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What The Game’s Been Missing: Commercials


I don't watch TV that much anymore. And when I do, I skip straight to the good stuff. I DVR Love and Hip Hop. I wait until a season of Dexter is over and then watch it on Netflix. Instead of waiting for a music video to come on EBT, I just go straight to YouTube. Shoot, I didn't even watch the last Soul Train Awards, but I watched my Twitter timeline, which watched the show for me (and let me know it wasn't worth my time). It's a testament to the advances of technology; not bad. Not bad at all.


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But there used to be a time, church, when you couldn't escape the grips of companies and advertisers. You used to have to earn the RIGHT to watch good content. And commercials were that price. And they used to be good, too. It's be a lonnnnnnng time since there have been some poppin' promos -- and to the people who think the Target lady is funny, allow me to escort you to the nearest cliff -- and musical icons and celebrities would partake in the fun. Unfortunately, the only commercial that comes to mind right now is Diddy's digital jump over a bull in that Ciroc ad. If he doesn't look like animated video game character I don't know what does. Just creepy.

Truth be told, the best commercials, the ones that get into our psyche and stay there for years, are not the ones with slick production and millions of dollars behind them. We need more of these done-on-a-dime pieces, in my opinion. Employ some musicians and local actors, get some job creation going on, you know what I mean? With that said, let us examine some classic commercials that have won the hearts and minds of people the world over.

  • Champale
    Want the class of champagne but the affordability of beer? In this ad classic duo Ashford and Simpson implore you to reach for a Champale if you want to have a good night after a long day. Pure comedy.
  • Eastern Motors
    Anybody in the DMV will tell you the jingle for Eastern Motors is one of the moved loved (and reviled) ads in the area. It's so annoyingly catchy that you just have to sing along. Peep game as comedian John Witherspoon puts his spin on it.
  • Moo & Oink
    If it wasn't for the Facebook status of fellow writer Jamilah Lemieux I never would have known of this hidden gem. The Chicago-based food outlet, Moo & Oink, has all the makings of local favorite: happy workers stuffing chicken wings in bags, the church's praise and dance team, dancing livestock, and a distinctive sign off. What more could the people ask for?!
  • Afro-Sheen
    OK, this doesn't really have any musical relevance other than the fact that it played in between showings of Soul Train, but that's good enough. The fact that Frederick Douglass' ghost had the UNMITIGATED gall to come from the grave and hate on a young man's raggely afro is just...too much for words.
  • Schlitz
    "If you're out of Schlitz, you're out of beer." Wow, the Commodores really don't mind sending people down the wrong road with this one. What is it with soul singers and liquor commercials? I guess that's no different than Henny and Heinenken sponsoring shows, but let me not get into that...

And there are so many more gems to be found on YouTube or in the recesses of long-forgotten VHS collections. Businesses and companies will always need marketing, and they will most likely continue using musicians to make jingles and star in their advertisements. But after revisiting these funny, albeit dated commercials, maybe the game hasn't been missing them after all.


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