Sunday, April 5, 2009

Not so funny ad rant

Anyone else notice the preponderance of goofy men in television ads? Whether oblivious, stupid or silly, it seems to me there are fewer and fewer “normal” men being portrayed in television advertising. Jackasses abound. One builds a deck in his living room as a way to avoid responding properly to, “Honey, we need to talk,” another is so intent on his hamburger he fails to hear his wife say she wants to try for a fifth child. There is the office yoghurt stealer, the slightly demonic looking red-head who seems pleased to inform his wife they will, indeed, one day have arthritis, and the two dads having the late-night snack, sobbing to each other about crying babies.

I’m getting really annoyed. The numb-nuts who runs into his sliding glass door was bad enough, but this is getting truly aggravating.

I love TV ads. They’re like the cartoon strips of television. My son and I have spent many a happy hour yucking it up over them (poor soul inherited my sense of humour) but I’m finding less and less of them to enjoy. The Ikea ads amuse me. My co-workers had to get used to occasionally hearing me say, “Start the car! Start the car!” at the end of a shift. No matter what I’m doing I can’t help stopping and watching the kitchen ad with the guy raging in the background and the Antonio Banderas-like voice over. Those are funny. The people look normal but not cartoonish. In most other ads the men fall into two categories: the bumbling fool or the too-cool-for-normal-guy-with-buckets-of-money. How f***ing sad is that?

Ads have tropes too, but what are the advertisers trying to say with these doofus ads? “Women, if you’re married to or dating the guy who wears expensive cologne, drinks $40-a-shot liquor, or drives the $40,000.00 car, then good on you. If not, we know you’re married to an idiot—and you are the real brains behind the outfit?” What ever happened to the idea of partnership in marriage and relationships?

Even in the world of romance writing we’ve come to the point (ab-awesome covers notwithstanding) where we realise we need to make our heroes and heroines more accessible to the readers. I wonder if that was the tack advertisers were trying to take...if so, for this viewer anyway, they’ve missed the mark by a mile. There’s enough bashing, both male and female, going on in the world without them jumping on the bandwagon. Funny is one thing, but these ads make men look like a bunch of absolute losers. Its swung so far I can’t even find them amusing anymore—just enraging, and saddening too.

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