Crazy Commercials

December 7, 2011
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Brand image is a huge part of marketing, especially to children. Which is why the craziness of commercials and marketing mascots continually amazes me. I understand that in some cases, commercials are purposely outlandish in order to catch peoples attention, but some of them are just over the top. These are two of the strangest commercials I’ve ever seen.

Frosted Flakes
The offending commercial:

More than likely you have by now seen the age old Frosted Flakes commercial involving a timeless and healthy game of backyard football between a father and his charming offspring. The quarterback bends down and and tells his son to try and make it past the defense the next play. Dad calls hike, the boy haphazardly stumbles down the field for a pass, and Dad lobs him an easy ball, which he turns around and catches. This is where things begin to get strange. As the boy turns around turns around to continue running, a gigantic monstrosity of a tiger emerges from the nearby foliage and proceeds to swipe at the child, who avoids his attacker with a pitiful spin move and with almost complete disregard for the jungle cat stalking him, continues into the make believe end-zone. The child then sprints back to his dad, presumably to get the hell away from the giant mass of fangs and muscle that almost killed him, but no, he merely, chest bumps his dad, gives the tiger nonchalant a high five, and proceeds into the house where the family begins to enjoy some Frosted Flakes. While the father should be trying to assuage his terrified son, the victim of a tiger attack, while frantically dialing animal control, he decides that in this time of crisis, he would really enjoy some cereal instead. After all, he bought it. Just as we see the son finish his milk and begin to show some semblance of a smile, guess who shows up again? Yep, good old Tony. Oh, and this time he’s inside the house. The commercial ends with Tony’s paw poised high above the small child’s head, presumably with his natural instincts screaming that just once, he needs to kill for his food. Let’s backtrack and dissect this. Father and son playing football in the backyard, normal. Tiger showing up, not normal. Now when most people see a loose tiger, they’re much too busy doing things like running, screaming, and pushing the weak to the ground in an effort to survive, to stop and observe the smaller details, which in this case would be the tigers clothes. Tony is wearing a bandanna, one of the most common accessories of hikers, backpackers, and outdoorsmen. And since everybody knows tigers don’t shop at REI and hikers leave no trace, Tony probably had to kill someone to acquire his hanky, which is coincidentally, blood-red. So at this point, we have a feral tiger, who has killed at least once before, has the ability to enter houses silently, and loves to prey on unsuspecting children. Wonderful, wholesome image. Remember to buy Frosted Flakes!

The offending commercial:

Depression is a very serious problem that many people throughout the world struggle with. There are multiple ways to address this problem such as counseling, a change in lifestyle, or a cocaine binge. However if I was depressed, Abilify is probably the last supplement I would take to attempt to cure myself. This commercial starts out with a cartoon woman talking about her depression. As she speaks of it, the ground next to her suddenly opens, and two eyes peer out. She however doesn’t panic at all which is strange considering that the ground collapsing beneath her feet probably means either a massive earthquake, or the wrath of God, like in Numbers 16:31. The eyes are attached to a dark swirling mass that simply reeks of evil. It rises from the ground in the shape of a balloon, merely to chain her hands together and drag her down into the abyss from whence it originated. After her doctor helps her out, and suggests she add Abilify to her anti depressant supplements, the evil is banished to lurk in the background of the surrounding landscape, and the truly frightening segment of the commercial begins. The entire commercial is 1:30 long. The “acting” only takes up 42 seconds. The rest of the commercial is dedicated to side effects of Abilify which can include but are not limited too: Depression worsening, thoughts of suicide, DEATH OR STROKE, high fever, stiff muscles, confusion, uncontrolled muscle movements (which could become permanent), high blood sugar (which can lead to COMA OR DEATH), decreases in white blood cells, dizziness, seizures, trouble swallowing, impaired judgement and motor skills. You know what would depress me? If oh, I don’t know, I suddenly lost control of my motor functions, became incredibly susceptible to disease, couldn’t swallow, my food, was dizzy all the time...basically every single side effect of Abilify, which is meant to counteract depression. In addition to not being able to control their bodies, Abilify can impair patients mental judgement, put them in a coma, or KILL them.

These are just two of many commercials that I find extremely strange. It confuses me that something like children’s cereal would have a mascot as vicious as a tiger, or that an antidepressant supplement could have so many crazy side effects. The aspect of these commercials that amazes me the most, is that they still succeed in selling their product. I love Frosted Flakes (I mix them with Cinnamon Toast Crunch; it tastes amazing) and even though I’ve never been clinically depressed, Abilify is the first supplement that jumps to mind when I think of anti-depressants. I think it is strange that these corporations can find a way to connect children’s cereal with violence, and advertise a drug where the side effects are worse than the affliction the drug is trying to cure, and still be successful at selling their products.

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