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Mop or die!

So there I was, chilling on the couch, minding my own business with a big bowl of corn and some premium liquid refreshment. I was happy, zooming around the channels waiting for “The Soup” to start when my thumb cramps up and freezes the remote on a more or less uninteresting commercial. As I regroup and attempt to spin away, wham! The ad literally takes my breath away. Physically, I felt like my stomach had fallen six inches. And no word of a lie, my sphincter clenched of its own accord. Too much information? Likely, but what kind of advertising voodoo produces an ad that can do such things?

In this case, the dark lords were from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board of Ontario.

The ad I saw showed a pretty young woman explaining that she was a sous chef who, with some luck, would be a head chef by next year. She then flashes a ring and mentions her amazing fiancé whom she WON’T be marrying this weekend (Hey, what’s going on?) because she’s about to have a “terrible accident.” By this point I’m waiting, body tensing, knowing the other shoe is about to drop. She then says, “But I really should have cleaned up the grease over there…” just before she grabs a huge pot and starts to gripe about management, saying “...they never should have put the deep fryer so close…” and then - boom - she falls backward, dumping a massive load of boiling grease on her face, starting a fire almost on top of herself. She’s screaming and crying as we see her face visibly scarred and painfully burned. Oh my...

The tag line for the ad is, “There really are no accidents.”

Okay, this ad freaked the crap outta me. It was just so, ahem, in your face awful. The fall she does near the deep fryer was worthy of a genuine snuff film. It looked so real that they must have broken some sort of worker safety guidelines just filming the bloody thing. How do you do that kind of fall safely?

WSIB has a whole campaign of frighteningly horrific images and film. You can watch a working man get fried in an acetylene explosion, fall six stories and then get hit by a truck in a spot called “Family Guy.” Another one called “Factory” shows some poor bastard driving a forklift plow into a shelf dumping a load of pipe on his head from fifteen feet which results in at least two of the rods impaling him right through the chest. The last is called “Retail” and features a woman standing high on a ladder hanging a “sale” banner just before falling hard to the floor and crashing through a glass display case, resulting in a broken arm and a face carved to ribbons.

I started to hyperventilate after watching all of them.

The posters they have are just as scary. More people mercilessly impaled, pools of blood, severed body parts. Truly these ads are the moral equivalent of mom warning that “You’ll poke your eye out” and then grabbing the kid standing next to you and jamming his eyeball with a sharpened stick just to make her point real.

I kid you not, these ads scared me so bad I plan to surround my desk at work with orange safety cones and caution tape from now on. Word is, the WSIB caught some heat for airing the ads too early in the evening, scaring more than a few children. A city council member in Mississauga named Carolyn Parrish (so that’s what happened to her) suggested the ads may still be inappropriate whenever they are shown, explaining that her grandson saw them, burst into tears and now follows his mom around the kitchen making sure she doesn’t spill any grease. I don’t personally know how the woman cooks but maybe the kid knows something we don’t.

Are these spots over the top? Hell yes they are. But I promise you after seeing them I will never, ever view a spot of grease the same again. And you know what? That’s probably a good thing.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

My qualifications? Who am I to critique commercial advertisement? I have no degree in marketing. I don't work for an ad agency. I'm not an advertising professional. I am barely qualified to judge an Oreo stacking contest. Who do I think I am?

I am a target and I have been shot at by advertisers every single day of my entire life. Sales pitches are a part of living, and as a raging consumer taught to accumulate stuff and needing only a semi-good reason to do so means I'm more than qualified.

When Heinz introduced colored ketchups I bought purple and green. When Coke added vanilla I got a case. Crest puts whitening in the toothpaste and I'm brushing my teeth. Create a new package and I jump up and down. I can't help it. I'm an AdFool.

Jarrod Thalheimer is a freelance writer living in Kelowna who spends far too much time watching television and movies. He can be reached at [email protected]

Visit Jarrod's website at www.adfool.com



The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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