Commercial Break: Retirement Apocalypse   Leave a comment

Broadcast: 4 September 2012
Program: Ultimate Weapons
Channel: The Military Channel
Conglomerate: Discovery Communications

Advertiser: TD Ameritrade
Owned By: Idiots
Product: Discount financial advice

More or less every society known to history has had its share of apocalyptic prophesies and believers who think the ultimate end is nigh.  They come in all shapes and sizes and have all kinds of justifications, but across the entire face of the globe and all human existence these beliefs have only one universal trait: they are always wrong.  These days we actually have a pretty good understanding of how the world is going to end (or at least, how the Sun is going to end the Earth as we know it); fortunately, we’ve got a good five billion years (5,000,000,000) until it’s going to happen.  But some people, for reasons best left to psychologists and comedians to explore, have other ideas.  Among them are the financial planners at TD Ameritrade, or at least their advertising agency. 

This embarrassment to math, sanity and dignity opens with an intricate looking animation of gears with spooky symbols on them:

Poorly Drawn Gears

The Inside of Mitt Romney’s Skull [Artist’s Rendition, May Not Be To Scale]

The shot quickly zooms out as the intricate gears, and the teeth at the bottom that now look like those little green Monopoly houses, begin to fly apart:

Poorly Drawn Gears2

Uh oh, the cat walked across the board again.

It turns out those are supposed to be houses, and the animated people and pets inside seem remarkably calm:

Zero-G Recliner

If this were a music video, and it was still the 1980s, this would be brilliant.

As the gear planet is experiencing its black and white doom, a friendly male narrator explains the calamity:

If you believe the Mayan calendar, on December twenty-first, polar shifts will reverse the Earth’s gravitational pull and hurtle us all into space.  Which would render retirement planning unnecessary.  But say the Sun rises on December twenty-second and you still need to retire, TD Ameritrade . . .

After that things get more pleasant looking while the stupid offers are recited before the commercial ends with:

So, who’s in control now, Mayans?

Um, pretty sure it’s still the Sun, just as it was long before the Mayans and just as it will be long after anyone can remember that such a thing as a “TD Ameritrade” ever existed.  More amusingly, the loopy fools behind this ad, and the even loopier fools who actually paid them for it, are trying to use a semi-popular millenarian hysteria to get you to think about the future.  Alone, that’s pretty dumb.  The only people who seriously believe, or are even worried about, this winter’s solstice have probably already stashed their money in goblin vaults of nitrogen rich CG gold

But what really pushes this above and beyond the usual call of stupid is that TD Ameritrade is not only implicitly promising to protect you from something that isn’t going to happen, but they actually came up with their own doomsday scenario to do it.  Plenty of twits are worried about a “pole reversal” or some such nonsense, but as near Google can tell, literally no one but TD Ameritrade thinks that it’s going to reverse gravity and “hurtle us all into space”. 

What that means is that this commercial not only traffics in the kind of base rumors that cause real people (however ill informed) stress, but that they made up their own rumor to do it.  It’s up to you, but trusting your money to the kind of people who traffic in hocus pocus so stupid that even FOX News can easily debunk it doesn’t seem like prudent investing. 

Posted September 5, 2012 by Charlie Sweatpants in Commercial Break

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