There's a good reason why I don't watch much TV, besides the fact that it's a brain drain and a waste of time. It's the commercials. They run the gamut from mundane to obnoxious, to stupid to outright offensive.

I always wonder what fat-cat, moronic CEO is paying hacks to come up with these vapid blurbs. The occupants of corner offices in marketing firms have convinced clients of the effectiveness of these campaigns, probably through subliminal messages on promo vids. I can imagine the popping of champagne corks in posh board rooms during self-congratulatory celebrations, and gloating over how another clueless insurance company executive has been fooled.

Granted, there's not much room for creativity. I figure about half of the blurbs are plugs for either insurance companies or Big Pharma. Most of the Big Pharma adverts are aimed at people like me, who have psoriatic arthritis. These periodic interruptions are generally feel-good ditties guaranteeing you'll feel good if you persuade your doctor to prescribe. But even if the insurance of the put-upon patient covers these drugs, he'll be paying $70 a month to his friendly pharmacist, for a pill the fine print at the bottom of the screen warns will damage your liver with long-term use. If I'm going to have liver damage, I'd rather turn to vodka, which is cheaper and arguably has other benefits.

I'm guessing Big Pharma is counting on the fact that most viewers just catch the high points of the commercial out of the corners of their eyes, and don't read that fine print or listen to the softly intoned warnings of the narrator. I used to take Jardiance for Type 2 diabetes until at the beginning of 2018, my insurance company decided I needed to take Invokana instead. Invokana didn't work nearly as well as Jardiance, but it turns out the insurance company, Blue Cross (is there any other?) did me a favor. To my consternation, I happened to catch a snippet on a Jardiance commercial a few months ago that admitted users might be subjected not only to "cardiovascular death," but to ""necrotizing fasciitis of the perineum." If you don't know what that means, look it up, and get ready to retch. The insurance company decided this year that I needed Farxiga instead, and although it works much better, I read the other day that perineum problems have been known to occur with that medication, too. Maybe I should ask about "Oh-oh-oh-O-ZEMpic!"

Insurance companies used to put out pretty funny commercials, and occasionally still do. I was disappointed when Geico turned in the cavemen for the gecko, especially when they had a human woman mouthing "I love you" to the lizard and swinging him around in a slow-mo sweep on a beach. I'm pretty sure touting the merits of human-reptile romance isn't selling many policies. The camel, which wandered through an office bellowing "Mike-Mike-Mike!" and asking what day it was - Hump Day, of course - wasn't too bad. The woman whose husband was having trouble with squirrels ("He says it's personal this time!") and who calls her James Bond-ish son to pass on the information is good for a laugh. The Farmers Insurance spots featuring Emil Skoda illicit a grin now and again. The best of the lot may be AllState, with one story line spotlighting the antics of Mayhem (portrayed by Dean Winters), and another - the "Are you in good hands?" inquisitor - with Dennis Haysbert (whom I still think of as the stoic Cerrano from "Major League," one of the best sports movies of all time).

But why "Liberty-Liberty-Liberty... LIBERTY" Mutual threw over the earnest bits in front of the Statue of Liberty for "LiMu Emu ... and DOUG!" is beyond me. I did see another clip shot in the harbor, but it offered up some guy who had lost weight and gotten hair plugs, and it didn't make much sense. But the emu deal is the worst of the latest lot. Why would a man - even if he is a nerdy, bologna sandwich-eating one - partner with a large flightless bird wearing sunglasses to sell insurance? I've never thought about buying a policy when I've seen this dubious duo, but I instead think about the emu story that's long been a staple of newsroom lore.

Several years ago, when the bottom fell out of the emu market, area ranchers started releasing them, much to the misfortune of one driver careening around the curves on Steeley Hollow Road. On our way home one evening, we noticed the dead emu just past the Webster Road turnoff, one toe-splayed leg jutting into the air. The coyotes and buzzards weren't any more interested than the market: The emu decomposed over a period of months until only a grease spot was left in the dirt. Eddie Glenn was working at the Press then, and he used to joke that a couple of drunks had probably had an unfortunate encounter with the big bird while on their way home from the bar. He had a whole scenario worked up, wherein the inebriated driver said incredulously to his equally snockered passenger, "Holy cow, did-joo see the size of that cock-a-doodle-do ROOSTER back-air?"

The dead emu was pretty offensive, especially in the early stages of deterioration. But not as offensive as the "what's-up-with-your-partner" LiMu. What's up seems to be a desperate ploy to come off as clever, and it really doesn't work. My apologies to Liberty customers who beg to differ.

Poindexter is managing editor of the Tahlequah Daily Press.

React to this story:

0
0
0
0
0

Locations

Recommended for you