The Ad-gony of Da Feet

Advertising. It makes us laugh... It forces us to order dishes using words we'd never actually say outside of an antihistamine-induced coma ("Rooty-Tooty Fresh and Fruity" anyone?)... And because it needs writers, it pays my bills.

End-zone dances for that.

But bad advertising can also be like a too-short toenail...

It won't kill you. But it sure throbs when you bang it on the Coffeetable of Critical Thinking.

And two ads-- both of them local-- consistently make that big toe go "boing."

Let's start with the newest. It's for The Good Feet Store, a chain that offers the kind of foot-zen podiatric gizmos you'd imagine Doctor Scholl displays in his wood paneled rec-room, lecturing on their physics when he's had one too many Rob Roys.

It's The Good Feet Store's rock-song jingle that gets my metaphorical marketing toe a-throbbing.
"I'm back to doing what I love-- and more--
Thanks to the Good Feet Store
I've got my freedom back-- and that's for sure--
Thanks to the Good Feet Store."

It's bad enough that the second stanza implies, just for the sake of rhyme, that we doubt the truth of her Good Feet Store praise.

Look, lady, it's your feet. If you say you're Fred Astaire-ing your way through the frozen foods section, who are we to deny?

But it's the first line of the first couplet that gets me.

"I'm back to doing what I love-- and more."

So... also what you don't love? Then why are you singing about it with such a peppy, up-beat tune?

Shouldn't it be more some Cure-like, world-weary, miserable dirge?:
"Now that my feet feel fine I guess,
I have to do all this dreadful stuff I never used to do
And think of you
Yes, I think of you...
The fallen arch of my life"
But then, as much as those Good Feet lyrics bug me, I also find myself feeling sorry for the poor singer.

I mean, think about it: there she is, wailing her little heart out for this gig. She may have imagined getting a regional commercial on the main stations would be the one thing that would get her really noticed as an artiste...

The one song that would have people demanding her to headline their up-and-coming band...

Or that would get her on American Idol.

So she goes into the studio and finds out... it's a song about feet.

Well, feet and freedom, anyway. (Hey, Feet and Freedom might just work as a band name!... No, really! You never know. That's a freebie from me to you, Musician readers out there! Feet and Freedom. Think about it.)

(Or maybe it's just that antihistamine-induced coma again.)

Anyway, my second advertising peeve is also foot-related (notice the nifty theme we've got going?). And this peeve has been grating on me since college.

It's for a small local shoe store, and it's their slogan. The commercial shows pairs of bare, tapping feet.

"What do feet have to do with shoes?" asks the narrator, like Alex Trebek for a super-important Double Jeopardy question.
Then we see more tapping feet. Irritated feet. Nervous feet. Petulant feet.

"What do feet have to do with shoes?" the narrator asks us again, mysteriously.

We're confronted with even more feet. A conga line of feet. Rockettes feet. A Feet Fiesta!

"What do feet have to do with shoes?" the narrator intones a whole third time.

And you get the feeling she's really building up to something. Some important revelation or a terrific riddle that we'll all get giant belly-laughs over and will relay to our friends over after-work nachos because of the funny feetliness of it all.

And here it comes... the answer... the pedal punchline to end all punchlines....


Everything?! "What do feet have to do with shoes: Everything"?!!

Well, what do feet have to do with socks? What does ham have to do with cheese? What does Abbott have to do with the little scared fat guy who follows him around? What does pimento have to do with donkeys?!

(Nevermind about that last one.)

But "What do feet have to do with shoes: everything"?!

And for the love of Nike, not a single shoe in the ad!

Anyway, those are my big ad peeves right now. I'd love to hear from you about what sets your metaphorical big toe a-throbbing. Tell me about an ad you've realized just doesn't make any sense. And, hey, it doesn't even have to involve feet!

Or freedom.

(Bonus points to anyone who can tell me why one toe above is labeled "Sgt. Hulka"!)

This post has been sponsored by Humorbloggers Feet Day. It has also been sponsored by the letter F, the bunion on Mike WJ's left foot, and that toe-nail clipper you got too overzealous with last week.

Thank you.



unfinished rambler said...

From the good doctor with his Rob Roys to the Cure-like dirge to even the pimento and donkeys, you've again put together a fantastic posts, Jenn Thorson. You rock! Stumbled? Oh, yeah, doing now.

And how did you know about that toe-nail clipper last week? That's what I want to know. You're psychic too? Wow.

nonamedufus said...

I think Feet and Freedom went on to be a huge national hit by Elton John. Remember Feetadelphia Freedom? And it spawned a cream cheese, but we won't go there. Great post, Jenn. You should be in the spotlight! ;)

Nooter said...

youre kidding... humans actually sing about those grotesque things?
(shaking head)

Jenn Thorson said...

UnfinishedDude- I know because I sent a Seamus in to spy on you. :)

Dufus- (snicker) Feetadelphia Freedom... NIIIIIICE. :)

Nooter- Yeah, we humans are crazy that way.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I have so much to say, but my little piggy and I are kinda busy right now.

It might be a while. *pained smile*

Ha! Great post Jenn!

MikeWJ at Too Many Mornings said...

Funny post! But if you don't know what pimentos have to do with donkeys, then you've never been to Tijuana, Jenn.

And Sgt. Hulka was the "Big Toe" that held the misfits together in the movie Stripes. Nice reference, although now we know you're older than 21.

Kit Simpson said...

A fellow ad-phile, wonderful. And like you, I've often felt a twinge of pity for those singers putting their heart into lyrics about cough syrup or wart remedies.

Of course, then I think of the pop star singers and the lyrics to their songs and figure -- meh, maybe the singers in the commercials aren't doing all that badly after all.

Frank Lee MeiDere said...

Nice. Give them some credit, though; at least they mentioned the product. A lot of the "creative" ads never get around to doing even that much.

Melanie said...

I kind like that first little jingle. I can almost hear it in my head, which causes me a bit of concern seeing how I'm not at all a musical person.

As the happy owner of a brand new pair of comfy work shoes, I can testify to the truth of that little jingle. Got new shoes and now I can do the job I love with no pain again. And a lot of other stuff too.

Jay said...

What do feet have to do with shoes?? Well, that business would be out of business if there were no feet to sell their stuff to, for a start. Sheesh ... talk about a stupid question. But it was this line that made me chuckle -

"It won't kill you. But it sure throbs when you bang it on the Coffeetable of Critical Thinking."

Hahaha! Good one!

Jenn Thorson said...

Quirky- Thanks, lady! I noticed you over in the Loon's nest crooning about feet, too. It's made fer music! :)

Mike- Ah, a double helping of points to you, fine sir, for your Sgt. Hulka answer! And I think they've figured out by now I'm older than 21. What with my lack of hep, nifty coolness and down-with-itness. :)

Kit- It is possible they end up with a lengthier career. Even if it does involve warts! :)

Frank- It's true. I've actually had clients myself who did not want to mention the product in their ads. Then they wonder why the response wasn't good. To this day, I don't get it.

Melanie- Ah, the Good Feet people would LOVE you! You understand their whole underlying philosophy! (I suspect in your mind, though, you've probably made up a more interesting tune than the one they use.)

Jay- See, that's what I thought, too. Every time I see that slogan on a billboard or sign, I just shake my head. They've been using it for about 20 years now.

Chris@Maugeritaville said...


No? How about . . .

Puttin' on my shoes can cause me pain/They just don't seem to fit/Between my toes there's nasty grit/Hangnails abound/Nothin' to do but frown/Athlete's foot and bunions always get me down

Skye said...

Hey Jenn, I know it's been a while since I've been around, but I have something for you over at my blog, hope you like it!

Anyway, this post sure made me laugh, can't think of any commercial that bothers me off hand. Other than a furniture store one. The whole commercial makes sense, it's for The Best Sleep Center, but the problem I have with it is the commentator. The guy looks like a ferret and not in the least bit trustworthy. At the very end of the commercial he pops in and bends over with "You'll find us!", it's just very

Babs-beetle said...

And a copywriter made that slogan up and got paid big bucks for it, and it took a whole team of people to OK it. What do ******* have to do with toilet paper? ;)

Jenn Thorson said...

Chris- Thanks for the musical interlude. I do believe you have quite the foot-themed songwriter future ahead of you.

Skye- Aw, thank you. I will pop by. Don't you wonder why businesses would choose someone to speak for them who looks shady? Do they not think of these things when they cast actors?

Babs- Yeah, it's terrifying, isn't it? :)

Shieldmaiden96 said...

I was going to type out the whole 'big toe' speech from memory but I see I'm not the only one who knew it right off. So I'll leave you with this.

"My name is Francis. But people call me Psycho. Any of you call me Francis...and I'll kill you. I don't like anyone touching my stuff. And I don't like anyone touching ME. Any o'you homos...touch me...and I'll kill ya."

"Lighten up, Francis."

Jenn Thorson said...

ShieldMaiden- Ah, you are my hero! :) I bow before you.

And that's a fact, Jack!

Skye said...

He's not an actor Jenn, he's the owner of the business! So, nope, I don't wonder too much about it unfortunately.

Jenn Thorson said...

Skye- Okay, so that's another one for Small Business Owners Don't Do Your Own Ads. :)

Anonymous said...

Don't know if it's a Colorado problem or if you have been subjected to him as well...

"Smiling Bob"

Nuff said

Sue H

rj said...

The Sleepy's ads where there are 2 women sitting on a bed talking about "the mattress professionals doing it right...." and watching hungrily as a person dressed in a mattress costume mows the lawn as a benefit of buying a mattress. I unfortunately laugh every time because the one actress got her break being the wife in a heat-activated feminine lotion in a spot that would leave the ad group of Viva V*agra blushing.

Anonymous said...

My friend is actually the singer of that song. It's funny reading this knowing exactly who it's about.
Google: Grace Stumberg

Jenn Thorson said...

Anonymous- Oh wow- Thanks for chiming in here! Can you tell Grace I'm glad she got the gig, but I'm sorry she's had to sing about feet?

I hope she gets a really big foot-free break in the business someday. :)

Anonymous said...

Grace has released her first album and is now auditioning for America's Got Talent. check it out sometime