Everyone talks about how TV shows push alarming taste boundaries, but what about all that filler in between? Even commercials are getting more extreme by the minute — or half minute. Herewith, a review of recent spots that take selling to the limit.
Docu-footage shows a wee little sperm swimming past his wilted competition and fertilizing the giant egg while Wagner’s ”Ride of the Valkyries” climaxes in the background. ”The attitude that got you here, can get you anywhere,” reads the bold type. Okay, fine. But now we associate HotJobs with sperm. Congratulations. B-
Hyper-enthused Aussie wildlife expert Steve ”Crocodile Hunter” Irwin is bitten by a deadly snake (that’s bad) but remains cheery because the antidote was sent via FedEx (that’s good). But the cure was actually sent with a rival service — and still hasn’t arrived (that’s real bad). ”Ahh, crikey,” Irwin says before keeling over. A savvy blend of wit and self-parody. A
Shot with the kamikaze flair of a Tom Green bit — and set to disturbing, cartoonish music — this vérité spot follows a bunch of hipsters in Washington, D.C., as they build a ”monument” to people killed by tobacco by stacking body bags in a vacant lot. Over this chilling image, a voice warns: ”If anyone finds this offensive… so do we.” Sanctimonious? Sure. Powerful? Yup. A-
MTV SPORTS: PURE RIDE
Videogame ads are always a 5,000-volt shock to the system, but this spot is extra juicy: A teen recklessly drives his grandmother home so he can get back to his snowboarding game. ”Tuck and roll, Grandma!” he yells, pushing her out of the moving car. Granny abuse? That’s sick. And — don’t hate us for saying this — kinda funny. B+
Warning: This political ad is not an SNL spoof. A white fiftysomething man chokes on his spaghetti-and-meatball dinner when a radio bulletin reports that English is no longer America’s national language. He dials for help, only to hear: ”Thank you for calling 911. Listen for your language. For Spanish, press 1. For Korean, press 2…” As the guy slumps to the floor, the narrator intones: ”Do you ever miss English? Immigration is out of control.” Yeah, that’s not the only thing. Execution: B Message: No comment.