Subaru Forester: Graveyard

This commercial pisses me the hell off.

Let me get this straight: you need to get rid of a car, so you and your douchebag buddy Larry spend TWO DAYS driving to some formerly scenic hill to abandon it? This is not to mention the TWO MORE DAYS of driving you both need to do to get back home. So between you and Larry, your maudlin, estrogen-soaked emo jaunt cost 8 TOTAL MAN DAYS of human effort? Christ.

Seriously, did you make Larry take vacation to be a part of this adventure? Time that he could have spent with his family? You sir, are a complete asshole. Your Subaru is glad to be rid of you.

Old Spice Swagger “LL Cool J”

There are a lot of really bad commercials for men’s hygiene products. Most of the ads that come to mind for that demographic are either of the retarded-CG-animation-with-chiseled-metrosexual or athletes-playing-grabass varieties. I mean, listen Gillette, I have considered carefully and I’m 100% goddamn sure that I am not interested in the extra two blades that are available on the Fusion – treating me like an idiot and constantly reiterating the five-blade thing doesn’t really help anybody. If you want to spend your time on doing something constructive, why don’t you have your R & D geniuses revolutionize the comb? Make a comb that flexes or vibrates or shoots lasers or something. Then we’ll talk. But the razor ship? It has sailed.

Don’t even get me started on the Gillette Fusion Power Gamer. Seriously, just stop it.

Despite my misgivings with the segment, Old Spice has been doing some really good work lately. I continue to enjoy their excellent centaur commercials (that centaur guy is two things: awe- and a really great actor), but I think that their finest recent work has been with their Swagger campaign, starring LL Cool J and some brute named Brian Urlacher.

Everything about the conception and execution of these commercials is awesome. The flashback scenarios are ridiculous (notice that Brian Urlacher the Dungeons and Dragons loser is being laughed at by a gang of different Dungeons and Dragons losers that have turned on one of their own kind – truly one of the harshest phenomena in nature) and both of the celebrities do a great job delivering the actual pitch (LL Cool J’s big jackass grin is much appreciated). I think the part I enjoy most is that Old Spice aren’t merely saying that these celebrities endorse the product, they’re saying that without the body spray, the celebrities expressly would not exist. It’s a funny, ridiculous message, but it’s also sort of subversive. The Swagger commercials are basically parodies – the kind of commercials that you might make if you desperately hated making commercials and wanted to explode the entire industry.

Anyway, Old Spice has had a terrific run lately and I hope they can keep it going, even if it seems like they might not actually want to.

=== BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!!1! ===

While we’re all here together, here is a special bonus commercial that I don’t think I’ve actually seen on TV before. It’s a minute long Old Spice spot with Bruce Campbell, that has some of the same “Oh, God please make us stop having to make commercials” quality as the Swagger spots.

Orkin “Broken Down”

Not many people know this, but I am something of a connoisseur of commercials (to the extent that I was at one point considering trying to implement a PVR sort of arrangement, with the commercial-skipping feature modified to exclude all shows and only record commercials. Maybe one day…). There’s something very pure about the exercise of distilling a message down to 30 seconds that I am drawn to. It’s a beautiful thing when it’s done well, and among life’s greatest disappointments when it’s not.

The best commercials defy their limited timeslots and low art underpinnings to create real moments of drama. An excellent example of this quality can be found in these two gems from Orkin – “Broken Down” and its less-frequently seen counterpart “Pizza Delivery”, where smooth-talking bug confidence men try to socially engineer their way into attacking your wainscoting. I think that these commercials strike a chord with me because I’m pretty sure that I would actually let the bugs into my home to wreak havoc. I am a victim, and Orkin knows it.

The genius moment of both commercials is the scene at the end where the bugs drive by really slowly in their cars and then speed away. Beautiful. The dialogue in both commercials is also excellent. Details like the termite wanting to call his brother-in-law and the cockroach suggesting he “just place the pizza on the table” are really disconcerting.

I have to say that between the two, I prefer “Broken Down” because I find the big termite to be more sinister and charismatic than the big cockroach. Both commercials are really good though.