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Deep Thoughts: Playoff commercials edition

Oct 15, 2012, 1:00 PM EDT

DirectTV jackass

Because I DVR almost everything I watch on TV and 90% of my regular season baseball watching occurs on, the only time I ever really watch commercials is during the playoffs.  And, as anyone who has watched a lot of playoff commercials this fall knows, a handful of them are on HEAVY rotation.

This is pretty pointless — and yes, I realize that I’m half-talking out of my butt here as I don’t know jack about advertising beyond whatever I picked up while watching “Mad Men” — but here are some random postseason commercial observations:

The DirectTV ads may be the most nihilistic and depressing things ever.  The ones in the “don’t wind up in a roadside ditch” campaign are bad enough: they are basically telling you that any attempt to do anything besides watch TV will lead to bodily injury. But at least they core point of that — become a slave to your TV! — is in keeping with their corporate interests.  They’re a TV company, so of course they want you watching, so I cut that a little slack.

But the new spot is something else. You know which one I’m talking about: the woman who gets out of the shower to see the big DVR message in her bathroom, only to have her tooth-brushing husband offer all kinds of acidic and crappy remarks back at her (“well, at least somebody gets to …”):


At least the guy who ends up injured in a roadside ditch will find some modicum of safe, depressing contentment if he gets rid of cable. The tooth-brushing guy, however, is gonna be a miserable, passive aggressive sonofabitch even if his family does switch over to DirectTV.  The worst part: the newest ad has him talking to his kid. Great, not only is he in a bitter and loveless marriage, but there are kids involved. Thanks DirectTV! Where can I go kill myself?

In a more subtle form of anti-marketing, the Taco Bell Cantina bowl commercials perplex me a bit.  I get what they’re doing — expanding their menu and going after Chipotle and the like — but it strikes me that there is no brand stronger in fast food than Taco Bell’s “come here and eat cheap tasty stuff that may not be good for you but by god it’s gonna make you happy” brand.  When I see a chef in an impossibly well-appointed kitchen, poring over fresh ingredients and telling me that “you won’t BELIEVE it’s Taco Bell!” I feel like they are abandoning their core stoner/blogger/Taco Bell-loving demographic.  And I’m not alone in this:

Consider it an opportunity lost.

I do like one thing about those Taco Bell ads: the way Lorena Garcia says “avocados” and “guacamole.” Not gonna lie: I look forward to that.  But one effect it does have is to put the actual avocado commercials — “that’s BUSH LEAGUE, BRO!” — into sharp, horrible relief. They’ve been around forever, and they’re beyond tired. The ballplayer in them is probably retired and nearly eligible for the Hall of Fame now. All I can think is that the avocado industry is so hard up right now that they can only film new commercials every five years and that, by rerunning them all the time, they’re banking on us becoming so sick of that ad that we feel compelled to buy more guacamole simply so that they get more money to produce new ones.

Hey handsome:


I have no idea what to think about these ads. I am not a rum drinker at all and can’t see how I ever will be, but I kinda like them. And that “You Rascal You” song from the one they play most of the time is actually pretty bitchin’.  Easily the best “stumble upon a song you didn’t really know about and then end up liking on its own terms” commercial since that Volkswagon ad that featured Nick Drake’s “Pink Moon” back in 1999.

Still, I feel like the woman who the Captain takes out of that party is a bit fickle.  She is understandably creeped out by the old guy in the powdered wig with whom she’s dancing, but is this guy any less creepy?


I dunno. I’m more for quiet gatherings in the first place, so maybe I’m taking it too easy on the dude from the dance.

Anyway, that’s all I got for now. Tune in next year when we celebrate the ten year anniversary of “HER HIS FATHER IS THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY!”  Hoping they bring that one back.

UPDATE:  Forgot one!  The Samsung Galaxy III commercial that makes fun of the people on line at the Apple store.  The one I like the most is the “the headphone jack is going to be on the BOTTOM …[speshhhew!!]” guy.  I don’t know why I like him. I like to imagine that he’s going to become like Henry “Are we have fun yet??!!!” Pollard on “Party Down.”

As for the campaign itself: good luck, Samsung. It reminds me — and this will date me a bit — of the IBM OS2 Warp operating system commercials from 1995.  They were kind of funny and clever and took aim at Microsoft and its slightly delayed introduction of Windows 95.  Those commercials will always live in my memory, but if you can find one person who was really using OS2 Warp after Windows 95 came out you were a better man than I.

106 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. 18thstreet - Oct 15, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    Good lord, what is the offseason going to look like on this blog?

    • Craig Calcaterra - Oct 15, 2012 at 1:17 PM

      Our strategy: make December and January so bad that when spring training finally rolls around, our coverage looks AWESOME

      • 12strikes - Oct 15, 2012 at 2:22 PM

        There is an whole off season of Phillies moves (or non moves) that Craig can write about.

      • groundruledoublebourbon - Oct 15, 2012 at 3:14 PM

        It appears I’m the only one anticipating BSOHL season? It’s the only time of year the Royals are competitive.

    • cur68 - Oct 15, 2012 at 1:31 PM

      Wait’ll the inevitable condiment/desert debate breaks out. THEN we’re into some HARD CORE off season bloggin.

      • stex52 - Oct 15, 2012 at 2:12 PM

        Could be worse. At least to date I haven’t seen us get into the boxers/briefs argument.

        Speaking of which, I haven’t seen you get into man crush issues for a while.

      • cur68 - Oct 15, 2012 at 2:32 PM

        Craig seems to have a sense of what’ll bring out the creepy vs what’ll fly with the “we-think-we-funny” crowd. I highly doubt he’ll venture below the waist. As for the man crush, well Bernadina’s out of the playoffs. I’m not fickle. Unlike SOME people.

      • stex52 - Oct 15, 2012 at 2:40 PM

        Quick clarification. I am NOT in favor of a boxers/briefs discussion. I was choosing the worst example I could think of.

      • cur68 - Oct 15, 2012 at 2:59 PM

        There be plenty of room in the “we-think-we-funny” club. C’mon in. Bean dip’s in the corner, have a beer, don’t sit on the cat. If you must juggle things, well use anything but the Andre Dawson autographed baseballs. Chainsaws are in the closet under the stairs.

  2. drewnichols81 - Oct 15, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    I hate commercials in every sense even slight films with actors that do commercals and make fun of them. so freakin annoying. Soon they will be beamed to our dreams as we sleep. I just woke up, need to drink a Dos Eqius

    • Jeremy T - Oct 15, 2012 at 1:16 PM

      Anybody know where I can get some Lightspeed Briefs?

    • chadjones27 - Oct 15, 2012 at 3:30 PM

      You mean you don’t already drink Dos Equis when you wake up?

  3. number42is1 - Oct 15, 2012 at 1:07 PM

    i have heard many reference to HER FATHER IS THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY!. can someone please link a youtube video? all i get on google search is a link to that AWFUL AWFUL show called “skin”

    • bsbiz - Oct 15, 2012 at 1:30 PM

      That’s exactly where the thing comes from.

  4. kopy - Oct 15, 2012 at 1:10 PM

  5. Innocent Bystander - Oct 15, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    I googled “Captain morgan spice rum song” on Saturday night too. Good song. Sounds like the Black Keys.

  6. willclarkgameface - Oct 15, 2012 at 1:14 PM

    Advertising sucks. I want the games and I need to not watch these games live anymore. Time for some DVR 1-hour delay action.

  7. darthicarus - Oct 15, 2012 at 1:14 PM

    The headphone jack is going to be on the bottom! *boom*

    • Craig Calcaterra - Oct 15, 2012 at 1:17 PM

      I secretly love the “headphone jack on the bottom” guy. I don’t know why.

      • cur68 - Oct 15, 2012 at 1:36 PM

        How do you keep up with all these mancrushes you have? Who the hell was your last one? Michael Cuddyer was it? You sir are fickle.

      • number42is1 - Oct 15, 2012 at 1:37 PM

        more than the Deja-Deja-Deja-Deja vu guy?

      • groundruledoublebourbon - Oct 15, 2012 at 3:12 PM

        Because he looks like (is?) Jesse’s friend, Brandon, from Breaking Bad?

    • kopy - Oct 15, 2012 at 1:18 PM

      Infinitely better than the GSIII commericial that plays the whistle from “Moves like Jagger” 500 times.

      • mrwillie - Oct 15, 2012 at 1:56 PM

        I may never buy a Samsung product again for the mere fact that they have made me listen to that damn song infinitely more times than I have ever wanted to hear it.

        That is, by far, the worst song I have ever heard on a commercial before.

    • Jeremy T - Oct 15, 2012 at 1:18 PM

      I’m probably just being a fanboy, but those commercials annoy me. The whole “sharing a playlist by touching phones” thing just doesn’t seem like that useful of a feature. And even if you did want that, there’s been an app (which works for both Android and iOS) called Bump that’s been able to do that kind of thing for years. That being said, the GS3 is a great phone. I just don’t like their ads.

      • kopy - Oct 15, 2012 at 1:24 PM

        I love my GS3 and like these ads, but there is no scenario possible on this planet in which I would want to share a playlist with another dude.

        The closest would be a text that says, “You should check out X Album by Y band. It’s pretty solid.”

    • normcash - Oct 15, 2012 at 1:21 PM

      Or, “Deja, deja, deja, deja, deja vue.” LOL….gotta love it when they stick it to the Apple cultists!

      • Jeremy T - Oct 15, 2012 at 1:31 PM

        I’ll admit that one was pretty funny

    • The Dangerous Mabry - Oct 15, 2012 at 2:07 PM

      Whoa. The blond girl (“Jewel…I love that!”) was my prom date. There’s your blast from the past.

  8. Innocent Bystander - Oct 15, 2012 at 1:16 PM

    Also like the Nissan commercial with the guy who gets honked at anytime he’s about to go to far with something.

    • kopy - Oct 15, 2012 at 1:29 PM

      It’s also informative. Who would have ever thought a quick cologne spray below the equator isn’t standard hygiene procecure?

    • Jeremy T - Oct 15, 2012 at 3:45 PM

      That’s one of the few that makes me laugh, even though I know what’s coming.

  9. weaselpuppy - Oct 15, 2012 at 1:19 PM

    Is there a more disgusting way to ruin a perfectly good hotdog than by dropping chunks of avocado on it?

    Oh there is? By seeing it happen EVERY QUARTER HOUR ON THE QUARTER HOUR EVERY DAMN GAME???!!!

    I’ll bring back response to those crappy ads that is equally worn out, passe’ response, just for period effect;

    Make the world a better place, punch the Mexican Avocado Growers Ad Agency President in the face.

  10. indaburg - Oct 15, 2012 at 1:21 PM

    Not a rum drinker, huh? As a Latina, rum runs in my blood like whiskey runs in an Irishman’s. If you’re ever inclined to drink it, stay away from Bacardi. Vile cheap stuff that will give you a pounding headache. Get some Brugal Anejo or Barcelo from the Dominican Republic. Maybe it’s my Dominican bias, but Dominican rum > Puerto Rican rum. Spiced rum is a different animal. I like it too. In my wild partying single days, not unlike the commercial (ha), captain and coke was my go to drink.

    I like the song too. Only thing that makes seeing the commercial 50 times an hour tolerable.

    • kiwicricket - Oct 15, 2012 at 1:29 PM

      Spiced rum&ginger beer. “Dark and stormy” I had a brief but passionate love affair with her in my early 20’s.

      • indaburg - Oct 15, 2012 at 1:35 PM

        Ooooooh. Spiced rum and ginger beer. Now that I have to try.

      • cur68 - Oct 15, 2012 at 1:42 PM

        Faux-bu drinks Bundaberg Black…which has, for some odd reason, a polar bear on the label. You gets lots of polar bears there in Queensland I guess. Anyhow, as far as rum goes, the little guy nods a lot when I ask him if he wants more.

      • byjiminy - Oct 15, 2012 at 2:53 PM

        I always made Dark and Stormy’s with Meyers dark rum, and the spiciest ginger beer I could find.

        I could go for one of those right now…

      • badmamainphilliesjamas - Oct 15, 2012 at 3:05 PM

        A Dark and Stormy is “supposed” to be made with Goslings Black Seal Rum–at least according to Bermudians. It’s their national drink, so who am I to question?
        So good…

      • indaburg - Oct 15, 2012 at 3:07 PM

        Australian rum? I have to expand my horizons a bit and give it a sip.

      • indaburg - Oct 15, 2012 at 7:55 PM

        Any particular spiced rum or ginger beer that you recommend, kiwi?

    • The Rabbit - Oct 15, 2012 at 3:35 PM

      @indaburg, kiwi, and cur
      Should we make this the official playoff drink next weekend when we switch back from cookies?
      Kiwi…you are going to have to pull an all nighter.

      • cur68 - Oct 15, 2012 at 4:35 PM

        Dark & Stormy’s? I’m going to get really hammered again aren’t I?

      • indaburg - Oct 15, 2012 at 4:41 PM

        Sure, I’m game.

      • dondada10 - Oct 15, 2012 at 5:35 PM

        Just getting around to reading comments right now. Can I get white-girl wasted with you guys?

      • historiophiliac - Oct 15, 2012 at 7:09 PM

        Sure, leave the non-rum drinkers out.

    • Francisco (FC) - Oct 15, 2012 at 5:29 PM

      All this talk of Rum and NOT A SINGLE BRAND from Venezuela? Diplomatico? Santa Teresa? Cacique? None of those ring a bell?

      • The Rabbit - Oct 15, 2012 at 6:21 PM

        Nope FC…Where I live, I have to special order everything. Just tell me which one is best and I’ll give it a shot. I can get it here for the World Series.
        @cur…Yeah, if you aren’t working you probably will get hammered again, but “jeez” it’s your own fault. You could stick to cookies?

      • Francisco (FC) - Oct 15, 2012 at 8:37 PM

        I don’t think there’s a single one that’s “Best”, many divergent opinions in the homeland. But any of: Santa Teresa 1976, Diplomatico Reserva or Cacique Añejo

  11. heyblueyoustink - Oct 15, 2012 at 1:24 PM

    It’s overly repedetive advertising used to lock the items into your head, not to buy them per sei, but to be aware of them. I believe there’s a Blimpie commercial that covers that in detail.

  12. Innocent Bystander - Oct 15, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    One more:

    “They go together in the good old USAAAA”

    That little girl is adorable.

    • historiophiliac - Oct 15, 2012 at 7:10 PM

      No, she is even more annoying than the Shake-N-Bake girl.

  13. bloodysock - Oct 15, 2012 at 1:29 PM

    Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos and Doritos Flamas Doritos Locos Taco are coming to Taco Bell soo, though probably not both at the same time.

    I believe the Cool Ranch version has already been tested.

  14. amhendrick - Oct 15, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    The most annoying ad for me is a campaign ad for Gary Miller, running for Congress in California’s 31st district. Annoying because I live in Virginia.

    • natstowngreg - Oct 15, 2012 at 6:11 PM

      Alas, being in a Battleground State, we Virginians have to suffer endless political commercials, between the Obama, Romney, Kaine, and Allen ads. Thus, the essential nature of the Mute button.

  15. pmcenroe - Oct 15, 2012 at 1:52 PM

    I can’t wait for the 10-year anniversary of YOU’RE RISKING A PAITENT’S LIFE!!

  16. sdelmonte - Oct 15, 2012 at 1:54 PM

    This is why God/Einstein/Fate/Someone Smarter Than You gave us the mute button. Except during the Super Bowl, I routinely mute ads on my TV.

    Unless I am busy with something else at the wrong moment. When I get stuck with that terrible Direct TV ad. Misogyny, thy name is American Advertising.

    • natstowngreg - Oct 15, 2012 at 6:15 PM

      As I noted above, the Mute button is even more essential if you happen to live in one of those dozen (or fewer) states inundated by presidential campaign commercials. As a resident of one of those states, Craig is likely experiencing this.

      • sdelmonte - Oct 16, 2012 at 5:31 PM

        That explains why Craig’s been so grumpy.

  17. ningenito78 - Oct 15, 2012 at 1:58 PM

    How about that Captain Morgan commercial with the same actor where they all start throwing dishes. Anybody else have no idea what the hell they’re trying to get at?

    • mattintoledo - Oct 15, 2012 at 2:16 PM

      I believe a comely servant is the first to break a dish. She’s concerned about her reprimand and the good Captain eases the tension by breaking a dish himself. All the other aristocrats are just sheep. Either that or they’re saying you break shit after drinking rum.

  18. wonkypenguin - Oct 15, 2012 at 1:59 PM

    My wife gets bothered by the Taco Bell commercial because Lorena Garcia’s accent, for whatever reason, reminds her of Celine Dion’s talking voice which then reminds her of Celine Dion’s singing voice and voila. Annoyedville.

    • weaselpuppy - Oct 15, 2012 at 2:15 PM

      yup. Although the image of Celine Dion eating at Taco Bell and saying “Wahkamoley” is so far the Best Thing I’ve Imagined Today

  19. frinobulax - Oct 15, 2012 at 2:13 PM

    Yeah, the Galaxy Slll commercial.

    The “my life is over” look on the two faces realizing who the line was saved for absolutely slays me.

  20. mattintoledo - Oct 15, 2012 at 2:18 PM

    Also annoying. The boring boring boring guy who decides to stop being boring by dropping a ton of money to do things by himself. I guess the message is having a good credit card is interesting?

  21. chadjones27 - Oct 15, 2012 at 2:22 PM

    Speaking of cool songs that you randomly happen to come across. Check out the song, King Bee, by The Stone Foxes. It’s on the Jack Daniels Honey commercial. Anyone who likes blues AND rock will really get into this band.

  22. number42is1 - Oct 15, 2012 at 2:23 PM

    I pick things up I put them down

    • chadjones27 - Oct 15, 2012 at 3:37 PM

      Hey, did someone lose a washboard? I found one over here. Just kidding, it’s my abs.

      • foreverchipper10 - Oct 16, 2012 at 10:33 AM

        I just lol’d at work. You win good sir.

  23. thevauntedchris - Oct 15, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    I love the gs3 commercial where he’s saving a spot in line for his parents. Hits home because I recommended the iphone to both of my parents when I’ve been an Android guy. “Is this where we stand for apps.” Yes, the iphone is a great, uncomplicated phone…but these commercials do a good job of capturing the clueless, narcissistic attitude of “some” iphone users. “some”

  24. thevauntedchris - Oct 15, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    and how about some muthafunkin RUSH in that volkswagen commercia!!!! oowwwwww

    • bravojawja - Oct 15, 2012 at 4:27 PM

      I both died a little inside and whooped at the Awesome. The drumstick flip and catch is a great bit.

  25. husky2score - Oct 15, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    That is some serious Deep Thoughts!

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