Ad Nauseous: The Worst Subway Ads of Feb. 2012

New York has to be one of the most ad-happy cities in the world. We’ll put an ad on everything except the homeless [but don’t be surprised if Disney dips their fingers in some homeless money]. We put ads on top of ads and when that ad is no longer relevant, we slap another one on. This whole city is fascinated with letting other people know that shit exists. Then, there are the ads that you see on a daily basis. You know, the ones that hang under the fluorescent lights while you wait for the train. You know that you read every single one of them. Considering that they change so frequently, I’ve decided to start this new series, showcasing the worst ads that CBS Outdoors had to offer for the month.

A short note before I start: I have already received feedback that this article should be more focused on in-train advertisements. I have chosen against this because not only is it difficult to get a clean shot of them, but they also stick around for ages. Focusing on the station ads allows me to write on a more consistent basis. However, I will sprinkle in some inside-ads in future articles.

Umm…¿que? On a daily basis, I feel alienated by my lack of bi-lingual skills. It’s not that I don’t have a desire to learn Spanish, I simply have a block in my brain preventing me from ever becoming fluent in another language. That, and it’s also a lack of confidence, but that’s just an educated guess. So this is an ad for a show on Telemundo, which is one that is not targeted to me because:

a. I don’t know spanish
b. I don’t have cable
c. I don’t know what is going on in the ad

Even for the fluent in all things Spanish, there is still nothing helpful going on here. As you will see in other reviews, I’m not asking for them to spell out what the show is actually about, but it should at least be able to convey a tone properly. Judging from this ad, it could be a spy thriller about an undercover school teacher, whose plans get foiled [in her own classroom, no less]. It could be a show for teenagers, in which they take over the school and hold the wicked headmaster hostage. It could be a tale of forbidden romance, as a teacher falls in love with her student/co-teacher/principal/janitor, but the dude is into some really kinky stuff. It could be a porno. It could be a news program. She might not even be sitting in a classroom. Is she even pissed off to be in handcuffs or is she just showing them off to the camera? Why would they cuff her in the front? What is up with those lighting slashes straight from a Bill Holshevnikoff video? Who IS this ad really targeted toward? WHAT IS THIS? For the sake of prolonging the mystery, here’s 3 hints:

1) imdb offers no description whatsoever
2) It premiered at the end of January and there’s already 25+ episodes
3) Its target audience is anybody who watches Telemundo

Yeah, that’s right. It’s a prime-time soap opera! Who would’ve thought these still existed? Prime-time soaps haven’t been popular in the States since they found out who shot J.R. [Kristin Shephard, Sue Ellen’s sister]. Who even has the time to park in front of the TV at the same time every night to watch the same show, knowing that if you miss one day, you’re lost? Apparently, a lot of people. This mystery ad garnered 1.9 million viewers for its opening night [only to taper off after that]. So it’s your choice on what the real moral is here: Either vague ads rally in a lot of interested parties or people will simply watch any bullshit, as long as it’s on TV.

I am not as dumb as I think or try to present myself as. I understand what they’re trying to say, but I just don’t understand why. There are much cooler things to do with a Powerball Jackpot than own an airline. Why would anyone think that owning an airline would be fun? First off, the Lottery Jackpot is big, but it isn’t THAT big. You need billions of dollars to even consider getting an airline off the ground [hah, pun]. As of today, the Power Ball jackpot is $60 million. If you’re starting your own airline [with a shitty name like Kevin’s Airline], you’re going to need new and reliable aircrafts to draw in customers. There’s no way you can get away with a run-down 1986 Embraer. No sir. You need a new aircraft, which will probably run you about $50 million [and then you have to pick it up…from Singapore]. That’s just one airplane. Where are you going to store that plane while you start scouting for a staff [if you rely on the lottery, you probably don’t know how to fly a plane]? One can purchase a decent hangar for around 100 grand, but it’ll be nowhere near any major airports or anywhere that you would want to be in the state of New York. And then, in order for Kevin Airlines to even be a feasible company, you have to also convince the major airports to even accept your services. With one aircraft presumably going nation-wide, you could hit the major cities once every 4 days. The airports and commuters are not going to like that. William Shatner would have to make negotiations to keep your flights off of We haven’t even discussed the cringe-inducing decals on the plane. What is this, the 1990’s posing as the 1970’s?!?!? Are people supposed to feel good about flying when some douchebag [presumably Kevin] is decaled on the tail with a shit-eating grin on his face? It appears to me that this plane is going to crash and Kevin will be laughing about it all way to the bank [and then jail].

So with that in mind, you would have to already be a millionaire and then win the lottery for that ad to be accurate. That’s not advertising. That’s the opposite of advertising. That’s false advertising. It’s much akin to the Pepsi points ad of yesteryear that promised a Harrier Jet to anyone who gathered 7 million Pepsi Points. Of course, Pepsi won this settlement because the dumbass paid $700,000 for the points straight from the company. If he would’ve hired a 12 year old kid to submit the authentic points, the outcome may have been different. But still, just because Pepsi won does not make it okay for companies to make frivolously false ads. You know there are at least 500 simpletons out there that actually believed the ad and bought more lottery tickets because of it. In that case…I guess it still worked…

Stolen from Mark in the City, as I forgot to take a picture of it myself.

There’s something about this ad that makes me feel really uncomfortable. It’s the straight pink hue that is both attention-grabbing and excruciatingly bland. It commands your attention, but then when it has it, there is simply nothing to be said. It sticks out like a sore thumb, but then only shows you a [to most people, but not me] sexy woman aged 18-55, dressed in a robe with digitally manipulated legs and a demonic look on her face [which may or may not be intentional]. Judging from her expression, is the quote supposed to be sarcastic or totally litertal? Is she the preacher’s wife that kills everybody, fucks everybody or both? What in the hell does GCB even stand for in the first place? Am I missing something here? Is this a show that’s already exploded in popularity, to the point that the title is just abbreviated and the scantily clad robe complete with the tagline is supposed to induce topical laughter?

Ugh. Just like every other ad, I have to do research on it. What I’ve found is just as dumb as the ad. GCB stands for Good Christian Bitches [please be a porno, please be a porno] and is a new comedy drama starring a bunch of middle-aged women that you’re supposed to have heard of [d’oh!]. The frightening woman in the ad is not even the main character nor is she a chum or BFF. She is actually just an antagonist, that also happens to be addicted to plastic surgery. Well that makes total sense. Let’s base an entire ad campaign around a character that only gets a few minutes of airtime per episode. Is the rest of the cast that hideous or unadvertisable? It would’ve made a lot more sense if they had the whole cast [or at least 60% of it] in the ad. Instead of standing in front of a pink fluorescent light, they can be in front of the church. Demon Lady can stand off to the side with her arms to her side. It’s simple, it’s practical, it’s easy on the eyes, and you know what, it would actually tell people a thing or two about the show! But telling people about the actual show is not something that ABC has strived to do for the past decade or so. They like to feed off the mystery behind their shittiness, at the risk of all of our brains.

I just really hope they tear down this monstrosity soon. It’s starting to give me seizures just thinking about it.

Most people are right. This is just an ad. Don’t try to tell me that it’s not an ad, because it is clearly just some ordinary ad. It’s an ad for a thing that gives you more ads. These cryptic and fresh-smelling messages have been littering the tunnels for over a month now, but I still don’t know anyone who has had the gumption to actually download the app. It requires you to send a code as a text message. This would be all fine and stuff if we actually got cell phone reception in the station! In order to do what this ad says, we have to see it, write down the codes, go above ground, send the message, wait for the download and then go back downstairs, as the ad is required for the app to work. Who has the time to do that?!?!? Is there people out there that really care that much about ads? People are going to buy tic-tacs regardless of their campaigning skills. It’s not like Breath Savers is going to drive them out of town. But they still feel the desire to make these desperate attempts at getting more customers. To find out what this app really does in the first place, let’s take a look at the demonstrational video:

So…instead of manipulating the ad itself, it is actually placing a completely different ad over the space that once contained the ad. In other words, there is no point at all and they wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars in implementing a worthless advancement in technology. Also, playing games are supposed to be fun. Holding a phone up to a Tic-Tac box in order to play one is not fun at all. I have a better idea: instead of wasting their money on new technology, they should’ve just made a new website. One filled with interactive ads and addictive games that all involve the consumption or presence of breath mints. It’d basically be, which was the pinnacle of digital candy advertising. But no, they can’t be that smart and our eyes have to pay for their mistakes. In speaking of mistakes…

This has to be the worst ad of the month. I don’t know how to kill people, but this ad makes me want to plan a genocide. When is the world going to wake up and realize that New Jersey is sooooo 2009? The state is useless to us once again, but the networks are still trying to milk the diseased cow. It’s come to the point that making fun of New Jerseans isn’t even funny anymore. I’m pretty sure we’re already at the point of ignoring them [unless you’re at The Patriot on a Wednesday night…wait…you ignore them there, too]. It seems like in this day and age, they will spray tan any random bimbo, surround her with cameras, put her on TV, slap the word Jersey somewhere in the title and then let the ratings roll in. Actually, this show does rack up some ratings [give or take a million per airing] and although it started in 2010, it’s already in it’s 4th season. I’m not sure what it’s even about, but it has something to do with a beauty salon and women putting chicken cutlets in their bras so that their hooters look all bigger and stuff [no lie]. And it is the biggest cash crop on the Style network. This just goes to show that television, in essence, has escaped me. I did not realize that reality TV actually got bigger, dumber and more popular. I surround myself with peers who do not watch television and my life has been much simpler ever since. I’m not criticizing the show itself [but if I watched it, I would] but rather the unoriginal concept and its ability to herd in the sheep.

Also, the ad. I hate this fuggin ad. Let’s start with the broad on the right. Where the hell did her earrings come from? A rhinestone strapless halter top? Gold chains that look like spray painted foil? Do people still dress like this? No wonder I’ve been single for 6 years. And for some reason, a person off-screen is pulling her hair. She does a decent job in looking annoyed, but I’m only saying this because I have no choice but to compare her to the hussie on the far left. It’s as if she did not know the context of what was going on in the ad and acted accordingly. She is merely standing there, hoping that her general demeanor looks annoyed enough. If they were actually allowed to talk, this is what they would be saying:

Woman on right: Owwww! Like…my hair…and shit! Owwwww!
Woman on left: This is…dumb…uh…

There’s a clear cut difference. The floozie on the left is just phoning it in. And for some reason, she is casually holding hands with the chick in the middle. I can see the point if she was trying to hang on for dear life, but it just doesn’t look like that. The only effect that the hand holding does is prove that the chick in the center was not photoshopped into the ad at the last minute, because that’s what it really looks like. She is convincingly confused about the whole situation [if there IS a situation] and for some reason, has a desire to run toward the camera. In fact, it looks like she’s already in the process of doing so. So she’s frolicking around while her two cohorts are generally annoyed-ish by the fact that some invisible people are pulling on their hair. Yeah, that makes sense. I can’t tell you how much of my life I have wasted just staring at this ad, wondering what has gone wrong in the universe. The answer that I’m looking for, as legend has it, lies somewhere in New Jersey.

Even though they were all really bad, those had to be the worst ads of the month. The frightening fact that I learned was that even though they were aesthetically atrocious, they probably still did a good job at reaching their audience. Join me next time, when I poke fun at the atrocious campaign for Men In Black III and probably some other terrible preview for a summer blockbuster movie that may or may not have been directed by McG.

Originally posted 3/6/12