Thursday, May 25, 2006


Television advertising campaigns are generally shaped not only by the product being pushed, but also by the whims of small groups of shaved monkeys who corporations keep in locked rooms called "focus groups."

Focus groups are shown numerous ideas, which are generated by teams of lobotomized writers who work deep within the musty bowels of advertising agencies. The ideas the monkeys react most positively to (the formula is: [feces throwing + screaming] * time) are processed into sitcoms, new products, and advertisements.

Evidently, this month the monkeys have determined that we will buy things when companies appeal to our desire to be masculine. At least four companies have adopted campaigns that reflect this:

Burger King: "I Am Man, Hear Me Roar." A musical number that depicts men everywhere shuffling off the coils of feminine oppression by, among other things, throwing a minivan off an overpass and into a large dump truck, which is being pulled by a strongman in a unitard who is struggling to reach a cheeseburger dangling at the end of a fishing pole -- which is held by a busty model wearing pink. This is to the tune of something called the "Manthem."

Miller Lite: "Man Laws." Comedian Eddie Griffin leads the "Men of the Square Table," whose number includes the likes of Burt Reynolds (too bad Charles Bronson couldn't have made it) and ex-Steelers running back Jerome Bettis. The men hammer out the details of various Man Laws, such as "It is forbidden to name any pet 'Fluffy,' 'Snowball,' or 'Mr. Whiskers.' "

TGI Friday's: Something along the lines of "We've got the meat you've been craving." Four dudes sit at a Friday's table and get their orders -- one screams, "BEEF!" Another chimes in, "PORK!" The third roars, "RIBS!" The fourth loser picks up some broccoli and sings "VEGETABLE MEDLEY!" The others look at him as if he just said he'd like to make out with Elton John. Realizing his mistake, the fourth picks up a different item from his plate. "SAUSAGE!" he screams, and everyone seems pleased.

Dodge: A fairy flies around a cityscape, trying to turn things into crap from Candyland. Everything transforms until she encounters the new Dodge Caliber, which resists her efforts at sissification. A hard-assed looking dude with a pitbull shows up and makes fun of her, and she zaps him with her wand, changing him into an effette Easter-season J.C. Penny model and his dog into a poodle.

It's weird that these ads have all come out around the same time. However, I for one am glad that the focus group monkeys have finally told me what products I need to purchase in order to be a true man. Pass the Mitchum!