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TV Commercial Withdrawal: Why I’m A Trunk Monkey Junky

Topics: Popular Media | 3 CommentsBy admin | January 7, 2010

It’s odd that the only thing I miss since cancelling my cable service is the commercials, and now I can’t find any good ones. Have a fave you’d care to share?

This spot for Cullman Liquidation
is hands-down a fave for me

With the annual hubbub about the Superbowl ad spots starting to simmer (here are last year’s top 10), I’m reminded of the only thing I miss about television since shutting off my cable service back in 2003: the commercials. It’s more than a little odd that I miss them; when I was exposed to them on a regular basis, I had two PTSD-like reflexes to their sudden appearance: 1.) Hit the mute button and pointedly avoid looking at them, or 2.) Play a game of “distill the message”, in which my friends and I would take a beer commercial for instance, and distill it down to the message it was conveying. An example being “although you’re male and act like an idiot, chicks will dig you if you drink our beer“. So in my pining for a commercial to watch, I figured that with the advent of YouTube and the fact that even grandma has a blog these days, it would be easy to find a roundup of the best commercials of the last few years. How wrong I was. Try searching yourself; this tends to be a heavily-targeted keyword, so you’ll keep encountering things like this old European condom commercial, and the title on the clip is almost always something like “FUNNIEST COMMERCIAL EV-AR”. There’s also the added weird “meta” effect of TV programs that are actually devoted to filling the spaces between the commercials with commercials. So although I found some interesting clips to share, I realized I’ll have to come back with a “Part II” after doing a more themed, focused search. Something like the offensive car ads we rounded up last year. Below is a quick roundup of some of the quirkier things I found; feel free to share any goodies of your own.

The Japanese always have a knack for putting an unusual spin on ads, whether with western celebs who Japander to their audience, or simply as a result of our pop culture differences.

This ten-year-old spot features a fresh-faced Britney Spears in a Japanese candy commercial that subtly dips into Japan’s “lolita” fascination. The spot itself isn’t that remarkable; it’s the context:

This spot for Lowfat Sealect Tuna possesses an amusing level of honesty about something many of us have done to look good:

Although American ads tend to remain almost puritan in their avoidance of stepping over certain lines, I was surprised to see that Crest had gotten as “edgy as they had with their “You Can Say Anything with a Smile” campaign, especially given Proctor and Gamble’s traditionally apple pie image:

Likewise with this LA County Fair ad that points out that every fashionable young LA woman knows very well that of course angora wool comes from boy cows:

Some of the most effective commercials I’ve ever seen were local commercials; the same is probably true in your area. I Love Local Commercials has cashed in on this, with spot like the Cullman Liquidation ad featured at the top, and this “Black and White People Furniture” clip:

Probably one of the best local spots ever was Suburban Auto’s “Trunk Monkey” series:

European ads have always been a little more comfortable exploring the connection between the phallus and the automobile, whether implied, as in this case….

…or literal, as in this case:

And from another era: who knew Batgirl worked for the equal rights movement? Holy act of congress, Batman!

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