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The Power of Cheese
The cheese stands alone.
The meat, on the other hand, has frequent visitors.
"For millions of years, man thought the moon was made of cheese.
In 1969, we went there and discovered it was made of rock.
We haven't been back since.
Behold, the Power of Cheese."
Most companies have a habit of using extreme hyperbole
to sell a product. One common way of doing this is Cereal Induced Superpowers
. There is also use of making people seem Too Incompetent to Operate a Blanket
. The third is to cast a few magic charms and bestow upon it the power of Cheese
: that is, hyping up the perceived desirability of the product to comically absurd levels.
In the context of a commercial, Serious Business
can make people in the ads come off as just being way Too Dumb to Live
. They will ignore their families, forgo basic necessities, and go to extreme lengths of self-abuse, all for a hamburger, a bottle of beer, and other such things. They'll barge into a hospital and try giving a person brain surgery because a new tax office made figuring out their income tax so easy, they decided that everything must be that easy. In short, people in commercials will often act at least twice as stupid as Network executives think their audience is
. Sometimes "justified" because the products really do have Magic Powers.
Which is just as telling to the audience.
Well, not always. Sometimes, you can tell that they're basically spoofing the concept, by having the commercial portray such behavior being as extreme as it really is. The message here is that their product is so good, you'll want
to do this crazy stuff, but we know you're too smart for that
[Not to be confused with Sean Cullen's claim that the greatest things in the universe are wood, cheese, and children.]
Compare The Power of Love
, The Power of Friendship
, and The Power of Rock
, each of which can overlap with this trope, depending on the product, and Cereal Induced Superpowers
in which the product in question causes ridiculously amazing things to happen to the consumer. See also Men Buy from Mars, Women Buy from Venus
to get a more gender-oriented look at stupidity in advertising, and Delicious Fruit Pies
, when established characters get in on the act.
For a trope actually about cheese, see Blessed Are the Cheesemakers
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- Volkswagen's ad campaign for their new car, the Routan, is just...baffling. Apparently, according to this mockumentary by Brooke Shields, women everywhere are having babies—sometimes with men they barely even know—just to get the new Volkswagen Routan, and any of them that say otherwise ("No I'm not! And this is my husband!") are merely in denial.
- A Volkswagen promotion, titled "Sign And Drive" (implying that it's very easy to lease or buy one of their cars) had a guy attempting to fill out the dealer paperwork while driving the car. It didn't go well. So they were forced to change the name to "Sign THEN Drive".
- A disturbing variation has people doing awful things to each other for the sake of the product, such as a car owner sticking pins into a voodoo doll representing the neighbor who spilled coffee in the car.
- One ad features people describing the crazy-ass rules they've made for keeping their new car nice. One of them is a woman who has decided not to let her kids get a dog based solely on the fact that she has this car now; and this manages to not be the craziest thing someone says in this commercial.
- Another featured every man in an entire city ripping off their clothes and dancing erotically because they just really like this one car driving by.
- How can we forget Joe Isuzu? His car advertisements included some truly outrageous statements, frequently accompanied by subtitled snarkiness.
- The AXE and TAG ads, which claim they are more attractive to women than they could possibly be. With a couple of exceptions most modern Sex for Product ads take Refuge in Audacity with this trope. The advertiser gets to associate his product with scantily clad beautiful women, and no one can yell at him because he's obviously kidding.
- AXE is Lynx in the UK. The ads are even better.
- One of Lynx's ad campaigns in the UK a few years back had the slogan "spray more, get more". Of course, the audience most likely to interpret this in an irony-free manner- horny 13-year-old boys- are already notorious for using ridiculous amounts of Lynx in place of a shower, without any encouragement.
- Everyone in Germany who has seen any TV during the 90s will remember this one ad. Revitalizing indeed.
- Inverted by Old Spice, which will not turn your man into the dashing suave gentleman in the ad, but will at least allow him to smell like him. I'm on a horse.
- Schick meanwhile claims that their Quattro Titanium razors will gives you a shave that is so smooth and close, it will cause women at the gym to become distracted and fall off of their treadmills.
- Holiday Inn Express has a series of TV ads where someone attempts some highly skilled job (taking over flying a plane when the pilot is unable to, major surgery, a freestyle rap battle, etc...) When someone asks them if they are qualified, they reply, "No, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night".
- How about those disturbing, harrowing commercials in which an ostensibly perfect mom hides a secret: she has become dependent on chemicals. The pleasure she derives from them goes hand-in-hand with the shame that she feels for enjoying the cheap thrills they provide. She goes to great lengths to hide them from her friends and family, constantly lying, clearly terrified of the prospect that she might be found out. Even worse, she has even begun to have hallucinations in which inanimate objects threaten to expose her secret to the world. Behold, I present to you Glade addiction: the new menace tearing apart suburban families.
- Survival Auto Insurance had (has? I dunno) a series of commercials based on the idea that cars not insured by Survival are not worth getting into, even if not doing so means you'll probably die. Made famous by the first commercial, which featured a guy walking in the desert, apparently malnourished and dehydrated, when an attractive woman in a convertible arrives and says "Need a lift?" The dialogue then goes like this: "Are you insured?" "Yes." "By Survival?" "No." "I can't take that ride." Seen here
- Another featured a back-room poker game where one player raises the stakes by betting his car with the exchange ending with "I can't take that bet." Seen here
- The camera megastore B&H imply that disasters would happen if a B&H camera wasn't used at the event. The strangest: someone objecting at a wedding because the camera being used to record it wasn't bought from B&H.
- Lord Dunsany's ultrashort story What We Have Come To, in its entirety:
When the advertiser saw the cathedral spires over the downs in the distance, he looked at them and wept.
"If only," he said, "this were an advertisement of Beefo, so nice, so nutritious, try it in your soup, ladies like it."
- His The Reward, a considerably longer piece, further elaborates on the same subject:
I looked at the legend on the walls of the hell that the angel was building, the words were written in flame, every fifteen seconds they changed their color, "Yeasto, the great new yeast, it builds up body and brain, and something more."
"They shall look at it for ever," the angel said.
- There's a story about astronomers all over the globe being perplexed as they notice the stars begin to move. As the story progresses, it becomes clear they're converging on a particular quadrant of the sky. It turns out they rearrange themselves to spell out something like "Use Sniveley's Soap".
- Brawndo the Thirst Mutilator. Without a doubt a parody, but by far a hilarious usage of this trope.
- YouTube Poop of commercials can sometimes stray into The Power of Cheese territory.
- The VeggieTales song "The Bunny Song" that is used in Rack, Shack and Benny is undoubtedly this trope. It actually got rewritten several times, with the original being sung by Mr. Nezzer about him rebelling against his parents and everything just to get his chocolate bunnies, even refusing to go to school and church. It was rewritten later, due to objections from real world parents, to be Mr. Nezzer rejecting health food in favor of his chocolate bunnies.