New themes in TV ads -- eating pets

There may be a new trend in advertising out there – eating people’s pets. There are two running now, for different products, and I’ve never seen anything like them before.

The first has some alien creature appear and gobble down a guy’s dog during a walk. The guy doesn’t even notice and just walks on dragging an empty leash.

The second has a couple kind of embarrassed about how much they like sushi but are trying to save money, and their daughter comes in looking for her pet. And one says something like “where have you looked” and the daughter says “It’s a fish in a bowl”, and the parents trade a look and you know they’ve eaten their daughter’s fish.

Honestly I have no idea what product either is promoting – I think the first is some kind of insurance. They are both kind of horrible.

Blech. I’ve never seen the alien one, but the goldfish sushi one makes me want to heave my TV out the window every time I see it. I think that one’s for Geico (?) Some car insurance company, anyway. It sure as hell isn’t doing anything to make me want to buy their insurance.

I don’t think two constitutes a trend. Anyway, you’ve fallen victim to an advertising fallacy: that the people in the commercial represent the consumers of the product, and therefore you are supposed to identify with them. They don’t, not really. All the commercial is trying to do is tell a joke, make you laugh, and then subconsciously associate the good feeling of that joke with their product.

Now, that didn’t work for you. No problem, most jokes don’t appeal to everyone. But here’s the thing: note that you don’t remember what the product is. Success! Because you don’t associate the bad feeling of not liking the joke with their product, so no harm was done, and they can try appealing to you with a different joke in another commercial.

Actually, it’s because I’ve been pretty serious fancy goldfish hobbyist for at least 10 years so the very notion of eating someone’s pet fish is cruel and disgusting to me, and I would never want anything to do with a company that would find that funny.

I’m with the OP on this one. No one enjoys a good laugh more than me (except my wife, and some of her friends, and Captain Johnson…) but the goldfish commercial didn’t do a good job of it: my reaction was cringing and discomfort rather than laughter and good feelings. The idea of a child losing a pet (even if it is just a goldfish) and the parents being responsible is not, to me, a fertile field for humor.

Apparently it never occured to this couple to eat vegetarian sushi.

It’s a joke. Those were not real people. They were actors. That little girl was paid money to hold an empty tank. No goldfish were harmed in the making of that ad.

I mean, it’s no different that the humor on The Office, or in a Farrelly brothers movie, or The Hangover and so on. The humor is in something being uncomfortable or gross. And maybe that humor doesn’t appeal to you, and that’s fine. I chuckled, and I’m sure I’m not alone.

And then comments like this blow my mind. If someone tells you a joke, do you respond, “um, why didn’t the duck try a grocery store if he needed grapes? A bar is not likely to have produce of any kind!”.

Personally I think it would have been funnier if they ate their daughter.

Absolutely! Why don’t they ever think of the children?

Geico seems to be the champion at “funny” commercials that are really just irritating. I’m not sure that’s the best way to attract customers (doesn’t work on me) but it’s their advertising dollar, so whatever.

Think how much their premiums would go down without a daughter – especially their car insurance.

I don’t find the ad that funny because this trope is getting kinda stale on tv ads. The whole ‘bad parent’ thing, I mean. When the meme first started, I thought it was hilarious. Now, it is starting to look like a formula that too many commercials are trying.

All of that said, I am surprised at how many people I have heard say they dislike these commercials because 'I don’t find hurting children’s feelings funny". Really? You take that kind of stuff seriously? It’s a joke. The very fact that good parents don’t eat their kids goldfish as sushi is the point of the absurdity of the joke. Come on.

Oh man, that Gieco goldfish commercial cracks me up every time. The way look on the dad’s face is perfect.

I get if you don’t find it funny, but to be offended? Man alive, it’s fake people eating a fake fish annoying their fake daughter.

I snickered slightly the first time I saw the goldfish commercial, but the humor wore off quickly upon repeated viewings, and I definitely couldn’t have told you the product they were trying to sell.

It’s OK not to find it funny, but I think it’s just silly to find it offensive. Someone in another thread was mortally horrified at a commercial that depicted parents admitting they loved one of their kids more than the other, because it could traumatize children who experiance actual sibling rivalry. I refrained from chiming in then, but my general reaction to such attitudes is: Jeez, it’s just a dumb commercial. Lighten up.

And, in fact, the point of that campaign is to show you people (like the parents who ate the goldfish) doing really stupid / foolish things to save money, when they could have saved even more money by switching their auto insurance to Geico (and not looked foolish, either). You’re not supposed to identify with them; you’re supposed to know that they’re morons.

Other ads in that campaign are the one with the woman who sends her daughter to a daycare center staffed by robots (we debated that ad on this board a couple of weeks ago, because the actress’s pronunciation of the line “flaws” came across so oddly), or the man who trained guinea pigs to row a boat, so he could harness the power to run his computer.

Just more proof that, no matter how inoffensive you might find a joke, there’ll be someone whose personal ox is getting gored by it, and they’re going to be highly offended.

(Oh, great, now I’ve pissed off the ox lovers. :wink: )

:rolleyes: For Pete’s sake, it’s not like I’m up all night weeping over some poor ingested & digested fishie that never actually existed, I just find it in poor taste and makes me think poorly of Geico instead of “hawhaw funny laffy commercial, I want THEIR insurance!”


you knew someone was gonna do it…

I didn’t find it funny because no one goes on a sushi diet to save money.

Also, this thread is the poster child for the phrase “Lighten up, Francis.”

Pets are great comfort in times of trouble.

And in times of famine particularly.