Destroy all Advertising! 

This page is a branch of 'Ravings of Madmen', dedicated to the evil world of advertising and marketing. The function of these two bastions of capitalism, is to make you buy something.  Never mind whether you need it or want it, just buy it.  'Here, watch a little telly...relax...and let us tell you what to buy''s a nasty world for thinking people.  Please contribute by emailing your consumer peeves to Dr. Cliff.

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Advertising is the work of Satan.  Every day I see this barrage of insulting, offensive, and just plain stupid ads. TV commercials are the worst, lending credence to a friend's theory that 'television' gave up on having an intelligent audience many years ago. I need to drink to stay calm while I watch something on TV. Sad state of affairs, but at least I'm drinking.
When I was about ten, my grandfather pulled his .45 out of the nightstand one night, and murdered his television with a 230gr roundnose right into the tuner at 850 fps.  No kidding.  Bullet is still in the wall behind the new TV.  The family thinks he's a nut job, and I agree, but this may have been his last  lucid action.
I especially love the little red logo we see on everything- the one that says "AS SEEN ON TV!" Somehow, the mere mention of being seen on TV legitimizes the product, because TV is our babysitter and would never lie to us...let's not forget that Jerry Springer, Richard Nixon, and French automobiles have all been seen on TV, and none of them have any integrity or utility.
Non-sequitur ads baffle me; maybe that's the intent, I don't know. They don't cause me to think of the product, though, except to say to myself, 'how could I buy that? I'd be indirectly sponsoring that fucked-up commercial ...' You know the ones I mean, like those Burger King ads that don't even say anything, there's just some horrible disco song playing ... they are pandering to the nostalgia pangs of slacker kids who weren't even born when the song was getting airplay...'ooohhhh, isn't that song cool? They played it at Club Retro last night...Burger King must be run by people who really understand and care about us...' I need a separate essay to vent my bile about 'induced nostalgia'.
Hey, here's a riddle ...What do you get when you mix

  1. the worst that Clueless/ Friends/ 90210 mall-culture has to offer
  2. a show that was almost interesting, considering it was on MTV (not saying much, really)
  3. music burnouts who should have quit when people liked them?

Why, you get 'unplugged' ads for the Gap! Aerosmith, LL Cool J, and others I proudly don't remember are embarrassing themselves by trying to convince viewers that the Gap is a cool place to buy cool clothes. Wow, I want to be just like them, so I'm off to the Gap...
I am annoyed to the point of violence by computer-generated effects in television commercials. Talking animals sell us bad beer and worse Mexican food, dead rock stars party at Pizza Hut, and John Wayne himself posthumously hawks one of those pisswater corporate brews. Does anyone find this interesting or amusing? Apparently we all do, since they wouldn't keep shoving it down our throats if we weren't responding. On an aside, why hasn't anyone used this technology for pornography? How about a clip of JFK getting a hummer from Marilyn Monroe? Or from LBJ? I'd buy it, you know, if it was tastefully done.
'Destroy all Advertising' Table of Contents

Cloning is big these days.  Maybe when this next echelon of technology is whored out to the marketing vultures, they can actually clone dead people to do commercials...
'Hello, Mr. Lennon, we grew you from a hair we got off your old body... we want you to sing this old song of yours, except say the word 'Reebok' right here... or else we'll just incinerate you and clone Paul, after we kill him of course...'
Imagine these ads piped into our soft little heads-

  • Adolf Hitler hawking the new Volkswagen Beetle!
  • Abe Lincoln endorsing Jesse Jackson for President!
  • Mao Tse-Tung extolling the virtues of Tsing-Tao beer!
  • Julius Caesar for Little Caesar's Pizza Pizza!
  • Jesus Christ, hawking Cadbury Creme Eggs next Easter!

The possibilities are endless, and the depths to which someone will stoop to make a sale are certainly not the limiting factor here.
As for cloning a talking dog, it's a tough call. It may be easier just to surgically alter a child so he looks like a dog. Stretch his facial bones out and implant some fangs, shoot his face full of hair plugs, maybe even crush his spine and pelvis a little so he walks on all fours. I know it sounds cruel, but just think of the endorsement income this kid could make! A real live talking dog could sell a lot of burritos, especially with a fake accent thrown in like that cyber-chihuahua has. It may be cheaper in the long run, though, to just keep electronically generating these new power tools of advertising.
If you have an extra kid and you're pinched for money, though, it's something to think about.
For today's last puff of bitterness and anger, what exactly is implied by labeling your product 'Collectible'? I guess we should collect them, I mean, christ, they're collectible, right? Why does 'Collectible' somehow imply that I would want this thing in my house? Collect the whole set (of idiotic trinkets)! Proudly display them (on our special shelf) for your friends to enjoy! Yeah, first time I go over to someone's house, that's the immediate topic of conversation-

'So, do you, uh, collect anything?'
'Why, yes, I collect cheap ceramic plates with dead celebrities painted on them!'
'Really, that's fascinating! You must have a full, satisfying life. Where do you find these treasures?'
'The "Collectible Emporium Limited Foundation" has a factory in Borneo where they employ jungle-dwellers to paint famous people on plates by the thousands. As soon as someone dies, they are ready to "publicly offer" the plate, usually in limited editions of twenty million or so. They put these cards in TV guide so they stick out.  In between celebrity deaths, I pass the time by dusting the plates I've already collected.  I heard Johnny Cash is pretty sick, so I made a spot for him on my Legends of Country shelf...any day now...maybe in next week's TV guide...'
'Do you have any poison I could drink?'

Hey, I guess anything can be collectible, as long as someone collects it. Soiled linens- hotel staff collect a lot of soiled linens. Coming soon- Dr. Cliff's line of Collectible Soiled Linens!
'Destroy all Advertising' Table of Contents

Same Great Taste. I bought some Pepsi yesterday at the grocery store.  16-oz bottles, nothing fancy.  There's a little blurb on the side of the label, like the ones that say 'Less Fat' or '20% Free!'.  This one just said 'Same Great Taste'.
Same Great Taste.  This is even worse than my old nemesis, the 'As seen on TV' blurb.  The Pepsi people are trying to get my attention, so I'll buy their product, by announcing proudly that it is exactly the same as last time I bought a can of Pepsi.

'Not  new!  Not improved!  Same as Before!  Hey, take a look at this!  We haven't done a godddamned thing to change Pepsi or make it better, but we DID put this thingie on the bottle, telling you that we haven't done a goddamned thing!  Buy Pepsi!  Now with nothing changed!  woohooo! Exactly the same tooth-softening sugary flavor as you've grown to love!'

Sadly, I can easily imagine an 'extreme athlete' yelling this into a TV camera ... while hacky-bungeeing or something.
I had a great dream last night where Pepsi factories were sucked into the core of the planet.  Their ad agency people were standing at the edge of the smoldering craters, watching their cash cow crumble and ignite.  Lost in despair, the ad-men jumped in and were fried.  I woke up and faced the day in a beautiful state of mind. I need more dreams like that.

22 May 1998- 'Same Great Taste' again. This time it's Lay's *Classic* Potato Chips, in a shiny new gold-foil-looking bag.  A little logo in the lower corner says- "NEW LOOK! SAME GREAT TASTE!"
So, the big improvement campaign over at Lay's apperently involves putting the same greasy salty chips into a shiny bag.  How nice- are they marketing to mynah birds  now, picking up the shiny bag and taking it home?  Is the little logo mocking and deriding people who respond to a shiny new package, or are the admen so stupid that they really think they gave us a great reason to buy Lay's Potato Chips?  I mean, fuck me, man, it's a pretty sohpisticated world.  If they can't come up with something better than a shiny new bag, why are they bragging about it with the little logo?
Maybe they're afraid we'll be scared by the new package.  Since we're apprently percieved as drooling borderline illiterates, we might be put off by this new package sitting where old familiar Lay's used to be.  So maybe the logo is there to comfort us.  'mmmmm... same great taste... '.  Either way, rest assured I didn't buy the chips.  Same Great Taste, my ass.

20 Nov 1998- I'm out at a pub with a classmate, and against my advice, he's drinking Coors Light.  I get us a round from the bar, and I'm looking at this Coors Light bottle, walking back to the pool table.  It says "SAME TASTE!" on the label.  Coors, apparently, knows better than to say GREAT taste in reference the swillpiss they brew.  Not even "SAME GREAT TASTE!", just "SAME TASTE!"
I'm sure that's reassuring to the legions of conoisseurs who drink Coors Light specifically for the taste.  We are such mindless sheep that we are driven to buy something that has not been improved or changed in any manner whatsoever.  That's bad enough, but people are still buying Coors, and it may as well say "STILL SHITTY!" on the label.  I hate us.
'Destroy all Advertising' Table of Contents

Along those same lines, I got some greasy salty snacks from my favorite vending machine.  It was a packet of Tato Skins, "Potato Snack Chips" from Wabash Foods.  Were they bacon flavored?  Onion & Cheese, perhaps?  No, these were BAKED POTATO FLAVORED POTATO CHIPS!  Although the first ingredient was vegetable oil, these things are mostly potato, right?  What do they have to do, to make them 'Baked Potato Flavor'?  There's actually a listing for 'artificial flavor'.  They have to add artificial flavors to a potato, to make it taste like potato.  Too fucking much.
'Destroy all Advertising' Table of Contents

Doublespeak Alert- I'm gonna update this rant every time I find a good example of Orwell's worst nightmare.  This is a good 'audience-participation' segment- send me what you find!
First up is 'Olive-Oil-Flavored-Pam', the no-stick cooking spray.   A big starburst emblem on the can says 'Fat Free Non-Stick Coating'.  The Nutrition Information label says Pam has zero grams of fat.  The first ingredient listed is, well, olive oil.  You know, the stuff that is pure fat.  An asterisk directs the curious consumer to a teeny disclaimer- a trace amount of olive oil is used for flavor.  Some questions spring to mind here-

    1. Why is a 'trace' ingredient first on the list?
    2. How can something with olive oil  in it be called fat free?
    3. Why are there zero grams of fat in a food product that lists olive oil as the prime ingredient?
    4. What the Hell is going on here?

'Destroy all Advertising' Table of Contents

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