My friend Sean is one of those people who is constantly throwing potential story ideas my way. Sometimes they’re unusable. Other times, they’re “the 20 best dinosaurs of pop culture,” and I shrug and say “alright Sean,” and just write the thing. He’s a valuable person to have around, because you never know when he’s going to uncover something fascinatingly weird.
Well, he’s done it again.
“You have to watch this crazy commercial I saw last night,” he said to me the other morning. “It’s exactly like one of the interdimensional cable commercials from Rick and Morty.”
It should go without saying that we all love Rick and Morty here. Nearly everyone in the Paste office has binge-watched the entire series to date, and we’re all dying with anticipation for season 3 in 2017. But suffice to say, my expectations for said commercial were still not particularly high. And then I watched this thing, below. Unfortunately, the company has disabled embedding (why, on an advertisement?), so you’ll have to watch it via YouTube.
Yes folks, it’s the Zyppah! It’s the “JIMMY”-endorsed anti-snoring miracle device that just might save your marriage! Bask in its wonders, and ask yourself: Is this not exactly like one of Rick and Morty’s interdimensional TV commercials? The guy even sounds like he’s doing a Justin Roiland impersonation at times, somewhere between Ants In My Eyes Johnson and the purveyor of FAKE DOORS!
Where to even start? With the megaphone-obscured face of the narrator, or the small print noting that he’s “not the actual” JIMMY? With the bizarre amalgam of East Coast/NYC/Jersey accents? With the improvisational tone, or the way the commercial appears to be over before suddenly returning to a crying baby in the final 10 seconds? Or with this beauty of a line?
It’s abuse ‘dats been goin’ UNTOUCHED for far too long; guess what—I’m gonna touch it! I’m gonna touch it like crazy, wake it up and make it a known thing ‘ere!
And remember: This may just be a YouTube ad, but this commercial is also running (at least occasionally) on national TV airwaves as well. In fact, when I described it to my father while home for Christmas, he confirmed that he’d also witnessed it on broadcast TV.
So what are we looking at, here? The product is entirely real, but is the audience supposed to take this commercial seriously? Is it a knowing parody of Rick and Morty, or just a bizarre coincidence? Or is it perhaps a tribute to Johnny Brennan, of The Jerky Boys? Is this thing awful, or brilliant?
After watching a few times, I was leaning toward “brilliant,” until I visited the Zyppah YouTube homepage and dove into the backlogs of their previous commercials. It quickly becomes clear that this is by no means a new phenomenon for the company: All of their ads are shockingly terrible, in a variety of disparate ways. Observe!
There are a few more featuring good old JIMMY, perhaps even more irritating here than he is in the one above:
There’s a cringeworthy series of “Real Housewives of Snoring” parodies that features an assembly of women embarking on a sex strike until their men fix their disruptive snoring. Zyppah, meet Lysistrata! These commercials in particular feel like they were genuinely meant to be funny or entertaining—the most sincere failures of the lot.
There’s a 60-second musical jingle that immediately vaults to the top of the most irritating songs I’ve ever heard, but embedding is once again disabled. And finally, there’s a nightmarish superhero parody that seems to exist solely to put its middle-aged hero into the company of an attractive woman for a few fleeting moments. Bonus: It’s not often you get a commercial that contains its own “one year later” segment.
So what, then, is our final verdict? Is any of the marketing for this product sincere, or have we discovered the holy grail of incompetent advertising? Is someone over at Zyppah a big fan of Dan Harmon’s absurdist sense of humor, or are these commercials emanating directly from a real-world version of Rick and Morty’s multiverse?
And most importantly, how many more installments until we get a crossover with Ants In My Eyes Johnson?
Jim Vorel is a resident Paste staff writer. You can follow him on Twitter.