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Serious Business / Advertising

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This page features ads that are "Serious Business." It should be noted that in many of these ads, the fact that people are taking the product so seriously is the intended joke. And, let's be honest, the whole point of advertisement is to make anything Serious Business so you'll buy the required product.

  • There's a Brazilian beer ad where we have the captain of a sinking ship trying to salvage four passengers. They ask if they can take their beer box with them. After the captain informs there will not be enough room for them and the box, they send him and all other survivors away, just so they can stay with the beer box. While they stand on a freaking sinking ship. Cut to the guys sitting on an iceberg (unexplainably next to a tropical coastline) with a seal which they use to make the beer chill faster.
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  • Another ad that is set in an arctic station has some people pull up and find all the people inside starving to death. They find that there are plenty of rations and enough food to go around, then they come across the reason for their hunger: there's no more Heinz ketchup left, the only bottle being empty.
  • An early-80s commercial featured a family arguing over which kind of toothpaste to buy. The teenage son says, "But mom, what about my social life? I need a gel for fresh breath."
  • Miracle Whip:
    • Some 90's commercials would feature someone making a huge, delicious looking sandwich... and then throwing the whole thing into the garbage when it turns out they're out of Miracle Whip.
    • There was one where Sylvester refused to eat Tweety because of a lack of Miracle Whip.
    • Miracle Whip commercials from the late 2000s tried to pass the product off as being almost counter-cultural and revolutionary as if it were rock and roll in the 50's or 60's. "We are Miracle Whip, and we will not tone it down."
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  • Pace Picante sauce, because it's made in San Antonio. Where the competitor's is from... * gasp* NEW YORK CITY!? Get the rope.
  • 1-800-Contact commercials seem to be a parody of these kind of commercials, with over-the-top acting and melodrama. Even the commercials come with a little disclaimer at the beginning, stating that the commercials are overdramatic.
  • Burger King treats the king giving out deals to people as serious business. So much seriousness that he is mentally incapable of taking care of himself.
  • "Nobody better lay a finger on my Butterfinger!"
  • Bridgestone Tires made commercials with a Mad-Max-esque world where a man would rather leave his wife behind than give up his Bridgestone Tires.
  • Parodied in a series of commercials for Allied Discount Tires, a statewide tire chain in Florida. The pitchman, standing in front of a green-screen image of an Allied Discount Tire outlet, would state it outright that buying tires was nothing special: "You don't ever come into a tire store and say 'My neighbor has some real nice tires!' Tires don't do nothin' for your social status. You go, they go, you stop, they stop. They don't mean nothin'. You come in, you won't find no coffee or donuts. Hell, you might not even find a place to sit down!? But what you will find are tires, cheap!".
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  • Clearly, Nissan wants to believe that when selling a new car, donuts are Serious Business.
  • UPS even quotes the trope in one of their commercials.
  • Head and Shoulders.
    • Someone would spot the man/woman of their dreams and upon seeing him/her scratch their head, would completely pass him/her by.
    • And wearing black? ARE YOU MAD!?! Some of the old commercials would show an 8x10 glossy of the spokesman in black, and the camera would zoom in on the white flakes on his/her shoulder. The actor would even circle the offending area with a marker, just in case you missed it.
  • The line "I've fallen and I can't get up!" from the LifeLine emergency medical pendant commercial, which was subject to Memetic Mutation. According to Bill Bryson's At Home, 85% of people who die in stair-related injuries are over 65, because they fall and they can't get up. When the slogan became the property of the similar Life Alert company, they used it in a much less campy manner. They were not above cutting a deal with Hallmark to use the phrase in sound-based greeting cards, though.
  • The Sega Saturn was Segata Sanshiro's way of life. If you didn't play it, he beat the living crap out of you.
  • Some of DirecTV ads treat recording space as this. Two recordings are conflicting each other? Expect a massive fallout between family members and be on the verge of destroying each other unless you get the upgrade to five recordings at any time.
  • Back in the early to mid aughts, there was a series of cell phone commercials that portrayed dropped calls as Serious Business that could potentially ruin your life. To pick one example that springs to mind, a woman calls her husband to tell him that they're going to have a baby. The camera shows the husband shouting with joy and telling everyone around him the good news, in complete silence, since the call got dropped. The woman interprets this as an awkward silence, and starts freaking out, under the impression her husband is terrified at the thought of being a dad. The implication is that if you don't switch to their cell service, you might end up with a brokenhearted wife who thinks you hate your baby.
  • A commercial back from the 90s (when rollerblades were the Next Big Thing) shows a woman reading a letter from her boyfriend, explaining that he wishes he could come see her, but can't...her sidewalk is too steep. The camera cuts to the woman walking outside of her house, presumably in San Francisco or another hilly city with steep angled sidewalks, throwing out the bouquet of flowers he had delivered. As she's doing so, the boyfriend glides by in rollerblades, screaming her name. Then four other men, all holding bouquets and wearing rollerblades with advanced braking technology, stop right in front of her house. So, remember to buy their rollerblades, or your supermodel girlfriend might dump you.
  • "Please don't squeeze the Charmin!" If your customers can't squeeze the Charmin, Mr. Whipple, then you shouldn't either!
  • John Jameson. He will fight an octopus, the Hawk of Achill, the Prussians, and fires if so much as one barrel of his beloved whiskey is threatened.
  • The many campaigns for GEICO seem to treat its business of saving on car insurance as a serious one.
  • Several commercials for the Visa Check Card showed people who were so serious about needing ID before accepting a check as payment that they wouldn't do so even when the customer's identity was pretty obvious. In one, Bob Dole needed one to pay with a check in his home town. In another, James Bond needs one in a spy-exclusive nightclub that requires a retina scan, voice scan, and fingerprint scan simply to get into. In yet another, Shirley MacLaine meets a woman who was her best friend in multiple past lives; she still needs an ID before accepting her check.
  • This cheese commercial starts with a presidential candidate politely decline cheese, saying he doesn't like it. Almost immediately, his popularity takes a nosedive and he ends up losing the election.
  • McDonald's ad campaigns for the McRib tend to be about how fans of the sandwich treat its "limited time only" return as serious business. Granted, in this case they're not too far off the mark.


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