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I Hate You, Papyrus Font

avatar-mcdonalds

Watching the commercials in between the Vegas-rigged SuperBowl on Sunday, I was left unimpressed. The marketing/ad staff of major corporations had a year to conceptualize, write, shoot, focus-group, and edit a piece that costs a billion dollars a second, and overall, in my opinion, they failed to deliver. Pepsi, Budweiser, M&Ms, Go Daddy…nope. The one commercial I actually liked (The Doritos Goat commercial) was written/shot and submitted as part of an amateur contest. Huh.

The image of Pepsi marketeers/suits sitting at a round table green-lighting horse-shit commercials got me thinking about the psychology behind marketing: Color schematics, logo arrangement, and fonts; the visual sells for companies/restaurants/and how these elements impact our mind brains.

My new(ish) job requires some copywright, which has created a constant awareness in what I’m being sold. What do people respond to? What words, colors? What turns potential customers off?

There are commercials on TV that absolutely boggle my mind, in a bad way. One spot here in the US for Coors/ Molson especially, shows a hot, steamy city where beautiful people are sweating to death waiting for something…

A winter wisp cools the air, the people are curious. What’s that sound? A train? Then, The Silver Bullet rockets down the street to happy tunes of The O’Jays’ ‘Love Train’, bringing cool weather, snow flurries, beer, and a party to everyone.

coors-light-train

Satiating blues, snow saturated landscapes of white-capped Rockies brought to drab Urban settings by a happy runaway train. This commercial makes my eye twitch uncontrollably, and when I can, I avoid drinking Coors because:

1. A love train doesn’t mean the same thing it did when the O’Jay’s wrote the song.

2. Logistically, a runaway train sans a proper rail system would kill thousands of people.

3. Trains can’t change the weather. Ask China.

Board member – “Jim, let’s see your proposal for the commercial?”

Jim  – “I don’t know…like, a speeding bullet train brings beer to pretty people in a hot city. Then it like, starts to fucking snow or whatever….”

Board member – “Oh my god! That is the greatest idea I’ve ever heard in my entire life you are a genius here’s a million gold coins and the keys to my yacht and a picture of my wife’s nips”

I’ve actually emailed  Molson telling them how terrible their commercial is, offering my services as a writer (I cold-pitched them another play on ‘The Silver Bullet’ phrase, where a Werewolf walks into a bar, and orders a Coors (No response)). But they’ve stuck with this concept for YEARS! Which means, it’s working.

Have you had a Coors? It tastes like water, and there’s a temperature activated component in the can that tells you if it’s cold or not….because I don’t have feeling in either of my hands to tell me such things, or can’t relate length of refrigerator stays to coolness of product.

Basically, Coors advertising campaign consists of a live Newport Pleasure ad, mixed with Hyper-Color cans. Bravo Molson, you’re stuck in the 80’s.

Newport_Ad.sm

Inflatables are harder to fill for smokers

hypercolor

You are warm in random places.

Mickey D’s and Quasimodo

McDonald’s (McObesity), uses Red and Yellow in their logo. The combination of the two colors are meant to excite you/grab your attention, instigate hunger, and make you leave the restaurant quickly…well, the latter is perpetuated by the creepiest mascot ever know to man – a clown named Ronald.

Can you imagine being the parents of the guy who plays Ronald McDonald on TV?

Actor – “Hey, Mom. Guess What?!”

Mom – “What, Dear?”

Actor – “I got that part I auditioned for!!!!”

Mom – “Oh, Sweetie, that’s amazing! Congrats! Harold?! He got the part, pick up the phone!”

Harold (dad) picks up the phone “Hello, Son! You got the part!?”

Actor – “Yeah. Mom, Dad….I’m going to play Ronald McDonald!”

Silence

Mom – “You’re uninvited to christmas. Don’t ever fucking call here again, Clown.”

Dad – click

But there’s something worse than the Coors love train; worse than McDonald’s. It’s out there, lurking in new age shops, and chocolate lounges; the most despicable element in marketing; a no-no worse than deconstructing popular songs for your commercial just enough to not get sued by the artist; an element that brings me to anger faster than Ray Lewis’ hypocrisies; something worse than Comic Sans, the Quasimodo of fonts: Papyrus.

68340097_Papyrus_Font_Texture_Wallpaper_by_ScaperDeage_xlarge

quasimoto1

Pretty boy.

My lady, Marti can attest, every time I see a “funky” new “Loungebar” pop-up here in Columbus with a “cool” awning with name written in  Papyrus Font, I scream “Papyrus Font!!!!” as loud as I can, so the purveyors can hear my disdain.

Hate is a strong word, but just seeing the faux-Sanskrit used in design/print/commercials makes me physically upset. I’m really not kidding when I say Papyrus font generates a negative emotional response in my brain, perhaps tapping a previous Egytian life where I was a palm frond fanner for the Ra, dying from a King ordered cobra kiss.

When I see professional websites designed with Papyrus I second guess the brand. It’s lazy, overused, and makes sense one of the most self-aggrandizing pieces of shit movies of all time, ‘Avatar’, is in PAPYRUS FONT.

I’m not alone in this anti-Papyrus crusade.

There’s a site called Papyruswatch.com, that documents all Papyrus fonts that show up in marketing (I borrowed the featured photo from their site).

Pretty self-explanatory website here: http://fontsthatsuck.com/index.php/category/papyrus-font-sucks/

Made the top-5 on this site: http://www.prepressure.com/fonts/interesting/most-hated

Maybe I’m just being cynical here, or maybe I just enjoy creativity. We’re bombarded everyday with advertisements, and I’d like to think the people behind them respect us enough to put thought and effort into their campaign.

So, I’m very curious,  what drives you crazy in marketing/commercials? Is there anything you like? – Mike

41 Comments Post a comment
  1. I was at a Super Bowl party where they didn’t really have decent sound so I have been catching up with the commercials. Hey. I was so checked out, I didn’t even know the game had stopped for 84 minutes!
    Loved the Viva Taco Bell with the old people out on the town partying like teenagers.
    I will always think of Avatar when I see papyrus font. “I see blue people….”

    February 5, 2013
    • Did you drink too many Coors? :)
      I did like the Taco Bell one, the Doritos one was good, and really, the rest were kind of muddled together.
      Ugh, that movie drives me nuts.

      February 5, 2013
  2. Jason #

    Fun read.
    The Super Bowl lights were shut off intentionally… I have a source

    February 5, 2013
    • Thanks, J. I have a source that says you don’t have a source.

      February 5, 2013
  3. Nathaniel Hahn #

    Next year we should write a Cobra Kiss commercial for Coors and see what they think of a bunch of people in a college basement trying to touch the ceiling with the tip of a tape measure positioned at their midlevels. Cheering, hooting, and a little kiss on the tip! Then a Coors can can explode out of the ceiling and rain on everyone or something Quazimodo-ish. Better yet….lets just remake Wolf Tits video and submit that!

    Great post…F Papyrus!

    February 5, 2013
    • Exactly! We should get sponsored by Coors just so we can swap out The Train commercials with your Cobra kiss campaign. Werewolf tits….
      Thanks, Duder.

      February 5, 2013
  4. Any commercial for gum -idiotic!! Gum is not exciting, sexual or quite frankly attractive to watch people chew. In close second place would be any commercial directed at kids where everthing in their immidiate vicinity becomes animated – from the characters on a cereal box to diapers. Rainbows, singing, wide-eyed awe, grabing at sparkles, pleasure sitting on the potty, and food that comes alive. Sorry your real lives are so fucking dull, kids.

    February 5, 2013
    • Hahaha! Gum chewing children, with cartoon unicorns is out of the question, huh?
      It’s really amazing, and sad how much marketing is directed at children…so the children can incessantly bug mom and dad. gross.
      Thanks, DenMoms.

      February 5, 2013
  5. Didn’t actually watch the SB, so will take your word on the commercials. Ronald McDonald is and may forever be creepy. Mayor McCheese isn’t creepy. Why isn’t he pushed to the forefront? Nepotism? Burger-style racism? If McDonaldsland has a public bus, is Mayor McCheese forced to sit in the back?

    February 5, 2013
    • You didn’t miss anything, my friend. There were a couple of guys, running into other guys, and then it ended.
      I LOVE MAYOR McCheese! Total Clownkingdom nepotism. Even Grimace was (is?) cooler than Ronald. Though, his name is not synonymous with Happy Meals.

      February 5, 2013
      • The one I never understood was the bird with flight goggles on her head. What’s the reasoning behind that character? Does she supply McDonald’s with McNuggets by redirected schools of other birds to a one-way trip to McDonaldsland? She’s like The Clown That Cried of fast food characters!

        February 5, 2013
      • She’s the amelia earhart of mcdonald’s…
        perhaps there’s mass amounts of fish in the Pacific Ocean craving chicken mcnuggets.
        This could be why she was phased out.

        February 5, 2013
  6. I was decidedly underwhelmed with the Superbowl ads. I liked the one with the wolf puppy from cars.com but I like puppies. And I thought the Farmers one with Paul Harvey was good.

    I don’t even know what the holy hell Go Daddy does but I have a visceral hatred for all of their ads and this year’s made me SICK. It was humiliating for everyone involved and made the viewer nauseous.

    I’m working on an event right now with my event partner who is the designer and I’m the computer geek. She kept looking at the event graphics and was puzzled because they didn’t feel right with the Vegas theme of the event (which is a story unto itself) and then she realized they are using the Spongebob Squarepants font! hahaha…uhhh yeah. That had to go.

    I was really happy the Ravens won! I really Joe Flacco.

    February 5, 2013
    • Wolf puppy was amazing and I want one. Definitely loved the photography of the Paul Harvey one.
      Agreed. Totally gross, and uncomfortable.
      hahahah! Spongebob font? That exists?!

      …I’m a Browns fan, cannot agree with you on this one. :)

      February 5, 2013
      • Do you remember the last home game the Browns played? Duh, of course you do. There was a guy in the stands holding a sign that read “hey Art, I hate you, man!” (After the Bud commercials “I love you man!”)

        I said, “Hey Art, I hate you, man!” throughout the playoffs and amused the hell out of myself. I’m sure everyone around me thought I was uproariously funny, too.

        February 5, 2013
      • I do. It broke the heart of a fifteen year old boy….

        haha! I can’t lie, definitely said that phrase a million times since ’95

        February 7, 2013
  7. You know, I re read what I write sometimes and I think, damn, I am pretty funny in print.

    But you sit, you are the king. Cobra kiss or not, you are fucking funny.

    Any fonts found in a microsoft word document annoy me. I have several stupid overhead bins at my desk, and after experimenting with several different fonts, I went with my own handwriting as everything else annoyed me. I thought I was weird in this regard, but apparently I am not alone in this crusade.

    And who the hell decided if you sell chocolate and incense holders that this font should be acceptable? Because you are 100% right.. All the way in little ole NC every dum dum that sells wind chimes uses papyrus. You should see the state fairgrounds, where your head would surely explode.

    February 5, 2013
    • Awww shucks. Thanks, mrsdeboots – that means a lot.

      See, I applaud your creativity and individuality. You’ve strayed from the restraints of microsoft design, and made your own boots font.

      Haha! So it’s universal? I knew it. It’s like there’s hippie forums out there with one thread on papyrus, and nothing else.
      State fairgrounds are good spots for character development. :)

      February 5, 2013
  8. In a media class I took in college we studied commercials, and I picked cigarette ads. Most of them have phallic content…and Newport, for some reason, was had the most sexually suggestive content. Check out the ad you have posted here. I know that once a person starts looking for something they will see it anywhere, but Newport, especially, is blatant, in my mind. And I tried to be discerning. Great post.
    Later…

    February 5, 2013
    • Wow, I didn’t notice, but now that you pointed it out, it IS blatantly obviously in all there ads. Like, all of them. No wonder there’s smoking fetishes; they make smoking not sexy but sexual. Thanks for the info, coyotero. Awesome, fascinating stuff.

      February 5, 2013
  9. That is hilarious that there’s an actual following of Papyrus-haters! Who knew?!

    P.S. Yes, SERIOUSLY disappointed in the Superbowl commercials this year. It’s like they forgot this is the ONE time a year that people don’t fast forward through commercials on their DVR.

    February 5, 2013
    • It’s weird, glad i’m not alone – thought i was just being an asshole. :)

      Exactly! You absolutely nailed it. Once a year, i put down the commercial guard only to be served up crapola.

      February 5, 2013
  10. I had no idea that Papyrus was so reviled. I don’t like it, but I don’t have a visceral hatred of it. I didn’t like any of the SB commercials except for the Doritos one and the Cars.com one with the wolf. So basically just the animal ones. The rest were profoundly disappointing, and I won’t even talk about the nausea induced by the Go Daddy ad.

    There are so many things I hate in marketing and commercials, I don’t even know where to start. But I’m pretty simple—if you put cute animals in a commercial, I’ll watch it.

    February 5, 2013
    • Yeah, it’s an odd dislike, like the word ‘moist’. blech.

      Doritos was great. Actually laughed out loud when the goat started screaming.
      So gross. I still can’t get that sound out o my head. So, basically godaddy decided to gross out the world, now everyone associates godaddy with ‘disgusting’. Nice!

      I’m with you. I like animals more than humans most of the time. Maybe you should petition a no-human rule in commercials….

      February 5, 2013
  11. Thanks for the link to the Papyrus-Watch site. TOO GOOD!

    February 5, 2013
    • Hey, no problem. Thanks for the read, silver!

      February 7, 2013
  12. The thing that struck me first when I saw that train (I don’t see too many TV commercials, so this was a first) was, “Oh, huge silver penis, screaming out of the cold mountains into the warm, clammy city…” And that Newport couple? OH MY, hugging giant phalluses. Both of them. And loving it. Appeals to both the hetero and repressed homoerotic. Maybe it’s just me? Or today? I dunno. But I do know for a fact (as read in Fast Food Nation) that those golden McDonald’s arches? Giant boobs. I kid you not. They were designed as Golden Knockers to project a subliminal message of enticing mommy-nourishment for miles around. Do you watch Mad Men? I’m totally fascinated by their depiction of the ’60s ad world. Anyway, I don’t think I’ll ever see Papyrus the same again!! Now I have to get my business cards reprinted….

    February 6, 2013
    • coyotero said the same thing above – how most of the advertising is sexually suggestive. Completely flew over my head.
      You are WAAAAY more observant than most.

      McDonald’s is BOOBS???!!!!! Holy effing shit. I did not know that.

      I watched the first three episodes of Mad Men, got a little too slow for me. My lady freaking loves it. She’s obsessed. She makes me dress like Don Draper…..kidding.

      I’m sorry you have to reprint your cards. :)

      February 7, 2013
      • You should give MM another try… the beginning is just establishing the characters and stuff. I think it gets interesting when they all sit around trying to decide how best to sell something. Also how the historical events affect the ad world.

        I was sure you’d recognized the Newport penises because of your “inflatables are harder to fill” comment… guess I misinterpreted THAT one!

        February 7, 2013
      • I will, it’s on Netflix play now, so maybe i’ll catch a few episodes this weekend.
        Subconsciously, I may have meant that, but damn – it’s so blatantly obvious NOW.

        February 8, 2013
  13. Ugh, Coors. Disgusting.

    February 6, 2013
  14. Dude,
    You hit this shit right on the head.
    Coors is the worst thing that happened to the beer world. And the ads are just fucking lame. I can’t even comment on McD. I have avoided them for 20 years. It’s not like I’m a non-meat eater or something, I just enjoy real food. Like a New York steak or pulled pork or a big-ass beef roast. McD is for losers, that drink Coors, and use Papyrus font.
    I did like the staged football game however, you’re right, the lights were doused on purpose.
    Great post Mike,
    Red

    February 8, 2013
    • Mmmm steak. They had a special on Coors at the concert we were at last night, I paid the extra cash for a tasty Guinness.

      The staged football game was fun. Someday, the Browns may make it to one, but, by then robots will probably be playing qb.

      Thanks, Red!

      February 9, 2013
  15. Now I understand why you hated Astoria. Every cafe awning in that neighborhood was adorned in papyrus.

    SuperBowl good: Ray Lewis getting run over by a quarterback
    SuperBowl bad: People that watch ANY TV for the commercials.

    February 8, 2013
    • In this case, the power of Gyro stands and barbershops are greater than sucktitude of papyrus font.

      I was hoping Ray Lewis would spontaneously combust on the field….it didn’t happen.
      Exactly on SuperBowl bad.

      February 9, 2013
  16. Ziggy with a Neck #

    Goat gets an A. Dodge invoking the ghost of Paul Harvey – A+. One point of clarification…”Coors Light” sucks…Original Coors – The Banquet Beer – is yummy….like Pabst. But when you drink alone, who cares.

    February 14, 2013
    • I loved that goat.
      True, but even the banquet beer makes my pee stink.
      I’d drink with you, Zig. In fact, I’ll drink with you next week!

      February 14, 2013
  17. There isn’t much orginality left in advertising these days…

    February 16, 2013
    • Absolutely true. Too vanilla for my taste.

      February 17, 2013

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  1. Papyrus: the first refuge of the (design) incompetent. | Radical Revisions

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