I don’t use the word “hate” lightly. Unfortunately, it gets thrown around so much these days it’s lost a bit of its vitriol. But I really do hate these brands. I despise them. They offend me to my core—just because of terrible advertising.
When it comes to manufacturing stuff, I’ll admit the French do make top-notch adult beverages and a mean baguette. Clothing? Not so much. So Lacoste—the brand of too-cool-for-school bros everywhere—needs some great advertising to get me interested. Boy did they fail.
Almost every Lacoste ad has some terrible Daft-Punk-wannabe dance track accompanied by bright pastel colors. They are trying so hard. Then there’s their newest spot, The Big Leap, that probably cost a million bucks to produce, and is maybe the worst “high-concept” ad of all time. Mr. Perfect wants to kiss his date, so we show his metaphorical big leap off the top of a skyscraper. Then he splats on the pavement as the girl turns her cheek and rebuffs his advance. Just kidding. She loves it, making this one of the most boring, expensive, pandering, smack-you-in-the-face stupid commercials I’ve ever seen.
Large, national brands can usually afford to go in a few different directions with their marketing. Toyota is no different. The thing remarkable about Toyota though, is that no matter what direction they go, they all suck.
First, there’s Jan. She might seem nice, but let’s look a little more closely. She habitually interrupts people. She degrades every man she comes across. She has crazy, glaring eyes and sort of looks possessed. And she’s always wearing jet-black pants with a blood-red shirt like some sort of devil woman. Cars are a notorious cause of unnatural death—and I feel like Jan wants you to die in a shiny, red Toyota. She makes the Red Witch on Game of Thrones look like Old Mother Hubbard.
And then there’s Toyota’s other approach: a 60-year-old man crying because he “chooses” to be a dad. No broken prophylactics for this father of one! Not only does this commercial have absolutely nothing to do with the benefits of owning a Toyota, it makes me extremely uncomfortable. So Toyota has not only given me absolutely no reason to buy (i.e. finance and pretend like I own) their product, they’ve ruined a perfectly good Saturday afternoon.
I get it: You’re like my wacky aunt who just won’t shut up about car insurance—for ten fucking years! You’re eccentric and nutty and just plain odd! People aren’t so sure about you at first—after all, you’re a bit of a loon—but they always come around because of your unadulterated passion for car insurance!
I guess the marketing geniuses Progressive must have thought, “It wasn’t funny or interesting or even watchable the first time, so let’s try it 10,000 more times and see what happens!” That’s what ol’ Flo would do!
And it isn’t just the TV spots. Flo’s invaded my radio. She’s always singing some zany, off-key song about why I should use Progressive in between segments of Dan Patrick. Whenever it happens, I scramble for my radio dial and switch to static for 30 seconds. Sweet, sweet static. But seriously, if Progressive was half the price of every other car insurance company, I still wouldn’t use them purely because of Flo.
You have to give Taco Bell a little credit: They know their brand comes with a serious stigma (diarrhea), so they’re constantly trying to upgrade their image. But their attempts get more and more futile each year, to the point where today’s Taco Bell advertisements make those old “Yo Quiero Taco Bell” commercials look like Cannes finalists.
They recently tried to go “gourmet” by hiring a “world-renowned chef” to create “healthy” menu items. The woman they hired—Lorena Garcia—is egotistical, supercilious, and is best known for owning airport restaurants. Literally zero people were fooled by this, because after all, it’s Taco Bell. And it’s downright condescending.
Now they’ve moved on to plugging their breakfast menu, a campaign they’ve dubbed “Breakfast Defectors.” For me, that’s a little too close for comfort to “Breakfast Defecators,” but I digress. This new Orwellian campaign equates people that eat at other fast food restaurants to mindless drones, i.e. slaves to the McMuffin. Seriously Taco Bell, please stick to what you do best: Helping millennials soak up Bacardi Limon with 3 a.m. dog-meat burritos. And don’t call me a fascist because I enjoy the occasional McGriddle.