Thursday, October 03, 2013


When I saw this skit on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon," I got a good laugh out of its portrayal of how ridiculous it would sound if some people spoke in real life the same way that they do online:

Of course, the ending, which comes just when you feel like telling those guys to do just what Questlove tells them to do, caps the whole thing very nicely, and hints that even online, some people overdo the use of hashtags big-time. So doing it in real life would be, you know, stupid.

But tonight I saw this, this....thing...from JC Penney...which seems to assume that people really do speak this way in real life...

...and I barely made it through its 20 seconds without losing my lunch. And my dinner.

I can only echo what a YouTube viewer with the username SigandGibbs wrote: "This is quite possibly the most poorly acted, edited, and mixed video from a big company I've ever seen."

And, I might add, from the beginning, "the most poorly written." Maybe even the most poorly conceived. As in, it was a really bad idea from the get-go. The good news is that the creators appear to have sensed that anything more than 20 seconds of it would be unbearable.

The JC Penney ad's appearance today evokes the horrible speculation that someone there may have been perversely inspired by the Jimmy Fallon skit, which ran last week.

If so, their YouTube views suggest that they might have done better to just pay Jimmy Fallon to sneak "hashtag JC Penney" into his script - as of now, their commercial has gained 17,717 views on YouTube, while the Jimmy Fallon skit has racked up 14,807,732.

But hello, what's this? When the JC Penney's ad appeared in my news feed on Facebook, a friendly fellow whose name is now lost to me posted a link to this ad for Subway now running at irregular intervals on your nearest viddy screen:

Although longer, I find this commercial less annoying than the JC Penney's monstrosity. First, because the person having the hashtag orgasm is at least doing it online as opposed to in a real-life conversation; second, because his lunch partner's focus on real life neatly makes the point that Hashtag Guy is being an idiot.

Sorry to say, this commercial, while much smarter than the JC Penney one, has only 307 YouTube views so far.

Somebody, somewhere, is surely getting paid six figures to figure out how important YouTube viewings of TV commercials are, or should be, so I won't try to do that here.

But I will ask, did Jimmy Fallon's writers deliberately, um, borrow an idea from the Irish comedy trio Foil Arms and Hog, or is the resemblance to this piece, uploaded to YouTube back in December, purely coincidental (thanks to YouTube commenter Raman K for the heads up)?

My real question about all this is, "Has the use of hashtags degenerated into a degree of overuse/abuse that makes them less useful since their implementation by Facebook?" Or to put it another way, have we reached "peak hashtag"?



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