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A good commercial can cost a lot of money to produce. Writers, camera crews, actors, special effects, music can all pile up. And while larger companies can handle the cost, to smaller business owners, spending this much money on a 30 second commercial spot is a gamble. Especially since there's no guarantee that the commercial will actually attract people instead of being just another nuisance to skip over with their DVR. So naturally, local commercials cut corners, but are usually still halfway presentable.

But this cost cutting is taken Up to Eleven in fiction. Commercials will air on ungodly time slots, the script will be cheesy, the actors will either have the theatrical chops of a toothpick or jump around and act craaaaazy, the slogan will suck, and the whole thing will be shot in front of a green screen with the worst off the shelf effects ever seen. By the time it's done, the final product will be So Bad It's Good at best.

A type of Stylistic Suck, though it can be Truth in Television as well.

Note: Do not add Real Life So Bad It's Good or downright horrible commercials as examples.

Examples of Kitschy Local Commercial include:

Anime and Manga

  • In Great Teacher Onizuka, Onizuka makes several low budget local commercials starring Tomoko, in order to give her a start in show business.

Comic Books

  • The Donald Duck comic story "Paperino e lo spot a basso costo" has Donald and Fethry Duck working in an agency that makes zero-budget ads, made up mainly of random Stock Footage and Fethry's Bad Bad Acting. When they accidentally end up making an advert for a big-budget shovel factory, they come out with a Special Effects Failure-laden campy ad with a terrible script about an Alien Invasion thwarted by shovel-whacking. The ad still ends up attracting thousands of customers.

Film -- Animated

  • The Mayor's commercial for Sardine Land in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. The animators went the extra mile to make it look as cheap as possible, even faking the worst blue-screen effects possible in a medium that doesn't even require it.
  • In Toy Story 2, the commercial for Al's Toy Barn.

Film -- Live Action

  • The Massey Motors commercials in Raising Helen had even more problems than a normal cheesy local used car dealership commercial because of Mr. Massey's refusal to be "dishonest" and the fact that his toupee would blow off.
  • The commercial the title characters put out in Ghostbusters. It has no music, the characters are wooden and it looks like it was shot for about 5 bucks.
  • Beetlejuice. The commercial featuring the title character appears to be based on the cheezy ads Cal Worthington used to create for his car dealership.
  • Used Cars: first they hijack a TV transmission of an Emergency Presidential Address to hawk their rival's cars (thus getting him into trouble). In another live commercial their model loses her dress. Later a legitimate (bad) commercial says that they have "styles" of cars but the audio is altered by people working for the rival to say "miles" instead; the lot is then sued for false advertising, since they don't have a mile of cars.
  • The audio store commercial from Boogie Nights.
  • Weird Al's UHF features a few of these, including one for Spatula City (they have spatulas, and that's all!)
  • In the Michael Keaton Batman, the Joker makes one of these to announce "Joker Brand Cosmetics, with Smilex"; complete with him posing with carboard cutout models, shopping in a fake grocery store, and doing a side-by-side comparison with a "Brand-X".
  • Hopper's commercial in The Muppet Movie is so painfully bad, it's the reason why he wants Kermit to be his spokesman - or spokesfrog, anyway.
  • The family Bros. Bar-B-Q in Friday After Next is an example. It tastes so good, makes you want to slap your mama. Willie actually slapped his mama. Craig's said you might have missed it because they only have enough money for a 15 second spot.
  • John Waters wanted to get a local wig shop owner to narrate Pink Flamingos because of the horrible Baltimore accent he used in commercials. When he refused, Waters impersonated his style for the film.

Live Action TV

  • The entire premise of Rhett and Link: Commercial Kings.
  • Men of a Certain Age: After Scarpulla Chevrolet creates a series of cheesy rap commercials, Owen decides to shoot a classy commercial with his dad and his friend Terry. Terry decides it's too boring and convinces Owen to outcheese Scarpulla.
  • In an episode of Modern Family, baby Lily gets a part in one of these. Along with all of the usual cheesiness, this commercial is also extremely racist.
  • Angel: Cordelia makes a commercial for Angel Investigations, but they never have it aired. Doyle is the on-air "talent," and he's very uncomfortable on camera.
  • Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! mocks these to no end.
  • A staple in recent years on Saturday Night Live, often relegated towards the end of the episode.
  • In Degrassi the Next Generation, Joey Jeremiah is shown in a series of commercials for his car lot. The commercials largely follow this model.
  • Similarly to the office, the gang in Raising Hope has to film a commercial for the store where they work. All of the sample commercials they film have elements of this.
  • Saul Goodman's ads in Breaking Bad, "Better Call Saul!"
  • Several of the recurring sketches on SCTV were actually commercials for businesses local to the fictional Melonville area where the SCTV station was said to be based.
  • My Name Is Earl occasionally features these kind of ads.
  • Sonia on The Brothers Garcia makes a truly terrible commercial for her at-home beauty salon all by herself, prompting the rest of the family to secretly create a much better one.
  • Karen and Jack appeared in one on Will and Grace.
  • The mattress commercial, featuring Van Halen's "Jump," in the Glee episode "Mattresses."
  • Al Bundy's 555-SHOE ad, on Married...With Children.

Western Animation

  • SpongeBob SquarePants: When Mr. Krabs decides to make a commercial for the Krusty Krab, Squidward initially goes all out to make it as extravagant as possible. Krabs then decides it's too much and goes for a cheesy commercial on at 3AM.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Homer's first "Mr. Plow" ad. Aired at 2am and starring Grandpa as "Old Man Winter."
    • Mister Burns' student employee recruitment tape also fits this. It was clearly filmed in a single take with Homer, Carl and Lennie as the (lack of) talent and a script that vaunts nuclear power as a better option than sawing your legs off to beg.

 Lisa: Why would anyone want to saw their own legs off?

Homer: There were some problems with the script.

Lisa: I don't think anyone read the script.

Homer: That was the problem.

  • Family Guy loves this trope:
    • Al Harrington of the Wacky Waving Arm-Flailing Inflatable Tube Man Emporium and Warehouse.
    • In another episode when Peter becomes one of the New England Patriots, he does a local spot for a car dealership complete with monotone reading, eyes following cue-cards, forced football references, and crappy redundant jingle.

Web Original

Video Games

  • Used as a World Building tool in Fallout: New Vegas, load screens are almost entirely poster ads, billboards, and paper paraphernalia of pre-war Nevada. The ads are generally of mediocre quality at best, one shows a 50's style Strongman lifting weights with the caption, "Build Mass With Sass! Sunset Sarsaparilla"


  1. We're classing this as "Web Original", even though Web video distribution didn't exist in 1990, for lack of a better category.
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