While it's true HBO is not an ad-supported network, Last Week Tonight's John Oliver made an exception Sunday, uttering the words rarely heard on the premium cable network: "We'll be right back."
Of course what followed wasn't a real commercial, but instead a GM ad parody created to punctuate Oliver's hilarious (and disturbing) dissection of internal practices at GM, where a long list of defects in cars over the past decade led to an even longer list of no-go words and phrases compiled in a memo, which blacklisted phrases like "deathtrap," "defective," "catastrophically flawed," "Hindenburg"—you get the idea.
Obviously the point of the memo was to make sure none of those words ended up associated with the cars once they got to the market—a sensible notion, from a branding perspective, but probably not a directive that was terribly wise to put on paper. So after a lengthy segment eviscerating GM (remember, this is the guy who stretched potshots at quetionably healthy drink Pom Wonderful over two episodes), Oliver cut away to a fake GM ad containing almost all those words the car company didn't want associated with its brand.
Just to tie a bow on the whole takedown, HBO is even running Oliver's GM bit as a lengthy pre-roll ad on YouTube this week. From a comedy perspective, the segment is gold. From a marketing perspective, it's like watching a Hellraiser movie.