Advertising English

In a stack of papers called Connections.

  • May
  • 11
  • 2007

The latest Comcast commercials came up in a discussion we had few months ago. My students predicted that the next one would deal with dough, shortly before the “Hang on to your dough” commercial came out. Some kids dig these commercials and they appeal to me, too. There’s something there to use in an English classroom, but I can’t put my finger on exactly what it is.

“You saved El Moolah!”

It seems silly to waste a perfectly good ad campaign on something as mundane as “here are some examples of metaphor.” Even worse would be “here are some examples of pun.” Ugh. I want something more!

“Not on my shift!”

Here’s a stupid idea: Students pick some topic (homework, relationships, jobs, college, hobbies, etc.) and create a commercial for that topic in the style of the Comcast commercials: show a literal rendition of words that metaphorically communicate a message. For those who need it, justification: CA English Standards — Writing: 1.2, 1.5 (possibly 2.1); Listening and Speaking: 1.1, 1.8. There’s got to be something better we can do with an ad campaign that uses language this way.

“What do we want? –for him to leave– When do we want it? –how about now?–“

Are these commercials online anywhere? Are they on YouTube? I can’t find them on the Comcast site, an irony I should mention to my students. Can you see a way to use these commercials in class? Am I the only one thinking that I should be able to use these to somehow make my students better or more aware writers? Seriously, every time I see these commercials, this runs through my head.

I just thought of a commercial I’d like to create to show my classes, almost all of whom find themselves terribly behind in reading throughout the year. Here it is: I’m sitting in a fancy chair straight out of Masterpiece Theatre, reading The Scarlet Letter, Great Expectations, something snobbish that students typically hate. There’s classical music playing in the background. As I’m reading, without taking my eyes off the book, I shake up a bottle of ketchup. I twist off the lid and pour the ketchup onto the book without changing my expression at all. The next screen is “Catch Up On Reading.” Get it? Eh? EH!? Help me out; I’m dying here.


1. Dee says:

[5/23/2007 - 5:07 pm]

How tacky! Everyone knows you should use Grey Poupon with Great Expectations!
I love this!

2. Todd says:

[5/23/2007 - 6:41 pm]

What, ketchup is too low class? Thanks, Dee.

3. Mike says:

[4/15/2008 - 4:25 pm]

I’ve been trying to look for the “what do we want” video, but I can’t find it online. It really cracked me up. I haven’t seen it on tv recently though :(