I don’t usually repost other people’s advertising commentary, but in this case it’s about an ad that I also happened to see at the same time as the author (left), but was unable to look at it long enough to articulate my own reaction due to the reasons described below. It was written by Jason Darling, an old, dear friend, serial entrepreneur, funny as hell motherfucker, and mastermind behind the gourmet confections at lollyphile, and the just-launched (yesterday) CookieMisfortune.
Aaaaaaanyway, here it is, the best advertising commentary you have ever read…..
Two nights ago I decided I wanted to get really, really, horribly, hungover-so-bad-that-you-seriously-question-everything-you’ve-ever-done-because-it-led-you-to-this wasted. And, somehow, I failed. Couldn’t get anyone on board, somehow. Ended up watching No Country for Old Men and turning in early. So yesterday I decided I was going to get wasted no matter what and I started drinking early and my memory is spotty at best after, say, 8pm, and thank god my wife doesn’t mind watching after me (or driving).
I’ve had worser hangovers, sure. That’s not the point. The point is that on the way to the French toastery, Simone stopped into a 7-11 to buy her wobbling, whining husband some Advil. I stayed outside. I couldn’t deal with fluorescent lighting, and the cold weather felt good. While Simone was inside, I saw this:
And my mind broke. I thought I was hallucinating, or that the world had gone crazy. There are so many things wrong with this ad that your mind basically won’t let you look at it for long enough to comprehend how intrinsically wrong the ad is. It’s too big for comprehension. You just scan it, think “Hey, taquitos!” and get on with your life. I must have looked hilarious, barely able to stand, in the cold, and engrossed in a shitty taquito ad.
Lets go over it, though, because holy shit.
- First of all, seriously what the fuck could Sherlock Holmes and taquitos possibly have to do with one another? There is exactly zero common ground. I promise you that there will not be a scene in the Sherlock Holmes flick where Downey turns to Jude Law and says, “Watson! Quickly! Hand me that taquito!” Maybe, maybe this would work for like coffee or something. But taquitos?
- Also, the tagline. “Get a clue.” A taquito clue? WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN. What should I be clued into? That taquitos cost $.99? Is that a sale price? Is it a good deal? I’ve never, as far as I can remember, bought a taquito, but I can’t imagine paying more than a dollar for one. Maybe if it was a bad pun: “Get a taqueCLUE.” Maybe then it would have some direction.
- Holy god are those things filled with smegma? They are straight up coming out of darkness and are full of spoiled cottage cheese or something. They are foreboding taquitos. They are frightening, and maybe even evil. They are not meant to be consumed. And yet their name is written in wacky font, which is in such sharp contrast to the somber feeling from the rest of the poster that it makes the whole thing feel psychotic. This juxtaposition is why serial killers dressed as clowns is infinitely more frightening than serial killers not dressed as clowns.
- Robert Downey Jr. is not just a smug asshole in the photo, he is a preternaturally smug asshole. This makes me question his motivation in selling me these taquitos. What is his ulterior motive? And where is the other half of Watson’s golf club?
This poster is like a zen koan. The longer you concentrate on it, the more likely you are to realize that there is no correct answer. There is no sense to be made. The flag flapping in the wind is as much my mind as my mind is a flag in the wind. There is no spoon. And standing there, sick, dehydrated, and weak-minded in the cold, drizzly, hungover morning, I came as close as I ever have to breaking through the doors of perception — and what I saw was Robert Downey Jr., looking like the supreme dickhole emperor of douche, trying to get me to eat smeggy, fried, 7-11 food. And I am afraid.
More Jason, if you can handle it, here.