Weird News Video #47: Red, White and Blue House

Episode #47: “Filmed in Black and White”, from True’s 24 May 2009 issue.

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Filmed in Black and White

The commercial for The Red House, a furniture store in High Point, N.C., may look like it was filmed in the 1960s, but that’s part of its design, says Link Neal, who helped write and produce the 90-second spot. Each shot was purposely done “in an awkward way,” Neal said. In one shot an employee jumps on a sofa he describes as “perfect for a black person …or a white person.” Another jumps on a bed and proclaims, “This mattress is perfect for a white person …or a black person.” And a pair of singers dressed in 70s garb proclaim The Red House is “where black people and white people buy furniture!” — to which an employee adds, “And Hispanic people too” and another who says “And all people.” (Greensboro News-Record) …Not good enough: Asians are suing.

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12 Comments on “Weird News Video #47: Red, White and Blue House

  1. I live in High Point, and I’m sorry to say I’m not surprised by the idiocy that went into this commercial. You should see the commercials for the you-pull-it auto salvage yard with its busty babes in scanty clothes suggestively advertising the “self-help” facility.

    I should? Then send a tape! 😉 *cough*. “The Red House” nothing — more like “The Red Neck”…. -rc

  2. I personally think it’s a stupid commercial, but more than that I also found it to be somewhat offensive because race has nothing whatsoever to do with selling furniture. The fact that their commercial attempted (but failed miserably IMHO) to make fun of racial discrimination (presumably to drive home the irrationality of its practice) is wholly immaterial in IMO. The fact that they brought it up even though they and everyone else (except perhaps the completely ignorant) already knew it has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with selling furniture is wrong and in and of itself offensive.

    It’s as if like they’re subtly implying that race does usually make a difference for certain things in life (such as buying furniture). The fact that they’re claiming (in a non-humorous way IMO) that it doesn’t at their particular store makes no difference since they shouldn’t have even brought it up in the first place!

    Anyway, that’s my 2 cents on the issue: it was a stupid (non-funny) commercial that due to its failed attempt to make light of the race issue ended up falling flat on its face, more than likely offending their potential customers instead of making them laugh.

  3. @Fish gets the gist; I think the spot is trying to make fun of the idea that racism could even enter the furniture-sale transaction.

    Sadly, it fails; it’s a potentially funny premise, but it can’t be the whole joke. Neither can the “Look ma, no budget!” production.

    To see this type of parody done properly, watch Mr. Show with Bob and Dave. A four-season HBO sketch comedy featuring Bob Odenkirk and Arrested Development’s David Cross, it often used fake commercials as transitions.

    One episode had a David-and-Goliath theme, with some local grocer being driven out of business by the Big Bad Chain. They have some dueling advertising spots, something like:

    LOCAL FARM STAND: I’m gratified by the community support here. Don’t worry about the Big Chain; we’ll be here, neighbor to neighbor, selling you the best produce we can grow.
    BIG CHAIN: Now open! Finally, a store that has the resources to buy the quality produce you deserve; none of that second-rate, bug-ridden pig slop you see in other stores.
    LOCAL: My grand-daddy taught his son, and so on, and we give you the juiciest corn and the freshest tomatoes. No pesticides or preservatives, just good old-fashioned nature.
    CHAIN: Worried about your apples? You won’t find any worms in ours; unlike some, we spray our apples to keep your family safe.
    LOCAL: B-but… organic…
    CHAIN: Yes, we’re the place to come when you don’t want dead children screaming in the aisles.
    LOCAL: There were absolutely no deaths! This is the.. We’re the good guys!
    CHAIN: And *our* manager hasn’t been convicted for child pornography, either. We’re a family store. Your family.
    LOCAL: …


  4. Stupid … Yes…. Got the job done! How many people have now seen this commercial. How many people will make a stop at that location when they are in that area? I’ve worked in advertising all my life, and I still know “word of mouth” is still the best advertising.

    See you at The Red House.

  5. A truly stupid, but incredibly effective commercial. People from all over are talking about “The Red House”, which is, after all, the point.

    Your talking about them from Brazil isn’t going to help them a bit. Laughing at a company’s actions isn’t the same as going there and buying things from them because of those actions. Yes, some will, and that’s a plus. Others will avoid the company because of the ad, and that’s clearly a minus. They obviously hope the net result is a positive, but it remains to be seen whether the long-term effect is up or down. -rc

  6. Before taking this commercial too seriously, everyone should realize that it is the product of a North Carolinian comedy team, Rhett and Link. They have produced silly ads for a number of small businesses in the state, primarily as a way of getting their work seen on YouTube. It is the usage of real local business people that gives the videos a genuine “down-home redneck” flavor, which is what the comedians are counting on to get attention for themselves. After all, another slick satire of a bad commercial would be boring, whereas “the real thing” gets YouTube hits and resultant links to the comedians’ site.

    How frequently these ads actually have been aired on local TV is the question. I doubt that Rhett and Link seriously care about increasing sales at the small businesses themselves.

  7. They should have a follow-up commercial to appeal to Greeks. Advertise the Procrustean Bed, the perfect fit for you no matter what your size.

    I’m not exactly sure how you could have the Procrustean Bed be perfect for all races, but I’m sure there are some in the area who would have ideas.

  8. Amazingly stupid commercial. Folks forget that dumb commercials are how Jim “Ernest” Varney got his start; dumb all the way to the bank….

    They can definitely work, but great care must be taken to ensure what people think is being made fun of. Jim “Know whut I mean?” Varney made fun of himself, not the product/service or (as perhaps is the case here) the customers. -rc

  9. I miss your Weird News videos, Randy. I wish you would make more.

    They cost money/time to make, and brought no return whatever — not even a boost in free subscriptions. They were simply not paying off in any way, and I need to make a living. -rc

  10. Should I sue my friends if they don’t mention me in a conversation or invite my kids to their kid’s party?

    The used car and furniture businesses have long been the bastion of poor taste in their commercials. Why is this any different? If the courts give this even a hearing there will be president set for law suits of exclusion in every part of life whether racial, class or lifestyle….

    In short…pull your socks up and buy elsewhere if you don’t like what you see and hear…or better yet, dial back your hyper-offended thoughts waaaay back!

    Taglines on stories are just that: commentary, which could well include jokes. No one really sued over the commercial. -rc


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