I Ain’t Buyin’ It

TSTAs I age, I find I have less and less patience with commercials, which is one of the reasons that Muri and I rarely watch TV together unless I’ve recorded it on Tivo.  She gets tired on my ongoing commentary on the commercials and my monologues with the product spokesman.    Still, occasionally we watch an old movie or sports together and she has to put up with it.   So here on Top Sites Tuesday #238, once again, I’m going offer Two Thoughts on Tuesday on the commercials I love to hate.  The other night, the network kept playing the latest series of H&R Block commercials a green bow-tied tax accountant telling us we need to get our billion dollars back.

Is anyone inclined to take their taxes to H&R Block because of this guy? I asked Muri, who just shook her head.   Then I realized that he looks a lot like my tax guy, Bob.  Bob would never be caught dead in that green bow-tie.  Right, Bob?  Right?  But theconservativeincomeinvestor.com says this is a brilliant commercial, so who am I to say?   Next, we’ve got an eHarmony commercial featuring the company’s smarmy founder-spokesman, Neil Clark Warren.

Seriously, who’s creepier, Warren or the guy in face paint?  I know … one of you will tell me that because I remembered these commercials, they worked.  And if I was in the market a new accountant (Which I’m not, as long as there’s no green bow-tie.  Right, Bob?), I’d think of H&R Block first.  And if I were looking for a new woman (definitely not), creepy Mr.Warren would lead me to eHarmony.  Perhaps, but only to pass them by in search of an advertiser who actually supplies information.

So Thought Number One is this: I just don’t get commercial spokespersons, how they’re picked and why anyone cares.  How did an ordinary guy like Jerrod Fogel become the spokesman for Subway for so many years?  Oh, yeah, he earned it (the hard way) … by losing 225 pounds eating nothing but Subway sandwiches.  Now he’s gradually being replaced by swimmer Micheal Phelps, speed skater Apolo Ohno and some blonde gymnast whose name escapes me.  OK, I looked it up, she’s Nastia Luikin.  That’s what Jerrod must have said when faced with another Subway sandwich at the end of a year … Ohno, this sandwich is looking Nastia.   Don’t feel too bad … Fogel is supposedly worth $15 million as a result of his gig. Progressive Insurance’s Flo was funny for a while but her schtick is wearing thin, particularly since she added singing to her commercial repertoire.

Yes, for some reason, many men find her incredibly hot … it must be a make-up fetish.   And after trying an assortment of red-headed characters, wendys girlmale and female, Wendy’s Restaurant seems to have settled on cute but annoying Morgan Smith Goodwin.  According to Faster Times, Goodwin has men doing more than buying Wendy’s burgers.  So much for the sexual revolution.  There are, of course, a few commercial icons that even an old curmudgeon like I can appreciate.   The Dos Equis Most Interesting Man in the World has become a cult figure, spawning hundreds of parodies and websites featuring readers ideas for his exploits.   And Dean Winters, the walking mayhem for State Farm’s auto insurance commercials is always good for a laugh that also reminds us how much we need auto insurance.

Perhaps the most iconic spokesman of all time was the Marlboro Man.  This rugged western character, usually pictured on a horse with a cigarette hanging from his lips, was invented by Phillip Morris Company in 1954.   At the time, filter cigarettes had recently been introduced and were regarded as smokes for women and being advertised as safer than the unfiltered brands.   Marlboro chosemarlboro to skip the health claims and focus on real men smoking their brand.  Initially, the commercials were to feature a variety of men in masculine settings … sailors, construction workers, weightlifters … but the first commercial, featuring a cowboy, increased the sales of Marlboro from less than one percent of the market to the fourth best selling brand in  just a year. From that point on, the commercials featured real working cowboys recruited from ranches and rodeos.  The best known of the Marlboro men was ranch hand Darrell Winfield who played the Marlboro Man for over 20 years.  At least three of the men who portrayed the Marlboro Man have died of smoking related diseases, including Eric Lawson, who died last year.  So, Thought Number TwoIs this Karma or just belated truth-in advertising?

Who are your favorite and least favorite commercial icons?  You can tell me in my comments section, right after you push my button … gently … to make me Number One on Top Sites Tuesday #238.

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9 Comments on “I Ain’t Buyin’ It”

  1. cherperz Says:

    If it wasn’t for your occasional posts on the subject, I might never see any of these commercials. Even on “real time” TV I pause it so I don’t have to watch commercials.

    You are 100 percent right on the E harmony guy…that is creepy. I would of rather listened to the guy tell me about his cats.

    I wouldn’t be considering H & R Block ..but not because of the spokesperson, but because of all the part timers that go over there to work seasonally because they were hard up for cash. They take the quickie course so they can do taxes. I prefer to know my accountant went to “real” accounting school and not taken a 6 week course on how to use some software. I try to be kind to the Block company though as they pour a lot of money into my community. The Block family is very generous to Kansas City. They still won’t get my accounting business though. I probably would tell anyone I know that files an 1040EZ to go to them…if the EZ is still too hard.


    • oldereyes Says:

      There’s another commercial in which Mr. eHarmony is showing up at romantic interludes between couples who met on eHarmony which is even creepier. I didn’t know H&R used so many part timers but I suppose it makes sense. I, too, have a real CPA do my taxes.

      I don’t know if you subscribe to my comments but if you do, I can’t find the place to comment on your blog (and I’m supposed to be the computer geek). I used to sign in with Discus but I can’t find it which is why I didn’t comment on your post yesterday.

      • Cheryl P. Says:

        This is the thing about Disqus that makes me crazy. Every once in awhile, there is a period of time that if people use different browsers, the Disqus comment section won’t load onto their computers. It tends to correct itself in time but…if you have more than one browser on your computer, you might get Disqus to show up on an alternate browser. One blog, I follow, I can only leave comments on my Ipad as their comment section won’t show up on either IE or Firefox.

    • Steve LOT Says:

      Actually, if you would take the time to do any amount of research, you would know that H&R Block only hires people that have successfully completed a 12 week course, and also keeps up with the additional training provided throughout the year. Because “tax season” is only a for a few months of the year, of course some of the tax preparers have other jobs. I work for Block, and a coworker that joined the team this year had her previous three years returns reviewed for free (Second Look is available free of charge for anyone) after having used the same CPA for over 10 years. They found her $3,000 that was overlooked by her CPA that went to “real” accounting school. We stand behind all of our tax experts, and no one preparers without successful completion of all related courses.

      Even if you choose not to use Block, I encourage all of you to take your return to an office after you file just to have them look it over. Again, it is free of charge, and if there are any errors that may have been overlooked, they can amend it for a small fee.

      • oldereyes Says:

        Well, Steve, this is clearly a commercial for H&R Block but since it’s pertinent, I’m not going to Trash it. There are certainly good and bad CPAs but in spite of your story, I’m sticking with my CPA. Cheryl called the courses you take “quickie” courses six weeks long. To me, twelve weeks is still a quickie course, but then I’ve got several graduate degrees. My CPA is an expert in tax law … you don’t get that in 12 weeks and in my business, I need that. I have nothing against H&R Block, though, I just find the commercials annoying … which is why I edited the company tagline out of the end of your comment.

      • Cheryl P. Says:

        I stand corrected. Actually the second I hit send, I realized the 6 should of been 12.

        I wouldn’t go so far as to say I don’t do my research. Last November a local judge consolidated 14 lawsuits against Block to be tried in a western Missouri District court dealing with improperly prepared returns. At that time according to the Kansas City Business Journal there were more than 500,000 people involved in class actions lawsuits due to errors. (http://www.bizjournals.com/kansascity/news/2013/11/05/hr-block-faulty-returns-lawsuits.html)

        I don’t work for Block but I know more than a few of the part timers that do. Some are, indeed, good and some aren’t. (as in any field) I prefer my accountants to be true CPAs. Perhaps that isn’t necessarily an assurance of having a correct return. I will say, my son-in-law had a return done by Block and had errors that were corrected by an accounting firm which probably biased me. BUT, I shouldn’t generalize..so your point is taken.. I apologize for offending you.

      • Steve Lot Says:

        Sorry you had that experience, Cheryl. No offense taken, just trying to put in my 2cents, for whatever it’s worth. 🙂

  2. liggybee Says:

    You know what I’m looking forward to? The Superbowl commercials! I always find those entertaining (other than the half-time show), 🙂

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