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Advertisers, Please Stop Using CGI Babies in Your Commercials!

I’ll get straight to the point: Computer-generated babies scare me. Period. The end. No room for discussion. Whenever advertisers show CGI babies dancing (shudder), rollerskating, or just walking around like adults, it makes me reach for the remote before the protest even leaves my lungs. It’s terrifying.

Am I being too dramatic? Maybe. But I know I’m not alone in this! Let me further explain my reasoning so you can form your own opinion.

Let’s start with the inspiration behind this little rant. Evian, one of the most well-known bottled water producers in the world, aired a commercial back in 2009 that featured animated babies on rollerskates. Why would anyone want to see something so creepy? Apparently, it’s cute. Who knew? It creeped me out the first time I saw it and didn’t get any better the twentieth or thirtieth time, either. It pains me to do this, but here it is in case you somehow missed it:

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Have you stopped screaming yet? Good. It’s hard, I know, but let’s move on. Now, I know the rollerskating baby commercial wasn’t the first appearance of such technology (curse you, Ally McBeal!), but it’s the first time I remember seeing CGI babies everywhere I turned. Evian probably ropes in most people with these ads, but not me.

What Evian wants me to think: “Oh my goodness, look at those precious bundles of joy! And they’re on roller skates? How clever. I’ve certainly never seen anything like this in my entire life! The next time I’m at the store, I’ll pick up a bottle or two of Evian’s overpriced water as a thanks for making me laugh so hard.”

What I really think: “AHHH! What is this? Turn it off, turn it off! Where is the remote? Why are babies on roller skates? No, this is so horrifying and I’m going to have nightmares! WHERE IS THE CHANNEL UP BUTTON ON THIS THING?!”

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Well, Evian recently released another hit commercial. Do you know what’s the focus of that commercial? You guessed it — MORE computer-generated babies. Come on, Evian! Haven’t you tortured us enough? If you’re still rattled from the last one, then you might as well watch this one too and get it over with:

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Granted, the new Evian ad isn’t quite as scary as the last one, but that doesn’t excuse it from criticism. I didn’t have a problem with it when the first guy saw his babyish reflection in the glass, and even I’ll admit that some of the babies’ faces are cute. However, all of that goes to Hades when the computer-generated garbage comes in. Why do their faces contort so unnaturally? Since when is appearing possessed an endearing trait? I guess I don’t get it. All I know is that I can’t deal with it.

What Evian wants me to think: “Aww, look! The babies are dressed like the adults because they’re supposed to be younger versions of themselves! Evian’s water must make people feel really young. I want to feel like a kid again, so I’ll gladly shell out $3.97 for 20 ounces of water that tastes exactly the same as what I could have gotten out of the tap.”

What I really think: “Oh no, another CGI baby commercial! Why can’t the remote ever be here when I need it? At least they’re not skating to rap music this time, this one’s not so ba–OH MY GOD! Nevermind, it’s still gross! Mute, for the love of man, MUTE BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!”

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Evian isn’t the only guilty advertiser, either. After seeing the overwhelmingly positive response to Evian’s ads, companies like Pepsi have also climbed aboard the fake-baby train of terror. Might as well check it out here, while you’re in a safe place:

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All I can gather from this ad is that Pepsi associates terrible parents and computer-generated baby dancing with their otherwise-fine product. What about carbonated water and syrup needed this madness? Is there some correlation between beverages and CGI that I’m unaware of? I brought it up to a co-worker who seemed to agree with me, and she said: “The Pepsi ad where the baby is breakdancing makes me want to kill myself.” I guess it negatively affects more people than just me!

What Pepsi wants me to think: “Oh wow, this new Pepsi is so good that the parents didn’t even notice their baby busting all sorts of crazy moves. I can’t wait to try it! Let’s hurry up and get little Timmy’s diaper changed so we can run to the 7-Eleven and buy some before it’s sold out!”

What I really think: “What does this have to do with pop? Why are those people such awful parents? Why do people find this cute? If I see one more commercial like this, I’m going to require a strait jacket!”

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Evian and Pepsi are far from alone, which also saddens me. An Ubisoft commercial shows a CGI baby playing guitar (to an awesome Black Keys song, no less), and an electronic cigarette company features one doing a Gangnam Style dance. Yeah, they went there. Figure that one out! There are dozens more, I’m sure, but my courage has depleted and I have to stop looking them up. You get the idea, right?

Please forgive me for saying so, but CGI babies need to stop being a thing in advertisements (or anywhere, for that matter). It’s not a secret that babies aren’t exactly on my list of interests, but that doesn’t mean I take issue with them in general. I like them just fine when they’re in cribs or bassinets or toddling around on the stubby legs they were given. But when people use computers to twist their faces into unnatural expressions or make a horde of them dance on bendy legs that look as if they’ll snap at any second, that’s when I lose it. Can’t we just let babies be babies? I’m all for creativity, but my brain can’t make the connection between CGI infants and cuteness. I immediately jump to disturbed.

So, advertisers, listen up. I’m begging you to please stop using CGI babies in your commercials. Don’t show them roller skating, break dancing or dancing at all, doing back flips, talking like adults, or making expressions that children their age aren’t capable of making. PLEASE. If you like babies so much, why not show them in their organic forms? I’m sure real children do adorable things on their own without the help of animation programs, right? Record some of that. It probably still won’t be my favorite commercial, but at least the thought of it won’t wake me up in the middle of the night.

End rant. I’m out. If I had a microphone, this is where I’d drop it.

What do you think of CGI babies? Do you love them or hate them? What’s the creepiest computer-generated baby commercial out there? Any other terrifying commercials you can think of?

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Jill Tooley

Jill has been obsessed with words since her fingers could turn the pages of a book. She’s a hopeless bibliophile who recently purchased a Kindle after almost 6 years of radical opposition, and she loves stumbling upon new music on Pandora. Random interests include (but are not limited to) bookstores, movie memorabilia, and adorable rodents. Jill writes for the QLP blog and assists with the company’s social media accounts. You can connect with Jill on Google+.

Comments

  1. Kat

    I’m half and half here. Some of the commercials are super cute (I personally love that Evian commercial) but then some are pretty scary. I think it’s good entertainment but it is getting a little out of hand with how much of it is out there these days. I remember people couldn’t wait to watch the Superbowl commercials with the CGI babies – and now they are EVERYWHERE. Just like every other trend that has existed this, too, shall die sooner or later. I am pushing more for sooner though…

  2. Mr. Pants

    Couldn’t agree more!! Didn’t this all start with that Ally McBeal dancing baby way back when??

    Really, now that I think about it, this is a famous problem a lot of video games face: “Uncanny Valley” – The point where something is so close to real (but not close enough) that it’s unnerving. And seeing as I don’t think I’ll ever see a REAL dancing 4 month old, it doesn’t seem that feeling will ever go away in this case :)

    Great post; Thanks Jill!

  3. Todd

    One word: Creepy.

  4. Kurt

    There certainly IS something very odd about CGI babies. I think Mr. Pants hit it on the head, no matter how good a CGI baby is, you’ll never see a real baby do those things, so it will always see weird and creepy. Kind of like Chucky.

  5. Mandy Kilinskis

    Yeah, I can’t say that I like CGI babies. They’re a little creepy. Although the one CGI baby in that car commercial with all of those CGI baby animals wasn’t too terrible. Still though, pretty creepy.

  6. Christi

    I was just wondering if some of the more normal baby shots are CGI. Like the one in the new Nissan commercial. They freak me out!

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