Monday, June 8, 2009

Who wrote this ad?

A few stupid lines from commercials.
"A few" always means three, right? A couple is two, a few is three, and several is four or more. I could give you a hundred without blinking, but here are three recent ones.

We live here, too.
No you don't. Last summer Bank of America ran a series of ads claiming that they're a local bank and they live here, just like us, and they're huge Red Sox fans.

W: What do the numbers 6, 10 and 17 mean?
M: I'm not sure.
W: That's the number of Red Sox World Series Championships, American League Pennants and playoff appearances.

No wonder the guy didn't know. Those numbers were wrong. The ad was probably written by a junior copywriter in New York who's a Yankee fan at heart. The correct numbers - as of last September - would have been 7, 12 and 19. Today it would be 7, 12 and 20. World Series Championships in 1903, 1912, 1915, 1916, 1918, 2004 and 2007. American League Pennants in 1903, 1904, 1912, 1915, 1916, 1918, 1946, 1967, 1975, 1986, 2004, 2007. Additional playoff appearances in 1988, 1990, 1995, 1998, 1999, 2003, 2005 and 2008.

Where did they get those incorrect numbers?
I actually called the ad agency in New York to point out their mistakes - simply to be helpful. After all, they're spending a lot of money on ads saying they live here and they're fans and they're quoting numbers that any true fan knows are wrong. They got the idea that the Boston Americans, who won the very first World Series in 1903 and won the the American League Pennant in 1904 were a different team than the Red Sox, which is clearly incorrect. I pointed out that the Boston team has been the same since 1901 and they sell lots of t-shirts saying that. True, the nickname wasn't adopted until December of 1907 when they got new uniforms with socks that were red instead of blue. By the way, team nickname changes were not uncommon back then. In fact, every original team except the Detroit Tigers has changed its nickname at some point. The Yankess were the HIghlanders, the Dodgers were the Robins, the Indians were the Blues, the Braves were the Beaneaters, and so on. I pointed out that the 1907 Americans and the 1908 Red Sox had the same owner, same manager, played in the same ballpark, and had eight of the same starters. Including Cy Young.

They told me they had called the Red Sox office and a spokesperson confirmed that the numbers they quoted were correct. Obvious bullshit. There's no way anyone on Yawkey Way said that. I sent them a picture of the pennants hanging off the building that start with "1903 World Champions" and "1904 American League Champions" and have the Red Sox logo. (The Red Sox should probably be awarded the 1904 World Championship by default, as the NL Champion New York Giants were annoyed that the upstart AL had won the first Series the previous year and refused to participate in the 1904 Series.) I pointed out that even the Yankee fans knew the correct number. Rememebr the "Got rings?" t-shirts that were printed after 2004? They showed 6 Red Sox rings and 26 Yankee rings. (2007 hadn't happened yet.)

Re-cutting the ad would have cost them money and they didn't really care whether they sounded like fake fans who don't really live here.

A walkoff triple?
Last summer Friendly's ran an ad about going to a Little League game on a warm night. Bobby hits a walkoff triple and they all go to Friendly's to enjoy Happy Ending sundaes. What's wrong? There's no such thing as a walkoff triple. To get a walkoff, you have to be either tied or trailing in the bottom of the last inning. If the game is tied and there's a runner on first when Bobby gets a hit and the runner comes around for the game-winning run, Bobby gets credit for a double. If that runner is on second, Bobby's hit is an RBI single, because a runner on second is considered to be in scoring position. If the team is down by a run and there are runners on second and third, a hit will win the game, but the batter only gets credit for a single. Let's say there are runners on first and second and Bobby gets a hit that scores both runners. It's a walkoff double. If you're down by two runs and the bases are loaded and Bobby has a bases-clearing hit that wins the's still a walkoff double. If you're down by three and the bases are loaded it requires a grand slam. A homer, of course, is a homer...but only if it goes over the fence. In a field with no fence that game would end when the winning run crosses the plate - regardless of where the batter is at that point. Talking about a walkoff triple means the copywriter doesn't know what he or she is talking about.

One more like that.
There's a Papa Gino's ad currently running that says, "Rally your team with the Papa Ginos double-play deal." It's two pizzas for the price of one or something like that. The problem? If your team is trying to rally and there's a double-play...what happens? The rally is killed, that's what. Just ask Julio Lugo.

There's more than one.
There's a rocky ledge. It looks like the place they used in "Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid" during the "Who
those guys?" scene. On the top of the ledge you see a Grand Cherokee. And a Liberty. And a Wrangler. The super says "Jeep. There's only one." I know what they mean, of course, but it sure looks like a few Jeeps to me.

I don't want to drive all over the state.
This is a radio ad. What I call a "Hey, honey" dialogue commercial. It opens with the woman.

W: Hey honey, how about we take in some great live music tonight?
M: I'm listening.
W: Then catch a rising comedian.
M: Sounds good.
W: After that we can try our luck with the slot machines.
M: Hmm.
W: Then use our winnings to get a great steak and an Irish brew.
M: Great. But I don't want to drive all over the state.
W: Honey, we don't have to. It's all right here at Twin River.

So what's wrong here? First, Twin River is a goofy name. Shouldn't it be Twin Rivers? More importantly, Twin River Casino is the former Lincoln Park Dog Track in Lincoln, RI. The commercials run in Boston. So when the guy says he doesn't want to drive all over the state to get all this great stuff she should say, "We don't. We have to drive to another state."

Just one more.
McDonald's is running a current campaign that says, "You only get one stop by McDonald's and get two Egg McMuffins for the price of one." That sounds like two breakfasts.

I realize that was several, not a few, but I was on a roll.

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