Even the "hippest" brand is run by a bunch of middle-aged marketing executives pretending they're cool 16-year-olds -- as though "cool 16-year-olds" are even a thing that exists. Nothing is more cringeworthy than a detergent ad telling you to "dab" out chocolate stains while a CGI cat does a Fortnite dance. Well, almost nothing ...
Xfinity has learned what memes are, and boy are they excited.
That's a 15-second clip of two grown human beings who once dreamt of serious acting careers droning "Yaaaaaaaaas" at each other while very clearly dying inside.
At least someone at Xfinity had the forethought to disable the YouTube comments. Want to see if you have the fortitude to suffer through another one? You brave soul.
The couple is playing one of those classic racing games that require you to repeatedly mash one button. Then the victorious woman calls her husband / boyfriend / fellow pod person a "n00b!" As people do all of the time in genuine face to face conversation. And then this happens:
The man responds by declaring, "Ain't nobody got time for that!" and leaving the scene on a hoverboard, hopefully to find a better life. Or at least a better commercial. Certainly a better company -- though the bar for that is obviously quite low.
Imagine you're the middling French soccer team Nantes FC, and you would very much like for the world to pay attention to your hot new signing. What do you do? Why, you use footage from the megahit game Fortnite, which kids play in order to avoid sports.
The promo begins with a squad of two players in black and yellow jerseys, alongside what looks like John Wick after he got really into making his own kombucha.
He vaguely resembles the team manager, and the players vaguely resemble a team that actually wears yellow and green. So far, so ... well, "good" seems a bit generous. So far, so-so. Next comes standard Fortnite gameplay, as the manager and his elite team jump to the island and go meet up at a soccer stadium.
They don't bother editing out the boring parts, so enjoy watching the coach look at a ruined swimming pool and steal a shotgun from a gas station. Once they reach the stadium, they jog around and do nothing noteworthy for so long that everyone watching has to stop and wonder, "I know this is the internet and all, but surely we can do better than this?"
And then John Wick and his bizarre soccer henchmen leave through the back door. But someone's lurking out there, and it's not some asshole camping with a rocket launcher.
Nantes FC/Epic Games
Why, it's their latest signing, Lucas Evangelista! After a shockingly poor transition, he turns and waves at the camera while looking confused and regretful. The poor guy. Most soccer players sell cars and aftershave while looking ruggedly handsome, and he's stuck executing the most baffling publicity stunt since the Dodgers announced their new star pitcher by slowly unearthing him in Minecraft.
After years of trying to convince us that we should drink caffeinated artificial sweetener for health benefits, Coke finally realized that no one was buying it, and a change of strategy was in order.
The ad stars Gillian Jacobs, cashing an easy paycheck as a literal walking hipster millennial stereotype. She offers up profound wisdom like "If you're in the mood for a diet coke, have a diet coke." She also adds that life is short, and running marathons "sounds super hard." Which is a gussied-up way of saying, "You're going to die sooner or later, and you know you hate taking care of your body, you fat sack of shit. Guzzle down one of our products to ease the pain and bring merciful oblivion closer."
"If you want to live in a yurt, yurt it up" the Coke explainer decrees with a sassy shrug. Have a Diet Coke just because you can. Fuck the consequences, haters! "Do whatever the fuck you want, because nothing matters and you kind of want to die anyway," the commercial starts to say before the writer is dragged away from their Twitter feed by people who care about them.
How do you send the message that women are just as capable of working in science as men? If you're the EU's European Commission, you make a commercial that looks like a music video crossed with the story part of a porno, then fill it with lipstick and makeup. You know, that crap broads love.
The intent was admirable, but you don't fight lazy stereotypes by reinforcing them. For starters, the only actual scientist in the lab is a bewildered male.
EU European Commission
Then we get a montage of high heels and painted nails alongside explosions of color and whatever scientific concepts the creators could recall from remedial middle school chemistry.
EU European Commission
Hydrogen exists! And so do girls! Science! The fever dream ends with the message "Science: It's a Girl Thing," only the "i" in "science" is lipstick.
EU European Commission
We're not saying that you can't be both fashionable and a scientist, but -- just going out on a limb here -- wouldn't it make more sense to show already successful European women working as scientists?
EU European Commission
The EC even had to clarify their video wasn't meant as a joke, although it was soon retired after the overwhelming backlash and parade of parodies. In an interview, a paleontologist (and, gasp, woman) pointed out that "[It includes] all the things we worry about with gender stereotyping and body image these days. You could not make it up."
This anti-smoking commercial metastasized onto TV screens in 2015, and TV has been on chemo ever since. If you haven't pulled the plug on cable, here's the best evidence yet for why you should:
If you made it through the whole thing, we'd first like to thank you for your service.
Whenever a teenager in the ad offers an excuse for why the odd cigarette is OK, the Archaic Rap guy, Ermahgerd girl, and other outdated memes pop up to announce "It's a trap!" You know, like from Star Wars. Get it? Nothing reaches the kids these days quite like a 15-year-old meme based on a movie from 1983.
Co-starring alongside the memes are Z-list YouTube celebrities, who might sway the odd 12-year-old but probably don't have much influence on the health of college-bound teens. It's like using Logan Paul to sell baked beans. You've just stuck a couple of random things together, declared it "dank," and called it a day without giving thought as to whether it makes any goddamn sense.
Subway's popularity has waned over the years, possibly because they charge eight bucks for a foot of moist rubber. So they teamed up with a hip new ad agency for the Make It What You Want campaign, going for "a slightly edgier vibe" that would forge "an emotional connection" with Subway's customers.
That's what the marketers say.
What do we say? Nothing. Nothing at all. We can only sigh until we run out of breath, pass out, and soil ourselves.
A DJ and a skateboard within the first three seconds? Holy shit, slow down and let us put our sunglasses on! Give us a minute to appreciate your totally hip soundtrack choice: a cover of a 1993 one-hit wonder sung through an intercom! Oh, you want to play golf? But the golf ball explodes? Holy shiiiiiiiiiiiitt!
People playing music ... in a truck? Subway, that is plain madness.
Fuck you, grandma's glassware! People who eat at Subway don't give a shit about your "rules"! Grandma couldn't even handle six inches of microwaved meatballs!
Standing on a motorcycle?! Does Tom Cruise eat at Subway?
People don't belong in shopping carts! Is there no end to Subway's wacky madness?
Make your sandwich hot, just like skating over fire! Awesome analogy, Subway!
We close on the Subway manifesto, "Don't take what you are given." Which seems like it could cause some confusion in a fast food place, but never mind that, be an asshole and fuck up a grocery store!
There is, unfortunately, a whole series of commercials where "MAKE IT EPIC" flashes over a snowboarder doing a 720 Sandwich Bite, as if there's anything epic about getting to choose between two kinds of bland mustard. Subway is the food that students scarf down while studying because the line at the good sandwich shop is too long, not what hip young people bring with them on their extreme weekend outings. Stop being the midlife crisis mom who invites themselves along on their kid's ski trip, and just tell us what new pile of salty meat you've added to your menu.
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