Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Annoying Ads

Yes, I know, there are lots of annoying ads. However, there are two ad campaigns in particular that I'm finding especially egregious at the moment.

Toyota Sienna ads

This is the latest entry in that puzzling category, "buy our product so that you can be like these really annoying people you would cross the street to avoid." A husband and wife, who previously imagined themselves too good to drive anything as plebian as a minivan, have bought a Toyota Sienna, which is stylish and wonderful enough to almost equal their own style and wonderfulness. The hubby calls it "The Swagger Wagon." Of course, we all love people who swagger, right? The wife oozes smug satisfaction in having found a minivan that doesn't make her look middle class and married. She also uses the Sienna as a place to just hang out, doing her nails whatever else. When hubby is talking the words appear on the screen over him, "Daddy like." When the wife is talking, the words appear, "Mommy like."

Added bonus: These ads still brag about Toyota reliability. In the midst of a major recall which keeps getting bigger and bigger, when information is emerging that Toyota worked to limit earlier brake-related recalls, and they're still denying that there are any electrical problems despite customer reports.

Volkswagon "Punch Buggy" ads

There's a children's game, dating back to the 1960s, in which the children watch for Volkswagon Beetles, and when they spot one, call out "punch buggy!" or "slug bug!" and punch each other. Volkswagon has inexplicably decided to use a generalized version of the game in their latest ad campaign, with putative adults punching each other at the sight of any Volkswagon, calling out "red one!" or whatever color as they do so. So, okay, why do I want to be anywhere near people acting like that? As with the Toyota Sienna ads, if I'm going to be influenced in my car choice by ads like these, it's not going to be in favor of the cars featured in these ads. If other people's car choices are going to affect mine, I want to drive a vehicle favored by at least minimally rational adults, not by people likely to randomly punch me, or people whose main concern is whether the vehicle supports their egos.

Yes, I do get that these ads are supposed to be funny. The problem is that they are funny if you are somewhere between the ages of six and sixteen--and in most states, you can't even get a driver's license before the age of sixteen. Who do Toyota and Volkswagon think are making the buying decisions?