. "Sometimes you need a hand" Home Hardware commercials, especially with the raspy male version of the jingle. Can't quite explain it except for the fact that the neutered roots rock jingle really gets to me, especially the "clooose to hooooome" G-C-D chord progression tagged on at the end. So lame, so dull, and easily the most played commercial on the NHL network. There's no bearded Canadian Tire figure head to steal the show, but sometimes the most bland and generic commercials become insidious with repeated viewings.

Honorable Mention:

Bell Mobility has a wireless-TV-on-your-cell phone commercial with an animated bit where a guy is so preoccupied watching hockey on his phone that he falls into an empty elevator shaft. In small writing on the bottom of the screen it says "Dramatization. Do Not Attempt," as in, "do not attempt to fall down an elevator shaft." Buh.


Jes GÅ‘lbez said...

"Ra Ra Rasputin, lover of the Russian Queen..."

The Royal Canadian Air Farce had a good skit about that Canadian Tire Family, with the husband and wife playing themselves. I'm amazed that they STILL continue to make commercials using those two. I want to smack them with a Motomaster socket set.

Mike P said...

On the other side, every time I see a Telus ad I want to buy one of their phones. And I hate cellphones, I owned one for a couple of years and ditched it.

But the first couple of campaigns they had were froggies and monkeys, and I love both, so hey.

And yeah, that dude in the Crappy Tire commercials... NNNNGGG.

aquietgirl said...

Once in a while, a tampon/feminine hygiene ad pop up on the Score and TSN. They must be marketing to the 3 women watching this with their significant others. (And ... okay, me.)

sacamano said...

Beautiful post.

If I can add the peasant-vision commercials to the discussion, I'd throw in the Viagra ads. The idea of not being able to hear what the people actually say worked in Lost in Translation because it really was mysterious - what did he say. For the viagra ads, we all know what they are saying and it is simply a matter of them thinking that we, as opposed to all the people in the elevator, or bar, or retirement speech audience, are too sensitive to hear it? Am I missing something?

Gawd that pisses me off.

Brushback said...

Really great post! Awesome stuff!

Matt said...

Heh - since owning my own home, I've pretty much figured that I'd need a 2nd garage to have the space to hang all that "convenient" Canadian Tire crap on the wall.

"Yes, I park my car in this garage, and the other one is where I mount all my battery chargers."

Randy Young said...

Agreed! There is some unspoken, but ongoing trauma in the Canadian Tire Family's home.
Top guesses are Gay Son or Gay Dad. All the hardware is some sort of bizarre over-compensation.
I'd understand if they lived on an acreage or in the post-apocalypse, but it's the suburbs!


John Thacker said...

The idea of not being able to hear what the people actually say worked in Lost in Translation because it really was mysterious - what did he say.

In many ways, though, those scenes in Lost in Translation are funnier for those of us who do understand Japanese. It's also amusing to laugh at the ignorance, arrogance, and absurdity of the situation Bill Murray's character puts himself in.

Matt said...

Highly plausible theory on CTG from Colby Cosh: he's a religious cultist!

"You'll notice he never seems to try selling his neighbours anything they might use for self-defence, like a big knife."

Randy said...

"Shove the combination snowblower-jetski up your ass Bob! Let's talk about Amway!"

Scott the Mike Winters Fan said...

I would love to see the Canadian Tire guy pop up in a Mike Winters Gateway comic strip. Maybe with the Sex Boys? Or with the Roomies?

NJDevilsFan said...

During the Montreal-Toronto game last weekend, they wouldnt stop playing that damn CFL ad full of men in tight pants girating their behinds.. exactly who are they marketing the CFL to nowadays?

The worst part was that each commercial break started with that ad. I had to eventually start watching music videos during the commercials, which invariably led me to miss a good deal of the game as it added up.

CFL - kiss my girating ass.