NOTE: I can not help myself. So many bad TV ads. I have to say something. Don’t I? “B-admen 101” is the outcome of my disgust and, alas, fascination.
First, let me say this about Ad World. I know bad can be beautiful, that an ad can appear so stupid and yet attract viewers and sell products. That ad, some might say, is so stupid it’s funny. But it also says something awful about America.
Take the latest Jack-in-The-Box commercial shown in Phoenix, the one with the Scrabble game.
So there is “Jack,” the marketing-obsessed, socially-inept and plastic egg-headed star of the fast food chain’s commercial. He is seated apparently at home playing the board-game, Scrabble, with his trophy wife, an attractive blonde. She is posed on the floor, her lap ever so slightly turned toward the camera to hint at that part of her anatomy that eventually yields the punch line.
Action: Jack scores big when he plays “swavory,” a non-word that Scrabble’s rules forbid. He explains to his justly-mystified wife that it is a combination of “savory” and “sweet” as in a new sandwich that he is hawking.
The trophy-wife now plays the trump card, or tiles, to say, “nonookie.”
For a moment Jack is bewildered. He is slow to understand that “nookie” is sex and that his wife is slamming the door to whatever plans he has for the rest of the evening if not longer.
My reading of the commercial is this. If Jack is so out of touch to not know “nookie,” a slang term of at least 50 years vintage, that he is so insensitive of his wife’s feelings that he would try to cheat her, that winning is everything, well then, why would I buy his burgers? And it seems to champion women at their worst, using love, aka sex, as a bargaining tool.
And the ad is deceitful too. In using “nookie” rather than “sex” the ad writers attempt to mollify the puritans among us who are quick to shutter the ears of “innocent” children. Sex sells but, apparently, “nookie” sells even better.
This to my mind is a commercial that appeals to a certain segment of the political climes. It appeals to those ascendant “economic Republicans” since Reagan who believe money, and money alone, talks. If you really look at him, Jack is a horrible materialist, focused on greed and profits, no matter how questionable red meat, medium fries and colas are to our health.
Sadly, I’ll probably still buy a Jumbo Jack once in a while.