Sunday, April 8, 2007

A Bro is Born Every Minute

There's an article on Slate about Crispin Porter & Bogusky and the Burger King etc. commercials. I guess I could embed a commercial here, but I don't believe in visuals.

I read this article, because it is by Seth Stevenson, and I have a conflicted and compelling relationship with him in my mind, and also because if there is one thing I am interested in, it is commercials on the TV. Also, because during the five minutes I thought I might work in advertising and was reading the relevant trades, Alex Bogusky came up a lot so I felt smart for recognizing his name and also I vaguely remember thinking someone needed to call his mother and tell her that he was not acting very nice.

The article explores wtf is up with the agency relentlessly relying on a tired Bro experience, i.e., eat of this burger my son and basically you will be the king of a tribe of strippers with machetes, haha, do you see the kitsch value there, but anyway that's implicitly, explicitly you will just be eating a burger.

Observations and Commentary:

a)Seth's problem with the ads were that they weren't funny, weren't ever funny, and weren't really funny because they promoted and spoke unequivocally to the creepy, boorish masculinity of Bros, and that was not a good thing. My take is a little different. I actually thought those King (that is not obno slang for Burger King, I am talking about the ads with the weird guy in the full-head king mask) ads were amazing, way back when. Like, it takes somenads to sell burgers via creeping people the fuck out. I don't know, because I only eat amazing Neptune Diner burgers* but if I were going to eat fast food, sure, I'd eat Burger King, based solely on how much I liked those early King ads.** Unless I lived in California because blah blah In n Out blah blah blah.

a1)There are no more free rides on the Bro humor paradigm train. Because, in part, of Crispy Porter, Bro humor has been a part of non-Bro culture long enough that to have any effect presently, it needs to be funny in a way that transcends, and it takes a pretty deft hand to exploit Bro conventions without relying on them to be the joke. Even the most skilled can eff it up, see below. Obviously I am using a definition of Bro humor than encompasses basically everything.

Funny,*** meanwhile, not that funny.
Funny, meanwhile, meh.

a2)I, me personally and I, me representative of everyone are both kind of tired of mean ads, if only because it's very perplexing to be assaulted by your very own television to
which you have been so kind. AHHHHH CAR SO FAST IT HATEFUCKS YOUR WIFE AND EATS YOUR DOG AHHHHH. Um, no thanks...

b)I feel like this article exhibits a sort of painful irony, in that I've always considered Seth Stevenson Slate's resident Bro. He sounds cute though, I bet he is cute. I am totally going to google image him later.

3)Also, me and Seth Stevenson fly through time. The first BK ad I saw after reading this article was one with actual bros drawing on each other's faces and taping each other to chairs. For analysis, refer to paradigm train leaving station, above.

*No link to reviews because I could not find one that did justice to the giant stained glass Neptune in the back.

**I am the ideal consumer, I buy products for which I am totally aware I have neither need not desire because I liked the ad - this is a conscious part of my decision making process, and one for which I make no apologies. If we could bottle my brain, we would make a lot of money. Unf, it is stuck in my head, impoverishing me.

***The funniest part is the commenters insisting that THIS IS NOT EITHER Tarantino's directorial debut.

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