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TV ads can be weird. You know? The tone is just wrong sometimes. Not merely annoying. I’m down with the annoying ones. Ask my wife – at any odd time you’re likely to hear me happily singing the insanely catchy four second Liberty Mutual jingle, which goes, appropriately enough, Liberty Liberty Li-ber-ty, Li-ber-ty.

That’s OK. I can do that one over and over for hours. The liberty jingle is one for the ages.

Others ads, though, are somehow off-key, off-kilter, oddly incongruous, even give-your-head-a-shake puzzling. Especially, I find, the music. The music choices can be really strange.

Like, what springs to mind when you hear Mozart? What sort of product would you think ought to be associated with a 30 second excerpt of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik? A really pretty new car maybe? A fancy brand of liquor? Maybe an upscale beauty product? A tony resort, Sandals say?

Were you thinking moisture-absorbent underwear inserts for women who have leaky bladders? Does that scream Mozart to you?

Or what about Beethoven? What goes well with his Seventh Symphony? Might be a good fit for a luxury auto maybe? Maybe one of those swanky airlines, like Cathay Pacific?

How about dog food?

Yup, they’re using Ludwig van’s masterpiece, my own favourite among his weightier symphonies, as the soundtrack for a bunch of doggies wolfing down whatever slop it is they’re touting these days as a healthy choice for happy pooches. I just saw that ad, and I’m like, no, no, you can’t do that to Beethoven.

Listen to those mutts. You can hear them all slobbery and snorting. They emphasize that. They turn the gain way up for that. That’s not right. Beethoven doesn’t go with a bunch of sloppy mutts filling their gullets! I mean, I know it’s out of copyright and everything, but c’mon.

Yet maybe Beethoven goes better with puppy chow than Mozart goes with absorptive products designed to save the day on those unfortunate occasions when you literally piss yourself laughing. Or every time you pick up something heavy. Yet there I am, sitting on the couch harming nobody, when they assault me with this brief but virulent spot for a product called Poise.


Now, you know right away that any product with a name like that is meant to mitigate the sort of affliction that causes mortifying embarrassment. If it’s adult diapers, it’s going to have a name that suggests calmness, confidence, and security. Depends, say. Or the similarly reassuring Attends. Prevail. Tranquility. So right away, when they start hawking something called “Poise”, the savvy viewer automatically braces for it. Here it comes, you think; the reminder that one of these days, sooner or later, you’re going to have to contend with the ugly fact that you’re quite liable to pee your pants in public. And so it proved, just as expected, except…Mozart. They want me to form an indelible mental association of Mozart with incontinence? Is that ethical? Is it even legal?

And then came the jarring slogan. Swear to God, they wrap it up by telling you that the purportedly pants-pissing female on screen, who sure doesn’t look to me like somebody prone to such accidents, can handle whatever the live-long day throws at her because she’s got poise, does Candice (her name is supposed to be Candice, which I bet was one of fifty odd names they tested with the focus groups), oh yes, she has “poise under pressure, and Poise in her pants”. The first couple of times, it sounded like “poison her pants” which might have been better.

Poise in her pants?

Though I guess if there’s anywhere you want to be poised, it’s in your pants, am I right? Plus, and this is the point really – this is why the ad agencies get the big money – you aren’t about to forget a slogan like that. Nope. You’re going to hear it in your head all day. It’s going to intrude on your inner monologue unbidden, repeatedly, and at the oddest times.

Kind of like a product which I gather is the crown jewel of a certain on-line gambling site, the ads for which play eight times per show in the wee hours when I’m up in the high-numbered channels, almost deranged with insomnia, desperately trolling for a diverting show about airplanes, or space exploration, or ghost hunting. Ghost hunting shows are a gas! Really! I like them almost as much as Say Yes to the Dress. Anyway, there’s this sort of on-line casino where you can go play games of chance like roulette and poker, or computerized virtual slot machines, including, the voice-over tells us in a tone that suggests just get a load of this one, pal, you’re going to eat it up, “including”, he says, “the world renowned progressive jackpot slot, Mega Moolah”. There’s something about the cadence of that turn of phrase. I can’t get it out of my head. The world renowned progressive jackpot slot, Mega Moolah. It just plays on a loop like something’s broken in my brain-pan. I don’t even know for sure what a progressive jackpot slot is, I have my ideas, but whatever it is I now know, today and for all time, that it’s frigging awesome. Mega Moolah is the balls, I’m tellin’ ya. It’s frickin’ world renowned. And progressive.

Over and over.

The world renowned progressive jackpot slot, Mega Moolah.

The world renowned progressive jackpot slot, Mega Moolah.

The world renowned progressive jackpot slot , Mega Moolah.

Poise in her pants.

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