Combs Spouts Off

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Posts Tagged ‘advertising’

Stop snickering

Posted by Richard on February 8, 2007

I heard last night that Mars pulled the Super Bowl Snickers ad (which showed two mechanics sharing a Snickers bar and accidently kissing) because of complaints. I assumed that the complaints came from Focus on the Family, the Christian Coalition, Don Wildmon, Ralph Reed, Pat Robertson, and the like. I figured all the usual Christian-right folks would complain that this ad furthered the "gay agenda" and undermined "traditional values."

Boy, was I wrong:

Three gay rights organizations condemned the commercial as homophobic, arguing that the men’s reaction (they tear out their chest hair to prove they’re really "manly") demeans gay men.

Worse, the groups said, were the alternative endings that Snickers included on its Web site as part of a contest to determine which version would air during the Daytona 500 later this month.

In one ending, one of the characters grabs a wrench to beat the other, who responds by slamming a car hood down on the other guy’s head. A second ending shows members of the Indianapolis Colts and Chicago Bears reacting with amusement and disgust to the "kiss."

"I don’t know what kind of mind-set it takes to think it’s okay to slug another guy because of a mistaken kiss," said Neil G. Giuliano, president of Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, which objected to the ad. "It’s just unacceptable."

This strikes me as just way, way off base. How in the world does the men’s reaction demean gay men? If the ad demeaned anybody, it was blue-collar rednecks!

Memo to the humor-impaired: the ad clearly poked fun at these guys for being so insecure and silly and homophobic! Ripping out their chest hair or beating on each other to prove they’re "manly"? We aren’t supposed to emulate these guys, for crying out loud! We’re supposed to laugh at them for being such yahoos, and I’m astonished that people in the gay rights community don’t get that.
 

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Got common scents?

Posted by Richard on December 7, 2006

Political correctness and hypersensitivity have reached new heights — or depths — in San Francisco. The city famous for its liberal tolerance and celebration of diversity couldn’t tolerate the capitalist distribution of cookie smells, and the opposition was quite a diverse lot. Monday marked the beginning of an innovative new $300,000 four-week ad campaign at some of the city’s bus shelters. Complaints brought the campaign to a halt by Tuesday evening:

Apparently, not everyone enjoys the smell of oven-fresh chocolate chip cookies while waiting for their bus.

Scented adhesive strips, applied to five Muni bus stops to give commuters a smell of homemade cookies as part of a “Got Milk?” ad campaign, were removed after just 36 hours following complaints from residents with health concerns and others, according to the Municipal Transportation Agency.

Representatives from the California Milk Processor Board, which was behind the ads, said complaints were from groups that are trying to ban all public scents, anti-obesity organizations, diabetes organizations and homeless advocates who argued the smell would leave them hungry and unable to purchase food.

So, here are some questions that occurred to me when I read this story:

  • These groups that object to all scents in public places like bus shelters — have they complained to the MTA yet about the presence of the homeless at these shelters?
  • If they do, will the homeless advocates defend their constituents’ right to stink as a freedom of expression issue?
  • What about the "fat advocacy" organizations — why didn’t they come to the defense of the cookie scent? And do they object to the odiferous homeless as appetite killers?
  • If someone gave away fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies to hungry people at the bus stops, how would the anti-scent, pro-homeless, anti-obesity, diabetes (are they anti or pro?), and fat advocacy groups react? Would they all be at each others’ throats?

I’m just wondering.
 

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Those David Zucker ads

Posted by Richard on October 27, 2006

David Zucker is the Hollywood producer/director behind the classic comedy spoofs Airplane! and The Naked Gun. He was a lifelong Democrat until September 11, 2001. Lately, he’s been trying to use his professional talents to help the Republicans, who seem especially message-challenged this year.

Zucker’s Albright ad came out a couple of weeks ago, and I think it’s awesome — it’s not easy to balance zany and chilling, but Zucker does exactly that. According to Drudge, however, "jaws dropped" when he showed it to GOP strategists, who all thought it was "too hot" to use. If you haven’t seen it, here it is:

(If clicking the above doesn’t work for some reason, click this link to watch it at YouTube.)
 

Zucker has a new ad out about taxes. It’s pretty wacky, too. Check it out:

(Here’s a link to it at YouTube in case the embedded player doesn’t work for you.)

It seems to me that the Republican Party could use a little audacity at this point, and blowing off Zucker is foolish and overly timid. I could be wrong — I’m not exactly attuned to the thinking of the average American — but I think one-minute versions of these ads or something like them could provide quite a boost for Republicans.

Apparently, at least some people at the Republican National Committee are OK with a bit of edginess and humor. America Weakly (promoted at the end of Zucker’s tax ad) presents "future history" — the news from 2007 after the Dems take control of Congress — and it’s funded by the RNC.
 

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