I’m glad I’m not the only one who hates the Toyota ads

My new favorite site, BuzzFeed, shows us that everyone on Earth seems to hate the Toyota “Saved by Zero” commercials. I really like the song, too. But not this godawful version of it. Fortunately it’s so different (as well as so bad) that it doesn’t really taint the original.

That creepy anthropomorphic zero doesn’t help.

Just in case you’ve somehow escaped having to see it…

Compare that abomination with the original ’80s classic.

But, on the other hand, were it not for all of this, I never would have discovered the “literal video version” of “Take On Me.” Freakin’ awesome! “Pipe… wrench… fiiiiiiight!”

Waste = Happiness!!!

Make it a Dixie day! For the next 10,000 years!I have to admit, I’m no great environmentalist. I’m a typical wasteful American, but I at least try to be aware of how wasteful I am. I avoid blatant acts of waste, and in true Midwestern Lutheran style, when I do waste I am overwhelmed with guilt, even if it doesn’t actually stop me from doing it.

But then I see something like I did today. My kids are watching Go, Diego, Go! and then on comes a commercial for Dixie paper plates. The overall message of the commercial is that if a mother really cares about her kids, she’ll use Dixie paper plates, pretty much for every meal, so that instead of spending time doing dishes, she can have “extraordinary moments” with her kids. I’ll try not to fall off my high horse here, but I think it’s shamefully irresponsible for Georgia-Pacific to promote this kind of egregiously wasteful behavior as both the duty and the desire of anyone aspiring to be a good parent.

Product placement? Fine, but then can you get rid of commercial breaks?

Product placement is as old as TV itself, and if anything it’s less insidious now than it was in the early days of television. But it seems to be coming back in a big way, and while I’m over my initial offense at seeing my favorite shows turn into “advertainment,” I still find it incredibly distracting, even when it’s funny.

Case in point, in last night’s episode of The Office, Kevin got some rare screen time and proceeded to giddily demonstrate the awesome power of the company’s shredder. Note I called it a “shredder,” not a “paper shredder,” because as Kevin demonstrated, it can shred not only a fistful of paper at once, but also such surprising objects as CDs and (OK, this joke was a little too broad) credit cards.

The thing that distracted me was that there was a prominently placed “Staples” logo on the front of the shredder. In fact, it looked like a sticker slapped on for advertising purposes in the show, and not something that’s actually a part of the unit’s design.

What really got me was that at the next commercial break, there was a Staples ad for this exact shredder!

I’ve gotten used to the product placement in The Office, what with the frequent after-work visits to Chili’s (always prominently showing the neon sign outside), and the entire Christmas episode written around the iPod. But it’s getting to the point where in some ways the show feels like a lead-in to the commercial break.

Earlier, a network promo pumped up interest in upcoming NBC shows next week, and concluded with “…And stay tuned for Ellen’s new commercial!” which at first suggested to me that Ellen DeGeneres was starting a new primetime NBC show. But no. It was an American Express commercial. And NBC promoted it as if it were one of their programs. (They even had her name on screen with the bouncing letters and pointing peacock feather that they’re using this year.)

Then, of course, we have the premiere episode of 30 Rock, in which Alec Baldwin’s character bragged about having invented the GE Trivection Oven (and how he had been promoted to Director of Television and Microwave Programming). The way the oven was described in the show made it seem like an over-the-top joke (the way SNL, I believe it was, had joked about four-blade razors a few years ago… certainly before Gillette introduced a five-blade razor last year — although I suppose technically that’s actually a “5.1-blade” razor, in true Surround Sound style). But then, you guessed it, the first commercial break featured an ad for none other than the GE Trivection Oven… a real product! (And one manufactured by NBC’s parent company, no less.)

I’d be outraged, if I weren’t such a tool.

Oh, by the way… if anyone wants to get me that shredder or a Trivection for Christmas, I’d love to receive either.