Apparently some of you have found a way to watch television without the ads. What a shame.
Not only are you missing some fascinating stuff, but you’re not qualified to take this quiz. As always, all answers are correct, since our policy is to never undermine reader self-esteem.
• One of the great TV ads in recent times is the Cialis classic featuring a man and a woman in separate bathtubs on a mountaintop with a stunning view. What’s the flaw in this ad?
a) Isn’t it fairly easy to reserve a queen-size tub on a scenic mountain? b) It undermines the Cialis message because the guy has been stuck in his bathtub for longer than four years without a trip to the emergency room. c) If the two were truly in love, they’d be texting each other instead of wasting time staring at a sunset. d) If this ad was really about sex, it would be a beer commercial.
• Why have the reliably annoying “Messin’ with Sasquatch” ads made Jack Link’s Beef Jerky so successful?
a) The juvenile quality makes it popular among Jack Link’s target audience: 6- to 9-year-old boys. b) Everybody can laugh at the hairy creature’s dilemma without inhibition because the Sasquatch community lacks a decent pressure group. c) It shows we supposedly superior humans can learn a lesson from a mentally deficient Sasquatch: You don’t have to be a victim — strike back by seriously injuring your tormenter. d) It sends an important anti-bullying message: Never play tricks on a good-natured but volatile creature that doesn’t exist.
• Which is your idea of a groundbreaking ad?
a) An automobile ad featuring a car doing less than 75 mph. b) A beer commercial portraying fully clothed beer drinkers older than 25, not counting the slightly creeped up “Most Interesting Man in the World.” c) A 10-minute bank ad that silently scrolls a list of the bank’s fees. d) A car insurance ad with this gun-to-the-head voiceover: “Many brand-new automobiles were destroyed in the making of this ridiculous commercial.”
• Why are the stupid people in “funny” ads almost always white men?
a) The advertising industry is atoning for those days when women were more likely to be cast as the dummies. b) Like the Sasquatch community, white men have no effective lobbying group. c) White men are inherently stupid. d) They make up the safest group to make fun of in politically correct times, way safer than the distant runner-up: Islamic terrorists.
• Liberty Mutual insurance ads portray everyday accidents that happen “because we’re human.” Which of these everyday accidents has happened to you?
a) You’re watering the lawn near your car and don’t notice your neighbor up in a tree with a chainsaw, so are shocked when a huge limb crushes your car and just misses you. b) You drive home forgetting that you have two bicycles atop your car and barrel into the garage, destroying the bikes. c) After parking, you open the driver’s door and a car doing 90 rips off your door without stopping. d) Preparing to back out of your driveway, you wave to a neighbor and, instead of putting the car in reverse, hurtle it through the garage.
• Why is it a bad idea to eat dinner while watching the national news?
a) Using a source other than the Internet for news, and with tons of drug commercials? It’s a sure sign that you’re old. b) You’re likely to run into an appetite-destroying ad for bowel blockage or incontinence. c) As if the news wasn’t depressing enough, the nonstop drug ads lay out what awful maladies await. d) If you’re busy eating during the drug ads, you can’t jot down the rapid-fire list of potentially fatal side effects.
• What’s your dream ad?
a) A guy thankful for his insurance is horribly maimed after a careless neighbor, standing on his car, cuts down a huge tree limb. b) A man cured of erectile dysfunction goes to meet his date on a mountaintop and finds an amorous Sasquatch in the adjoining tub. c) Two “human” insurance agents come to blows after a fender-bender. d) The redhead from the Wendy’s ads renounces bacon pretzel burgers as a health threat and runs off with the Geico Gecko, and the two go on to live active lives in a Centrum Silver ad.
Peter Leo of Squirrel Hill, a retired Post-Gazette columnist and occasional Portfolio contributor, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.