Episode 403: Ranking the WandaVision Commercials

Hiya!

I know a lot of fans are currently on this downward spiral of euphoria since WandaVision finished some weeks back. It was an incredibly fun show and, even though I wasn’t all too familiar with the shows they were referencing, I did get the general idea and feel they were going for with the presentation of Wanda and Vision seemingly transported into a sitcom world. A lot has been made specifically about the opening credits of each of WandaVision’s “sitcom” worlds and how they do a good job of paying homage to the retro comedy programs of yesteryear. Heck, my partner on this site just did a post ranking all of the theme songs from the show!

I am disappointed, however, the commercials within WandaVision don’t get as much love as the openings. I do understand they aren’t as memorable as the songs but I still loved them! They were a neat way to peer into the past and witness how times have changed. I also enjoyed they were usually kind of creepy in their own way. The biggest reason why I loved them is because I could be like Captain America in the first Avengers by pointing to the screen while saying “I understood that reference” in a smug tone.

For this week, I like to do some thing few have done and actually done and rank the commercials seen on WandaVison. My ratings will be based on the actual commercials themselves, how well they try to capture the essence of the time period, how “cool” the reference is and how the advertisement ties into the entire WandaVison story. Let do this, shall we?

#6 Strucker Watches (’60s commercial)

A commercial where women are being called accessories for their man? Yep, it’s the ’60s, alright!

Now this is low on the list primarily because of the man using his “special lady” as an accessory to enhance himself. It’s a personal bias but I can’t really fault Marvel for making the ad for Strucker watches be like this since it do seem era appropriate. It just rubbed me the wrong way. Even with my personal bias aside, the ad itself is too on the nose to be of any fun.

Fans should know about Baron Von Strucker. He only appeared very briefly in the movies, first in an after credits scene in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and then in a very quick battle at the start of Avengers: Age of Ultron. He’s basically the man who seemingly gave Wanda her powers thanks to some experiments with the Mind Stone. So I can see why the tagline is “He’ll make time for you” since he did devote time and effort to the creation of Wanda and Pietro. It’s just too incredibly obvious of a reference so knowing the inside joke doesn’t make you feel smart in the least.

#5 Hydra Soak (’70s commercial)

Why would you want a bubble bath with a creepy octopus for its label?

In the episode its in, Wanda and Vision are already pregnant with the twins. The commercial does seem to be a warning about the trials and tribulations of Wanda’s impeding motherhood and how she won’t get any time for herself. It also might be hinting at how powerful Wanda is now as Hydra Soak’s tagline mentions to “find the goddess within.” The ad might also be talking about Wanda creating her idyllic world in Westview as the lady in the ad is also trying to “escape to a world on its own.”

There are a couple of nice touches here and there. I like how the Hydra Soak package kind of looks like the Tesseract. They might even be hinting at the introduction of Sparky as we do see a dog peeing in the Hydra Soak ad itself. The subtext is a little too strong but there are vague elements which makes me question if I’m thinking too much into them.

Oddly enough, the thing that brings the Hydra Soak ad down is the casting of the children. While I know these are the same kids who are featured in later commercials, seeing a child of a different color call a clearly caucasian woman “mom” is really strange for an ad from the ’70s. I know the girl is still the same as the one from the ’80s ad but, at least by then, it seems more plausible for the people in that era to not go bonkers.

#4 Nexus Antidepressants (’00s commercial)

Is it just me or it that an awesome list of side effects?

I’ve watched a lot of commercials from the United States and I totally get the reference here. However, I also know a lot of people in my country who found this commercial odd because we don’t get a lot of ads for actual drugs over here. However, the ad itself is a little too boring for me. When the most exciting part is the bit when she “walks” out of bed, then you know you have a boring ass commercial!

Anyway, the commercial for Nexus antidepressants work in the context of WandaVision because it does refer to Wanda’s current state of mind. She recognizes she’s warped the town of Westview into her own liking yet she’s still questioning if she should snap back to reality… kinda. The ad does hint Wanda, even if she does let go of Westview, might just create a totally new reality because she can either go back or go “to the reality of your choice.” I also have the sneaking suspicion the “doctor” referred to in the Nexus commercial just might be a certain Sorcerer Supreme?

Oh, as I was doing research for this, I did find out there is a Nexus in the Marvel comics and it has to deal with multiple realities. So this ad makes a whole lot of sense and, even if you didn’t know about the comics thing, the ad can still stand on its own with no problem.

#3 ToastMate 2000 (’50s commercial)

Side note: I never really got why people get pop-up bread toasters. They’re neat and all but aren’t toaster overs much better as they can be used for stuff other than making toast? Just saying.

There are a lot of interesting things about the Stark Industries ToastMate 2000 ad but the commercial itself does seem rather plain… on the surface. It just seems like a typical ad for a kitchen appliance from the ’50s, complete with doting wife who’s only job is to make the man of the house happy. You would think that would upset me and it kind of did. However, all of the subtext from this one simple ad turned things around.

For one thing, I loved the creep factor near the end of the commercial. That slight, uneasy point when the cute background music stops and you just hear the incessant beeping of the ToastMate 2000 gave me a slight shiver down my spine. Also, if I remember correctly, this was the first time we got a brief splash of color as the light on the toaster started blinking red, making it stand out on the black and white broadcast.

The kicker is how the ToastMate 2000 harkens back to a flashback later in WandaVision and how it connects to Stark Industries. We see in the 8th episode how Pietro and Wanda’s home was bombed by one of Stark Industries’ missiles and they were only saved because Wanda unwittingly used her powers to stop the bomb from detonating. I love how eerie the ToastMate 2000 beeps exactly like the Stark Industries missile the twin had to live with for days, making the beeping sound very unnerving in retrospect.

#2 Lagos Paper Towers (’80s commercials)

“Husbands can use it, too”? That’s low. Funny, but low.

There’s not much to really talk about the Lagos paper towel ad as it’s very straightforward. In fact, I can see this style of ad in television commercials even to this day. However, what makes me love this ad a lot is all the subtext involved and how it’s a reward to those who have stuck with the Marvel Cinematic Universe all these years.

The only time Lagos ever appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe pretty much changed it. This was the location of when the Avengers were sent into the city of Lagos to stop a terrorist attack. While they succeeded, Wanda used her powers to prevent the detonation of an explosive in a crowd but the explosion still killed dozens of people, including a delegation of Wakandan workers in a nearby building. This disaster was the final straw and led to the creation of the Sokovia Accords, the primary reason why Captain America and Tony Stark/Iron Man had a falling out, which led to the very awesome hero vs. hero airport battle in Civil War.

It’s clear the events of Lagos still weighs heavily on Wanda as the ad hints at. She desperately wants to clean up the mess she made but all the blood she spilt can’t be cleaned up as easily as red juice with a super absorbent paper towel. By the way, nice touch of using a red liquid to make you make the connection to the blood of innocent people, Marvel! While the commercial itself isn’t fantastic, the subtext is just great if you can make the connection.

#1 Yo-Magic yogurt (’90s commercial)

Well, that yogurt tub wouldn’t have been good to eat under that hot, tropical sun anyway.

The Yo-Magic yogurt ad has a lot of stuff to love. For one thing, it’s an honest-to-goodness claymation ad, which does feels like a kid’s ad from the ’90s. Even the entire surfer dude dialogue of the shark fits perfectly with the ad for such a “radical’ snack. It also stands out for, well, being the only ad which doesn’t feature the same man and woman from the previous commercials. This makes me think this isn’t a commercial from Wanda’s mind. Rather, it’s one from Agatha!

For one thing, Yo-Magic yogurt is a super dark ad. You can literally see the kid starve to death trying to open the container, leaving him a pile of bones at the end! After all that, you get the slogan that it’s the “snack for survivors.” That ending took me off guard and I love it! It just feels like something Agatha would make! The shark even kind of sounds like Pietro as this was the episode where he became the “cool uncle who would cause trouble.” The kid turning into a skeleton also might be pointing at how Agatha can absorb a witch’s magic powers, which she does a couple of times throughout WandaVision. Super dark and different from the other WandaVision commercials. What’s not to love?

Byee!

What’s you favorite commercial from WandaVision? Let me know in the comments section below!

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