Monday, January 22, 2007

An Ad I Love That Drives Me Crazy

You've undoubtedly seen this eBay commercial. I think it's very clever and ambitious and well-executed. Everything a TiVo-proof ad should be.

Until the end, when it frustrates the hell out of me. It's the longest set-up ever to a joke whose punchline they don't tell.

The diamond ring plummets down the pipe, through the building, into the sea. It's eaten by a fish, and when a couple sits down to dinner, the woman finds the ring in her dinner. In this, the longer version of the ad, the guy looks up, delighted, as if to say, "Cool! A diamond ring!" In most versions, we just go out on the woman's surprise.

There's a joke hanging there, untold: she finds the ring, looks up at him with her eyes brimming with tears... he smiles back wanly, gulps, sweats...

It's not exactly a new joke, but leaving it out is like a shave-and-a-haircut without the two bits.

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