Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Those Damn Miracle Whip Commercials

If you're a television watcher who doesn't have the privelege of being able to skip the commercials, then you know about all the ways in which your life could be better. With the right deodarant, you could be more masculine. With the right nail polish, you could find Mr. Right. With a better car, a better phone, and better clothes, well, you could be a better person. Right now, you're only halfway there. With the right product, there's no stopping you. I'm pretty old school when it comes to keeping up with fashion, technology, and all the fads. The coolest possession I have is the laptop that I'm writing this on, and I didn't hear about it from a commercial. It was good old word of mouth and product research.

These days, with the rise of PVRs, DVRs, and internet streaming, commercials are becoming easier to for us to avoid. Does anyone really sit there and watch a full commercial break? Or is that time used to re-stock the snack bowl and go to the bathroom? Furthermore, does any really buy into the hype that most commercials are selling? Of course, there's the idea of subliminal advertising. I may be sitting there, rolling my eyes at the newest fast food commercial, but suddenly I find myself standing in line, craving their new promotion. Commercials can be a very useful way to learn about new movies, new albums, new restaurants, new technology, etc.  However, I have the feeling that I'd still buy soft toilet paper without those damn cartoon bears encouraging me to wipe my ass with theirs. The lengths that some companies go in order to sell me these new products can be a bit much. Or sometimes, way too much.

The inspiration for today's post comes from a now infamous commercial from the folks at Miracle Whip. I remember seeing this advertisement about a year ago, but back then  I didn't have a blog in which to vent my feelings about it. Recently, the commercial in question resurfaced, reigniting the rant that it inspires me to go on. Those who have seen this atrocious advertisement will likely know exactly what bothers me about it. And my problem has nothing to do with Miracle Whip itself. I'm a sandwich eater, but I'm in it for meat, cheese, and bread. Spread some mayo or Miracle Whip on it, I likely won't even notice. For those who have no idea what I'm rambling on about, take a look at this:

There you have it. Miracle Whip is not only the most hip addition ever created for a sandwich, but it can also make you cooler than everyone else. Actually, you don't even need to bring alcohol to the barbeque this weekend. Just bring a flat of Miracle Whip and you'll rock the block with it all night long. There's certain products where it makes sense for the advertisers to try and sell the lifestyle that comes with it. Vacations, furniture, cars, phones, all of that gets a pass by me because those objects really do have an affect on your self-image, I accept that. But don't think for a second that I'm going to believe I'm being rebellious because I chose Miracle Whip over mayonaise. You can show me attractive, fun-loving, radical young adults throwing a party around a sandwich spread, but I won't ever believe that these Whip parties actually happen. Maybe I'm not supposed to be taking the commercial so seriously, but the stench of desperation that comes off these advertisements tells me that I'm being manipulated into buying the magic of a sandwich spread. I'll stick to being un-cool and using butter, if it saves me from being fooled into thinking I'm better than anyone else for my food choices.

Of course, my feelings about this commercial aren't just my own, and judging from YouTube comments that date back to a year ago, I'm a little late coming to this Miracle Whip hate party. But the fact that this commercial is still airing tells me that there's still a problem, one that isn't going away, probably only getting worse. Even fake news pundit Stephen Colbert unleashed an attack on this commercial, prompting a tongue-in-cheek reply in the form of a re-edited Miracle Whip commercial. His response included a thank you for the ad revenue, which he spent on mayonaise. If this commercial is even getting the attention of a famous comedian, then you could say the ad has done it's job. Please don't allow this blog post to spark a craving for Miracle Whip, that is not my point. Many would say 'If you're talking about it, then the commercial worked'. I'd argue, if your commercial enrages me to the point that I'm spending my time ranting about your product rather than buying it, you've missed the mark. So kind readers, all three of you, please, just eat your sandwich with mayo, butter, margarine, or even dry. Don't let these hipster-wannabe Miracle Whip eaters trick you, you're cooler for not buying into it.

Commercials are integrated into our social culture. Some people watch the super bowl just to see the commercials. Unfortunately, it's only the annoying ones that really get any attention. I'd personally much rather a commercial where a man in a suit stands in front of a white background and tells me straight about a product over singing, dancing, theatrics, and bad comedy. It's just Windex, people. It's just shaving cream, man. It's as if advertising companies believe that if we aren't seeing and believing the commercials, every grocery and department store will go out of business because we won't know what to buy. If someone keeps making it, chances are I'll buy it. I just recently acquired a PVR, so chances are I'll be missing out on all the new advertising fads. But of course, there's always radio commercials, the ads that run before the trailers at the movie theatre, magazine and newspaper ads, the side of busses, billboards, and anything else those crafty ad executives can think of to infiltrate my life. I'll leave you with a parody of the Miracle Whip ad. This tells me that while half the world is buying into ridiculous hype, the other half is getting smarter every day.

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