Thursday, December 30, 2004

So my new favorite commercial is a Rawlings basketball commercial. You'll know it when you see it.

My new least favorite commercial is the commercial for the "Big & Tasty" burger from McDonald's dollar menu. Not only is it a paean to a really crappy piece of food, and has the sort of hyperbolic voice over that make sme want to choke the creative team behind the commercial, but the dude at the end of the commercial doesn't even deliver his line well.

Pre-dating the "SuperSize Me" brou-haha, and the lawsuit where the fat kids tried to sue McDonalds, books were coming out basically trying to make you run screaming from your local McDonalds. An image problem to be sure. With some minor menu changes and a new, hip spin on a nasty, old product, McDonalds decided "I'm Lovin' It!" would be rapped, sung and generally forced into the stickier crevices in the back of your mind.

McDonalds advertising is really at its best when they throw Ronald (Me) into a commercial with Grimace (Randy). Ronald and Grimace do something stupid and then chase around the Hamburglar (who is, in more ways than I can count, exactly like Jim D). It's a simple formula. It reminds you of McDonalds as a name, makes their product sort of fun, and appeals across a wide audience. (Actually, I used to think those Fry Guys [Jamie] were hilarious).

The commercials starring actual people appearing to be happy at McDonalds have never worked out quite as well.

The "I'm Lovin' It" campaign has done more to steer League HQ away from McDonalds than any five anti-McDonalds documentaries could dream of doing. Simply, I am not lovin' it. I am trying to get a coke and fries because you're the only fast place to get a bit between home and work. Unless I want Del Taco. And, no, I don't want Del Taco, either.

There's nothing hip about pre-cooked/ microwaved burgers. There's nothing emotionally gratifying about eating at McDonalds. it's simply something to feel vaguely guilty about.

The Big & Tasty Burger costs a mere $1.00. Which, in this land of $8.00 cheeseburgers, is a hard thing to look away from. Of course, most likely, The Big & Tasty tastes like it costs a dollar, and we have to remember it's all about volume sales with McDonalds. THus, the dollar menu.

But that doesn't stop the subject of our commercial, who is sitting alone in a McDonalds, from waxing rhapsodic upon the topic of his Big & Tasty (which may be my new name for Jason, btw). He compares the burger to the Pyramids, the wonders of Rome, on and on about how amazing a $0.05 bun, a scrap of lettuce, a wiggly tomato slice and a microwaved hunk of beek really are.

I think he then says something out loud to his burger (the gushing praise arriving in VO), like "how do they do it?"

Our burger loving hero (who has his eyes locked upon his burger as if, maybe, he will soon make sweet, sweet love to the burger) is revealed to not be alone! Rather, he is with Stock Player #372 from the WB's central casting. Stock Player #372 is the now popular chubby, curly haired, goateed slacker made popular in ads for FedEx and Fritos.

Our Burger Fool is woken from his reverie by Stock Player #372, and the hilarious (I mean HIGH-LARIOUS!) line, "Dude, you're talking to your burger."


Oh, man. Just sit back and let that one soak in. "Dude, you're talking to your burger." As if... ha ha... as if the burger can, you know, HEAR HIM!!!! Where do they come up with this stuff? No wonder I could never make it in advertising. Crap, that's funny.

The line delivery by #372 is the interesting part. With only 6 words to deliver in about two seconds, #372 makes the most of it. Instead of being just another actor delivering his lines in a believable fashion so as to convey some semblance of reality, #372 decides to tackle the line as if he actually doesn't understand what he's saying, or, perhaps, as if he's been kicked in the head mutliple times by a horse.

"Dude," he says, sort of slapping his friend's arm, trying to bring him back to reality. "You're talking to your burger." The burger isn't going to respond, man! it can't hear YOU!!! Don't talk to the burger!

Never before has a more wooden performance displaying such a stunning lack of talent been seen in a mere two seconds. Normally I'd love this, but at this point, McDonald's advertising just depresses me. This is yet another in a long line of cheerless McDonald's commercials formulated to joylessly appeal to a demographic which is pretty much a gimme if you're a teen-ager living in suburban sprawl, anyway.

Now, talent or no, #372 is going to make a boatload of cash for being in a nationally televised spot that runs all the time. Them's the rules with SAG. And you have to like that.

It is The League's suggestion to #372 that he spend his money one of two ways:

1) Paying back his parents for any money they have spent allowing him to be trained as an actor.

2) Tuition for college so #372 can select a new career more suitable to his skills. Such as, I dunno, not being on my TV anymore.

Soon the commercial will be little more than a memory, but may the dream of #372 and his poor line delivery live on.

God bless us every one.

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