The most annoying commercials in the universe.

Advertising deconstructed.
Aug. 11 2008 6:50 AM

Ads We Hate

The most annoying commercials in the universe.

(Continued from Page 1)

What's up with those incredibly crappy Nintendo DS ads? (You know, the ones with random celebrities making grunting noises while they play a game—long shots with no dialogue, or action, or sense.)

—Kareem E.


I'm a huge fan of the DS. You haven't lived until you've played Tamagotchi Corner Shop. But I agree: The ads are bizarre. Generally, an endorsement from a popular young celebrity is supposed to make the product on offer seem cool. This campaign somehow manages to turn the tables, making celebrity itself look pathetic and solitary. Consider the Liv Tyler spot, which shows her doing Brain Age quizzes alone in her room. Wow, glamorous! I wish I could be just like Liv Tyler, sitting around by myself ... doing math ... (Also, she's just a terrible actress here—scrunching her lips, knitting her brow, and emitting strange, glottal warblings. Though, come to think of it, that's a fair description of her performance in Jersey Girl.)

Given the complete meltdown of the real-estate market caused by buyers purchasing homes they could not afford, I think it would be great to revisit how horrible and nasty this Century 21 adtruly was. They should make a new ad, but this time the husband can berate his wife for being a mindless spendthrift. I wonder if Suzanne is helping to pay the mortgage.

—Sean F.

This ad may turn out to be a lasting artifact of the housing bubble, appearing as an illustrative clip in documentaries decades from now. I hated the spot—which features a wife bullying her husband into buying a house—when it came out in 2006. At this point, I mostly just find it comical. (Though I'd note that I'm a renter.) I imagine the hectoring wife and her appropriately cautious husband are feeling the pinch right about now as their rate adjusts. Meanwhile Suzanne, their enabling Realtor, is going to night school in pursuit of a new career.

I remembered you comparing "Vince wit Shamwow" to Billy Mays, and thought you might enjoy seeing Mays' new spiel, selling health insurance.

—Andrew L.

This ad is kind of amazing. Watch Billy Mays' hand gestures—they never stop! Hands go out, palms facing each other. Hands come back in, fists balled. Hands go back out, index fingers extended. It's either OCD or some sort of primitive sign language. I think it's happening because he has no tangible product to demonstrate. They should have let him use a sheaf of insurance documentation to wipe up spills with. Or maybe a wallet card for dabbing on grout?

OK, I suppose that's enough hate for now. But you can always express your rage—or adoration, or puzzlement—via e-mail to I'll be taking a short break from the column (my future self advised me to take a vacation), but my able replacements will field all your rants and queries.


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