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the film criticism aspect of cyber | by maryann johanson

of all the TV ads I hate…

…I think I hate this one the most:

Five. Five dollar. Five dollar footlong.

It makes me think of cheap porn, or cheap male prostitutes, or both.

And I don’t want to be thinking about those things.

I wonder if Subway wants us to be thinking about those things, and especially thinking about those things in connection with food — oh, man, I totally have to get a five-dollar footlong in my mouth right now! — or if I’m the only one with a dirty mind that goes to these places. But knowing me, and knowing other people, I cannot imagine I am alone in this.

Ugh. Not that I would ever eat in Subway anyway, but still: Ugh.



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  • Gia

    Even worse are the new Quizno’s commercials for their ‘torpedo’ sandwiches, wherein the oven actually begs the Quizno’s employee to “put it in [him],” the “it” being the sandwich, and then telling the employee to tell the audience the $4 price, in a “sexy” voice. I thought I needed my hearing checked, but repeated viewings during Futurama reruns only confirmed that I’m not going deaf or crazy. Dammit.

  • Wow, I have an absolutely filthy mind, and that thought never crossed my mind. The Quizno’s ads Gia mentioned are horrific, though.

    Anyway, you might find this comic cathartic.

  • Shades of the McDonald’s “I’d Hit It” campaign?

  • JoshDM
  • Deanne

    Here’s the pervy Quiznos ad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LQpRQh2KSQ
    The Toasty Torpedo (or whatever it’s called) is meant to compete with the Five Dollar Footlong, but Quiznos took it to a whole other level.

    Right now I really like the McDonald’s singing fish ad. “Give me back that fillet o’ fish! Give me that fish!” I would never actually eat a McDonald’s Fillet O’ Fish, but I love the ad.

  • They’re still better than the droning, nasal, one-note Sprechstimme Comcast ads. I’ve ran in from the kitchen just to mute those horrid things.

    Frankly, just so long as Subway keeps Jared off my TV, I’ll be happy. Yes, Jared, you’re healthy! You lost weight! We GET it! Go away!

    :)

  • Wow! I guess I must not watch TV enough to notice those ads. Or else be annoyed by them.

    Or perhaps I’m more annoyed by the ads for Cialis and other Viagra-like products that show up on radio and TV. The type of ads that almost make you wish we lived in a genuinely Puritanical society.

    And which explain why my married sister rarely lets her children watch anything but Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel since those seem to be the only two TV channels that don’t show those type of ads.

  • JasonJ

    Like it or hate it, it works. My nephew works at a Subway and that’s about all they sell. The FF button eliminates most commercials for me.

  • Carey

    I haven’t seen the Subway commercial yet, but the Quiznos one makes me ill.

    Tonio, you’re absolutely right- those are the exact reasons my kids don’t watch TV unless it’s PBS, or Doctor Who on DVD.

  • Eva

    To quote Tom Lehrer, “when correctly viewed, everything is lewd”. Yay Tom.

  • MaryAnn

    Or perhaps I’m more annoyed by the ads for Cialis and other Viagra-like products that show up on radio and TV. The type of ads that almost make you wish we lived in a genuinely Puritanical society.

    I think I’m most disturbed by the “Viva Viagra” commercials. There just shouldn’t be singing in an ad for boner drugs. I mean, those dudes may be ecstatic over it, but: TMI.

  • Victor Plenty

    Advertisers LOVE IT when their ads come up on anyone’s “most hated” list. In some ways it’s better than being on a “most loved” list. Few people praise what they like with anywhere near the passion and commitment they bring when complaining about things they hate.

    The most valued prize advertisers seek is our attention. Indifference and obscurity are what they fear above all else. Hence the old saying that there’s no such thing as bad publicity. (There are exceptions to this rule, but not nearly so many as most people think.)

    If we talk at all about an ad, even to say how much we hate it, ad agencies will mark that one in their “win” column, and we can expect to see many more ads just like it.

    Of course, it’s fun to complain about annoying ads. So we’re not likely to see this vicious cycle broken anytime soon. Still, I find it helpful to understand why it’s happening.

  • Accounting Ninja

    Or perhaps I’m more annoyed by the ads for Cialis and other Viagra-like products that show up on radio and TV. The type of ads that almost make you wish we lived in a genuinely Puritanical society.

    The only thing that irks me about these (and the “enhancement” ads) is that intercourse is presented as the holy grail for their wives’ sexual satisfaction. The commercials all have the wife, finally smiling and raving about their improved sex life now that he can get a boner. (Guess they haven’t figured out a use for the tongue yet :P) For a lot of women, intercourse alone isn’t the only way to orgasm, nor is it always the desired way. Let’s just not kid ourselves: this is about men’s sexual pleasure only, and that’s fine. They feel the need to sell the wives or something?

    PS I LOVE the Quiznos commercial! It’s genius. “We BOTH enjoyed that.” “Put it in me.” rofl.

  • MaryAnn

    If we talk at all about an ad, even to say how much we hate it, ad agencies will mark that one in their “win” column, and we can expect to see many more ads just like it.

    I suppose there’s a certain value in talking about something, even if it’s, “I swear to the gods that I will never, ever buy that product.”

    Then again, I was never gonna eat at Subway before the five-dollar-footlong ads anyway, so there’s no net change for me.

  • Ryan

    I’m sorry, the Quiznos add is sort of wrong…but I find it hilarious. Juvenile, but hilarious.

  • Victor Plenty

    I suppose there’s a certain value in talking about something, even if it’s, “I swear to the gods that I will never, ever buy that product.”

    Then again, I was never gonna eat at Subway before the five-dollar-footlong ads anyway, so there’s no net change for me.

    Yes, there’s nearly always value in talking about something. As I mentioned before, we can entertain and inform ourselves and each other when we share our complaints.

    What I tried to explain is that advertisers also gain value from such conversations, even when the topic is how much we hate their ads. This happens because advertising functions in an odd realm known as the “attention economy.”

    People generally don’t pay money to watch ads. So, most advertisers understand that their real victory is to capture the limited reserves of the human attention span.

    In that sense, this conversation costs very little for you or me, but it is a net gain for Subway and their ad agencies, increasing their share of the attention economy.

    This is not to say we shouldn’t ever have such conversations, only that their effects may turn out to surprise us.

  • Eric

    The TV ads I absolutely hate hate HATE above all others are the ones for Honda featuring “Mr. Opportunity”, the bland animated shill. He may be the first cartoon character in history to just stand around and talk. Why did they even create an animated character to begin with if he’s not going to do anything remotely cartoony? They couldn’t just hire some D-list celebrity to hawk their cars? Even his voice is bland and unimaginative. If Honda wants me to buy their cars, this isn’t the way to do it.

  • Michael

    What about those of us who personally vow NOT to shop somewhere or buy some product because the ads are so annoying? (I’ll never go to a Jared: The Galleria of Jewelry, to give one example. …Granted, I’m not one to buy a lot of jewelry, either, but…) :)

  • Victor Plenty

    Michael, if your personal vow not to shop at Jared was made silently and secretly, it would have very little effect. As you mention yourself, you weren’t likely to shop there anyway.

    Now you’ve mentioned them in an online discussion. Others who see your comment might wonder why you found Jared’s ads so annoying. Some will seek out the ads on YouTube. Others will be more likely to notice those ads on the radio, TV, or wherever else they appear. This gives the ads a wider audience than they would have had without your comment. In that wider audience, some might become new customers of Jared. (Either because they disagree with you and enjoy the ads, or because they are more willing to forgive an annoying ad that leads them to prices or products they like.)

    This is why advertisers see it as a win whenever we talk about the ads we hate. People who think about ads enough to hate any of them are not likely to be in the target market anyway. The risk of real harm to the advertisers is very low. When we talk about the ads we hate, we spread the advertiser’s message to a wider audience of potential customers.

    And we don’t even charge for this service.

  • AJP

    The people who will never buy the products in question(or patronize the store that sells the product) are likely so outweighed by those who will try it due to the “buzz” such advertising creates as to make those turned off entirely negligible.

  • Michael

    How dare you challenge my belief that the world revolves around me? How DARE YOU?!

    ;)

  • Mathias

    Thanks MaryAnn, now you’ve ruined what i thought was an fun but empty jingle for me. Now when i mention this revelation to my friends, i’m sure to get weird looks. :D

    It’s funny the difference between men and women sometimes isn’t it? Whereas you (a hetro woman) don’t want images of 12 inch “footlongs” or old men’s viagra working to pop into your head, i can’t imagine a hetro guy who would object to commercials that forces them to visualize “the man in the boat”.

    Lends credence to the juvenile theory that the male body is inherently disgusting. “A penis? Gross! Who wants to see that?” ;)

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