Today, we have a special election day blast from the past!
In 1982 (and not 1980, regardless of what the title of the YouTube video says), former Cincinnati Mayor Jerry Springer entered the race for governor of Ohio. He was one of three major candidates to enter the Democrat primary. During the campaign, Springer cut this memorable commercial in which he let voters know that, a few years earlier, he “spent some time with a woman (he) shouldn’t have” and that he “paid her with a check.”
Despite Jerry’s claim that “the nomination is finally within grasp,” he came in a distant third. Of course, if Springer had won that election, America would never have had the Jerry Springer Show or any of the shows, like Maury, that followed its example. So, Ohio, it’s all on you. Elections have consequences.
I don’t even smoke and I still think anti-smoking commercials are annoying.
Take this one from 1999, in which some weirdo harasses students as they try to leave their high school. He gets an interview from one student, who seems to be annoyed with the whole thing and …. OH MY GOD, THAT’S ROB MCELHENNEY FROM IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA!
In the year 2001, Ben Affleck wasn’t only Matt Damon’s best friend. He was also a commercial spokesman!
For instance, he narrated this creepy commercial for Diet Coke. Oddly enough, he doesn’t say anything about Diet Coke but he does say a lot about his wife’s underwear and then, eventually, the underwear that he saw in “the hamper as a kid.” Wait, what? Weirdo.
I actually get what this commercial is attempting. Diet Coke is a soft drink for real people and real people get married and eventually stop having sex. But do real people tell complete strangers about it? Of course, they do now but this commercial was before social media.
This is from the same ad campaign that featured Renee Zellweger watching her neighbor take a shower and sing. (I shared that commercial last week.) Since we didn’t see Renee’s face in that previous commercial and since we don’t see Ben’s face in this one, I like to think that this commercial is a sequel to the previous one. Renee eventually married the guy across the street and then started wearing cotton underwear. And I assume that the guy stopped singing.
Wow, this was a depressing world that Diet Coke created.
In the year 2000, Renee Zellweger was not only starring in movies and working her way to eventually winning two Oscars. She was also apparently spying on her neighbor across the street.
Did it not occur to this guy to get curtains for his bathroom? And also, how loudly is he singing that Renee can hear all of the lyrics to I Want You Want Me? If Renee can hear him from across the street, I can only imagine what it must be like to live right next door to the guy.
That said, I do think this is kind of a cute commercial. The guy is adorable in his dorky way and I’d probably watch him too. But I don’t think he and Renee are ever going to get together because it might kind of creep him out to know that she’s been watching him in the shower for all this time. To be honest, this commercial feels more like a Sandra Bullock movie than a vehicle for Renee Zellweger.
And what exactly does any of this have to do with Diet Coke?
Screen icon John Wayne was born 115 years ago, on this date, in Winterest, Iowa.
Best-known for his appearances in western films, Wayne spent the last decade of his life battling cancer and serving as a spokesman for The American Cancer Society. He made his final film appearance in 1976, starring in The Shootist as a veteran gunslinger who was, just like Wayne, facing his own mortality. The film not only provided a capstone to Wayne’s film career but the footage of Jimmy Stewart (as a doctor) informing Wayne that he didn’t have long to live was used in one of the commercials that Wayne did for The American Cancer Society.
Of course, in the commercial, the footage was followed by Wayne encouraging viewers to get tested and also threatening to “take you apart” if they didn’t. Three years after the release of The Shootist and this commercial, Wayne would succumb to cancer but his efforts would lead to more people getting tested and more cancers being detected early.
Usually, the only time we talk about commercials here on the Shattered Lens is after the Super Bowl or if we’re sharing a trailer. However, there has recently been one commercial that is so loathsome, so tone deaf, and so goddamn annoying that it has managed to unite just about everyone I know, on both the Left and the Right, in mutual disdain.
Here, for all to see, is the Amazon Climate Pledge commercial:
The commercial is 90 seconds of an international group of children and teenagers telling CEOs that they need to do more to protect the environment. Some of them appear to be wandering through a Mad Max-style desert. Some are trapped in a Werner Herzog movie. The “I can grow my own food” person appears to be in a Ridley Scott film. For some reason, the Italian kid who is worried about his imaginary grandchildren is hanging out in the middle of a landfill. I’m sure that’s doing wonders for his state of mind. Italy’s a beautiful country when you don’t spend all of your time hanging out at a landfill.
Why is this commercial the worst?
First off, it’s apparently targeted at CEOs, ordering them to sign a pledge. The pledge doesn’t really mean anything but if you sign it, you’ll be spared from having to talk to the “Try sustainable farming” girl so it’s probably worth the trouble. Here’s the problem — I’M NOT A CEO! If the commercial is meant for CEOs, why is it airing during Big Brother? Are a bunch of polluting CEOs watching Big Brother in their spare time? Why am I seeing it on Hulu? Do CEOs put their polluting agenda on hold so they can get together to binge Kingof the Hill? The answer, of course, is that it’s not really targeted at CEOs. It’s targeted at people who are dumb enough to think that it’s targeted to CEOs, people who will presumably say, “Amazon is leading the way to get businesses to clean up their act!”
This bring me to my second point, which is that the commercial was made by AMAZON! This is the company that’s run by the man who wants to fly in a rocket for fun. I’m usually not one to complain about eccentric billionaires having their fun but if you’re going to start your own space program, that means you don’t get to yell at me about the environment.
But that’s not all. Could they have found more annoying spokespeople than the kids in this commercial? I’m torn on which one of them I hate the most. The landfill boy fills me with rage whenever he starts taking about his non-existent grandchildren but the sustainable farming girl reminds me of every annoying student council candidate who I knew in high school. But really, I think the worst of the bunch are the two sisters who apparently live in a flooded town. When the younger of the two yells, “Yeah!” at me after her sister tells me to do something …. I’M NOT A CEO! YOU’RE YELLING AT THE WRONG PERSON! And why the Hell are you wandering around in the middle of a flood anyways? We should all do what we can to help and protect the environment but these entitled little brats make me want to turn up the air conditioning. It doesn’t help that the commercial ends with all of them staring straight at the camera (i.e. me) with a look on their face like I just gave away their favorite pet.
Finally, wind farms are a terrible eyesore. They may be good for the environment but they look like something from a dystopian sci-fi movie. By all means, build them but don’t stick them in every commercial and expect everyone to go, “Oh wow, windmills!”
Commercials like this annoy me because they’re so extremely self-congratulatory and counter-productive. They inspire many thoughts but little of them have to do with saving the planet.
Somehow, last night, I missed the Super Bowl spot for Nobody. Then again, I also somehow also missed the streaker running across the field. I was probably busy jotting down notes about the commercials that I had just seen. Who knows? It was a strange night.
Anyway, here’s the Super Bowl spot for Nobody!
Bob Odenkirk, action star! That’s kind of a strange idea but I guess it could happen. Bryan Cranston went from doing comedy to doing heavy drama. John Krasinski is another example. Watching The Office, you would never expect to see Jim Halpert blowing away the bad guys but that’s exactly what happened. Of course, it looks like there’s going to be a lot of humor to go along with all of the action in this film so I guess that’s good. Eventually, someone will cast Bob Odenkirk in one of those grim and depressing cop films where he’s like an alcoholic who spends all of his time looking at old case files and searching for that one clue that will put the murderer away. I fully support the right of Bob Odenkirk to do new and different things!
There haven’t been that many movie spots during this Super Bowl. It’s a shame but I guess it’s to be expected, given the current state of theaters and studios and everything else. During the first half, we saw trailers and commercials for Old, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, and this very brief one for Raya and the Last Dragon:
It’s a short commercial but …. hey, it looks cute! I’ll watch it when it comes out.