2.24.2006

insurance is for suckers

So yes, I haven't posted in a while. I don't have much of a good excuse (being whisked off to a foreign land, and/or abducted by aliens, and/or having actually found an outlet for ranting about chicken nuggets that pays more than the faint glow of pride when my sitemeter hits a nice round number), except that I seem to have fallen into a phase of serenity and boredom and whatever wherein my life is profoundly uninteresting and I have nothing creative to share with the world. But as vaguely has-been bad boy british artist Damien Hirst (or someone, they're all named Damien, aren't they?) once said, sometimes I feel like I have absolutely nothing to say and I want to communicate this. But here's what you're here for, a witty observation about the world:

Riding the subway yesterday there was an ad for TCM Insurance (or is that Turner Classic Movies?). The tagline:

you could save up to $500 or more by switching to TCM
Shall we parse? Oh yes, let's!

"Up to $500" = any amount from zero to $500.00
"$500 or more" = any amount from $500.00 upwards to infinity, presumably also including theoretical infinities such as aleph-sub-five or 2-omega

So here is the selling point: you will save an amount of money if you switch to this auto insurance (never mind that the illustration on the ad in question was a photo of two guys tailgating, which raises the interesting question of what the overlap is of New York City residents who ride the subway, and people who own auto insurance and tailgate at football games. Predicted subset: nil, as evidenced in the following illustration WHICH I DREW MYSELF:Isn't it pretty?*), and that amount could be any amount at all in the world. Take a risk! Throw chance to the wind! I don't even understand how insurance works, but I know this ad is awful. But I kind of like those caveman commercials. The first caveman who orders roast duck with mango salsa makes me think of Bobby Flay, whose entire culinary career would be obliterated if the mango were to go extinct, and then the other caveman is like "I don't have much of an appetite, thank you" which is exactly the effect that Bobby Flay has on me, therefore I relate to the second caveman, therefore I relate to the advertisements. Not so much relating to the Tailgating Guys Of Indeterminate Savings Amount.

Also I enjoy the feeling of superiority engendered by knowing that GEICO stands for government employees insurance company. Or is it corporation? Okay, 3/4 of a feeling of superiority, plus bonus points for the opportunity to use the word "engendered."

* I should clarify here that by "residents of New York" i specifically mean Manhattanites, because god knows what they do in those other boroughs. And then of course I realize that I saw this ad while on a D train, which technically does spend some time in Brooklyn. So maybe the ad placement was not fully retarded. But definitely at least partial retardation. Like, first-grade reading level in twelfth grade. Not quite cork-on-the-fork. Maybe helmet territory, though.

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7 comments:

Dov said...

Quibbling law student point... technically, you could "save" $0, in which case you've saved nothing, and their ad is incorrect. I suppose it's theoretically possible that you could have "negative savings" as well...

James said...

Dov, I just don't understand your point. The ad says that you could save money by switching, not that you will save money. The ad seems perfectly correct to me. What law school do you go to?

Colleen said...

it is a horrible ad. my portfolio professor yesterday told us that if we ever used anything like 'Sale-a-bration' or 'Biggest Sale Ever' she'd hunt us down and shoot us.
but unfortunately, some do not receive such sage advice,a nd end up writing ads like that one.

ps i like that in your ven diagram no one in new york tailgates. probs tru

Anonymous said...

The snarky 2nd caveman doesn't say "Thank you." He simply says "I don't have much of an appetite" -- which is HORRIBLY ungracious, given that the GEICO guy is taking them out to a swank restaurant, as well as apologizing. I mean, geez.

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