So you're an inventor, and you've just created a product that actually sucks quite a bit more than the ones people are already using. How do you sell it?
Why, by creating a cornball TV ad that portrays everyday tasks as being next to impossible without your product. As we'll see, the results range from ridiculous to downright sad.
What they're selling:
The MagneScribe is a magnetic pen which attaches to a pendant that's a combination digital clock and mirror that rocks a fly, Flava Flav look when not writing. It simultaneously maintains a perpetual state of writing-readiness and the ability to confirm whether someone is a vampire.
First, there is the sequence where someone is shown trying to unsuccessfully impale the cap of a normal pen, which suggests not only a lack of familiarity with pens, but also the visual-spatial reasoning ability of a pot-smoking chimp.
Then, when the lost pen lady finally responds to the "Call Now" command, she's placing her order and taking notes with ... a MagneScribe pen?
What the hell? We couldn't sleep for three days after we saw that. We kept picturing ourselves saying, "Man, I sure could use a MagneScribe about now," and then suddenly feeling a strange weight on our chest, the dangling pen was already laying gently against our belly. Oh, don't bother ordering the MagneScribe. It will find you.
Throughout the ad, we have the girl flailing around under a piece of furniture for her fallen pen, displaying both the poor vision and limited arm span of a T-Rex. Of course, the MagneScribe pen can't fall out of your hand; if you drop it the pen will come flying back through the air and re-attach itself to the magical pendant.
They were selling this thing for $30. You know how many regular pens you can buy for thirty bucks? Three hundred.
You could keep a barrel of the things next to the sofa and every time you drop one, fuck it,grab a new one. But hell, even if the thing was free, having constant access to a pen in the off chance that we might need one isn't worth looking like a tool 100 percent of the time. It is a specific application of the more general 'fanny-pack' principle.
9My Lil' Reminder
What they're selling:
A digital recorder, which is like an MP3 player except it records instead of playing back and can only hold one 30-second track so you can leave yourself reminders in audio form. "Shit, where did I put my digital recorder? Fuck!"
The scene opens with a senile grandma wandering around a parking lot. Weighing her options, which are searching for her car using a systematic procedure or talking to herself out loud before grabbing her head in frustration, she chooses the latter.
Sadly, if you're constantly forgetting things, lack the problem-solving skills to compensate, and cannot manage enough insight into your own uselessness to carry around a pen and paper with you at all times, then you may have advanced Alzheimer's Disease. You have no business wandering around a parking lot unescorted, let alone getting behind the wheel of a car or operating a digital recording device.
We must admit, though, that the bit with the guy using it for storing driving directions was pretty convincing. If we ever sense that our ambient levels of smiling doucheness are running low, we'll be sure to place an order.
Of course, that's assuming the thing works properly. According to people who actually used the product:
"... you have to practically stick the thing inside your ear to hear it."
"On Friday I told my wife that she urgently had to get her medication from the pharmacy ... She recorded the message on her recorder (I saw her do it) ... she couldn't play back what was on the recorder. It was too late to go to any pharmacy ... My wife didn't get her medication. The funeral was Monday."