Saturday, October 11, 2008


After reading Eric Goldberg's guest post over at Cartoon Brew appreciating the Hubley's Marky Maypo commercials, I thought I'd rewatch my favorite Maypo commercial for old time's sake. 

The great thing about these old commercials is that not only are they entertaining, but they actually make me want to go out & buy the products they're selling.  The way these products were being promoted seems almost like subliminal messaging. They don't have to cut to a live-action shot of milk being poured onto a bowl of cereal in slow-mo, or some kid drinking a soda or taking a bite out of a candy bar & smiling with a "Wow, this is the absolute greatest thing I've ever tasted" expression on their mug. The characters just mention it almost non-chalantly. All Marky says about Maypo is its name & that it taste's like maple sugar candy. That's it. He doesn't go into detail about the consistency of Maypo or how healthy it is or how mom's approve of it. There's no magic or trickery in the promotion, it's just plain ol' oatmeal, but I still wanna go out & buy some!

I remember many years ago when that board game Guess Who? came out... the one with all the people's faces on tiles that you flipped down. In the commercial, the kid's ask the questions & the little cartoon faces on the tiles were animated & spoke to the kids. My sister, being young & easily lured by the magically-possessed game faces this commercial had to offer, begged my mom to get it for her birthday. She waited, & waited & waited until the day finally came. She opened the box & to her surprise... there was no magic. The faces didn't talk & they didn't move. They were just little strips of cardboard with drawings on them. A little girls dreams dashed by false advertising. She didn't hear/comprehend the final statement that the "game pieces do not actually talk", 'cause not only was it sped up to triple speed but muted by the loud cheerful music & the happy laughter of the children blaring over it. Commercials should just say what the products are & what they CAN do. Maypo is just oatmeal. A toy is just a toy. Simple, direct language.

It's a real shame commercials today aren't like the old Maypo ads. Today's commercials aren't really entertaining anymore, just boring & annoying. You see a "story", they interrupt the story to talk about the product's taste, color with added CG sparkles & logos floating around in slow-motion, then back to the "story" for 5 seconds with closing statements ("for a limited time..." "part of a complete breakfast", etc.), cut to black & start all over again.  Sure, there's a few diamonds in the rough these days, but they come few & far in-between. For example, the recent Snickers commercial with the Viking throwing the trashcans at the car was one that made me laugh every time I saw it, but then they had to go & cut it down. 

& that comes to another thing: why do so many of these commercials make no sense whatsoever? Sure the Viking one was funny, but it was completely ridiculous. The ones that really irk me are ones where you see some action, story or landscape, then cut to a product that has absolutely nothing to do with what you just saw. A few months ago, I saw a commercial where you see a guy playing tennis, a girl riding on a mountain bike & some guy playing golf & it randomly cuts to a black screen with Ford's latest car. I'm not kidding!

& when was the last time you saw a mascot that you actually liked? The Nasonex Bee? Ronald McDonald? That snot-looking thing that lives under your toenails? Admit it, a lot of them really suck. Even old-timers like the Trix Rabbit, Lucky the Leprechaun & Sonny the Cocoa Puffs Bird have lost their luster. They aren't appealing anymore, just annoying. You just want the commercial to die so you can get back to the show you were watching. 

Here's a little experiment for you to test: watch TV for one hour & take notice of all the cereal/food/toy commercials you see (excluding all the duplicates). Then go to Youtube or, watch old commercials from the 1950's onward promoting the same exact product (from earliest to most recent) & see if you can notice a change. Go on, I dare you.

1 comment:

Monodi said...

Hey sup, I am glad you make a comment about the charm in propaganda these days.

Believe me that if you live in Mexico or other regions you weill see that the power of american commercials now its even something to be jealous about, of course back then in the cold war era there was much more to give on messages to people. Now we are more in the demand of dparing more time and the quickest way posible the more profit is saved and agglomerated. Its sad but sometime a company could make a new mascot for a product agaibn with enough dedication as before.