Sometime in the mid 1960’s, when it was a big freakin’ deal to have a movie shown on TV! It meant either NBC or CBS was showing it in prime time, and I had to finagle permission to stay up past my bedtime. A big hit for me with lots of long-lasting memories was “The Time Machine.” Made by George Pal and starring Rod Taylor and Yvette Mimieux in 1960, the pre-teen Paul was very impressionable and large parts of the movie scared the crap out of me. (It seems I wasn’t alone.)
What really scared me was when the air raid sirens went off and the peaceful, dull, childlike Eloi all went slack jawed and started marching zombie-like into the caves of the Morlocks, where obviously the Morlocks were going to kill them and eat them. We were living in Kansas City at the time (remember, huge Chiefs fan here!) and tornadoes were not uncommon for about six months of each year. When they got close, the air raid sirens went off to warn folks to take cover. Needless to say, the summers after seeing “The Time Machine” had a whole new interpretation of that!
Skip forward fifty-six or fifty-seven years, to 2022. You’re watching television and a Taco Bell commercial comes on:
- There’s a beach party, a young lady skips off into the darkness to snog that sexy young dude in the dark. A buoy tips over, causing a “bell” to ring (the signature and no doubt trademarked Taco Bell sound), and your hormonal teenager turns into a zombie, leaves Boy Wonder on the beach wondering what happened, and she marches off to Taco Bell to get something disgusting.
- A subway platform, a geek dude cosplaying some sort of elf warrior with a shield spies a geek girl with the exact same costume and shield. Their eyes meet, they step toward each other, her shield hits a metal trash can, we hear that “bell” sound, she gets glassy eyed and wanders off to Taco Bell.
- Two dudes are going for the all-time high score in the universe on Dance Dance Revolution at which point the machine music makes that “bell” sound, they stop mid-game, and head off for some brodude Taco Bell munchies.
- The high schooler with the purple hair is at the back of the orchestra with a pair of cymbals, waiting for her one big moment, when someone tips over a music stand, it hits the tuba, makes that “bell” sound, and half the orchestra wanders off in search of greasy ground beef and runny fake cheese.
Aside from the fact that I’m not a fan of Taco Bell’s food, all of these examples remind me constantly of one thing – THE ELOI!!! The protagonists in every one of these ads act exactly like the Eloi in “The Time Machine!”
So, Taco Bell’s advertising agency and marketing gurus, look how you’ve made me think of your food!
I’m about to have the romantic, hormonal, passionate night that I’ve always fantasized about and which I’ll remember for the rest of my life – until I turn into an Eloi and march into the Morlocks’ cave to be killed. And YOU’RE the Morlocks!
I’m a lonely geek who’s suddenly found my soulmate, only to have her snatched away into zombieland just feet away from my embrace. And YOU’RE the zombies!
You get the drift.
Obviously, I’m not the target market for these ads, both because of my tastes in food and because of my age (and probably a half-dozen or more other traits), but jeez louise!! Did NO ONE look at these ads and think, “Wait…maybe…”
Or, worse, did they look at it and think, “Whatever! As long as they spend money at our place!”
Go find a taco truck, or a mom & pop style Mexican place with real food. And hoist a margarita and a burrito to Yvette Mimieux, who passed away at age 80 this afternoon.