Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Who who, who who

("Who Are You?" by The Who)

Time for a work-related tale that is hopefully entertaining, despite not having a decent denouement.

A few weeks ago we received a commercial for Auto Insurance America, which is a local insurance company (they're not nationwide like, say, Geico or All State). Anyway.
The commercial starts with a guy washing his truck (the title of the commercial is even "Truck Wash"), when he's suddenly startled by the appearance of the Auto Insurance America mascot (a cartoony/CGI Uncle Sam character. You can see what he looks like if you go to their website)

Truck Wash Guy (let's call him...Doug) yells out, "WHOA!! Who the heck are you!??"

Again, that's "who the heck are you" [my emphasis]

When the guys in Master Control were dubbing the spot, they weren't looking directly at the screen, and the inevitable reaction occurred.
"What did he just say??"

After I viewed the spot myself (several times) we came to the conclusion that, yeah, if you aren't paying attention to the commercial when it first airs (like, say, you're in the kitchen while it's on in another room), you could VERY easily mistake "heck" for "fuck".

Which is, more than likely, exactly why they chose that wording.

However, since "heck" is legally allowed by the FCC, there wasn't anything I could do about it, other than opine, "I bet we get calls about this."

We did.

It took about a week, but eventually we did get a call from an older lady who complained about the Auto Insurance America spot where the guy was swearing. After calling her back to explain that it certainly sounds like it, but, that, no, he really ISN'T saying "that word", I told her that short of getting a barrage of calls/complaints and/or also complaining to the client themselves, there wasn't anything that I coudl do about it.

The very next day, we received a revised version of the commercial. "Truck Wash Rev." came in, and intrigued, I decided I wanted to see how the edit had gone. Would they bleep Doug? Did they make a completely new commercial? Did they put fine print at the bottom of the screen saying, "He said 'heck'."? How would the makers of the commercial work around the puritan standards of our culture??

Well, it turns out that they did edit the audio.

But poorly.

Now, instead of Doug saying, "WHOA!! Who the heck are you!??"

He now says, "WHOA!! Who you!??"

Oh, man. Seriously? They couldn't leave in the "are"?? To at least make Doug sound literate? Bwahaha!

I only wish I had the ability to put it online so I could share it with everyone. It's quite amusing.

"WHOA!! Who you!??"


Mindi Scott said...

Too funny!

Amy said...

Incidentally, my local radio station bleeps "Who Are You?" in such a way that it sounds like they're ... not.

The only way this could be funnier is if you had been like,
"Ma'am, he was saying 'heck'."
And then she was like, "I know!!"

Anonymous said...

I agree with comment #3.

(once P@ deletes it it'll sound like I'm agreeing with myself. Oh well)

P@ said...

(In case anyone didn't see it, comment #3 was Japanese [?] spam. It was also quite sensible, which is why Kirk agreed with it.)

Amy - years ago our radio stations used to play the non-edited version of "Who Are You?".
Then, about two years back, I noticed they've all replaced them with the edited version. There are no bleeps, but the two instances where "who the fuck are you" is sang are just ...removed. It's pretty seamless, actually, and not that jarring...unless, of course, you're familiar with the original.