is kicking off the New Year with a series of ads set during Mardi Gras in New Orleans. As you might expect, they get almost everything about Mardi Gras wrong. I'm feeling extra curmudgeonly today, so let's point out every mistake this 63-second commercial makes, point-by-point:
- Right off the bat, we're off to a bad start. The commercial asks us to believe that these three men have traveled to New Orleans on business. During Mardi Gras. As a parade rolls by. Sure thing, TurboTax. Sure thing.
- A huge ball of fire shoots up from the crowd. Because nothing says Mardi Gras like a fireball.
- An incredibly uncomfortable-looking couple sit in silence at a restaurant overlooking the parade. They seem both uninterested in each other, the parade and their desserts. This couple is the anti-Mardi Gras.
- The man drops an engagement ring in his girlfriend's nearly-empty Champagne glass. I'm not a proposal expert, but that's not how you do that.
- The maître'd rolls his eyes at the ring-in-champagne trick. This is the most realistic thing in the commercial.
- The maître'd's realism falls apart when the woman starts choking on her would-be engagement ring and has to be saved via the Heimlich maneuver. Why did the maître'd not just warn the girl before she drank the ring? Too busy eye-rolling, duh.
- The woman coughs up the ring, sending it off a balcony, where it lands in a sousaphone bell, because the streets are just littered with brass bands during Mardi Gras.
- The ring makes its way into the sousaphone, through its complex series of valves, out the mouthpiece and into the sousaphone player's throat, causing him to choke. Apparently, this ring is the grandson of the magic bullet from the JFK assassination.
- Extra curmudgeonly point: This brass band's setup is just insane. 15 members? Two bass drums? The sousaphone player leading the way? These guys wouldn't be able to hold down a street corner on Frenchmen, let alone lead a Mardi Gras parade.
- A blink-and-you'll-miss-it shot of the New Orleans Baby Dolls. This is a criminal underrepresentation of one of New Orleans' best and historically significant dance groups
- So many things wrong with this float. Why is there a dancing mermaid? Why are none of the riders wearing masks or throwing bead?. Why did they let an obviously drunk woman climb on board? The NOPD would revoke their parade permit tout de suite
- Obviously Drunk Woman thinks being drunk and climbing onto a float mid-parade grants her immortality. Actually, now that I think about it, this is a pretty epic move. Congratulations, Obviously Drunk Woman. You just won Fake Mardi Gras.
- Obviously Drunk Woman's co-workers - the same ones that thought taking a business trip to New Orleans during Mardi Gras was a good idea — fail to see that Obviously Drunk Woman has just won fake Mardi Gras and decide to fire her, bringing this commercial to a sad and depressing end.
So what have we learned (other than TurboTax - like the Wall Street Journal
- has very little understanding of Mardi Gras traditions)? Nothing. Except there's no substitute for the real thing.