The Why's Guy

Commercial success is one good jingle away

In times like this we need great minds.

The American public is facing a troubling trend.

Clara used to ask: "Where's the beef?"

Today, I want to know: Where's the creativity?

Where have all the entertaining commercials gone?

Many of us watch the Super Bowl as much for the commercials as for the game. Do you remember any ads from this year's game?

It wasn't that long ago that we were all laughing at the Budweiser frogs. And the weasel. And the ferret.

The Clydesdales played football.

Max Headroom pitched Coke.

Alka Seltzer gave us "Mama Mia, that's a spicy meat-a-ball."

The lines and jingles still reside in our heads.

"Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is."

"Rice-A-Roni, the San Francisco treat."

"Leggo my Eggo."

"Snap, crackle, pop."

And who can forget Mr. Whipple telling us not to squeeze the Charmin?

Commercials with hooks and lines like that are few and far between.

The GEICO cavemen qualified. But now they are simply beating a dead mastodon.

Alltel's Chad easily outwits his four hapless competitors. But is he more than a pretty boy?

Mac vs. PC is a cool concept, but the lines fade fast.

ESPN has creative spots mixing athletes and its anchors. But the audience is limited.

Will we remember any of them in 2018?

No.

Today's commercials rely too heavily on technology at the expense of creativity. Or they go too far in an art-house movie approach that leaves us wondering: "Was that an ad for jeans?"

I'm no longer in the coveted 18-to-34 marketing demographic. But I still buy stuff. If I don't watch, I don't buy.

Unfortunately, I know what ads we will remember in 10 years.

The ones we hate.

Topping my list are the "infomercial" commercials.

The bearded Billy Mays is constantly yelling at me to buy something, anything.

And Vince Offer tries to sell me the ShamWow cloth with moronic lines such as "You'll be saying wow every time you use ShamWow," and "It's made in Germany. You know the Germans always make good stuff."

I'm not wowed.

In today's TiVo world it is easy to skip past commercials. Advertisers need to give us a reason to watch. Toss out the technological tricks and fast-talking pitchmen.

Ads need to be creative. They need a sense of humor. They need a touch of humanity.

They need Mean Joe Green tossing his jersey to a kid.

Times staff writer Kyle Kreiger rants about the serious and silly with one question in mind: Why? He can be reached at kreiger@sptimes.com. To read previous columns, click on his name at the top of this rant.

Commercial success is one good jingle away 10/08/08 [Last modified: Monday, October 13, 2008 2:00pm]

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