I thought I’d take a moment to comment on a couple of television commercials that have been in regular rotation recently. As I normally time-shift my viewing thanks to the magic of TiVo, I generally don’t watch a lot of commercials. There are exceptions; every once in a while something catches my eye while I’m fast-forwarding through an ad block and I’ll rewind to give it a look. Then there are occasions when I actually watch live television ((For example, I spent much of Independence Day watching the Dirty Jobs marathon on the Discovery Channel with Laura and my parents. Take that, King George!)) and cannot avoid the commercials in my customary fashion.
One series of commercials that I like is Citi Identity Theft Solutions, which feature people speaking with voices that clearly do not belong to them, recounting all the fantastic stuff they purchased with ill-gotten credit cards. As a victim of identity theft myself, I can relate to their plight; the idea of someone running around Columbus, Ohio using my identity to run up $20k+ worth of store-credit purchases at CompUSA, Service Merchandise and Helzberg Diamonds chars my biscuit to this day. The aftermath is not at all fun; in fact clearing everything off your credit report is nothing less than a huge, drawn-out pain in the ass.
As serious as the problem is, the commercials are hilarious, especially the most recent installment, in which two elderly women talk about the motorcycles “they” purchased with their stolen credit cards. “Them bikes was, like, waaaaaaah!” one woman says. “No,” the other interjects. “They was, like, brubba-brubba-brubba!” The first woman then declares that the bikes “sound good ’cause they free.”
The juxtaposition of the visual and the voices is simply brilliant, moreso than any of the other ads in the series (all of which are pretty good). I can’t not laugh when I see it, and I will go out of my way for the opportunity to do so.
On the flip side of the coin is an advertisement for a luxury car that begins with a tight shot of the driver tuning the radio. I think it’s a Mercedes ad but I can’t say for certain; probably because my brain shuts down when the radio is tuned to 112.7. Apparently along with seat warmers and luxuriously-appointed leather interior, this particular vehicle comes with the ability to receive radio stations beyond 107.9MHz, the top end of the FM dial in every car I’ve ever owned.
No doubt there are secret, commercial-free radio stations owned by the nouveau riche and run by illegal immigrants. ((I’d call it Mexican Radio, but Wall of Voodoo has a Wall of Lawyers on retainer for just such a violation of their intellectual propery rights.)) These stations broadcast on frequencies that Joe Middle Class believes to be reserved for aeronautical navigation but are instead filled with an uninterrupted stream of hard trance, ambient techno and classical music. It’s elite radio, just a few megahertz beyond the capabilities of the MVoD. Visit your Mercedes dealership for a complete denial of its existence. ((The first rule of Elite Radio: Do not talk about Elite Radio.))