Intensities in Ten Suburbs

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Commercial Break: Time Warners New Mascot

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on October 20, 2007


I was going to take this blog space to write about some of the better purchases I’ve made since finally clearing my WSOPC prize check, but in my searching for his picture to provide the post’s image, I realized I’d just rather talk about Sir Charge. Don’t worry, I’m sure I’ll still brag about the cool shit soon enough, but in the meantime, just picture me looking like the above picture, and that should get the point across just as well.

Anyway, even before payday finally came, Sir Charge has been my favorite advertising icon of 2007. It’s sort of hard to pin down exactly what the appeal is–I feel almost certain that this type of ad campaign has been done at least once before (and in spirit, you could say those awful/amazing WashingtonMutual ads with the bankers pen sorta beat them to the punch), and when it was the first time it was almost definitely not hilarious. It’s just something about the panache of Sir Charge, about the general enthusiasm he displays in his line of work, that makes for such a memorable commercial.

So yeah, the ad‘s high-concept premise is as such: a guy named Sir Charge claims to be popping up all over your Verizon bills, taking your money. Don’t get the joke yet? Just as well, because clearly the humor of this ad would be way too far over your head, anyway.

There are two moments in the ad that slay me every single time. One is in Sir Charge’s series of pop-ups, where he just pops up and pronounces “SIR CHARGE!” Note the pride with which he makes this announcement, the smugness of which can come only from the most genuine feelings of monetary and all-around superiority. And yet, notice what little purpose there is in Sir Charge making this statement–a blatant TW attempt to just further drive the character’s name and somewhat limited palette of humor even further into your skull (guess what? Works like a charm).

The second one is the one no one’s gonna be able to forget anytime soon. After he’s finished with his pop ups, you suddenly see Sir Charge standing against a blank screen with money being showered upon him. “Ahhhhhhh,” he moans, “YOUR MONEY!!!!i” I can’t think of a purer moment of rapture to be found on basic cable these days. Even those fucking unbearably joyous eHarmony commercials seem insincere and distant compared to the sure amount of love and passion for them duckets displayed here by Sir Charge.

Really, this just makes me want to switch my cable to Verizon, to maximize my Sir Charge exposure. I imagine half the people watching just assume that it’s a Verizon commercial anyway–I had to look up what it was actually for to write this article. I feel like there are at least three fundamental rules of advertising being broken here, but at least they followed the absolute code role of marketing: always get non-sensical catchphrases stuck in your audience’s heads.

2 Responses to “Commercial Break: Time Warners New Mascot”

  1. Joe said

    I wish we had these in Illinois.

  2. Ben said

    Your description of this commercial had me in silent nearly uncontrollable stitches this morning on the train. I must have seemed something of a loon to the surrounding passengers. Beautiful.

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