Super Bowl Commercials: What’s for us Teens? (And a Fake Gum Commercial)

The gum packetThe Super Bowl aired recently. I believe the statistic is that something like 8-9 billion people watch it every year. Of course, that isn’t counting the people in the stadium, so the number is probably closer to 10 billion-it gets pretty cramped in there.

There are three parts to the Super Bowl that we are all familiar with. The game, which is stressful if your team is playing or entertaining if your team isn’t; the halftime show, which is a music act; and the commercials, or the pinnacle of advertising on TV for the whole year (indicated by the fact that you did not see one commercial selling “Clean my PC” software). This means that the commercials are usually pretty good, aside from the few flops put on by the life insurance companies and accountants.

However, there is one audience the commercials utterly fail to cater to, and that is, not counting the young child, retired women, broke couple, and schizophrenic male demographics, the teen audience. Yes, these commercials fail to target teens. Probably because teens have shown so much consumer intelligence in recent years, being willing to buy things such as rubber bands shaped like Justin Bieber’s hairline, pre-torn jeans, and metal loops for various body parts.

I mean, really, what are we supposed to buy, after watching the Super Bowl commercials? We’re too young to buy beer. We probably don’t have any need for tax agents/software. Most of us can’t drive, and those of us that can don’t even have enough money to pay for the gas/bus ticket to get to the car dealership. All that leaves us is fast food and Doritos. Maybe that’s why America has an obesity problem.

Seriously, though, there is one product I wish I could have seen a Superbowl commercial for.

Gum

Yes, there were some gum commercials that were running recently, but I saw none at the Super Bowl. I think that gum commercials should go like this:

[Opening: a brain surgeon’s workroom. On the metal table in the middle is a patient, whose brain is undergoing an operation.]

Surgeon: Alright people, almost done. This is only my eighteenth surgery in 31 hours. I’m tired, but I think I’ll make it. Can somebody please hand me the thing-a-ma-bob?

Nurse: You mean the the micro-tweezers? Here. [Nurse pulls out a pair of 3-foot long tweezers].

Surgeon: NO! The other thing-a-ma-bob! Hurry!

Nurse: Oh, you mean the precision tool. [Nurse pulls out a replica lightsaber].

Surgeon: No, that thing! Right there! [He points to a walkman lying on the operating cart]. I need it NOW!

Nurse: Gotcha. Here you…zzzzzzzz. [Nurse falls asleep, and a smack is heard as she hits the floor].

Surgeon: Geez! They don’t make nurses like they used to. [He tries to stretch and grab the walkman, but he can’t make it without taking his other hand and its tool away from the patient. Finally, he gives up straining and slowly begins to extract his hand from the patients skull, almost reaching the walkman, but falls asleep at the last second. The patient’s brain starts to smoke, and then melt in a brilliant fireball].

[In walks: Genial Charismatic Gum Salesman. He says nothing, shoots a knowing smile at the camera, and then bends down. He forces gum between the teeth of the nurse and surgeon, and moves their jaws until they start chewing. They miraculously wake up and get the patient’s brain under control].

Surgeon: I feel so, energized! I feel like I don’t even need sleep anymore! [Surgeon looks around in wonder, pausing in his operation, until the patient slaps the surgeon to get back to work].

[Camera cuts to the hallway. We see Genial Charismatic Gum Salesman (with good hair and teeth) walking until he comes to a door that says: Coma Wing. He goes in. A few seconds pass. He comes out. Behind him come people in hospital gowns, walking about unsteadily, mentioning things like, “It’s so good to be out of that coma!” or “I’m fully conscious again!” They are all chewing gum.]

[Cut to white screen, with the necessary brand information and logo animated across. End commercial].

The Horror of January 1st

In a quiet and peaceful little house on a quiet and peaceful little street in a quiet and peaceful little neighborhood being occupied by not-so-quiet and not-so-peaceful not-so-little protesters, Sally woke up.  As Sally arose, she noticed the bright sun gushing in through her window’s half-open blinds.  In short, aside from the chants and riots outside, it was a quiet and peaceful little picturesque scene.  [Cue Violin.]

Sally tilted her head. [Narration] That’s odd, she thought, I don’t remember hiring a violin player to play eerie music. It must be one of the protesters outside having a recital, or something. [Cue animated clouds.]

That’s odd, Sally thought. The last time the bright morning turned to a dark and stormy night was when…that’s never happened before. It must be one of the protesters outside playing with even more chemicals. [Cue knocking.]

That’s odd, Sally thought. I thought my parents had gone to run errands and that I was home alone. It must be one of the protesters asking for a tuner for their violin.  [Cue ax.]

That’s odd, Sally thought. That’s not a very nice way to ask for a tuner, chopping down the door with a bloody, rusty ax.

So, Sally, doing what any sane actor starring in a horror film would do, opened the door.  Amid much screaming, blood, violence, screaming, violence, blood, violent screaming, someone screaming “Bloody-!,” bloody violence, and violently screaming blood cells [etc., cut out to preserve the PG ration of this blog and because I just ate dinner] the camera zooms out (all the way through the window) to reveal that the sun is once again shining and the scene is quiet and peaceful outside the house.  The violin music has stopped.

When the police arrive later, they notice that on the wall, written in blood, of course (because no good horror-film villain ever bothers with pens), is “January 1st was here.”

For those of you who are still here, and have not just left me to run around the house turning on all the lights, locking all the doors and windows, and grabbing a baseball bat from the garage, let me tell you-wait, is that a noise behind you? No, sorry, that was a mean thing to do (and we all know that that always stops us teens from pulling pranks…). I was going to tell you: this horror story (which I’m hesitantly referring to from now on as “Violence, Blood, Screams, etc. on Jan 1″ in case anyone from Hollywood wants to buy the rights) is actually a very accurate rendition for what you should be experiencing today.

If you’re an adult, then you’re thinking, “Wait, what? It’s the first day of the New Year.  It’s a weekend. What’s the issue with that?” Ohhh-hohhh.  Typical out-of-touch adult, I see, used to the year-round pattern of work and weekends as opposed to a nine-month period of extreme amounts of work.

The issue, as I’m sure you know, is that school starts in two days.  TWO DAYS.  That means a few things.

First, any homework that you had over winter break has to get done at some point, probably late tomorrow night.  It’s time to throw procrastination mode into overdrive.

Secondly, that means tomorrow morning is the last day you will be allowed to sleep past sunrise.  It’s time to go back to spending less time sleeping than you spend wondering if there will be a rapture tomorrow. (Which is why I’d recommend becoming a teen radio preacher as a part-time job, as you might get a bit of sleep).

Thirdly, there’s no end in sight. Your next major break from school is going to be in the spring, which is three or four months away.  The only reason you survived all the way to Winter Break is because of artificial substances like gum, caffeine, and sugar.  And to afford enough of that for the next three months, you might have to sell one of your holiday gifts (I hear people like to buy My Little Pony: Genetic Experiment Kits on Craigslist).  We all know that if you just ask for the best possible present, sugary caffeinated gum, most relatives interpret that as a plea for clothes.

But even during days like January 1st, when everything looks bleak, it’s important to stay positive: you don’t really have to start your enormous 40%-of-final-grade semester project on the history of the automatic toilet as it pertains to cultural diversity until tomorrow.  And if you decide to do an interpretive dance for your project, you probably don’t even have to start it until the wee hours of the morning of January 3rd.

11 Things You Need to do on 11-11-11

Comparison of 11-11-11 to y2k and 2012

click to zoom

As a society, we are obsessed with numbers.  As teens, we hate numbers and math.  And, as computer-users, we use numbers everyday.

That means we are a society of teens that is obsessed with hating the numbers we use everyday.  No wonder teens have depression problems-we have no idea when we are supposed to hate numbers or be thankful for them. Depressing.

But, on the bright side, it is going to be 11-11-11 in just a few days. That means the date will be the same forwards, backwards, upside down, in a mirror, in an upside down mirror, upside down backwards in a mirror, and even when eaten, regurgitated, cut in half, and then put against a mirror (for those of you with too much spare time: don’t just take my word for it! Test all that!).

You shouldn’t just let this special day pass, though.  Of course not.  It won’t happen for another hundred years, unless the world ends, in which case it won’t happen ever again.  Thus, I’ve compiled a list of 11 things you have to do as a teen on 11-11-11.

(Note: after writing most of this list, I realized that 11-11-11 is Veteran’s day, so most of us don’t have school.  Regardless, I think you could still do most of these, and for the school-specific ones you should just do them on 11-10-11, in preparation for the big day).

1) Mess with the Lockers

Yes, lockers have a lot of problems; we know that already. However, Lockers will actually be your friend today: get to school early and turn everyone’s lock to the number 11.  Then, wait to see how many people notice.  As you are dealing with other teens, it should be pretty obvious: those who notice will experience a brain overload, so their eyes will start flashing and their ears will emit some sort of smoke.

2) Drive at exactly 11 MPH

If you are old enough to drive, today is a great day to take advantage of your ‘teen driving inexperience.’ Just drive everywhere at 11 mph, and people will write it off as just another bad teen driver.  Caution: if you go on the freeway, make sure you are wearing a crash helmet.  You might even throw on some chain mail armor for added protection and if you want to go for that ‘bad teen driver escaped from mental asylum’ look.

3) Use only 1 or 11 Syllable Words

As I’ve mentioned before we teens are special in that we can communicate in less syllables than cows can. So, like, this is not hard for us to, like, do, right?

Bonus: you can use 11 syllable words also.  Not that I know any 11-syllable words, but I’m sure they exist.  I bet they would make great comebacks to insults: “You’re a loser.” “Oh yeah? You’re an antidisestablishmentarianist*.”

*Okay, so I knew one 11-syllable word, but we all know that one. It means something like: against (anti) this (dis) establishment (establishment) Harry (ari) and (an) fist (ist).  In common terms, basically someone against the establishment of something and willing to both fight for it with their fist and call in J.K. Rowling as well.

4) Buy Lunch in 11-cent multiples

I think this is pretty self-explanatory.  Let’s just say this is why I don’t want to work around teens when I grow up.  And the scary part is, to the teenage me, this actually sounds like something I need to do.

5) Grow an 11th finger

The reason I am giving you this list a few days before 11-11-11 is mainly so you can start working on this one now.  I think an extra finger would be pretty useful, especially when it comes to setting the world-record at your school for Fruit Ninja.  And that is definitely a worthwhile pursuit.

6) Get an 11% on Your Math Homework

If you are smart enough to calculate just how many things you must miss to do this, then you deserve an A anyway.  But don’t let that paradox stop you.

7) Buy $11 Worth of Gum

I am actually going to try to do this myself, which, let me tell you, won’t be easy.  It really puts into perspective the amount of gum I chew each day.  I’ll just have to bear with those fun symptoms of withdrawal in the name of, um, 11-ness.  Seizures, here I come.

8) Raise Your Hand 11 Times in Each Class

Unless you are having a class discussion, this will also be difficult.  However, you can resort to “I, um, forgot what I was going to say,” “I was just stretching, sorry,” “I was waving out the window to the Ax-Murderer outside,” and, “In stretching I looked outside and saw an Ax-Murderer, but I forgot why that is important,” to help you with this.

9) Write the Date on Every Line

Whatever you are writing, make sure to commemorate this special day by putting the date, and only the date, on every line. Name: 11-11-11. Period:  11-11-11. Social security number: 11-11-11. Blood type: 11-11-11.

10) Dial 1-11-11-11

Don’t do this if that number is, for some reason, the emergency number in your area, because if you read my little disclaimer at the bottom of the page, you’re the only one of us who will be going to jail. Otherwise, 11-11-11 is a bad day to have that phone number.  You could even call (1) and then that number for a longer distance call, making it 11-11-11-11.

When they pick up, say something like: “This is the 11th Street Barber shop, we are just calling to remind you to pick up your hair.  It was done at 11:00 this morning; we dyed it gray since you did not choose one of our 11 colors.  Normally it costs $11 extra, but it was free with your promo package.  Please come and pick up your hair before 11:00 tomorrow or we will donate it to a charitable cause. The 11th Street Barber shop: we will literally remove your hair.”

11) Eat some Salt

I’ll bet this is the most widely appreciated form of celebrating 11-11-11 you will find: it appeals to nerds (10% of teens), McDonald’s lovers (20% of teens), and those who eat excessive amounts (50% of teens or 100% of teen boys).  Why salt? Because Sodium is the 11th element in the Periodic table (our good friend, remember?), and salt is sodium chloride.  You could also just eat pure sodium, but I think that you might have to eat charcoal/burnt bread/chalk then also.  Of course, for us teen boys, we have enough appetite for both salt and pure sodium with a side of chalk.

11 things to do on the 11th day of the 11th month of the 11th year.  The only way this list could be more perfect is if it received 11 Facebook likes, 11 Tweets, etc.

Although you could argue that this list would also be more perfect if I had written it entirely in binary, using only 1’s and 0’s (so 11 might show up a few more times).  However, I did want you to be able to read it, and we all know that binary is like Latin: the Romans ultimately rejected them both because they were too complicated.  What? You didn’t know the ancient Romans spoke English? They had a really cool accent, too, a mix between a British accent and a Chinese accent.

Even though I’ve determined that this list is perfect, I ask you: did I leave anything out? What are you planning to do/think should be done on 11-11-11?

The Perfect Back To School Shopping List Supplement

Gum for saleIt’s late enough in August that I think I am now allowed to say the word “school.”  [Cringing, braced for mighty metal fist from above].  Well, I’m still alive enough to write this next sentence, so I guess I was ri

Sorry, sorry, I’m fine, I’m just trying to give you, my reader, a heart attack.  You know what they say: “A Dead Reader Tells No Tales,” and I really want to limit my blogging competition.  Actually, bring on the competition, but only if you believe that promoting this blog throughout your blog is the way to go.

Anyways, back to the post (from that semi-reality where I break character and go off on a too personal and slightly awkward tangent).  You need to go school supply shopping this year, as the schools definitely can’t afford the supplies.  In fact, if you see any teachers for sale, grab those, because many schools can’t afford those either now.

As I don’t have the official list (which is purposeful; I’ll avoid that till 2:00 AM the day school starts), I can’t just pick out the items and make fun of them.  Besides, that would be too easy.  However, now that I’ve survived my first year of high school (physically, not sure about my brain), I can tell you what the schools won’t.  I call it, “School Supplies: The Missing List.  The list that should have been on the shelf.” (This is an entertainment blog, Missing Manual Company.  No need to sue, the most you’ll get is $0.08-$0.23).

Gum

Do I even need to mention it? You need at least enough for yourself, your friends, any teen within 5 miles who will ask for some (probably because they’ve read “5 Brilliant Ways to Ask for Gum”), and the bottom of every single desk, shelf, or table (because they’ve cleaned up last year’s art).  Then, take that amount and triple it.

A Super-Large Backpack

You can’t just settle for something that will fit one or two textbooks.  You need the heavy-duty sack that could handle a few of your smaller friends.  Also, reinforcing it with metal plates, the type that they use on tanks, is probably a good idea as well. 

A Mirror

This has roles that are different depending on your gender.  Girls will use this mirror to look at their faces.  Guys should have a mirror so they can constantly check their back for “Kick me” signs. 

A Hood

At some point, you will get a bad haircut.  Unless you want to be laughed at all day, or fix it by getting a buzz cut, a hood is definitely your best option.  However, this is only inconspicuous in the cold months, so I’d recommend avoiding the barber starting in September.  Sure, your hair will get really long, but it’s doable; why do you think they invented “No Shave November?” Obviously, people started to notice something.

A Full Suit

This is one of the things that the schools mistakenly assume teens just “have.”  I don’t know any teen who frequently buys suits, unless they had to go to a funeral over the summer.  There will be a week when you need to dress nicely for a class, and you’ll have about a 1 day warning.  Which means you’ll have to rush to buy a suit, as your old one makes you look like you belong in the NBA.

Extra Pencils

You will lose all your pencils at some point.  However, you will also find lots of pencils on the ground.  If you’re lucky, you can surf the constant cycle of lost and found until the end of the year, and then miraculously have your complete set of pencils back.  I wouldn’t count on it, though, so you should get at least twice as many pencils as you think you’ll need (if you want to know about mechanical vs regular pencils, you could check out “The Great Pencil Debate”). 

Calculator Batteries

Just like everything else unpleasant about school, it is unavoidable that your calculator will die on the day of the test.   Even if you have a solar-powered calculator, bring something.  Maybe a car battery and jumper cables, or a 5-hour-energy drink that you can pour in the back. 

A Broken Printer

-for the classic homework excuse.  That way, you can bring it in, and your printer appears to actually be broken.  You can look for an old printer on Craigslist, Ebay, or in all that space junk orbiting earth, and then smash it with a hammer, drop it out a 2nd-story window, or run over it with your car. 

I believe I’ve covered the important stuff (heck, I know I have, all you really need is gum.  Sounds like a Beatles album: “All You Need is Gum,” “Can Buy Me Gum,” and “I Wanna Hold Your Gum.”).  If I’ve left anything out, though, feel free to add to this list in the comments.