Trivial Ethics Dunce That Is Driving Me Crazy Anyway So I Have To Mention It: GEICO

The current GEICO ad campaign, “It’s what you do,” has already scored an ethics foul; the latest one is less substantive. Nonetheless, it is in the increasingly common category of “They just didn’t care,” which is a subset of disrespect and lack of diligence. Besides, it involves a great American song.

In the GEICO ad featuring Peter Pan annoying former classmates at a high school reunion ( the kid playing Peter is terrific), the spot concludes with Peter entertaining the class while flying over their heads with a mike and singing, “You Make Me Feel So Young,” a 1946 classic composed by Josef Myrow, with lyrics written by Mack Gordon. It begins,

You make me feel so young.
You make me feel as though (alt. “like”) spring has sprung.
And every time I see you grin,
I’m such a happy individual.

But for some damn reason, Peter sings,

You make me feel so young.
You make me feel so spring has sprung..

..which isn’t even English, and definitely isn’t the lyric. How hard would it have been to fix this? GEICO just couldn’t be bothered, so the song is misrepresented in its first widespread media us in decades.

Here’s the song sung the right way, Peter, you little snot:

UPDATE: See here.

“Elfin’ Around,” Best Buy? Really?

bestbuy_logoBest Buy just became the latest TV advertiser to conclude that it’s astonishingly clever and hilarious to evoke “fuck” in a commercial, one that I just heard at 7:54 PM. The spot extolling Christmas shopping at Best Buy (it isn’t even Halloween yet) featured a cheery announcer pointing out that when you shop there, you won’t be “elfin’ around.” Get it? It sounds like “effin,” a cover-word that means “fucking,” and is meant to be heard as “fucking.”  But, see, it’s SO clever, see, because it’s NOT “effin’,” but “ELFin’,” and this is a Christmas ad! Wow! Christmas AND Fake Fuck in the same word! There must have been high fives all around when the writers came up with this one.

An ethical management would have told them to grow up, and fired the lot of them. This is 2015, however, a banner one in the coarsening of America, so Best Buy decided it was cool to join Verizon, Booking.com, CNN, and President Obama —you know, our national role model?— in following the lead of K-Mart’s disgusting  “ship my pants” ad in 2013. Continue reading

The Vulgarizing Of America

No, this post isn’t about Donald Trump, and I expect the inevitable “Get off my lawn, you kids!” mockery in response to it. All right, I’ll take it. Some adult has to remind the arrested development cases running the media, advertising, business and the nation—OK, I guess this is a little about Trump—that as hilarious as they seem to think boorishness, incivility and vulgarity is, their determination to lower standards of public speech below the water level in the gutter is cultural pollution.

At the televised Teen Choice Awards, Sarah Hyland, the young actress who plays the oldest and dumbest of the two Dumphy sisters on hit sitcom “Modern Family,” moved to the podium to present an award. Who knows, maybe the whole thing was concocted by her publicist to compete with the week’s buzz over the revelation that Ariel Winter, who plays the youngest and smartest sister, just had breast reduction surgery. Whatever the cause, Hyland tripped awkwardly on the way to the microphone and screamed out, as she recovered her balance, “Are you fucking kidding me??”

I did say she played the dumbest sister—good casting!

Hyland apologized to the audience and later on Twitter…for tripping. E!, which plays the role of the dumbest cable channel, responded on its website, “Oh, Sarah, you’re the best!” and “We’ve all done it!”

We’ve all screamed “fuck” in front of a formal wear-attired audience and TV cameras? Continue reading

Unethical TV Ad Of The Month: Geico

“If your boss stops by, you act like you’re working — It’s what you do. If you want to save 15 percent or more on car insurance, you switch to GEICO.

Actually, it’s not what you do if you are diligent, responsible, fair to your employer and deserve to have a job. It’s what you do if you are an unethical, dishonest slacker who is stealing your salary and ought to be fired.

These are apparently the kinds of people GEICO believe are its prime market.

Good to know.

_________________

Pointer: Grace Marshall

Here’s The Thing, Booking.Com: If You Think Your Customers Appreciate Gratuitous Smuttiness, I Don’t Want To Be One Of Them

Booking_com_Logo The manners of society appear to be heading south at an accelerating rate, with our up and coming generations being increasingly sent the message from the culture, celebrities and even elected officials, that manners and civility in public conduct and speech is for snobs, nerds, dorks, and goons. It’s cool to be vulgar! I admit, I’m in at least two of those three categories, so I really don’t get it. Ethics dictates that one communicates with respect for anyone within hearing distance, and unless ugly words serve a material purpose, using them is not the mark of a good citizen, a good neighbor, or a trustworthy human being. Nor is spouting vulgarity witty, and unless you are 11, and employing obvious code words that sound like curses, epithets and obscenities isn’t especially funny either, since we pretty much exhausted the possibilities at summer camp. I have no idea why anyone would want to recast the culture as a place where professionals curse like sailors and the words “fuck” and “cocksucker” are as likely to issue from a debutante’s lips as those of a hip hop artist, but that seems to be the objective now. President Obama, the Fish Head, signaled his approval by repeatedly using the word “bucket” in a televised event when he obviously meant “fuck it.” First President ever to use fuck on TV! Yes, Obama continues to burnish his legacy. Small wonder that CNN’s John Berman thought his audience wanted to see him snigger over a colleague’s “big stones,” a testicle joke that always has them LOL-ing in the 7th grade. Making sure that there is nowhere for the civil and well-mannered to hide, all the other TV stations happily accept money from advertisers using code words for “ass” (Verizon), alluding to sexual intercourse (Reese’s), and evoking the word “shit” (K-Mart and DraftKings). Continue reading

Oh Fine, Now Candy TV Commercials Are Getting Smutty

Reeses

At 8:46 AM, a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups commercial popped on TV. “Women want like to make it last,” bold type told us. “Men are done in seconds.”

“Typical.”

Who decided that gratuitous sexual innuendo is inherently hilarious and appropriate in every context, at every moment? Well, no one yet. Again, it is the boors in ad agencies and clods in corporate boardrooms who are pushing us down this uncivil, impolite, needlessly sleazy path.  We can remind them that there are limits dictated by taste and decorum, or we can just shrug it off, part of the irreversible ratchet process called “defining deviancy down.”

Of course, we can’t expect advertisers to display respect to their audiences if their audiences prove they deserve none.

How long do you think it will be before we see a Reese’s ad featuring a kinky couple mid-sexual romp, and the naked male points to his erect penis, crying, “Hey! You got peanut butter on my chocolate sauce!” Then his partner, after, ah, checking it out, cries, “Mmmmm! But it tastes great!”

At this rate, not long at all.