And now, Scary-Crayon presents...
Recent Commercials I Don't Like Very Much
by: Wes

Unless you're a non-football fan discussing the Superbowl (which is apparently today), commercials are rarely the focus of conversations about television. Longtime annoyances of TV viewers, people utilize commercial breaks for the purpose of refilling their drinks and using the bathroom -- and with the advent of TiVo and other services that will record programs and remove the commercials altogether, some folks never see them at all anymore. However, given that some commercials are actually amusing and worth watching, we might legitimately question whether these people to be envied or pitied. Even if we'd never purchase pills for "natural" male enhancement, the adventures of Smilin' Bob have been quite hilarious, and sometimes advertisements do inform us about products or shows in which we're interested. On the other hand, a lot of them just plain suck, and some are just plain... weird. As I type this introduction, for example, Ronald McDonald is moonlighting as a professional skiier and a child is letting loose with Godzilla's Atomic Breath. Yeah, I don't know what the hell is up with advertising these days -- and after reading the analyses of the commercials below, neither will you.

1. Mini Swirlz Cinnamon Bun Cereal

She's training her tongue.Wercome to Mini Swirlz dojo!

Perhaps surprisingly, a lot of the recent offenders have been cereal commercials. Despite the weirdness of the classic cereal commercial bits, with kids trying to mug leprechauns for their marshmallows and exhibiting speciesist behavior towards six-foot-tall rabbits, it's pretty easy to make a good cereal ad: closeup of the cereal in the bowl, milk splashing onto it, kids eating and smiling joyfully, then pan out to the box and a glass of O.J. and reiterate the spiel about it being part of a complete breakfast and whatnot. Simple, effective, and to the point. But it's like advertisers are convinced that new cereals won't be able to compete with established mascots Toucan Sam and Captain Crunch without their own unnecessarily weird commercials -- which is how we end up with ads like the one for the Mini Swirlz Cinnamon Bun Cereal. As you see above, the gimmick here is that the taste of this cereal is apparently so strong that kids have to undergo intense martial arts training to even be able to withstand it. More precisely, they have to undergo intense martial arts training of their tongues.

Licking bricks.Ugh.

I imagine that it didn't sound all that bad on paper, but it's fucking ridiculous on screen, not to mention kinda gross. Not only are these kids licking hand targets and breaking bricks with their tongues -- they're also doing tongue pushups on the floor. On the floor. Of a martial arts dojo. Now, I don't know how familiar you folks are with martial arts dojos, but as someone who practiced Judo for several years, I can tel you that the floor of these places is the absolute last place in the world that you'd want to place your tongue. Consider that training takes place barefoot and that you're not wrestling with 5'9" foot models wearing expensive perfume that smells like dead canaries. (Though you may be squaring off against 5'6" blondes who smell like oranges. Don't ask, but there's a reason I fucking hate the smell of citrus fruits.) These are athletes, and athletes have pretty funky feet. So essentially this ad is telling you that in order for Mini Swirlz Cinnamon Bun Cereal to actually taste good, you'll first have to spend hours on end licking bricks and dirty floors and such. Guess what? I'll pass.

2. Sketchers Brand Footwear

WTF?Yes, they're eating shoes.

Next, we've got the recent advertising campaign for Sketchers shoes. Now, let me preface these remarks by saying that I actually like Sketchers. I can be fiercely loyal to particular brands (not to mention that I'm kind of keen on maintaining as close to the same exact look that I can -- which is why, much like Bruce Wayne and batsuits, I have so bloody many pairs of black jeans and short-sleeved black shirts), and my last three pairs of boots have been the exact same size and color Sketchers brand boots. I've been wearing this last pair since 2003 and they continue to hold up quite well, though I've been intending to get a new pair. The problem? They discontinued my style! Yeah, there's a "sequel" version, but it's just not the same. NOT THE SAME, MAN! And I don't trust buying shoes on eBay, so that's out. Anyway, as much as I dig Sketchers footwear, these commercials make no fucking sense whatsoever. They start off with kids eating Sketchers sneakers. Because I guess that's what kids are doing with shoes these days? I'm so out of touch with today's youth. But seriously, they eat them. They don't appear to be hobos and I don't see a trash can with a fire around it for boiling garbage juice and fixing up a nice batch of Mulligan stew, but yet they're eating sneakers. Hell, the girl even belches afterwards. I should make a crack about how the boy is so fucking fat and greedy that he'd resort to eating his own goddamned shoes, but let's take the high road here. And note that we won't be taking that high road barefoot, because we're not fucking fat and greedy bastards who would resort to eating our own goddamned shoes.

Getting funky.Shake it loose...

As if the commercial couldn't get any weirder, Sketchers shoes apparently contain toxins that cause the children to dance uncontrollably as surfing music blares within their intestines. Yes, you read that right -- the shoes are fucking drugged. With drugs that have no results that I've ever heard discussed, no less. Experimental drugs. Seriously. "That's right, kids: not only are our shoes good to eat, but they'll totally FUCK YOU UP too!" Now, I didn't major in marketing or advertising, but bloody hell! Is this really the proper image to send to children regarding footwear? If I were a parent, I don't think I could in good conscience buy my child a pair of Sketchers sneakers. I mean, who knows what kinds of sordid footwear feasts take place in the bathrooms at school! So far, then, we've seen floor-licking and sneaker-eating. And people wonder why the kids are all messed up.

Um, yuck.That came out of his butthole.

But we're not done, readers -- believe it or not, the commercial gets worse. For a moment, direct your attention to the photos above the previous paragraph. Do you see the look on the boy's face, with his nose all scrunched up as if he is straining? Do you see how he's leaning forward, as if he's trying to expel something from his asshole? Granted, sometimes even "cool" people look like they're trying to squeeze out turds while they're dancing, but this kid's actually trying to do just that. In the first act, we saw the kids eat the sneakers. In the second, we saw them getting high on experimental drugs and shoe leather. And in the third, they actually shit the sneakers back out. Or, given the way the girl is lifting her leg, maybe she's pissing her sneaker out. I'm not quite sure exactly how it works, but they ate the sneakers -- so the only way for the shoes to come back is for the children to excrete them from one of their nether orifices. And the shoes do come back. They come sliding down their legs and somehow reform on the children's feet. Okay, so Sketchers are magical shoes that can remain unaffected during digestion and reform themselves after being shat out, but still. These kids are wearing sneakers that came out of their asses (or vaginas) -- and that's just fucking nasty -- to say nothing of the fact that they defecated (or urinated) on themselves without even attempting to go to the bathroom. When they should've been running for the toilet, what were they doing? FUCKING DANCING. Thanks to this commercial, I will never go to the club again, since I'll never know whether people are really feeling the music or are preparing to drop a steaming loaf right there on the dance floor. Thanks for ruining my social life, Sketchers.

3. Apple Jacks Cereal

Ohboy, Apple Jacks cereal!!!Drowning in teh milk!

Again, a cereal commercial makes the list. Unlike the previous ad, however, this one's actually for an established cereal -- Apple Jacks. Despite its longstanding place in the cereal aisle, however, it seems like advertisers have always been trying to find new and stupid ways to promote the cereal. For a while, there was the whole "it doesn't taste like apples!" thing, which I thought was fucking moronic because the cereal has always tasted like apples to me. And if you read the ingredients, guess what? APPLES are used to make the things. Hell, I imagine that's how the cereal got its name in the first place. These days they're doing a variant of that campaign, except it is illustrated through the exploits of a sentient apple who just can't seem to get himself into Apple Jacks no matter what he does. In this commercial, however, he appears to actually succeed, diving into a bowl of cereal and delighting in being submerged in the milk and surrounded by the green and flesh-colored O's.

IN YOUR DREAMS, APPLE!'Cause cinnamon is de winner-mon.

But then he wakes up screaming in his bed (yes, the apple has a bedroom, complete with a clothing dresser, a rug, a television set, and even a freaking teddy bear) to discover that IT WAS ALL A DREAM -- and to this end, the narrator announces that in his dreams is the only place that an apple will ever get into Apple Jacks. Instead, it is the taste of cinnamon that is the "winner-mon": and lo and behold, a fucking Jamaican cinnamon stick runs up and dives into the bowl, dissolving in the milk and becoming one with the Apple Jacks therein. Okay, now it's been a while since I've had Apple Jacks, but I remember the taste of apples being in the cereal far more than I remember the taste of cinnamon. And have they stopped putting apples into it these days? Because otherwise this commercial makes even less sense than it already does.

"I didn't wanna get into them anyway."At the conclusion of the ad, the apple looks at the camera and pouts, saying that he didn't really want to get into the cereal anyway. He's obviously lying, but this begs the question: why the fuck should he want to get into the cereal in the first place? He's obviously got a fairly decent life here, being the only apple I've ever seen with a room that isn't a compartment of the refrigerator or a bin at the supermarket, to say nothing of the fact that he can run, talk, and even watch TV.

Becoming part of Apple Jacks, however, would inevitably result in his death at the chomping jaws and stomach acids of someone enjoying part of a complete breakfast -- so this is actually a pretty depressing commercial. The apple has more than any fruit in history has ever had (with the possible exception of those scary pajama-wearing bananas), and all he wants is to be killed and eaten by humans. Is this commercial purporting to advance the philosophical view that one can only be happy when one is serving one's purpose, and because an apple's purpose is to be eaten, it necessarily suffers when it is not achieving this end? Or do these commercials intend to communicate an even more spiritual message?

Consider that becoming part of the cereal would entail sacrifice. Perhaps the apple longs to give his life in the service of others -- and, as such, finds it impossible to take pleasure in self-interested activities like sleeping with his teddy bear and watching static on his TV. Note also that he quite clearly envies and even hates the cinnamon stick. Are these not grievous sins? The commercials commonly refer to the apple as "Bad Apple", although his only crime has apparently been wanting to kill himself. Why is he bad? Is he bad because he despises the Lord? That came out of nowhere, sure, but despite dying at the end of every commercial, that fucking cinnamon stick is back again the next time -- meaning that he dies for our breakfast enjoyment and rises again every morning. The Jamaican cinnamon stick is a Christ figure.

Bob MarleyJesus Christ

I definitely see a certain resemblance. We're jammin' in the name of the Lord.

4. Pop-Tarts Toaster Pastries

"cinnamon rolls are easy"And, finally, we come to one of the worst of the recent advertising campaigns -- the sentient Pop Tarts spots. I previously showcased my dislike for these ads in Hot Flash #72, which depicted a Pop-Tart getting his revenge on these bastards who would chase down and devour a living creature capable of speaking and pleading for his life, but they're bad enough to warrant a more detailed discussion of the actual commercial. Shit, even the title of the ad is appalling, as "cinnamon rolls are easy" calls attention to the apparent fact that it is easy to trap, murder, and eat cinnamon roll-flavored Pop-Tarts. For those of you who don't quite get how disgusting this title is, imagine if, during the second World War, the Nazi propaganda had included televised advertisements that bore the title "Jews are easy". These commercials are fucking sick.

"Hide me! Hide me!""They'll never look here..."

Actually, there are probably a number of similarities to the plight of the Jews in Nazi Germany to be found in the Pop-Tarts' sad adventures, but I'll leave the dots for you to connect at your leisure. As the short begins, a Pop-Tart rushes into the home of a talking lizard and asks him to hide him from "them". What you may or may not notice, however, is that the Pop-Tart is wearing pink slippers. Given that the lizard is also wearing a bathrobe and has his breakfast in front of him -- A BREAKFAST THAT ALSO INCLUDES POP-TARTS, NO LESS -- we can safely assume not only that it is morning, but that this Pop-Tart lives nearby and was also going about his various morning chores when he was suddenly set upon by those who would harm him. And the Pop-Tart is fucking terrified. Throughout the entire scene, he hops about, flailing his arms and making all manner of frightened faces, clearly scared out of his wits -- so much so that he doesn't think twice about the safety of this hiding spot when the lizard tells him that they'd never look in his giant toaster. Why the hell does that lizard even have a giant toaster, anyway? It's clearly too big for toasting his normal-sized Pop-Tarts. As such, we can assume that not only has this lizard toasted and eaten living Pop-Tarts before, but that, unless he built this large device by himself or obtained it through illegal means, society condones the murder and consumption of giant Pop-Tarts because the sale of these killing machines is permitted. And given that the lizard is so relaxed here that he has apparently left his door wide open such that anyone, including law enforcement, could waltz right into his home and see what he's up to, I'm going to assume that this is a decidedly unpleasant world for Pop-Tarts.

They want to eat him."Tooooo easy."

So "they" -- who turn out to be a pair of kids -- rush right into the lizard's house and demand to know where the cinnamon roll is. Now, I know he's a giant Pop-Tart, and as such has to be pretty careful about being eaten (one wonders how many bites he could sustain before dying), but these two kids don't look all that tough. Granted, I'm betting the chick has some fight in her, given the way the sassy bitch bats her eyes and sways her hips, but I still think that the Pop-Tart could take them both in a fight if he weren't such a bloody coward. Perhaps the reason Pop-Tarts suffer in this fictional world is less because they're Pop-Tarts and more because they're Pop-Tarts that lack the will to fight back and say, "DON'T EAT ME, GODDAMNIT!" I'd knock the shit out of those kids.

Anyway, the lizard says nothing, but points in the opposite direction -- whereupon the kids not only leave, but CLOSE THE DOOR BEHIND THEM. Why would they do that? I have no idea, but this new development leaves the lizard alone to murder and eat the poor, unsuspecting Pop-Tart. While I imagine his plan was to eat the fugitive all along, one has to wonder if the Pop-Tart might have been allowed to escape if the door had remained open. As it is, the sentient pastry rises and sincerely thanks the lizard for his help -- only to be pushed back down into the toaster as the lizard smacks his lips before turning and announcing, "Tooooo easy." Well, fuck you, you bathrobe-wearing reptile. The commercial ends before we hear the anguished screams of the Pop-Tart as he's roasted alive in the giant toaster, but check out the look on his face. He's seriously afraid, he's about to die a horrible flaming death, and yet the commercial ends all happily and shit and expects us to be excited about eating Pop-Tarts. It makes me nauseous, and I wish that Pop-Tart would hop out of the goddamned toaster and fucking kill that lizard. I mean, if I were put into a giant toaster, I don't think I'd just give up and resign myself to being eaten. I'd wrap my hands around those red-hot coils and scream in pain as I pulled myself to freedom -- and then, raw from third-degree burns, I'd stomp that murderous piece of shit lizard until there was nothing left but christmas-colored slush and a stained, torn bathrobe. Crazy good? No, good and crazy and fucking sick of kids chasing me around and trying to eat me when all I want to do is wear my slippers and be left alone and NOT EATEN THANK YOU KINDLY. I also seem to have internalized the Pop-Tarts' struggle. La resistance lives on.

BLING-BLING, Y'ALL!!!Seriously, I do not understand these commercials in which food is personified. Yes, it is true that quite a bit of what we eat had faces and ran around at some point and was probably afraid when it was killed, but what the hell is the point of reminding us of that by creating characters with friends and dreams and enjoyments and desires before depicting them being cruelly cut down for our consumption? No wonder Americans are so amped about war and the death penalty, given that commercials are teaching children that it's acceptable to murder even the innocent in order to fill one's belly. But what should we expect from the fucking fattest nation on the planet? Hey, look, Spaghetti-O's are actually having a party, dancing in their own club with bling-blingin' chains and a meatball for a DJ! LET'S EAT THEM UP! Don't let that Pop-Tart get away -- WE'RE FUCKING HUNGRY! And then, when one character actually manages to avoid being eaten, what do they do? They make him a suicidal Jesus-hater who daily prays for death and is continually frustrated by the Jamaican Son of Cinna-MAN in his efforts to end his miserable existence! Hell, Americans will even apparently eat their own sneakers and shit them out again to wear them. But riddle me this, Batman -- if shat-out sneakers can reform themselves and apparently be indistinguishable from their former incarnations, then how can we ever know if our sneakers haven't fallen from someone's asshole? Moreover, if this is the case, how can children know that the sneakers they're eating weren't shat out by someone else, such that for all practical intents and purposes they're snacking on human shit? These concerns never enter into the minds of Americans, because it's all about FOOD FOOD FOOD. Which is why those Southern bastards who go on and on about American pride -- despite having no fucking clue what that means -- are some of the greediest and most overweight fucks you'll ever meet. Okay, this article has made me angry. I'm stopping now.

Perhaps I should invest in TiVo and digital cable before I start firebombing advertising execs and stuff.

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