Jan 272011
 
Random WTFery logo

I went off on a mini-tirade about this on Twitter this morning but really it deserves something more permanent than a couple of quickly-scrolled 140ish character comments.

The commercial in question is for “LiveLinks”. I hadn’t heard of LiveLinks until this morning, but it’s apparently a live phone chat line. I remember seeing tons of commercials for those things back in middle and high school and it’s sort of amazing me on a whole ‘nother level that they’re still around, but whatevs. Surprising, but not remarkable.

What struck me about the commercial was how– Wait, see it for yourself. Crap recording done with my camera off of TiVo, but good enough. Transcript below the video.

 
Girl: Hi! Can I get a–
Guy: Large double-soy latte, extra foam. Coming right up.
Girl: Wow. How did you..?
Guy: That’s what you got last time.
Girl: Oh, a-and you–
Guy: Remembered? Yeah.
Girl: Wow. That’s … impressive. [he gives her the drink] Thanks.
Guy: Have fun at yoga class tonight.
 
Voice-Over: There’s nothing hotter than a guy who listens. Find yours on LiveLinks. Call or visit livelinks.com for your local number.

No. No I don’t think I’ll be doing that.

How does anybody see this – how does anybody live this – and not get so many weird vibes that the Beach Boys could write a song about it?

Let’s just get this deconstruction underway. We’ll be a while, get a snack.

Creepy Point A
This is only the second time this guy has had the girl as a customer.

How can we know this? A few context clues. The guy says it’s what she ordered “last time”. If she’d ordered from him multiple times, all the same thing, he’d say something like “it’s what you always order”. And if she’d ordered from him multiple times with varying drinks, he wouldn’t be able to guess her order ahead of time. More importantly, we know that she’s ordered from him only once before (and at least a couple days ago at that due to the use of “last time” versus “yesterday”) because that’s the entire point the commercial is trying to make.

I’ll repeat that: The entire point of this commercial is that this guy remembers these details from a single fleeting encounter several days ago.

Creepy Point B
The girl can only like one thing.

Noting again that up to this point they’ve had exactly one encounter – let’s be generous and say that it was over double the length of this second interaction at a whopping 60 seconds – the guy decides that the girl cannot possibly like to drink more than one thing. I know that a lot of regular coffee drinkers get the same thing every morning, but I also know that these hardcore coffee shops have a bloody huge menu with a lot of variety. So from his grand sample size of ONE, he decides what her order will be, and is so certain that he’s already making it before even giving her the opportunity to confirm or deny. I don’t know about you, but if I went to a restaurant for the second time, happened to get the same waiter, and he said “Oh, you want the chicken parmesan!” then ran back to the kitchen before I could get a word in? Right or wrong I wouldn’t think it was cute, I’d be pissed.

Creepy Point C
The girl never gets to complete a thought.

Each of these two characters, the girl and the guy, get four lines. However for the girl, every single thing she tries to say, every single thought she tries to express, is interrupted by and subsequently completed by the guy. Except one, and that line is to compliment the guy on how impressive he is.

Creepy Point D
LiveLinks Creepy Guy

THAT FACE. I MEAN WHAT THE HELL.

 
The whole thing is a shink-wrapped package of fail. I don’t even know how anybody involved thought it was a good idea. Who wrote this shit? Who cast this guy? WHO TOLD HIM TO LOOK AT HER LIKE THAT??

When this first came on, I was totally suckered by it. I honestly thought the commercial was going to be for an online dating site and its point was that you don’t have to talk to stalkery creepy guys like this just to meet someone. This was what I thought was going to happen. I even took her “That’s…impressive” to really be saying “THAT’S FUCKING WEIRDING ME OUT DUDE I’M CALLING THE COPS.” It wasn’t until I saw her looking back at him with anything other than fear and the narrator saying it was hot that I realized this whole thing was 100% at-face-value serious.

And what about that look of hers? That’s the cap right there – the girl’s clearly so totally into him now. A stranger you spoke with for seconds at best, who’s taken that moment and made it so important that they memorized its every detail, who now presumes to think for you and speak for you, who knows where you’ll be at night and lets you KNOW that he knows it … So fucking hot.

My friend Kviri jokingly asked if this was airing during Twilight, and as much as it nauseates me to say it, I think he’s on to something. This isn’t just Random Psycho Barista, this is Edward Cullen. Let me think for you, let me speak for you, let me make you feel so secure that I know where you are at every second of every day. There was no meeting of the minds here, there was no connection of lonely hearts. There was a guy obsessing over a girl he saw once and thought was cute and a girl who only needed to hear that he knew she liked coffee and yoga to fill the man-less void in her soul.

Also, double-soy? Ew.

  • Stephanie Jane

    She gets to complete her thought when she calls him IMPRESSIVE…. geez, what more could a girl want?

    I always thought the commercials for this ….service…. were aimed at trying to get GUYS to call in (showing young, buxom, scantily clad females with nothing better to do than stay on the phone all night, wandering around their apartments). But I guess now they need to encourage women callers. Huh.

    • Jet Wolf

      Yeah it’s not your “traditional” party line, but obviously it’s not trying to sell sex so much as companionship. Creepy, possessive companionship.

  • James

    Wow, I think you are over-analyzing this – much! How about looking for the deeper meaning behind something important, like a Tea-Party rally or some such BS, or even a McDonald’s ad. I don’t think there’s a lot to this – they’re simply trying to say that’s it’s nice when a guy pays attention to you and listens (since it’s advertising a phone-dating service). Which it is, right? Especially if you go to the same coffee shop all the time. Even as a guy, I appreciate the switch from the buxom blondes on the phone to something more realistic.

    • Jet Wolf

      Well firstly, hi. Since you seem pretty surprised by me analyzing stuff, you must be kinda new to what I like to do. So hello.

      That said … You’re exactly right. I’m looking at deeper meaning here. Every single thing we encounter every single day can be taken at face value if we like. But to say that there’s nothing more going on than exactly what you see on the surface? I have to disagree with you. A person can choose not to see it or choose not to think about it, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there.

      That’s particularly true when it comes to commercials. Commercials exist for one reason and one reason alone: To sell you something. Be it a product, a service, or an idea, they’re crafted by highly trained professionals who are precision masters are targeting something very specific inside their intended audience and manipulating them into feeling a certain way.

      Being cognizant of this, being able to peel away all the layers to the underlying content is – in my opinion – a vital survival skill in this consumerist culture.

      You’re right, they are “simply trying to say that it’s nice when a guy pays attention to you and listens”. My issue isn’t so much that message as it is how this message is conveyed and what it says about the audience (or, at least, the marketers’ perception of the audience) they’re saying it to.

      But hey, it’s okay if you disagree. Like I said above, thinking about things or taking them at face value is the prerogative of every individual. This commercial didn’t ring any bells for you; for me it set off a firehouse full of alarms. Wasn’t the first time, certainly won’t be the last!

      • James

        Do you really think that they wanted viewing to think that the guy is a freaky stalker? I don’t see what’s so bad about a guy at the coffee shop remembering what you ordered last time – it happens to me with male and female baristas if I go to the same place often enough. I’m sure the deeper message they’re trying to portray is “use our service and you’ll find guys who are thoughtful and listen to you, and you will feel good about yourself”. Whether or not that actually happens is, I guess, up to the person and who they happen to find. It’s a lottery like anything, but I’m sure that’s the idea. If you’re saying they missed the mark, well, I guess that’s your opinion, But to seriously say that the advertisers are trying to subliminally say they women should be mesmerized by a barista and do everything he wants is just a little weird and verging on conspiracy theory.

        • Jet Wolf

          No that’s not what I’m saying at all. I believe you’ve misinterpreted pretty much everything I was saying. I hesitate to go into specifics of your reply here as I’m not sure I can spell it out more plainly than the original post, and if you didn’t catch me the first time then it’s just a waste on both of our parts. Still, if you’d like to give it the post another read I invite you to do so – feel free to pick out specific points on which you disagree. Alternately, we can just agree that we view it differently and let the matter rest.

  • http://fetuschrist.holycomics.com Jason

    Because nothing says “guy who listens” like him not letting you finish a sentence.

    • Jet Wolf

      HA. YES.

  • Jodi

    I totally agree that this commercial is completely creepy. That’s the first thing I thought when I saw it. I was expecting the guy to say “Have fun at yoga class tonight, and expect me to be waiting for you in your car when you’re finished.”

    • Jet Wolf

      SERIOUSLY. Stop looking back, honey. Run. Run fast.

  • Carole

    I wish I had read this back in January. I’ve been seriously creeped out since I first saw this ad. (BTW I’m a 65yr old woman not looking for a ‘link’) Every time I see it I expect a PSA to come on warning about stalking activity to be wary of. I think most telling is the look on her face just before she says “that’s impressive”. It looks like FEAR to me! Hopefully the smile is to make him THINK she’s OK with his ‘attention’. And how would LiveLinks explain the yoga comment…what does that have to do with her coffee order? It seems to be a clearly scary stalking reference.

    There. I feel better now.

    • Jet Wolf

      I really don’t get the commercial at all (and I’m seeing it more frequently these days, so lots of opportunity to revisit). The target is clearly women, but I’m genuinely concerned for any women who sees this and thinks this is some kind of ideal interaction she should aspire to. But it was made and keeps getting airtime, so sad as it is to say, those women must indeed be out there.

  • Obie

    Have fun at Yoga tonight…I expected him to say “I’ll be watching”. Creepy Creepy.

    • Jet Wolf

      Seriously, it’s like the stalker cherry on your WTF sundae.

  • http://www.facebook.com/aimee.ault Aimee Ault

    The best part of this commercial is that the dude actually looks uncannily similar to guys who have pulled the same type of verbal creeper moves on me. This entire writeup made me laugh so hard I couldn’t breathe. The same way the girl in the commercial couldn’t breathe after she passed out from her rufied double soy latte and the guy bludgeoned her to death and threw her in a river after raping her.

    • Jet Wolf

      Wow that is easily the most disturbing compliment I’ve ever received. Well done.

  • BBB

     I found this blog because I wanted to see if anyone else in cyberspace was as CREEPED OUT by this commercial as I was. And he knows she’s going to yoga even though she isn’t carrying a yoga mat or anything like that. This commercial is horrifying!