SHAKING blog

Friday, May 19, 2006

Learn English. Or Get Laid. Whatever.


Desperately grasping for a pole to hang onto, wedging that Wall Street jerk’s gym bag out of your kidney, loathing every single person around you (yet you tell all your friends that you love New York “because it’s so diverse and has such energy”), you’re commuting on the subway and it sucks. So you look up and focus on the only thing that makes the ride bearable…the subway ad. Seriously, if you’ve lived in New York for even a short time, these images and slogans are as familiar to you as the face of any loved one.

Now I’m not saying they’re good. They’re just there. And, usually, the worse they are the better. And, man, have there been some bad ones. Like so eye-gougingly bad that they deserve some special award. In fact, perhaps one car could serve as a hall of fame for the best of the worst. And the inaugural inductee would have to be the genius anti-rodent campaign “Rats. Let’s Stop Them.” (I don’t how much money the city paid for that slogan but it should demand a refund. I mean, what the hell were the losing submissions? “Rats. Feh.” Or “Rats. Bastards Still Haven’t Provided A Cure For Cancer. Kill ‘Em All.”) And a close second would be none other than “La Decisión,” the anti-STD (or pro?) ad campaign. (What the hell was the final decisión, anyway? The city kind of left us hanging on that one. Did she get back together with the creepy bald guy?). And, joining La Decisión would be her good friend, Lydia with Chlamydia (Yea! Fight STDs thru rhyming! It’s just heaven when Lydia wonders why she’s itchy down there and her homegirl Bea tells her “Girl, that’s an STD!”) And, of course, the attorney ads for the lead paint babies. (Ah, those blessed little stick figure cartoons with Xs for eyes. Your ticket to millions!) And, finally, last but not least, the King of Zits, Dr. Z.

Yes, there have been several brilliant subway ads. But one in particular stands out. It’s the good people at ALCC, or 1-800-ENGLISH. Trust me, you’ve seen these ads. They’re the ones with impossibly hot foreigners beckoning you to come learn English with them. I mean, seriously, the ALCC students make the Benetton models look like a bunch of lepers. (And, unlike those models, the ALCC kids don’t look like they’d talk your ear off about the rainforest or the evils of the World Bank.) Now, obviously ALCC is not going to hire babushka from the Old Country to be the face of their company, but come on. This looks more like an escort service than a language school.

Well, actually, maybe my English could use a little tune-up. Anyone know how to say “What’s your sign?” in Slovakian?

15 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

An old favorite of mine was for a law firm. The text read, "When Diamonds Aren't Forever, call 1-800-Divorce." The best part? The "o" in "Diamonds" was a diamond engagement ring. That was some brilliant advertising, right there.

May 19, 2006 4:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about the one with the foot doctor who cures bunions and hammer toes, and puts on the ad as examples the two ugliest feet I've ever seen in my life? And that includes the feet of the barefoot bums I see at least once a week. Maybe they should add pedicures to their business plan.

May 19, 2006 4:42 PM  
Blogger Jay said...

Anonymous 1 and Anonymous 2 -
agreed. both classically bad ads. And then there's Well Woman. Oh, stupid, annoying Well Woman.

May 19, 2006 5:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i like the one that is for a lawyer but the number is 1-800-margarita...there's something i want to call after a hard day at work!

May 19, 2006 5:07 PM  
Anonymous KK said...

Oh come now - I can't be the only one who remembers "Get Spicey!" "Coming Alive When It's After 5!" "You Know It's The One". Three taglines all in one massively cryptic and borderline racist Captain Morgan's campaign.

May 19, 2006 5:45 PM  
Anonymous katiebakes said...

ok there are these ones that begin with a z, and they are advertising a series of books.

there are all these people reading the books with comically scandalized looks on their faces, because clearly these books have some ... colorful language and adult situations.

i always giggle when i see this ad. ok, i'm doing a really bad job of describing it. but is anyone with me here??

May 19, 2006 7:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah, but have you seen all the community college ads? every single one features the completely ugly/obese inviting you to join them at laguardia or whatever.

May 20, 2006 3:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about the ads for Candylicker or something, that erotic novel marketed towards black women?

May 21, 2006 12:17 PM  
Anonymous Rick J said...

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May 22, 2006 5:02 AM  
Anonymous Rick J said...

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Take a look at Wallstreetwinnersonline.com

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May 22, 2006 5:05 AM  
Anonymous Rick J said...

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the indexes easily.

Take a look at Wallstreetwinnersonline.com

RickJ

May 22, 2006 5:27 AM  
Anonymous Worker#3452 said...

What about the one for the business school with the tagline "The Business [sic] Centered College"? Is proper use of the hyphen not required to learn or teach business?

May 23, 2006 4:20 PM  
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