Like most folks, I am both madly annoyed and madly in love with corny local TV advertisers. With their bad acting, cheese-ball production values, and bore-into-your skull tag lines and/or jingles, they can absolutely drive you nuts.
Car and tire dealerships and furniture stores seem to be the worst offenders. For those in the Boston area, we have the evergreen Herb Chambers ("We've got it!), who appears to have drunk from the same fountain of youth that Dick Clark did, and the second generation Boch, with the torch passed from Ernie Boch ("Come on down!"), to the marginally smoother Ernie Boch Junior ("Everything you're looking for...come on dow-ah-own") .Then there's Sullivan Tires, which seems to have a multi-generational dynasty of wooden performers with Boston accents so pronounced that the actors in The Departed could have been speaking Midwest. (The Sullivan kids are pretty cute, though.)
For furniture, we have Bernie and Phyll promising us "quality, comfort, and price - that's nice." And Bob's Discount, which may have unbeatable prices, but also has ads that are unmatchable for their annoyance factor. Personally, I'd rather sleep on a bed of nails - points up - than go into a Bob's and try out a Bob-o-pedic mattress. And the other day I glanced up at Bob's latest execrable ad, only to glimpse what appeared to be a talking sofa with flapping cushions. Great. Just what I need from the living room sofa, a wise guy telling me to lose 10 pounds every time I sit down.
On the plus side, local advertisers - like local accents - help give a region its flavor, identity, and peculiarity. Just being able to gripe about the ads helps bond people. When I travel, I love seeing what the locals have to offer. In Syracuse recently, I particularly enjoyed a car dealership ad that featured a fairly lame cameo by recent Syracuse U basketball's much adored Gerry McNamara.
So I hope they never die out.
In the Boston area, we have been blessed over the years with a series of clever ads for Jordan's Furniture that have had high production values, wit and verve, and have featured the engaging Tatelman brothers, Barry and Eliot. (Jordan's - which used to have at its motto "Not to be confused with Jordan Marsh" - a local department store chain now owned by Macy's - is now owned by Warren Buffet, but the brothers have remained involved. A couple of months ago, Barry, the one without the gray ponytail has, dropped out of the business to produce plays on Broadway.)
Which brings me to the wonderful promotion that Jordan's advertised during the month of March in the runup to Opening Day, which - in this baseball-made region - is something of a high holy day. In fact, the promotion runs through Patriots' Day when the Boston Marathon is run - another high holy day.
In any case, here's the deal that Jordan's has been offering: come in and buy some furniture and if the Red Sox win the World Series in 2007, you get a full refund.
Don't worry, Eliot of the gray ponytail assures us, they have taken out insurance on this so that they can root, root, root, for the Red Sox without worrying about whether the ultimate victory come October will end up costing them.
I haven't heard yet whether this boosted March business for Jordan's, but I'm hoping (and guessing) that it did.
This is regional marketing at its best: a recognizable and engaging spokesman, a tie in to what is arguably the region's principal mania, and what in October could end up being a win-win situation. (World Series trophy and a free love seat.)
So let the games begin. Which they did on Monday, with the Red Sox taking a major pounding at the hands of Kansas City. The whole thing, of course, puts me in mind of the Red Sox' last season swoon - the multiple pile-on losses to the very same KC team, the ignominious slide into third place in their division, wildly out of Wild card Contention.
A naive, inexperienced, overreactive might be inclined to say that the money of Barry Tatelman and Warren Buffet is safe. They would already have a headache because the Yankees won, placing the Red Sox a game behind them. Third in their division behind The Evil Empire and the Blue Jays, curiously, just where we left off last fall.
But the season is long and just beginning.
Yippee! We're playing ball again.