My wife regularly teases me because I like to watch commercials. I tell her she doesn’t understand the beauty of the medium. To grab someone’s attention, make them feel something, and hopefully make a positive association with your product…all in the span of 30 seconds…that’s pretty cool. I even like bad commercials because they are almost as memorable as good ones.

Soon the Dwyer household has plans to cut the cord on our cable and switch to internet-based television. What this means is that we’ll also (mostly) be losing commercials. And I feel weird about it. So it’s got me thinking about some of my all-time favorites. Many involve catch phrases that still litter my vocabulary. A selection below:

“Punch it Margaret”

Punch it, Margaret!

“You’re driving like a bat out of Hades”

Fairfield Inn – No Passing Zone commercial

“Whoa Nellie.”

Keith Jackson Miller Lite commercial 1995

And then there are the commercials that pluck at your heartstrings because they are either A) tear-jerkers B) hilarious or C) just make you want to tap your feet.

Is Budweiser's Superbowl ad the cutest ever?

ESPN – Arnold Palmer – The Machine | 2 Spots

iPod Ad : The Fratellis – Flathead

True art, when done right. So… what are you reading and/or watching?

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Mike Dwyer is a writer in Louisville, KY. He writes about culture and the outdoors for Ordinary Times. He is also one of several Kentucky authors featured in the book This I Believe: Kentucky. Mike is active on Facebook and Instagram. He lives with his wife and daughters in the distant suburbs, at the place where neighborhoods give way to farms and forest.

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18 thoughts on “Sunday!

  1. The thing I am looking forward to the least in our new post-commercial landscape:

    “Morning, co-star. Whatcha up to?”
    “Good morning! I’m just enjoying an Egg McMuffin made with egg whites so it only has 300 calories! I got it off of the extra value menu so I was able to buy two and get a fresh roasted cup of coffee for under $5!”
    “Hey, can I have one?”
    “At this price, you can afford to get your own!”
    (laugh track)


    • So, taking it back to the 50’s? Also, this is already beginning – Chuck and Community both got extra seasons becuase Subway was “integrated” within both shows.


      • It was exactly the scenes in Chuck where Big Mike was rhapsodizing about his various Subway sandwiches that I was thinking of as I wrote that.

        They did their darnedest to pull off Product Placement in a way that amused rather than irritated and they came close… but I still found myself yanked out of the show and vaguely irritated/resentful.

        But Big Mike was a charming guy and if there was anybody on the show who might have gotten me to say “Man… a sandwich *DOES* sound pretty good…”, it would have been him.


        • It sometimes seems like every single candy joke on TV comes from a friend of mine.
          Not everything’s about product placement — sometimes it’s about “please don’t sue us!!”


  2. We switched to internet only a few years ago, and I too miss commercials. Well, not entirely as the commercials on the various streaming services get repeated over and over and over…

    But yeah, they can be works of art. This one has stayed in my mind for years (partially as I am a car dork):


  3. I don’t MIND them, but I do mind the increasing creep of them, where some shows will show five minutes of commercials, two minutes of show, and then back to five minutes of commercials.

    I suspect that those folks who DON’T “cut the cable” have more of that to look forward to. Already a half-hour program is something like 22 minutes of actual program and eight of ads; I wouldn’t be surprised to see a future with equal amounts of ads and actual programming.


  4. Did you miss the “steal a baby” commercial?
    OMFG, they got in SO MUCH TROUBLE for that one…
    (way, way more than the “pretend to be terrorists breaking into someone’s home to sell something” ad).

    I know someone who runs an Ad Agency — I’m pretty sure that he’d say 30 seconds to sell something is way, way too long. [Pittsburgh tourism scored on the latest season of Arrested Development — can you remember the joke?]


  5. I don’t mind commercials. I enjoy well made ones, and it both baffles and horrifies my wife when I sing jingles going back to the 80s. What I find aggravating, though, is lack of variety and back loading shows.

    If you watch multiple shows on a cable news channel, for example, you’ll likely hear several of the same commercials across the shows. Watch that time slot on multiple days, and you’re hearing the same commercials over and over and over again. Even the most clever commercial will get old. If there were more variety, I wouldn’t be nearly as annoyed.

    TNT’s strategy for playing commercials during movies makes me not want to watch movies on their network. At the beginning, they have few and short commercial breaks while you get invested in the plot, then much more frequent breaks with more commercials as you get near the end. I rarely ever watch movies on basic cable anymore. If there’s something I want to see playing, I just try to make a mental note to catch it somewhere else.


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