Most annoying commercials

By John Toth
The Bulletin

I have nothing against television commercials. After all, they make free programming possible; the same way advertising in this paper makes free distribution possible.
There are some commercials, though, that are so annoying they are worth griping about in print, which is what I’m about to do.
OK. It’s not a big deal, just passing the time. Commercials are like the weather. There is nothing you can do about it, so you might as well gripe about it.
My number one gripe goes to the Progressive Auto Insurance commercial, in which Flo, the bossy clerk with the red lipstick, is busy wrapping emasculated men around her little finger.
Talk about demeaning, the guys in those commercials need to grow a pair. Flo is played by actress-comedian Stephanie Courtney, who has the role down perfectly.
She is in charge as the insurance person, and the customers, the men in the commercial, are whimpering little idiots who are TOLD, and sheepishly fall back in line.
Get the message behind the message? The insurance company is in charge, and the customers better just accept things the way they are, or else – Flo verbally right hooks them one.
I had to deal with a Progressive representative after an accident, and I have nothing but good thoughts about the way he handled my case.
So, why the stupid commercial when Progressive has a good product? Ask Progressive, but don’t get Flo going too much, or she’ll make you stand in the corner facing the wall.
In a similar context, The New York Times Weekender commercials make me furious. I actually subscribed for a while to the NYT Sunday paper at a great rate, and got the daily web reader thrown in for free, but cancelled partly because of their stuck-up commercials.
Progressive’s Flo represents power over people; The NYT ads just want us to be snobs.
“The Travel Section helped me plan my trip to Spain.” OK, snob. I don’t want to go to Spain.
“What section are you proficient in?” The section that contains the 800 number I’ll need to cancel my subscription.
I dislike The Snuggie commercial a lot. It’s a nerdy product. If you put one of these on, make sure nobody sees you. My wife actually got one of these for Christmas, and it looks like a hospital gown. All the people in the commercials who wear one of these need to get extra pay for ruining their own reputations.
But, I can take The Snuggie ad better than those creepy guys at freecreditreport.com. How obnoxious can they get? The commercial is made to irritate you enough so that when you do need a credit report you’ll go to their site and pay for it. It’s not free.
The GEICO Gecko lizard is pretty cool, especially when the big company executive prepares to fall on him. Putting the guy’s first dollar he ever earned into the vending machine was equally cool.
But the GEICO caveman commercials drove me nuts. These Neanderthals needed to be shot back in the Stone Age where they can drag their prey to the cave and eat it.
In its ultimate wisdom, ABC put these guys in prime time. Imaginative, huh? I am proud to admit that I did not watch a single episode.
HeadOn commercials gave me such a headache that I had to run out and buy the product just to get rid of it.
I applied it directly to the forehead.
The Clapper ads were so effective that I still clap right before I turn on the light switch.
I have more, but the column is getting too long. Do you have a least favorite commercial? Please share it with our readers via our email: john.bulletin@gmail.com.
Just to be fair and balanced, in a subsequent column I will list my all time favorite commercials, but for now, I bid farewell until next week.
OK. All together now: Clap on (clap, clap), clap off (clap, clap), clap on, clap off, The Clapper.
Now, that’s annoying.