Pack up your troubles, kids

I frequently wonder at the choices that marketing and advertising people make. I wonder if they come up with those choices on their own, or if they grudgingly implement the desires of their clients despite their own misgivings. Are they ignorant of the connotations, or do they go into things eyes wide open, fully understanding (or just not caring).

The latest Dell Inspiron 15R commercial shows school children stuffing their backpacks and then repeatedly falling over from the weight, over which you can hear “Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag and smile, smile, smile.” *

And I wonder if the advertising people who came up with that know the history of the song as a WWI marching song, or have ever really listened to the lyrics…even just the rest of the lyrics in the chorus:

Pack up your troubles in your old kit-bag,
And smile, smile, smile,
While you’ve a lucifer to light your fag,
Smile, boys, that’s the style.

That’s right. Smoke ’em while you got ’em, kids.
You never know when a stray enemy ball might take you out at recess.

School is hell, y’all.

* The commercial version of the song was supposedly sung by James Mann, based on an arrangement of the song by the Minnutes. If anyone cares.


Good morning, good morning!

In the “What were they thinking?” department, have you seen the new commercial for the Dixie PerfecTouch Grab’N GO insulated paper cup? When I see a perky husband and wife dancing in their kitchen in the morning and singing that song, I don’t think Dixie Cups. Did no one on their marketing team see the Viagra commercials?

Or was that part of the great idea? “Hey, let’s associate Dixie coffee cups with male enhancement drugs. It’s a sure winner!” After all, nothing goes together like sex and coffee.

AT&T Alter Ego commercials

I really like the new series of AT&T “More bars, in more places” Alter Ego commercials, where you hear what the person’s phone would be saying as the phone owner misses a critically important message.

Ronnie’s phone (Motorhead tickets)

Bradshaw’s phone (Hong Kong greeting)

Kelly’s Dad’s phone (Lover’s Lane)

Chuck’s phone (basketball tickets)

Jen’s phone (date with handsome Paul)

Brad’s phone (no star hotel in France)

Chad’s phone (on the nudist beach in Spain)

Mary’s phone (Phelps Phan)

Ned’s phone (merger in Finland)

Greg’s phone (in Brussels with the Techno Twins)

Nancy’s phone (kid’s party/Freddie the fun-loving dinosaur)

Jeff’s phone (housesitting/arrest)

Howard’s phone (exploding frozen deep fried turkey)

Slate Sanchez’s phone (reporter at demolition site but in wrong blast zone)

Snowball’s phone (snowman caught in a heat wave at the winter cottage – see commercial credits at the Inspiration Room)

LindaBeth at The Reaction doesn’t appear to like them, but I do, stereotypes and all. Let’s face it — they’re not meant to be paragons of political correctness. But they are funny (to most people I know, anyway) and they certainly stick in your head. Then again, I did go “parking” (and lie to my parents about what I was up to — we weren’t alone up there so I presume loads of the rest of you were doing it, too, unless you really *were* watching the submarine races) and I did have massive crushes on celebrities so maybe I just see some of myself in the two Mary and Kelly commercials. Personally, I would take the lack of strong female characters in those commercials as a good thing since the featured people are, well, idiots. The lesson I learn from the series of commercials is that girls apparently stop being idiots when they grow up but boys , not so much. also something to say about the Brad/no-star-hotel commercial, namely that it seems to be French-bashing. I didn’t get that from the commercial at all, but then I’m not looking for that kind of thing (and I can’t claim to have been a fly on the wall while they were brainstorming the commercial, either). IMO the location was really irrelevant. Think of it as “Not the US” instead of “France”, with France being a fairly safe country choice to represent the Rest of the World. I’d’ve laughed if they’d used, say, Nova Scotia instead.

Ian Swenson is sort of a fan of the commercials. Good to know I’m not alone, though I actually like the Ronnie commercial. Granted, I think it was the first one I saw and you always remember your first fondly. 😉

Other people’s reactions range between the two polar opposites — liking and loathing. Some are offended at people who don’t use AT&T being called “idiots”; others are disturbed by gender or sociological repercussions; some just think they’re entertaining. Your mileage may vary.