Ads that bug me more than most

The Progresso Soup ad where folks are calling each other on phones made of soup cans and string. Any kid who has ever made those phones knows they only work if the strings are held taut. Strings in the ad are slack. Methinks the people who made the ad had no experience with such phones.

The gold ad where the guy concludes his pitch with the solemn reminder, “and gold has never been worth nothing.” Oh, puh LEEZE. Even my toenail clippings are worth something as fertilizer, but that’s no reason to invest in them.

The Premier Bathrooms ad, among others, that advertises walk-in bathtubs. I wonder how many people think those tubs are a good idea, and maybe even buy one, without ever considering that they will have to walk into an empty tub, then turn on the water and sit there cold and naked waiting for the tub to fill. To exit, they must reverse the process. Yuck. The jingle is kind of catchy, but the site is a blatant attempt to fool people into thinking this is the free annual credit report they’re entitled to. It’s gotten the advertiser into legal trouble, fined by the FCC, and hopefully will get them shut down permanently. The report offered at this site is not free; you have to subscribe to something called TripleAdvantage. Your free annual report is available only at

Law firms. The ambulance chasers. You know the ones: Jim “The Hammer” Shapiro, Frank “The Strong Arm” Azar, etc. No wonder we need tort reform. These guys are on TV every day urging people to sue, sue, sue! Get stupid and fall off a ladder? Sue the ladder manufacturer! Get some weird disease? Sue the doctor! Doesn’t matter what happened to you, or why; they’ll find someone to sue. I’ve never understood why lawyers don’t have ethics and regulations against such unprofessional behavior. It demeans them all. and its “search overload” series. People suddenly recite lists of things with nothing more in common than a single word or initial. Apparently Bing subscribes to that old theory that irritating the audience is a great way to make yourself memorable.

PAD (peripheral artery disease) drug. I wish I could remember which drug* this ad is for, because I think it’s really shameful. It’s bad enough that pharmaceutical companies are allowed to advertise prescription drugs directly to consumers (DTC). That never should have happened. But this particular ad shows a teen turning to his parent or grandparent and urging him to ask his doctor about the drug. I’ve ranted elsewhere, often, about the drug companies, but trying to enlist teens to promote their products to adults strikes me as especially reprehensible.

LifeAlert. “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.” Years ago I hated this ad because it was so corny and so poorly acted. The catch phrase became a standing joke. It’s back now, after a hiatus, and I still hate it. But now I hate it because I’m older and live alone; I don’t want to be reminded of the scarier things that could happen.

Of course, the fact that I can sit here and recall these ads means that, on some level, they’ve been successful. Maybe I should change the title to “Ads I wish I could forget.”


*I just saw the ad again. It’s for Plavix.

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