Screen: Kars 4 Kids (...ugh)

These Are The Ads That Try Mets-Fans' Souls

An incomplete but powerfully felt list of ads Sarah D. Bunting has repeatedly and barely endured during the 2015 baseball season, ranked.

Baseball's regular season has 162 games in it. I probably watch 150 of them, and of those, I watch 120 at home, with the sound on, in real time. That means I see the same couple dozen local-car-dealership ads, baffling Humira spots, and commercials for Cadillacs and boner meds over and over and over again...in a single night. And I've begun to lose what tattered shreds remained of my mind.

Well, except for the chickens who just keep sending more pictures. Love those guys!

And now, a partial list of the ads in heavy rotation, from most to least objectionable.

  1. Kars For Kids
    Indefensibly awful. The singing in the TV spot is better than the hostage-esque droning in the radio spots, but only because it's way oversung in that child-performer way, and the song itself is wretched. I cannot abide the scansion of "d'nate your car too-day."

    It only takes a fragment of that kutesy opening khord to send someone lunging desperately for the mute button.

  2. Citi Call-Ups spot
    I can't find video for this irritant. Just as well. It's a rewrite of "Take Me Out To The Ballgame," a hacky choice made worse by the fact that the lyrics don't scan properly. On top of that, it's promoting a fan vote for the best new "Citi Call-Ups" program concession stand; the one that wins gets to stay at Citi as a permanent concession. Great -- except voting for this closed two months ago. They already announced the results during a broadcast. Stop fucking torturing us with your shitty scansion, banking conglomerate pretending to give a fiddler's fart about small business! God!
  3. "A blonde? In a convertible? SER-iously?"
    It's a play on Clark Griswold horndogging out the window of the Truckster at Christie Brinkley's blonde in National Lampoon's Vacation, except now Brinkley is in the Ellen role. Here's the problem: if you don't get it, it's just a run-of-the-mill luxury-car-brand ad trying to position itself as a workable populist choice -- and if you do get it, you...get it. The first time. The fact that Brinkley looks great at 61, but possibly as a result of having something done to her upper lip that makes her line delivery a bit slushy, does not help.

    As well, I used to like "Holiday Road." Now I can't stand it. Thanks, Infiniti.

  4. GMC, "Swish"
    "Nothing separates the men from the boys like 'nothing but net.'"

    Like the company's "Rembrandt" spot, which at least bears some relevance to the sport of baseball, "Swish" thinks it makes sense, but really doesn't; the narrator is obliged to spend the entire spot explaining why "swish" means precision and precision means GMC and who cares, just tell us about the car. And not for nothing, but the music loop is from The Who's "Eminence Front," a song in which Daltrey repeats the phrase "it's a put-on" with increasing frustration. Sure that's the reference you want, guys?

  5. Cadillac's reverse snob-shaming
    Less baffling than the previous spots, which showed pedestrians in a downtown crosswalk staring into the camera -- which I guess is a Caddy's-eye-view thing, but the actors look annoyed and impatient, not awed and curious.

    This one carries on in the "Cadillacs aren't just for old folks and gangsters, o ye of narrow minds" vein, but is shot in the most expensive neighborhoods in the city, and is the ad equivalent of trying to get you to have a three-way so you don't seem "uptight" in the first place. Shut up, Cadillac.

  6. Lee's Toyota
    The 2015 campaign is marginally less amateurish than last year's, and I've grown rather fond of the guy at the end booming, "You'd better be-LEE-ve it!"
  7. Jacob deGrom for Ford Lincoln of Queens
    Jake is stiff as a board; his evident pleasure at having been asked to do the spot cancels it out. That, and his Alex Saxon-y hair. And he's still less wooden than Jetes.
  8. Carmel, "Chung Chung"
    It's such an improvement over the musical-theater spot, or the actress getting sucked into her own Carmel app (designed in 1985, from the looks of it), it seems uncharitable to shit on it, so I won't, except to note that the burbly hijinksy music choice that opens the spot is inappropriate, given that...

    ...Carmel is stopping just short of saying in so many words that Uber drivers will rape you. And they punctuate this borderline-libelous point by stealing Dick Wolf's intellectual property with the Law & Order chung-chung noise. That said, it's effective. Every time I see/hear the ad, I think to myself that I should Google whether anyone's complained about the use of that sound drop.

  9. "They lived."
    I don't love Subaru's "Love" campaign generally, but I don't hate it either; the individual spots are well paced and inoffensively short. But this one always gets to me.

    Flawless composition and soundtrack choice; raises the little hairs on my arms.

  10. Eli Manning/Tony Romo, DirecTV
    My esteemed colleague Tara Ariano made a great argument that DirecTV picked the wrong Manning for these spots, and while I don't disagree -- I miss Peyton's whisper-sung "chicken parm, you taste so good" to the tune of the State Farm jingle like it's a person" -- I will say that the junior Manning's performance in his bad-standup guise is growing on me. It's the little things, like the tiny hip-thrust and and Presleyian sneer.

    But Tony Romo's "crownies" kill me. The green icing! And the funniest part is that, in his Quaker-macrame drag, he looks like...Eli Manning.

  11. "Fedora twiiiiiiiins!"
    Lowe's may not have thought through the implications of this ad series, in which regular folks, emboldened by their positive home-improvement experiences at Lowe's, feel inspired to try other new things...which then fail. But it's a cute idea, well executed by the cast, and my favorite is this cheery unicycler:

    Honorable mention to the "THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE" fitted-sheet guy, because fuckin' seriously.

  12. Rashida Jones struggles with her friends' poor connectivity
    This campaign made a solid comeback after the first spot, which featured Rashida pretending to enjoy jigsaw-puzzling with her friend while waiting for a Netflix movie to buffer, then just ghosting the whole endeavor.

    So mean, and those of us who will never ever ever get Fios don't need to feel like we'll lose friends over it. So it's nice that the same friend Rashida ditches is the one whose delivery of "GO BACK TO YOUR WIFE, YOU SOCIOPATH," followed by a self-satisfied "you're welcome" nod, gets me every time. Love her; love the line, use it on the cats and various insects that get into the house.

  13. Free-range chickens
    If you've read me for a while, you know how I feel about chickens. If you haven't: I love chickens. I love their hilarious gaits and perpetually shocked faces. So, obviously I love the Geico free-range-chicken spot. My husband has grown to hate it, because literally every time it comes on I point out the chicken riding the rails and he's like, "OKAY."

    ...So cute, though. "It's What You Do" is a pretty successful set of ads overall, but with a hat tip to the ping-pong/medieval-torture fake-out spot, this one's my favorite by far.

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