Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Disrespecting us again?

For months I've been getting my trash TV exclusively from Netflix and Hulu.  Now that I've switched over to watching the Olympics, I realize that my fast-forward skills have atrophied, and I find myself listening to commercials for a bit before I snap to and realize that I don't actually have to.  I had sort of forgotten how puerile and patronizing commercials can be, but today one really yanked my chain.

It's for USBank, and it begins with a perky customer service rep hooking up on her laptop with a guy who has an account.  "Cody!" she exclaims, "Hi!  How are you!" 

Cody is sitting on a lawn chair in his garage and apparently he has a laptop too.  He overexplains, "I'm good.  I'm crocheting!  It started off as a hobby, kind of snowballed from there, and Alex, I don't want to stop!"  As the camera pans back we see him surrounded by a whole lot of yarn (looking as though it just came home from the store, as none of the skeins appear to have been touched).  Many of his tools and the kids' toys have been cozied in crochet, a large afghan is spread out on a table, a granny-square pillow decorates a leather armchair.

We also see a whole bunch of his finished work, including covers for his car and a very large object -- a camper van with a boat on top? -- that is inexplicably parked in the middle of his neighbor's lawn.

Alex says, "Well, I don't see why you should have to.  Let's set you up with a sider gig savings goal on the US Bank mobile app.  This way you can turn it into your main hustle before you know it!"

Cody is thrilled.  "You're my hero, Alex!"  (Is this an acknowledgement that the mobile app is so hard to use that he couldn't set up his side gig savings goal by himself??)

Alex grins wildly and asks, "What are you working on now?"

He holds up a crocheted round about the size of a potholder.  "Pool cover."

Alex keeps grinning.  "That's fun!"

"Oh, I made my wife a bathing suit!"

"Did she like it?"

"She did not.  See what I made for Max.  Max!!  Look at him!  He loves it!"  Max, we see, is the dog, wearing a crocheted poncho and hat.

Now the voice-over intones, "The confidence to make your dream a reality.  USBank.  We'll get there together."

I don't know about you, but I found this commercial about as unappealing as Mrs. Cody apparently found her bathing suit.  

I can just see the ad guys lounging about in a conference room.  "Let's have somebody who wants to quit their job and go into business for themself and we can help them save money to do it."  They brainstorm somebody who wants to open a restaurant or a tattoo parlor, to become a wedding photographer, to start a landscaping service.  Nothing sounds really appealing, so one of them says, "Let's do something light-hearted and funny!!  Let's come up with a business that's really silly."  

Maybe a woman who wants to make jewelry or bake cupcakes.  "What's funny about that?" somebody asks and they all agree.  "That's something that women do all the time.  It's not funny.  If a guy did it, maybe that would be funny."   They think of all kinds of frivolous things that would be hilarious if a guy did it.  Now they're yukking it up.  After many sidesplitting suggestions, some of them even appropriate for family viewing, they finally come up with the most ridiculous career choice that a guy could possibly have -- crocheting!!

And of course, the way they portray crocheting, it IS ridiculous that anybody could ever turn dog ponchos and RV covers into a "main hustle."  Especially a guy.  

I could see how a woman (or a man) crocheting something beautiful could be a plausible example of an idea that could conceivably be turned into a business.  But the ad guys wanted the cheap laugh, and you can always get one by making fun of people who do handwork.  And what's funnier than silly women doing crocheting, but a DUDE doing it!!!    

This commercial is supposed to make people want to do business with USBank???  As a USBank customer for more than three decades, it made me want to take my money somewhere else.

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