There are gems in the commercial break. I’m not talking about masterpieces of advertisement, but the ads that have this extra oomph of thought and artistic talent that convince you to make the buy.
And then there are commercials like this:
Raising the Roof is a charitable organization that brings awareness to homelessness in Canada. The organization also looks for solutions to homelessness by working with community organizations, local educators and artists.
You can check out the group’s history here and please donate if you have a chance, but bloody hell they, or the production company they hired to do it, certainly know how to make a horrible commercial.
Before we get into everything that damn commercial does wrong, let’s take a look at another example from Raising the Roof that got it right.
This short video is a bit too long for television, but it shows the thought behind an organization like Raising the Roof. They’re looking for ways to educate people on the realities of being homeless in a city like Toronto and in a country like Canada.
Most of the world sees us as this benevolent, friendly country and yet sometimes the reality can be as harsh as the winters here in the True North.
How the flip is the other commercial supposed to make me act?!
Even the other examples of the Toque Awareness Campaign aren’t as awful as this commercial. This one is disgusting and doesn’t have a shock factor unlike so many other public service announcements have. It doesn’t do anything other than making me feel uncomfortable and here’s a few images to explain why:
The lighting in this commercial reminds me Looper, you know the semi-post-apocalyptic film starring Bruce Willis and his weirdly make-up’d self in Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The point being, it’s bad, bland, banal lighting and they also made a poor choice of their two main characters in the commercial. I hate to be someone whose seen as a traditional commercial viewing kinda person, but shouldn’t they have at least some kind of expression on their faces? They’re at the laundry mat, sure. Isn’t there anything better they could be doing in the campaign?
Maybe they could have someone doing something actually nice like helping out the homeless or finding someone in Toronto who would be willing to let a camera crew shadow them as they do community outreach. Anything would be better than this boring setting with these two characters.
When you were a kid, what’s the first rule of etiquette you learn? Don’t talk with your mouth full. No one wants to see your chewed food inside of your mouth, no one wants to smell your breath, and no one wants to hear your dilapidated mode of chew-speaking.
In the commercial, she just opens her mouth and starts blowing tuna breath across to the other woman. You can sense her disgust just at the thought of what she’s eating because apparently it causes her stomach to be upset. Seriously, try doing the same thing this woman asks during the commercial to a close friend or relative and watch them slowly dissolve from your life.
No, seriously, what the heck are you doing? Cold sores aren’t funny, they’re a sign that she has herpes simplex virus. I mean, really? Really? You want to make an already irredeemable poster child for your efforts even worse?
I went through middle school and high school in Toronto, and when we wanted a drink and only one of our friends had water we did what was called a “Water Fall”. In other words, you took the canister, held it over your mouth, and poured the water out. No mouth contact, no backwash, no transfer of herpes from person to person. The kid who didn’t know how to “Water Fall” would be that kid and you’d rather shoot yourself in the head than give him/her that bottle.
Have you ever smelled something so foul that it became kinda intriguing? It’s like the smell of a newly opened canister of tennis balls, yeah that’s a perfect example. You know what’s not an intriguing smell, tuna coming out of another person’s mouth!
Oh my god, I’m feeling sick just writing this. I mean, what in glob’s name… This commercial makes me want to call the Canadian Broadcasting Standards Council and make a complaint. Just the thought of smelling that bottle or putting your face anywhere near to it just makes me want to, argh! They even put a goddamn warning at the bottom of this shot not to share a bottle if you have a cold sore.
In conclusion, the poster child of the campaign that’s meant to get others behind helping the homeless is inconsiderate, rude, poorly lit, unsaturated, has herpes, bad breath, and is wearing a hat indoors, and that’s not even the worst of it.
What’s worse is the writing that’s being narrated in the background:
When you show up wearing a Raising the Roof toque it’s as if you’re saying, “Yeah I help the homeless… that’s how I roll”. And when your friend realizes this she’ll consider you somewhat of a hero, so even if you have a highly questionable cold sore and were devouring a tuna sandwich there’s no way she could refuse you a sip of her water… even though she’s a germaphobe and tuna fish gives her tummy aches … and friends won’t say no to you even when they should.
So buying a hat is going to make me into some entitled ass who takes their friends for granted? As much as the money helps the organization help the homeless, for all we know the person in the commercial is only doing it so she can take advantage of others. Helping the homeless by buying a hat doesn’t make you a good person just as buying a goat through Plan Canada doesn’t make you a humanitarian.
I’m serious when I say this commercial really turns me off of what they’re trying to do. A commercial like this is supposed to convince you to join a cause.
There’s even another commercial that uses the same kind of narration and avoids the disgust factor, but it pivots on the same point: it will make you look like a good person. They might as well make a commercial where they have someone slapping the shit out of someone wearing the hat and say they’re fully justified because they’re helping the homeless.
Matthew’s Note: I want to make this absolutely clear, I support the efforts of Raising the Roof. They’re an organization that’s done a lot for Toronto’s homeless and they continue to advocate. The reason why I’ve created this article is to give some awareness/context to people who’ve seen this commercial. The charity is going some seriously good work, so check out their website here.