Archived Story

What did that commercial just say?

Published 8:00am Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Commercials on television are a lot like headlines in newspapers. They need to create interest in your product and be memorable enough people remember them.

I saw a commercial last week that accomplished one of those goals. I know I will not forget it any time soon, even though I do not have any interest in the product right now.

The commercial was for diapers and featured three cartoon babies competing in an “American Idol” style contest to see who could fill their diaper the best while standing under a banner reading “Heavy Dooty Championship.”

The first contestant managed a low score, the second contestant did better and the third contestant blew away the judges while nearly blowing away the seat of his pants as the narrator says, “What happens in diapers should stay in diapers.”

Everybody knows what diapers are used for and most people do not want a demonstration.

I told one of my coworkers about it and she told me about the CBS Cares commercial for Valentine’s Day.

I went to the CBS Cares Web site to look at the commercials. Most of them were great public service announcements reminding viewers to support the troops, not to text while driving or to be aware of the dangers of HIV.

The commercial my coworker told me about seemed to cross the line. It was for testicular cancer, which deserves a public service announcements, as it can be deadly if not diagnosed early.

The guy on the commercial starts out by saying men should give their significant others a gift that matters — they should have a testicular exam.

That is good advice, but he does not end his commercial there. He goes on to ask, “Why give a diamond when you can give the family jewels?”

I couldn’t believe he would drop a joke, especially such an awful pun, into a public service announcement about testicular cancer, but he did. I guess it was to make it memorable and motivate men to have the exam, but I thought it was in poor taste.

Then I found the cervical cancer ad, which was done by the same guy. There are three versions of the ad — one for Christmas, one for Hanukkah and one for the holidays in general.

In all three ads he tells guys to schedule a pap smear for their wives for the holidays.

In the Christmas ad, he promises it is a gift “even Santa can’t deliver.” In the Hanukkah ad, he promises it is a gift “that will light her menorah.”

The general holiday ad is the worst because he says, “Give her the gift that says you look great, but it’s what’s on the inside that counts.”

Yeah, I see that going over well at my house. I can see the conversation now:

“Thank you, Erin, for the wonderful power tools. In addition to the ____ you wanted, I also called your doctor and scheduled you for a medical procedure in which you will have to be naked from the waist down.”

I doubt she would be very appreciative.

My family has a history of cancer and I believe everybody should have regular exams to catch the disease early, but I can’t believe someone at CBS approved these ads.

You can ask my wife, my family and my friends and they will tell you I am far from being a prude, but these ads cross the line of good taste.

I guess they were effective, however, since I am writing about them now, but they still lack class.

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