A gecko and an emu walk into a bar …

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I think I’m becoming crotchety. For example, I’ve taken to yelling at inanimate objects.

When our refrigerator makes that clucking noise (it sounds just like a chicken), I give it what for.

When those silly insurance commercials come on TV, if I accidentally don’t hit the mute button or switch channels immediately, my blood starts to boil, and I sometimes bellow at the screen.

Now, I’ll admit: Some of the commercials are clever. I mean, a Geico gecko - that’s funny. Many other earlier Geico commercials were palatable as well. But the caveman - give me a break. If a commercial is supposed to make the viewer want to buy the product or service that’s being touted, then the caveman series - and many other current insurance commercials - are dismal failures.

I always remember what professor Ron White told us students in his advertising class in the Louisiana Tech journalism department, lo, those many years ago: “You can get someone’s attention by scraping your fingernails on a chalkboard. But that’s probably not the kind of attention you want.”

Regarding those insurance commercials, maybe their time span has just been too long. Maybe through the years the cuteness and cleverness have dulled. Flo, the fictional salesperson in those Progressive ads, first hit the scene in 2008. Since then, she’s appeared in more than 100 different scenarios.

Again, I’ll admit: Some folks love her. In fact, one of my best friends used to say that she adored Flo. And Wikipedia croons, “Portrayed by actress and comedian Stephanie Courtney, the (Flo) character has developed a fan base on social networks and has become an iconic advertising mascot.”

Well, yeah, at least she’s better than the Liberty Mutual guy. Liberty Mutual’s whole advertising series is - not to mince words - just awful. First of all, the company’s slogan contains a grammatical error: “Only Pay for What You Need.”

I know some will call me nitpicky, but after teaching copy editing for 34 years, I happen to believe that if a company spends millions on advertising, it should be able to put “only” in the right place. How hard would it be to say, “Pay Only for What You Need”? I’ve been threatening to send a scathing email for months.

What’s more, it took me months to figure out why the company makes such a big deal of its Limu Emu - or why it even has one. In case you haven’t seen the commercials, yes, it’s really an emu (that is, it’s images of a real emu that have been enhanced with CGI), and it appears in all sorts of crazy scenes with a dude named Doug. According to the Liberty Mutual website:

“LiMu Emu and Doug bring a new twist to the classic buddy-cop duo – partners guided by the notion that it’s a crime to pay for things you don’t need – going above and beyond to ensure they do their duty.” Hmmm. Maybe I would have liked them more if I had clearly understood that concept, and maybe I would have realized much earlier what the Limu Emu actually stands for if the commercial had showed how Limu Emu is written: LiMu Emu. Get it?

So, judge for yourself. Am I getting crotchety? Or have the five-plus months of a continually disrupted lifestyle merely taken their toll?

One of my columns during the early days of the pandemic indicated that my threshold of boredom is high. In other words, it takes a lot for me to get bored. But, then, I guess after reading this column, you know that.

Sallie Rose Hollis is a Union Parish native, retired Louisiana Tech associate professor of journalism and Ruston resident. She can be reached via email at sallierose@mail.com.