For some reason, TV advertisements for package delivery companies tend to be amusing. As I work in a small office and see the stalwarts of UPS and FedEx on a near-daily basis, I am somewhat puzzled by this. These people are certainly affable, but certainly not laughable.
Anyway, while watching portions of the Daytona 500, I caught a commercial that is among the most oddly amusing that I’ve witnessed in quite some time. But first a little background.
A few years ago, FedEx became the title sponsor of the CART series. The best way to understand that is that it got to get its logos all over the venues at which cars that look like those that race in the Indianapolis 500 race. As those cars can go 200 mph+, the whole notion of “absolutely, positively has to be there” sort of makes sense in that context—except when one or more of the cars is demolished by hitting a wall at 200 mph+. I sure as hell wouldn’t want my package in one of those.
Not to be outdone, UPS has cleverly become the primary sponsor for Dale Jarrett’s NASCAR ride. The best way to understand that is to know that it has the big brown package-like logo prominent on the No. 88 Ford Taurus that one of the most popular figures in the series drives. That makes a little more sense, since, let’s face it, one of those CART cars barely has room for a driver, and at least a NASCAR vehicle has backseat space for boxes and packages.
UPS has been running ads with Jarrett related to him “Driving the truck”—as in those big brown step vans that UPS uses for deliveries. Jarrett is nonplussed in these spots, as he tries to explain that he’s not driving the truck in the races, but a car. Trust me: it is far wittier in the seeing than in this telling.
This past Sunday, while paying partial attention to the TV, I suddenly heard George Thorogood (sans Destroyers) singing what I thought was his signature “Bad to the Bone.” (Did you notice that, say, “Back to Wentzville” never caught on?) But, no, the set was tuned to NBC; I hadn’t gone through a time shift that brought me to the nighttime entertainment at the Olympics. And the w-w-w-words weren’t quite right.
Thorogood was actually singing a paean to Jarrett and his driving the truck. Given the fact that the recording of “Bad to the Bone” is undoubtedly worn out and regularly replaced in jukeboxes where NASCAR fans congregate, I’ve got to believe that whoever crafted that commercial had tongue planted firmly in cheek (as I suspect that a whole lot of denizens of Madison Avenue aren’t NASCAR fans).
Here’s something to ponder: Is Thorogood selling out his signature, or is the guy who plays venues including Harrah’s in Stateline, Nevada, Ranchero Casino in Jackson, California, and the Konocti Harbor in Redwood City, California, trying to make some proverbial hay while the sun shines.
Better that UPS commercial than having to hear it being used to sell laundry detergent.