Radio spots that are dead in the water

Has there ever been a radio ad campaign as consistently annoying (OK, Angelinos, aside from Irwin and Larry’s Sit ’n’ Sleep shtick) as Forest Lawn’s efforts to get folks to make funeral arrangements in advance? The worst-acted spot, about a year ago, had a grandson conversing with his still-“shredding” surfer grandpa about the latter’s impending death (because a teenage boy is the right guy for the job, not the old man’s obstinate, “sensitive” adult daughter). Except the actor performed an “old man” vocal so fakely doddering, the only thing you could imagine him riding was an oxygen tank. The latest spot has a sickeningly cute couple who are about to do something frivolous when the wife interrupts because she’s been meaning to have this serious, important conversation — and it’s a great time for that when you’re about to play tennis, naturally. It turns out OK, though, because after just a moment’s hesitation, hubbie is completely fine with his wife insisting on cremation. (So why was the conversation put off at all? It takes all of 10 seconds before the forced laughter begins again.) All the spots are ghoulish, not for their morbidity but for their pre-death pocket-picking. They’re also consistently secular conversations: God has nothing to do with death, apparently. Grandpa wants his ashes spread so he can be surfing with the “Big Kahuna” in eternity. These spots are hardly to die for.

—Posted by Gregory Solman