Last Modified: Oct 1, 1995

Skippy's Guide to Life and Eternal Happiness

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Hey kids, Skipster comin at ya!

You know, it's funny. I love Friends - a wonderful show; well written, well acted, all of that good stuff. I really didn't have a point there. I thought that I did, but I was mistaken.

Ah yes, there it is - commercials. In particular, commercials that attempt to speak to the X-generation (I just dig that name). Have you noticed how wide awake and upbeat these supposed slackers are? For instance, the weird chick in the VW Golf ad.

First off, I've seen her acting in other things. Now I know that all of these people in commercials are actors but they are shooting for the illusion of reality right? The thing is, the advertisers really ought to know that twentysomethings can pick out actors in commercials in a heartbeat. Hell, for us it's like seeing old friends on the street, our dividing line between illusion and reality is tenous at best. So the least thay could do is get real unknowns to play these slacker types in their ads.

Second, where the hell did she get all that energy? I know, she says at the end that she should cut back on the caffeine, but how many Xers do you know with that much energy no matter how much coffee they drink. For most of us, we need a gallon or two a day just to begin dealing with life. I don't want to think how much you would have to drink to be that damn peppy.

Third and finally, when is VW going to realize that they make cheap Volvos and stop trying to be hip? Sorry guys, but your cars are hideous boxy contraptions that have just enough curves to keep them from being distinctive. You want an ad campaign? I'll give you an ad campaign!

Have some middle-aged schmuck type stand in front of an array of all of your cars. He will then say this: "We know that VW's are ugly and boxy, we know that we haven't had a fresh design since the Beetle, but our cars are reasonably cheap and probably won't fall apart before they're paid off. What the heck more do you want from a car than that anyway?" I'd buy one, that is if I could afford to even think of a car with less than 50,000 miles on it, I'd buy one. I don't mean to single out VW of course, all of the car commercials are bad, I especially love the ones that show twentysomethings getting all hot for dual airbags, yeah that's something my friends and I worry about when looking at cars. "Well but gee Bob, that Viper doesn't have dual airbags you know."

I suppose you could make the argument that it is impossible to market to a generation that just doesn't seem to give a shit, but you would be wrong. This brings us back to Friends (you see, I knew there was a point). This show is one of the greatest marketing jobs I have ever seen. We watch Friends not because it is a great show, we watch because they keep it just close enough to reality for us to believe we could all have friends like that. I was having coffee with a friend a while back and he said that Friends wasn't even close to reality. I proceeded to list all of the problems that the cast had gone through in the previous season. He finally admitted that perhaps that aspect was somewhat real, but insisted life just wasn't that witty. I told him it's simple really, if someone were to follow any six friends around for a week and then edit out the boring parts, they could probably come up with half an hour of brilliantly funny stuff.

I guess that you can look at it two ways. Either we're all living a TV show or TV has gotten really boring.


Back to the Tank

Skippy's Columns:
Skippy Looks at the TV Season
An Open Letter to Mr. Bob Dole
Let us Bow Our Heads in Prayer
The Family Column
Random Ideas
Why is Skippy Here?

Questions, problems, concerns? (complaints you can keep to yourself, I have enough problems) write skippy!

copyright © 1995,1996 Dean Shutt

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