Advertising? Not their forte - Macleans.ca

Advertising? Not their forte

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I don’t like television commercials, and not just because Jared never answered my fan mail. I don’t like them because mostly they’re terrible. We’re talking about a medium through which one toilet paper company has mounted what feels like a decades-long campaign in which their product is endorsed by crudely animated bears pooping alongside trees.

So I do not purport to be an advertising expert. However, I feel comfortable advancing my bold theory that the point of a commercial for a car is probably, all things considered, to make the viewer want to buy that car. (Obviously, his does not apply to those “Our Country” commercials for the Chevy Silverado, the point of which was to make the viewer wish John Mellencamp were mauled by panthers.)

But if the idea is to sell cars in a competitive age of $0-down, 0%-financing and free weekly backrubs from Lee Iacocca, what is the deal with those TV commercials for the new Kia Forte? They seem almost as promising as certain marriages to Larry King.

Each of the three spots depicts someone being absolutely lousy at something and declaring it is “not [their] forte.” Then they gesture to their car: “But that is!” This premise is, in itself, not awful. But here’s what I don’t get: why are all the people in the ads such huge losers? (If you haven’t seen the ads, they can be viewed through the automaker’s site mykiaforte.ca – go to Video under the Gallery icon.)

I mean, take a look at the commercial entitled Minding My Own Business – we’re supposed to want to drive the same car as that guy?

Yes, I’d like to purchase a Forte please. Like the Minding My Own Business guy, I am socially retarded and habitually wedgied. Also, I’m twice the spaz of the hapless beekeeper. Hang on for a minute because my mommy, with whom I live, will be along shortly to co-sign my loan.

Question: couldn’t it instead have been a Don Draper-type character flailing away charmingly yet ineptly at a task? (“Assassinating foreign heads of state from a rooftop vantage with a scoped rifle – not my forte.” Then off he zooms in his Kia Forte.)

Speaking of which: whatever happened to the Mazda zoom-zoom kid? Remember – the one with the cute black outfit and the artfully tousled hairdo? Did they just pack him off to the advertising stud farm to roam in pastoral bliss and breed with a California Raisin? Does he show up at Mazda dealership openings all hungover with a three-day growth of beard and hoarsely cough into the microphone: “ZOOM… uhh… line, please.”

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