They played this commercial in November, December and a little bit of January:
A young woman who probably owns a cat approaches her favorite newstand in the dead of winter to purchase a stack of lottery tickets from the proprietor who looks like Papi from Ugly Betty. She takes the tickets, gets in her car and stuffs them into a Chrsitmas card that she then turns back and gives to the old man as a gift. Papi gazes at her in awe as if she just handed him a key card to Fort Knox and she looks extremely pleased with herself. Viewers are then encouraged to throw their money away on the New York State Lottery, a concept that my high-school Calculus teacher* used to call “a tax on being an idiot.”
Are you fucking kidding me?
Lottery tickets? You’re going to give a guy who sells lottery tickets a bunch of lottery tickets for Christmas? Lottery tickets that, statistically, are probably worth less than the paper they’re printed on? Lottery tickets that, if they’re winners, may get him into even more trouble for trying to cash in since they came from his own stand? Lottery tickets that, if they’re losers, will only serve as a depressing reminder of his terrible luck? Is there any worse possible gift than one that you can only receive after winning a nearly impossible game? It’s like spending Christmas with Mr. Burns; she would’ve been better off just putting a twenty in the card and keeping it moving.
The ad was quite heavily featured over the past few months. Worse yet, it frequently popped up as the mandatory add on Hulu anytime I tried to watch It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia since I was logging in from a New York IP. After having to see it so many very times, it even took on a vaguely racist subtext, joining “stupid” and “deceptive” to hit the Terrible Commercial Troika. I’d like to think that I’ll never have to see it again now that the holiday season is firmly over but I have the feeling it’s been playing for years and will be back in November.
I mean, seriously… lottery tickets?
*Tom Madre, who led one of the best classes I ever failed. I still learned enough about statistics to know that a lottery ticket is a terrible, terrible gift. I’d be so mad…