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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Commercial Break

Remember commercials? They used to have the clout of a minor deity, demanding a few minutes of your life as a sacrifice every time you wanted to watch something on TV.

And what choice did you have? You certainly couldn't rely on VHS to skip commercials. The quality was always either bad or terrible, you needed to program the VCR ahead of time or hit record at just the right moment, and then you had to hope that nobody wanted to use the TV or else you'd end up recording something else.

NO! VHS was a false hope. I'll admit, it did give me a thrill to listen to that whirring noise as I fast-forwarded past Ronald McDonald on my way back to X-Men. It was almost like cheating death, if death counted as two to three minutes of your life.
But the price was always too high. Don't talk to me about VHS. VHS was a false prophet.

In this Tomorrowland that we live in, with video-streaming bandwidth and digital recording, if you're watching a series of back-to-back commercials then you're doing something wrong. Television advertisements have lost that terrible power that they used to hold, and while we no longer owe them a small cut of our lives, we must respect what is dead and gone.

Today we pay homage to a dead god: the commercials of the 90's.

(bow your heads)

Welcome to the 90's.

People used to say that, I guess because they thought the 90's was so much better than the 80's.

I think exhibit A proves that the 90's was just putting on airs.

After watching this commercial did anyone desperately seek out a can of Pringles so they could do the duck-bill thing? I know I'm not the only one.

Who could forget designer pencils? I'm guessing there were probably a billion of these types of pencil already in production from other companies but Yikes had something those companies didn't: a commercial (that made the boomer generation look like hopeless geeks. Bonus).

Despite becoming a huge franchise, Super Mario Kart was a sleeper hit that took a few months before cartridge sales climbed. I can't imagine why with advertising like this.
I think the creators were only half-serious when they created this masterpiece. The other half was cocaine.

I still have no idea why, but there was some chemical, some ingredient, that permeated the air of every Little Caesar's I ever walked into, and every time I was overwhelmed. I can't even describe it. I just remember looking forward to picking up pizza with my mom more than I did actually eating the pizza.
Strange, right?
Last time I was in a Little Caesar's it didn't smell anything like that crazy odor I remember. I'm not sure if it was my nose that changed or Little Caesar's.

The following comes from a commercial franchise that goes back deep into the 80's, but everyone loves John Moschitta, so here you go.
Don't attempt to follow those words, man. Just ride the wave.

New York City?!?! Let's fucking eat him!

Omigod omigod!


Want to know why Nintendo lost their sales lead to Sega in the 90's? Advertising.
The following is a purposefully hokey but ultimately terrible commercial. You're not going to enjoy it.

And this is what Sega was doing...

Notice the 'fuck you' style of advertising.

We have now gone way beyond a proper commercial break. This is more like what you'd get when you were watching a 90 minute movie that took three hours to air, and you were just getting to the end so they'd start adding more commercials into their breaks because they know you're hooked and what choice do you have? Just finish the god-damned movie, please!

Oh yeah,

I forgot to put in a got milk? ad. Should I throw one in now?

Yeah. Exactly. Screw that.

1 comment:

  1. In the 80s, when we first got a VCR, I recorded a lot of things with a 1-2 second portion of each commercial in place of the full commercial breaks. Partly I did this because our VCR would STOP if it was paused for more than 5 minutes regardless of whether I was waiting anxiously for the break to end so I could resume recording, and if that happened, it would take a potentially lossy 5-10 seconds to start recording again. In order to avoid letting the VCR stop on me, I would record a second or two of commercials in order to reset the timer, and that lead to me recording a second or two of all the commercials on purpose. The end result was often amusing, especially if I captured the "punchline" of each commercial.