Commercial Break: Paid Recommendations Are Not Actually Recommendations   Leave a comment

Broadcast: 16 September 2012
Program: The Good Wife
Channel: CBS
Conglomerate: Viacom/CBS Corporation

Advertiser: Cascade
Owned By: Proctor & Gamble
Pitch: Get your glasses clean to meet gendered expectations of housekeeping and family harmony.

We open with two women standing in front of a dishwasher (don’t worry, it gets worse):

Family Togetherness

This is how people always stand around dishwashers.

They’re supposed to be sisters:

Woman #1: Hey, sis, it’s so great to see you.
Woman #2: You too.  Oh, cloudy glasses.
Woman #1: You didn’t have to come over.
Woman #2: Actually, honey, I think I did.

So the “sister” with the pony tail is actually here to yell at the “sister” without one because her glassware doesn’t come out of the dishwasher as perfectly awesome as in a Good Housekeeping photo spread.  The sexism of this is so retro it’s almost cute, but set that aside for a second while the Cascade lady walks into the kitchen to break up the squabble:

Stranger Danger

Um, who the fuck are you and how did you get in here?

Instead of wondering how this woman broke into the house, the “sisters” listen to her describe the wonderful power of Cascade for cleaning glasses and not leaving them cloudy afterwards.  So the Cascade lady gives her pitch and we cut back to the “sisters” who ooh and ahh over the undeniable awesomeness of this fine product:

The One True Glass

You’d never suspect that they’re a family of quick change artists.

Then the housekeeping-expectations-enforcement “sister” stays passive aggressive and insinuates that the windows aren’t clean enough as the commercial ends with its big lie:

Recommendation Circle Jerk

That sure is a lot of brands.

A narrator comes on to say:

More dishwasher brands in North America recommend Cascade.

Which is true in a very narrow sense of the word, as the fine print informs us that the reason Cascade is the “#1 Recommended Brand” is because:

Recommendations as part of co-marketing agreements.

In other words, we’re in bed with Maytag, Whirlpool and KitchenAid to the tune of uncounted millions of dollars, and in return they let us say this without suing us.  Not only does Cascade want you to feel bad if your glassware doesn’t sparkle at all times, but they pay other companies to agree with them. 

Posted September 17, 2012 by Charlie Sweatpants in Commercial Break

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