I’m going to jump out on a limb and assume that most of us dislike commercials. For many, they are simply a necessary evil of television. If you want to watch your show, you have to endure the overly loud, poorly acted, transparent salesmanship of today’s free market economy. Personally, I find commercials so abhorrent, such an assault to my sensibilities, such a complete waste of my life that I simply mute them and read my book until the show comes back on. But sometimes that mute button is just out of reach and the first few seconds of the commercial break catch me scrambling, my poor ear-holes wide open to the blaring, raw, profit-incentivized attack.
Now, most commercials simply irritate me, like a mosquito bite or a mewling cat. But then there are some that crawl up in my brain and wiggle around, tear at my eyes—like a horrific Internet meme you can’t un-see combined with that kid on the playground who screeched for half-an-hour straight, wrapped in a stinking, intestine-wrangling burrito, served up every ten minutes during Heroes.
I am, of course, referring to the incessant Geico commercials that refuse to die or even to change conceptually, from one year to the next, across all networks and at all hours of the day and night. The gecko is bad enough with its stupid Cockney accent (originally voiced by Kelsey Grammer), its saccharine cuteness and nonstop blathering. But that “film noir” Rod Serling wannabe Mike McGlone with his stupid eyebrows! His face, to me, is the face of everything that’s wrong with America—the profit-driven corporate culture that treats people like wet moneybags in need of squeezing. I’m sorry that Geico has transformed him into enemy #1. To be fair, I’m sure he’s a perfectly pleasant person, simply a victim of the insurance company of the beast.
I find it endlessly ironic that an ad agency, paid to sell products, would create something so purely hateful, something so anti-sales. Never in my life have I not wanted to buy something so much. Sure, I don’t shop at Walmart because of their loathsome labor practices and I don’t shop at Target because they force their employees to watch anti-union videos, but simply not shopping somewhere falls dramatically short of what I’m inspired to do for Geico. I am so disturbed by their endless, soul-pulverizing, brow-beating, claptrap bunkum, I’ve turned into a worst nightmare—like if Frankenstein’s monster were a consumer anti-evangelist with a cute outfit, empty pockets and a close relative at the television networks. Or at least, that’s what I am in my imagination. In real life I bellow obscenities as I dive for the remote, then close my eyes until it’s all over.
At the very least they could bring back those idiotic cavemen and the money with googly eyes.