I am not a violent man, but if I ever run into Dan the Red Tag Man, I plan to end his life.
You know the guy. He's the clown on your TV dancing around in stupid costumes — most recently in large red price tag costumes — all in the name of hocking Holiday Homes. He previously pushed the technological envelope by having a conversation with himself via split-screen and dressing in drag to pose as his mother. Frankly, the man makes me sick.
For that matter, a good 80 percent of locally produced commercials make me sick. Why do these companies do it? Why waste the money?
It's like those new-fad medicine ads. Here's a tip: If you are required by law to state that your product may cause anal leakage, oily discharge or the inability to control bowel movements, DON'T FREAKIN' ADVERTISE.
Similarly, if you can't pony up enough cash to make a decent ad for yourself, then why in God's name are you even advertising?
There is the school of thought that believes as long as you make an impression, your commercials are worthwhile. This school of thought died with Leave It to Beaver. Here's the truth: Yes, I remember these ads. They stick with me. In that sense, they are small marketing successes. But I would sooner build a mobile home than buy one from that nimrod Dan. It's just the principle of the matter.
Dan the Red Tag Man may be my Lex Luthor, but there is an entire Legion of Doom for whom I'm lusting to destroy.
Two unfortunate front-runners are Roecker & Berger, who needs a new jingle in the worst way, and AE Doors, who would escape my wrath if only they'd invest in a decent graphic. It's not like we don't have thriving production companies here in town. Really, people, you don't have to hire your Uncle Elwood to put these ads together. There are professionals willing and eager to help. Sure, they cost money. Quality comes at a price.
It pains me to say this, because Anthony Munoz may be the greatest offensive tackle ever to play the game, but his ridiculous Furniture Fair commercials are simply offensive. Instead of calling him "little buddy" à la Gilligan's Island, couldn't hulking Munoz stuff that little pip-squeak Ed into a couch cushion or something? The result would be far more entertaining.
Then there are the local family automotive dealerships. I don't know where to begin with them. Somewhere, some graduate student did a study that determined that people would prefer to transact with a person or a family — as opposed to a big, faceless company — when making a healthy investment. We the consumers now suffer for that. Bill Fallhaber, Jeff Wyler, Lauren Williams: I don't care what you look like or how long your family has been in the business. Show me the 'mobiles!
Carpet families are like the backwoods cousins to car families. Buddy and his brethren won't be undersold, they have a surplus warehouse they need to liquidate, and they wear some of the worst suits to hit the airwaves since the cancellation of WKRP in Cincinnati.
Am I too critical? Probably. But nothing is more jolting than watching a beautifully shot Nike ad or a clever beer commercial followed by some of our local trash. Maybe these people honestly don't know just how bad their advertising is. Maybe no one has told them before.
It's like when people say they would like to be told, no matter how embarrassing, when they have a booger showing. Well, I'm telling you, local advertisers, please blow your nose.
AD NAUSEAM is CityBeat's monthly exploration of the wide world of advertising.