I saw the best TV commercial ever, and I care, but I don’t.


image: moviepilot.com

Now, I do consider myself to be “Ad-Proof.” I mean, advertisements have no power over me. Of this fact, I am certain. And proud. I can watch ad after ad and not be compelled to buy whatever the product is. It’s a Super Power of mine.

Here are my secrets.

(There are two, really.)

1. I don’t care.

2. I’m not paying attention.

I’m not sure which comes first. It’s a chicken or the egg thing.

The bottom line is this: I don’t need anything. I’ve already decided that before watching. New bank. New car. New detergent. New phone. New app. I don’t need these things. I’m not sure I even need the ones I have now.

I’m not rich. My home is not well-appointed. But most of what I really need, I have.

This desk. This computer. This roof. These plates. That soap. Until a couple of years ago, I had a 27″ box TV that weighed half a ton. I got it in the late 90s. I upgraded to a flat screen a couple of years ago and its much nicer. I like it a lot.

But I don’t need it.

Better? Faster? Shinier? My plastic, hand-operated toothbrush works great. I replace it as needed. I don’t need new tech in it. Bristles cut to different angles? That change color? I hear there is a blue-tooth enabled toothbrush with an app you can download that tells you how well you clean your chompers.

There’s a word for that:


At best, an ad might, emphasis on might, make me aware of some product I wasn’t aware of. Chances are it won’t. Because I can watch the same ad half a dozen times and not recall what brand it’s for, or what the product was. This is especially true of today’s ads, which like to entertain first, then inject the brand or product into your veins at the end. That actually advances my ad-proofiness. I’m already numb to the intended effect, so under-emphasizing the brand or product only makes me less inclined to go belly up to the ad.

But I might enjoy it, if it’s clever.

Which brings me to this ad. This is the most entertaining ad I’ve ever seen. Jeff Goldblum does a sort of self-deprecating imitation of Christopher Walken imitating celebrity culture, all in the guise of promoting light bulbs. It’s clever and memorable and funny, and it’s caused me to do something I would ordinarily never consider doing.

Share a link to an ad.

I bet that’s just what they wanted me to do. Because it’s also one of the longest ads I’ve seen. Clearly, these people are up to something. And perhaps they’ve won.

I’m slightly embarrassed, now that I think about it.

Perhaps I’ve been manipulated.

But I’ve already written the post.

I won’t plug the light source.

Here it is:

41 thoughts on “I saw the best TV commercial ever, and I care, but I don’t.

  1. So, I dutifully watched this commercial that you so highly recommended. Based upon your build up, I expected to be blown away. All I can say after watching it is that I’m so glad I pay $10 a month for a DVR that I use to record virtually everything I watch on TV so that I can skip through every commercial they air. Including this one. Sorry, Walt. Not blown away. But, as they say, different strokes for different folks.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Now I quite like this ad, but after watching it for a second, third, fourth, fifth…I’m gonna get bored with it. Which brings me to my question, Walt. What’s the average life time of an ad before it disappears off our screens never to be seen again?


    • Oh it will never get boring! Just look at the nuances of the great Jeff Goldblum’s performance. The way he splashes the water in the hot tub, for example. Magnificent!

      Now that’s a good question, Hugh. I don’t know. Weeks? A month?

      I like to watch classic ads on YouTube on occasion. Stuff from the 70s and 80s. Interesting to see how things have changed over time.


      • I think it all depends on the advert. Some seem to come back after being off screen for a year or so, while others I may see just the once, but I guess it’s all down to the company doing the advertising and how much they are willing to pay to have it screened and when. Plus, a fresh new advert for a product is always good I suppose because when it is first aired, most people will probably watch it.

        I’m with you on the stuff from the 70’s and 80’s. We had a store here in the UK called Woolworths that went bust a few years back and their ads from the 70’s were simply the best, especially their Christmas ones. They are still around but only online now.


      • I’ve never seen one come back over here, although I once thought it might be clever if a company were to “rerun” a classic ad. But then again, I don’t really know, because I pretty much stopped watching television a couple of years ago, and when I do, I fast forward through the commercials.


  3. I’m glad you shared. I think. Hm, not sure. Can’t un-see anyof that, which is no doubt what the marketing folks were after.

    But yes, thanks. It is a giggle-fest, no question.

    It does re-confirm my commitment to avoid ads as you do. No cable TV in our house and I’ve become quite good at screening/tuning them out online, though sometimes the effort of resistance can make me irritable.


  4. “Sell the sizzle, not the steak.” Lights are pretty mundane things, ubiquitous, pretty much unsexy. The advertisement concentrates on the sizzle, which sets up desires in the potential customer for yet another thing he/she can live without just fine, thank you, but won’t, thanks to the advertisement. It’s good advertising, which means it appeals to some desire you may not have identified in yourself, but can relate to once the advertiser opened your mind to the possibilities of some benefit of buying the product advertised.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well said, WB! Oh believe me, I absolutely have a desire to be favorably lit. I know how disadvantageous poor lighting can be in romantic pursuits, for example. I commend the manufacturers for developing a product they believe will benefit me in this regard. And perhaps our relationship as vendor and consumer could be mutually beneficial. That is to say, if I were to buy their product, they might profit. This could work out great for all of us! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  5. SO-O-O ditto. I know that sometime way down the road – something I saw or heard in an ad – subliminally hung over me and persuaded me to lean toward buying the product or brand I heard advertised. I’m not advertising proof, but I feel r-e-a-l-l-y good that companies have wasted a ton of money on trying to get a sale. On the other hand, those company dollars spent on advertising just increased the price for everyone.


  6. That was goofy, but amusing. Thank you for sharing. (That feels positively odd to say about an add. <.< )
    Definitely shades of the continental in that one.

    I think it's worth mentioning a bit of how advertisements work, because you might find it neat.
    It's all about repetition. They don't need to sell you the individual the specific product, they rely on a variation of confirmation bias and numbers. If they can get enough people to hear it often enough, they'll get sales. Not to mention it's mostly about cultural buy in, a large point of advertisements is to convince people that they need to 'upgrade', or that when they do replace a thing that they'll have a brand in mind.

    Repetition is insidious stuff in the land of information; there was a study where they demonstrated that even when attempting to dispel an urban myth as false, with people acknowledging the falseness of it, those same people who are told about it being false would be later still believe the urban myth.
    In fact the study found that just talking about the urban myth, again even in an attempt to dispel it, further solidified peoples belief in it. They didn't even remember it being disproved to them.
    This is because one of the ways the brain evaluates truth is by looking to the number of iterations it has seen a thing, the brain accepts the common event or statement as the true one. Even if it's a false dichotomy and both are truth.
    Like if I tell you the urban myth about "swallowing 8 spiders in your sleep per year" is entirely fictitious, and was spread by a journalist in an attempt to show how urban myths spread, and you weren't previously aware of its hoax status, well the next steps you take with your brain will help determine if you keep the information that it's false, or if I have unintentionally reinforced in your mind its "truthiness".
    The way to circumvent that is to actually evaluate the knowledge and critically consider what it means for a thing to not be true, to examine the claim and the impacts of the claim.
    (Which is essentially what you're doing when you determine that you don't need to buy their stuff because what you have works just fine. Confirmation bias is a double edged sword, so maybe the ads are confriming your belief that you don't need to buy stuff. *chuckles*)

    Subliminal messaging doesn't work, but encouraging people to believe that passively listening ("tuning out") to a thing doesn't impact them, even though just passive listening still triggers their brain to think of it as a repetition, is pretty darned close.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. This is hilarious, and I’m loving his side-kick (George – Sienfeld?) assistant. Advertising people spend hours in dark rooms plotting how to make people click only to be spanked by filthy rich clients and hated by the world. Send them this post, it will make their day.


    • Glad you enjoyed it. This in my opinion is the most entertaining ad ever, and I feel it’s vastly under appreciated based on the the feedback I’ve gotten. Or maybe it just appeals to my very specific sense of humor. I hope they’ve sold a lot of their trash bags, or whatever.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I can’t believe I just liked an ad for light bulbs, light bulbs that I can’t even buy where I live. The power of advertising is strong in this one.


  9. Gosh, that’s such a very, very long advert! Do people in America really sit in their armchairs and watch a single advert for a single product for the entire ad break? Over here in the UK individual ads are rarely more than 15 – 30 seconds long. Most people take them as an opportunity to go and put the kettle on for a cup of tea, thereby occasionally causing a surge on the National Grid and a dip in the living-room lighting. And when that happens, presumably we all suddenly look like Goldblum in his unlit state. πŸ™‚


    • That is a long one, isn’t? Gloriously, wonderfully long. And it’s not the norm over here either, the norm is just what you describe, kettle and bad lighting and all. And those of us with good lighting have the swim-up piano, too, you know. πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

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