Thursday, January 31, 2008

Like Rain on Your Wedding Day

I'm on record as to my loathing for the song in this commercial. The commercial itself is getting to me, too. After all, if MSNBC were a house, the news would be the lumber... but this commercial would be the nails. It runs perhaps sixty or seventy thousand times a day.

But rather than complain -- oh, I guess I already did that... sorry -- I want to draw your attention to something I find amusing/curious about it.

As Alanis Morissette can tell you, when you make a list of examples of something, you run the risk of including some pretty poor examples (like rain on your wedding day). Similarly, in their zeal to show lots of "good deeds/kindnesses" the folks at Liberty Mutual went way off the rails.

It IS a good deed to help someone get something off a top shelf. Or to let someone have your seat on a bus.

But it is definitely NOT a good deed to stop someone before he steps in front of a speeding truck.

Watch the beginning of this commercial. The woman puts out her arm to keep the pizza guy from becoming pizza himself. Meanwhile the onlooker watches, thinking, "Hmm... Interesting. I would have let the guy die."

In another cut, the onlooker is a postman, standing alone in his apartment. (Or is it a sniper's nest? It's hard to tell.) Don't postal workers have enough image problems? Do they really need to be depicted as showing surprise that someone would prevent a death?

Similarly, in another cut, a woman stops her car when a dog runs in front of it. A good deed? Really? I think applying your brakes to avoid killing a dog is not an example of "paying it forward." It's an example of "decency."

If you're not going to change the song back to Half Acre, Liberty Mutual, at least get your good deeds right.


Grace Nearing said...

Gosh, that commercial irritates me too. Plus, I have a personal grudge against Liberty Mutual. Years and years ago, they abruptly cancelled my car insurance because the company suddenly decided not to insure anybody in New Jersey anymore. They didn't even bother to wait until the end of the coverage period. Just bam! Coverage over.

So a fuzzy, warm-hearted, let's-look-out-for-each-other commercial from Liberty Mutual gets me grumbling. Oh, and Liberty Mutual has since decided to insure New Jersey drivers again. Bastards.

howard said...

Mike, as usual, your comments are entertaining and spot-on.

Here's what annoys me about this ad and the open-source sampling of the advertising industry itself.

This spot borrows wholesale from: that VW bug commercial shot in reverse (where smiles transfer virally upon sighting the new car) and (most glaringly) the scene in "Grand Canyon" where Kevin Kline is about to step into traffic, but is halted by a stranger's hand.

Why does this bug me so much? I ask you.