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November 24, 2014

Choddies and Four Other Ad Clichés That Need to Stop Now

by Joel Keller, posted Feb 17th 2011 7:00PM
Stop The Choddy!You may not know what a Choddy is by name, but you've seen them everywhere on your TV screen.

They're not hard to spot: they're commercials -- mostly PSAs -- that have the same format: They depict a combination of people, shot from the waist up against a bland background, looking straight into the camera while giving a piece of the ad's copy. The ad is edited to make it sound like one complete statement.

Choddies are so pervasive that a website was created to help stop the trend. Stop the Choddy, which looks like it was set up by a consortium of creative types at small advertising firms and production companies, documents what the elements of a Choddy are -- apparently, one of them is the presence of Whoopi Goldberg -- and asks users to send in examples of Choddies found in the wild. Oh, and they also sell t-shirts and trucker caps. What's an internet meme without merchandising attached?

Here's a good example of a Choddy, which has matched 6 of the 8 of the website's criteria:



There were Choddier examples, but most of them were PSAs, which the creators of the site acknowledge are worthwhile, but should just be done more creatively. As we can see by the Quicken Loans ad above, though, Choddies aren't just for PSAs. Note the bland background, the (mostly) waist-up framing, the talking directly into the camera, the repetition. It's some stats and a Whoopi appearance away from a perfect Choddy score.

But it's not like the Choddy is the only overused style in advertising. There are plenty, but these three need to be changed right away. I'll even give them cute names so they can be remembered:

1. Alternative rock in car commercials: Let's call these ads Carmos, because they combine "Car" and "emo" to ear-tiring effect. The Vampire Weekend 'Holiday' debacle from Christmas 2010 should have proven to everyone that ads like these have a short shelf life. What sounded cool and bouncy the first time around sounds like water torture by the time the 6,322nd time it's heard in the span of a month.

And, while it's fun to find out about new music via car ads -- what else do you have these days, Genius on iTunes? -- not every car needs to be advertised using an emo soundtrack.

2. Fast food ads that make the food look edible. Let's call this the McMirage, because McDonad's is the worst offender. In a McMirage, the Angus Third Pounder burger looks as scrumptious as something you can get at a steakhouse, and the person enjoying the burger looks like he or she is eating the best thing in the world. In reality, the burger is usually a sloppy pile of soggy ingredients, and the burger itself is overcooked and salty.

The only fast food joint I'll give a pass to on the McMirage is Taco Bell, because there isn't a food stylist in the world that can make those piles of cheese, sour cream, and semi-meat look good.

3. Movie ads that give away the best lines. These could be called Troilers, short for 'Trailer Spoilers.' It's a time honored tradition that a movie trailer, whether it's the 2-minute one you see in the theater or the 30-second one you see on TV, always gives away a movie's best line or scene.

It's not so bad for a movie like 'The Hangover,' which had many other hilarious scenes (you can show Ken Jeong running around naked in a trailer). But the move can backfire; if the reveal for the funniest line isn't that funny, chances are the movie is going to make about a buck and a half.

4. Bears and toilet paper. There's no name for this; it's a whole campaign built around the phrase "Does a bear s--t in the woods?" and needs to just stop. Right now.

Tell us: what ad cliches are you tired of seeing?

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samaitra

they are really very common form of advertising

February 18 2011 at 6:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
shadowracer

According to the Black Keys, the Alt Rock bands want their music in commercials now. It's really the only way they can get awareness on a mass scale without music videos or good radio stations anymore.

Black Keys should have won Album of the year, I mean they beat Arcade Fire in the other category.

February 18 2011 at 2:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
nhughey

Speaking of McDonald's, the one where the pretty people are rythymically slapping their hands on the table while someone else gets whipped cream on her face from a coffee drink? Is this a sport or some kind of cool phenomena? But I'd be okay with it if I never had to see those man hands squeezing McRib sauce out of his sandwich again!

February 17 2011 at 8:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Laura

personally, i love yogurt. but i am so sick of all of the yogurt commercials about women losing weight. all that stuff---i can eat key lime pie and strawberry cheesecake at only 100 calories. and that commercial for that jello stuff for 60 calories. and they women eating it look like they're eating freakin fudge sundaes...

ohhh and isn't it time to see a MAN in a commercial for paper towels/laundry detergent/cleaning supplies? seriously, what happened to feminisim ?

February 17 2011 at 7:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Laura's comment
BC

I think you'll have to be content with no longer being blamed for ring around the collar.

February 17 2011 at 9:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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