January 30 - February 6, 2000

Shark shows
Television (VH-1)

Superbowl ads
Gone to seed


The Gap and Old Navy

I Can't Believe It's Not Butter

Ads Not Super
We used to belong to that weird group of people who'd watch the Super Bowl for the ads. Every year on the last Sunday in January, ad agencies all over the country would reveal their most ground-breaking, creative, funny, awe-inspiring work, and we'd spend the rest of the week critiquing it with our fellow media cows. This year the ads sucked so much that we actually watched the game, and any discussion we have will start off with a horrified shriek of, "Did you see that?! His head was way too small for his body; he looked like an elongated wood tick!"

The good news is that Christopher Reeve walked in an ad for some investment company. The bad news is that he didn't really walk; his head was composited with someone else's (ambulatory) body. The much worse news is that said body was about 20% too large for Reeve's head and the resulting spectacle was way disturbing. We could've watched Good Morning America's interview about the ad with professional quadriplegic Reeve, but now that we've told you, we're going to attempt to obliterate the image altogether with Goldschlager and the rest of A&E's Murder, She Wrote marathon. Yes, the ad was that bad.

While we're at it, can we declare an eternal, universal, immediate moratorium on computer-generated talking animals? If we have to see one more setter/retriever mix "talk" about its human pet, we're not responsible for our subsequent actions. For that matter, everyone just step away from the video editor. Quit splicing products into old films. It was bad enough when Paula Abdul "danced" with Gene Kelly for Diet Coke all those years ago; now we've got to contend with FedEx delivering helium to the Lollipop Guild in the Wizard of Oz?

That's not to say there weren't some genuinely funny ads. The people who brought you "Make 7/Up Yours" are back with the results of a "Show Us Your Can" contest. The actor's reactions to the different "can" shots were pretty cute. The World Wrestling Federation ad showed a knock-down-drag-out beauty pageant (kind of a 30-second Drop Dead Gorgeous). And it was nice to see RuPaul again in a WebEx ad, even if he is a little '93.

There was one brief moment of genius: a clot of Gap clones half-sing along to "Cars" by Gary Numan until they flee an oncoming Oldsmobile. Oldsmobile's ad agency hit the Gap ads on the head: the catatonic expressions on the models, the off singing, the editing, the you-will-be-assimilated dress code.

The only way that ad could've been better was if the car hadn't stopped in time.



Do you believe that Regis will really show up on all those ABC shows?

Yes. And I can't wait for Sipowicz to kick the living crap out of him.

No. It would really cheapen the narrative of Dharma & Greg, especially now that they've got a good Kiirkegard storyline going.

Last Week's Poll:
Do you think those punk models in the Gap ad are actually singing?

Yes. (4%) They're too pretty to have that kind of lip-synch timing.

No. (95%) Who could sing with a freakin' vest festooned around their midsection?