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Beauty and the Bad Advertising
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on June 09, 2008   |   Episode 42 (Show Archive)  

   
Join us on our continuing mission to seek out and expose the worst video game advertising of all time. Over the past twenty years we've witnessed a lot of terrible advertising, and it's our job to point it out and let you know what we really think! Nobody is safe when you tune into another episode of Commercial Break, your best resource for the worst video game advertising you ever will see!
Power Glove - "$10 Back!"
Some companies think they are so clever. They think that if they wave a mail-in coupon in front of your face you'll come running. They think that we'll rush out to the nearest store to buy their product the moment they knock ten or fifteen dollars off. They think that most people won't mind waiting six to eight weeks for a mere ten bucks ... assuming they actually mail in the rebate in the first place. They think they're so clever and that we're going to fall for their shenanigans.

Sadly they're right; we do fall for their tricks. But not this time! This Power Glove commercial tries its hardest to increase the sagging sales, but a $10 off coupon certainly isn't going to motivate anybody to run to their nearest Toys R Us for this pile of garbage. You would have better luck just putting a Styrofoam cup on each hand and punching the wall, which may be why Mattel was so desperate to sell through this product. Should you be impressed that Mattel was willing to take 1/6th of the price off the abysmal Power Glove? No, because you could just as easily save $60 by not buying this video game gimmick in the first place. Crisis averted.

But there's a hidden layer of humor found in this painfully unconvincing advertisement. Anybody that has used a Power Glove already knows that it's almost impossible to play a game (any game) using this motion-detecting piece of junk. You're better off just yelling at the TV screen than using this device. But playing games is not the only thing impossible to do with the Power Glove. You also can't hold a ten dollar bill in your hand with it on. That's right, this commercial is basically impossible. Way to go Mattel, in trying to move the product you show us yet another thing the Power Glove is no good at.

Video Maniac Sports Accessories
When my crack team of classic video game experts brought this Video Maniac Sports Accessories commercial to my attention I didn't know what to think. I looked at it for a few minutes and concluded that there was no joke there; this is a perfectly good advertisement as far as I'm concerned. But my team wasn't going to let me ignore this old school commercial. They insisted that I give it a second look and try and find the obvious joke. Of course, here I am with my back up against a deadline and I still don't see what all the fuss is about. As far as I'm concerned this is one of the better commercials we've looked at. I mean, it's a little dated, but who cares? Surely they've brought me older commercials, so I don't think this has anything to do with its age. I don't know gang, I just don't see it.

So let's try and itemize this commercial and see if we can uncover this ad's hidden horribleness. Okay, right off the bat I can see that this is a commercial for something called "Video Maniac Sports Accessories." Now, I don't know what that is, but it seems like some of those words don't go together. The one thing I know is that they sell accessories, so at least that's a good start. Do they sell sports accessories? Like, I don't know, balls, nets, and hoops. Or maybe they sell video accessories, like RF units, antennas and cabling? No wait, I know, they sell maniac accessories, such as chainsaws and padded rooms. Hmm, that can't be it. Man, what do these guys sell?

It says that they sell "video sports gloves," so I guess that means they sell gloves. That sounds like a video game accessory. They also sell "high quality screened T-shirts." Hmm, I don't know about you but that screams maniac. And finally, they list "sportswear and accessories," which totally sounds sports related. But seriously, do they really need to tell us that they sell accessories? The word "accessories" is in the name of the company. How stupid do they think we are?

Well, I don't know about how stupid you are, but I'm feeling pretty dumb right now. I've itemized the whole page and still nothing. Oh wait, could they be talking about the girl? It's just some blonde chick wearing a loose-fit top and a big censored mark as a bikini bottom. Wait a second, what's that censor mark for?? She's clearly wearing a bathing suit (you can see her right hand touching it). Are bikini's too risque for this magazine?? What does this have to do with the advertisement? Is that done as a joke? And seriously, what the heck does this company sell?

Al Unser Jr. Turbo Racing (NES)
Uh guys, I think there's a television on the speedway. No, really, there's a TV set on the speedway! Guys? Seriously, there's a dude playing an 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System right there on the race track. Shouldn't we be doing something about this? These cars are going mighty fast, it's not going to be long before one of them comes back around and ... oh the humanity!

Looking back on it now, it astonishes me that companies like Data East weren't forced out of the market by lawsuits. "The world's first 220 MPH video game"? Are you kidding me, if there's one thing the NES couldn't do it's recreate the feeling of speed. Asking your 8-bit console to pull off high-speed action is a lot like asking somebody to put a tank together while blindfolded. When was the last time you heard somebody say, "Hey, do you remember that amazing 8-bit racing game?" Never, that's how many times you've heard people say that. The reason nobody says that is because of games like Al Unser Jr. Turbo Racing.

Perhaps the most perplexing part of this commercial is buried in the description. "On top of it all," the text reads, "Al Unser Jr. is at your aide. He'll let you drive his car while he schools you on what it takes to win." Really? You mean he's going to sit there next to me the whole time and watch me come in fourth so many times I want to throw my control through the TV set. Good plan. Hey, I know, here's a better play - why don't I just get out of the car and let Al Unser Jr. actually drive the car? Clearly he has the experience and I want to win, even if that means letting somebody else play. So get in the driver's seat Al, I have a race to watch!

American People Link
Okay, either that guy just got blown away by some real witty dialog ... or he's actually a paraplegic bravely using the internet for the first time. I'm guessing that it's probably the latter, but only because I don't believe that people actually make that face in real life. I mean, you're going to have to do a 24 hour long marathon version of "The Aristocrats" joke in order to get my face to do that, and even then I would probably have reported you to the police by at least hour 20 or 21. The point is, I don't know if I should make fun of this terrible advertisement or not. I mean, the last thing I want to do is get a bunch of people mad for saying something insensitive about the handicapped.

Don't be confused by American People Link's big fancy space-age words (like "videotex" and "love"), this is nothing more than a giant chat room when men and women could do, well, men and women stuff. That's right, it's a big orgy, only instead of rubbing it off to a picture of a hot girl, you're stuck staring at a tiny black and green monitor. Oh, and you get to pay for it, too. Because, you know, this was at a time when people thought they could make money online. Ah, how stupid people were back then.

Best of all when you aren't hurting your eyes by squinting to make out the dirty words on the screen, you can head on over to the "Club Link". The Club Link allows you to "join or start a club devoted to your favorite hobby, rock group, lifestyle, etc." Sadly I cannot do any of these interesting things because American People Link has been replaced with something called Web 2.0. But that shouldn't stop me from fulfilling my dream of making my milkshake club. It's an exclusive club for people who enjoy creating new and interesting flavors of yummy milkshakes. Currently I'm working on a Mexican shake (with beans, rice and salsa) called "Chilly Con Carne" and a steak shake (with real steak and A1 sauce) called "It's What's For Dessert." I know it has nothing to do with American People Link, but how else am I supposed to find people for my exclusive club?
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