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Your Ad Is a Lie and I Want You to Cut It Out

By Published on .

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"REPORT: SEX DEMANDED FOR PROMOTIONS AT KAY, JARED" --USA Today

"WOMEN CLAIM SEX WAS PREREQUISITE FOR PROMOTION AT KAY, JARED" --Newser

"HUNDREDS ALLEGE SEX HARASSMENT, DISCRIMINATION AT KAY AND JARED JEWELRY COMPANY" --The Washington Post

The people in the background of this Kay ad have probably never been kissed.
The people in the background of this Kay ad have probably never been kissed. Credit: Courtesy of Kay Jewelers

Late last month when I saw those news reports, I felt strangely vindicated. Not because I've ever been sexually harassed by managers at Sterling Jewelers, the parent company of Kay Jewelers and Jared the Galleria of Jewelry (which describes accounts of these unproven allegations as "distorted and inaccurate"), but because for years I've been at war with their cheesy TV commercials. A war waged in my mind. Jared ads are bad enough with their shameless attempts at guilting people into buying twice as many diamonds via the "Ever Us" collection -- "One diamond for your best friend, one diamond for your true love" (Kay's also hypes Ever Us). But it's Kay's jingle -- "Every kiss begins with Kay" -- that makes me so mad.

"THAT IS DEMONSTRABLY NOT TRUE!," I've been known to shout at the TV after that jingle plays. The claim is not only logistically inconceivable, it's a provable lie.

Also, it's gross -- the transactional subtext, the quid pro quo-ness of it. The only grosser slogan I can think of is "Every promotion begins with sex."

Hey, while I have you, would you mind if I vent about a few other maddening ads?

The thing is, I can't talk to my family or friends about all this (I've tried, but they always seem to have laundry or homework or gardening they suddenly remembered they have to get done).

You're really helping me out and I totally appreciate it. Here goes:

IMPRACTICALLY MAGIC

Apple's been running an ad featuring the awesome dancer Lil Buck doing his magical signature street-style jookin with a little help from GGI; he goes from gliding down a sidewalk to artfully shuffling across walls, cars and even the underneath of a theater marquee -- vertically, horizontally and entirely upside-down. And the whole time he's wearing AirPods, the wireless earbuds that Apple insists are "practically magic."

"NO. WHY WOULD YOU EVEN SHOW THAT?! THOSE THINGS WOULD GO FLYING OUT OF HIS EARS IN THE FIRST FIVE SECONDS!" That's me again, shouting at the TV -- followed by me thinking to myself, Did they rubber-cement those suckers into Lil Buck's ear canals?

THERE'S PEPTO-BISMOL FOR THAT

McDonald's has been flogging its Big Mac line extension -- the smaller Mac Jr. and the bigger Grand Mac -- with a commercial that declares "There's a Big Mac for that." It cleverly plays on Apple's indelible "There's an app for that," and it's catchy as hell, which makes it all the more insufferable.

But what really gets me are the scenarios that McDonald's suggests are worthy of a Big Mac. Such as "You got a fresh fade?" And "Closed a big deal today?" And even "Found your keys?"

"NONE OF THOSE ARE VALID REASONS TO EAT A BIG MAC!" --still me.

Look, if you got a fresh fade, well, good for you, I'm glad you're taking care of your appearance; while you're at it, maybe avoid eating a burger that in its Jr. version supplies 46% of your daily recommended allowance of saturated fat -- and in its Grand version, 91% (holy crap).

You closed a big deal today? Maybe upgrade to, I dunno, Applebee's?

And you know what the reward is for finding your keys? Finding your damn keys.

Here are actual valid reasons for consuming one of the three Big Macs:

• You're having a crummy day and you're feeling sorry for yourself: Big Mac.

• You're having a really crummy day and you're feeling really sorry for yourself: Grand Mac.

• You're having a crummy day but don't have enough money for a Big Mac or a Grand Mac: Mac Jr.

FACEBOOK DEAD

Facebook has been running ads showing short clips of ostensibly real people streaming Facebook Live video of themselves doing random things, such as card tricks, giving a wary little boy a buzz-cut and blow-drying a dog.

"NONE OF THIS IS ANYTHING ANYONE ANYWHERE WANTS TO WATCH! WHY ARE YOU ACTING LIKE THESE LAME LIVE STREAMS ARE COMPELLING?!" --me again.

THIS WON'T END WELL

"We're taking never-ending to the next level at Olive Garden! For the first time ever, never-ending classics, starting at $11.99! Indulge in never-ending helpings of your most loved classic dishes. ... The best things in life should be never-ending." --announcer in a current Olive Garden commercial.

"IS THE BIRTHRIGHT OF EVERY MERE MORTAL NOT, ULTIMATELY, A COLD GRAVE? DO THE RISING SEAS NOT CONSPIRE TO RECLAIM US? IS THE SUN NOT A DYING STAR? DO OLIVE GARDENS NOT CLOSE OVERNIGHT? ALSO, IT SAYS, 'LIMITED TIME ONLY' IN SMALL PRINT AT THE END OF YOUR AD. YOU CAN'T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS!" --me.

Simon Dumenco, aka Media Guy, is an Ad Age editor-at-large. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.