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If you have ever taken a marketing or advertising class then you most likely learned what a “target demographic” is. This is also the type of class that probably forces you to give a group presentation pitching a lame fictional product to a company or predetermined target demographic. You know the type of presentation, it’s one of those group projects that make you seriously question whether you’re in college or kindergarten. The group usually consists of you, some sorority girl you’re trying to slam, and two to four other people who couldn’t elicit a concern from you if they were being ripped apart by wolves on your front lawn. I hate these types of presentations. After awhile they become impossible to take seriously. You’re basically guaranteed an “A” as long as you show up and use your allotted time. Honestly even if midway through the presentation you slammed your note cards into the ground and started stomping your feet and shouting “BUY THIS SHIT MOTHERFUCKERS! BUY IT OR YOU’RE GAY!” you probably wouldn’t get lower than a “C.”
I recommend the next time you are faced with having to present one of these ultimately useless projects you see how much you can get away with. Make your demographic “60 and up” and pitch an alternative to Depends Diapers that are essentially just butt plugs and clothes pins. If someone sends me a video of this actually happening you get a yet to be determined, but no doubt awesome as shit, prize.
Anyway, another thing you learn in a class like this is what most advertisers’ coveted demographic is: 18 to 35 year olds. If you want to get even more specific you could probably narrow that demographic down to 18 to 35 year old white men with money to burn. You’re probably thinking to yourselves: “Hey! Wait a minute, that’s us!” Yes, yes it is. For whatever reason (see: having money, or at least the illusion of having it) advertisers love us. The problem is, advertisers are fucking idiots, and I hate them. Every now and then a truly great commercial achieves its goal of getting some sort of positive reaction from me. But for every one of those there are twenty others that end up making me want to throw my TV at sad, hungry orphans.
There are plenty of harmlessly bad commercials, and I have no problem with those. The commercials I hate, the ones specifically directed at you and I, are the ones that try and get a response from us, their target demographic, by attempting to appeal to our masculinity or attempt to threaten it. I hate them because they try so, so hard, and almost always fail. Here are a few examples:
Dr. Pepper Ten
What do they expect me to think after watching this commercial? “YEAH!! YOU’RE FUCKIN’ A RIGHT IT’S NOT FOR WOMEN!! THOSE TEN CALORIES GO STRAIGHT TO MY DICK!” The slogan “It’s Not for Women” might be the dumbest saying in the history of advertising. A box of mustache combs with the tagline “Hitler Approved!” would have a better slogan than Dr Pepper Ten. There is no man on Earth who will feel emancipated from his own perceived emasculation by switching from Coke Zero or whatever to Dr Pepper Ten. People might prefer the taste, but no one is going to be sitting around thinking “Finally I can enjoy a soda in public without people thinking I’m gay.”
The other asinine thing about this particular slogan is that the majority of grocery shoppers are women. I have to also assume that the majority of diet and low calorie soda drinkers are women too. Maybe this whole thing is reverse psychology? Are there any women standing in the soda aisle thinking to themselves “Not for women? Well I’m gonna buy some so we’ll just see about that. Score another one for suffrage.” I doubt it. Here’s hoping the marketing department for Dr Pepper Ten is euthanized as quickly and uncomfortably as possible.
I’ll give some credit to 1800 Tequila, they’ve had some good commercials in the past. I’m talking specifically about the one in which Michael Imperioli pours himself a shot into the bottle top. That was cool. I mean, I didn’t buy any 1800 Tequila because of it, but I liked it. Their newer commercials though? Ugh…
Let’s get a breakdown of this douche monologue:
“Whatever happened to men?”
We’re still here.
“Guys used to drink real tequila and talk about sports.”
Yeah I still talk about sports all the time. Wanna talk about sports right now? Pick a topic? Bowl games? Hot Stove? The warm tingling feeling I get every time Phil Pressey has an assist? Your choice. Also I’m not sure what qualifies as “real” or “fake” tequila. One brand may go down smoother than the other but at the end of the day if tequila is involved a hooker dies no matter how good or bad it tasted, THAT’s how you know it’s real tequila.
“Now guys drink poser tequila, pfft, and talk about…what? Hair tinting?”
(kicks in door, slams a bottle of 1800 Tequila on the table)
“WHAT’S UP BROS! PACK UP YOUR DILDOS AND YOUR SUNLESS TANNER BECAUSE IT’S TIME TO TALK ABOUT PUSSY, SPORTS, AND MOTHERFUCKING AMERICA! 1800 TEQUILA IN THE HOUSE!”
“We were already talking about that stuff.”
“Oh…so no one’s talking about like hair tinting or something?”
“The fuck is hair tinting?”
This second 1800 Tequila commercial doesn’t even try. I like to imagine that whatever room these ads were conceived in was full of ill-behaved, developmentally stunted guidos throwing handfuls of their own feces at different areas of a wall marked with concepts that had been determined “manly.” Cars+man+alcohol=GOLD! All you care about is what’s under the hood of the car? Really Michael Imperioli? So you’ll take some classic beastly muscle car with no air conditioning and an 8 track player? I’ll take a respectable looking V-6 Sedan that has GPS and the ability to powder my taint when the leather seats make it too sweaty any day of the week.
All of these commercials try so.fucking.hard. to appeal to or threaten their audience’s masculinity. If they were funny, or clever, or true, maybe I’d cut them some slack. But these commercials, and others like them were conceived by the worst kind of miniature penis-ed douche bags that exist. Am I going to boycott these products? No, if someone hands me a shot of 1800 Tequila you better believe I’m downing that bitch. But it doesn’t mean I hate their commercials any less. They need to take a cue from Natty Light or Keystone Light, two brands who know how to market their product. They are the opposite of trying too hard, they give zero fucks, and I love it. Essentially shouting “BUY THIS SHIT MOTHERFUCKERS! BUY IT OR YOU’RE GAY!” isn’t going to make me buy your product or threaten my masculinity. Now if you’ll excuse me I need to crack open a Coke Zero and feather my pubes. Have a great New Year.