Advertising gone wrong, starring the MO-X girls and cockroaches

A look at the best and worst of CoMO commercials.

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If advertising were seen as a medium of productive artistry, in the same vein as canvas or clay, local television advertising would be the pre-school doodles that grace refrigerators across the globe. But just like these primitive showcases of developing motor skill, local advertising has its own distinct charms.

Take the Add Sheet for instance. For those who couldn't possibly read through the publication, or even more unlikely, for those who managed to avoid receiving one here in Columbia, the TV advertising campaign makes sure to highlight the miraculous deals you are missing. With no spectacular imagery or even terribly hilarious acting, you'd think the ads would be nothing more than pauses in your "Little House on the Prairie" marathon. But they've sucked you in much further than perhaps you even know. Sometime down the road you may find yourself elbow deep in the chest cavity of a quadruple-bypass patient, but when you lean over to request a scalpel from your lovely assistant, the only words that come out of your mouth will be familiar: "Save a lot of money with the...Add Sheet."

With that being said, a jingle can make or break a spot. Steve's Pest Control, a name that adequately sums up the services our friend Steve has to offer, seems to have found the short end of the jingle stick. With a song so disgustingly bland that I often have to strain to remember it immediately after viewing, Steve tries to remind us that we have a "friend in the pest control business," as though his competitors were enemies and certainly not to be trusted. What drags the ad up from the composts of mediocrity is the engaging storyline. Remember those times when you were younger when you thought cockroaches were the best companions the earth had to offer? I hate to ruin the ending, and having failed to post a spoiler alert, I'll simply give you a hint: Cockroaches are kind of gross. And not the kind of gross that personality can compensate for (examples of that include turtles and Amy Winehouse). This is a genuine gross that requires more than one hand washing. Maybe even a second baptism.

And speaking of gross, the award for most creative sleaziness easily goes to our transportation experts at MO-X. As the old adage says, sex sells, and MO-X certainly presents itself as your sexiest shuttle service option. I often like to look at situations with consideration for the deaf, and what it is that they would gather from the mute messages I receive fully accompanied by sound. Shoving my fingers into my ears, I can't help but think that these ads could be seen as some kind of escort service on wheels -- and if MO-X is able to convince a few hard-of-hearing viewers of such a scenario, then more power to them.

There's a tiny one-horse town across the river from my home city, and it consists almost entirely of shady strip joints and topless bars. And inside every one of these little shacks are some of the most loathsome creatures to ever walk the earth's green grass, some of which have possibly never seen the light of day. There are 50-year-old dancers, some with, no lie, missing limbs and a whole pack of melted faces begging for dollar bills. And I know you are confused as to what this has to do with MO-X, but the link is very simple: desperation. Every time I see those little MO-X vixens huddled around the chubby bald guy with the van, I think back to "Lava-face" Carter, a Thursday night regular at the Piggyback Saloon. It's the eyes of desperation, maybe even artificially induced, that always make me consider MO-X for my local shuttle needs.

Are these ads tasteful? Probably not. Effective? I can only assume. For every person who claims that advertising has no direct link to his or her consumption, a company can provide a nifty graph that begs to differ. I have no intention to argue either way. I consider myself a connoisseur of the most lowbrow offerings, and Columbia's local advertising has fulfilled this role quite well. It's almost sad to think that between episodes of "Bonanza," I find more entertainment in the ploys to grab my cash than the cowboys in the Wild West. Some people are doing their jobs better than I give them credit for.

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