Every local television market across the world airs ads of varying degrees of quality from also-local business establishments. You have your “Crazy Eddies” lighting used cars on fire to imply how hot, hot, hot their sales are, or they’re sluicing through sofas with freshly-bought chainsaws to illustrate (hopefully not-literally) their new half-off pricing scheme. Some times it’s just a small businessman or -woman shamelessly hawking their wares by bringing their own children into the commercial, as if we learned nothing from Sarah Palin’s use of her not-ready-for-primetime moppets on the political stage. No matter how poorly shot or ill conceived (and they’re all poorly shot and ill conceived), I love local ads. And I love them so much more than their sleek counterparts like Clive Owen schilling for BMW or the E*Trade baby’s creepy world weariness.*
But there is one series of commercials that runs frequently on my Dallas-Fort Worth affiliate stations that I can’t get enough of. They aren’t explosive or wild, and conceptually they’re nothing more than the local business man coolly and calmly extolling the virtues of his company to the viewing audience who’d rather get back to watching “The View” or “Modern Family” or Maury. (He’s still on TV, right?) It’s the way Bob Lovell, president and founder of Home Marketing Services (or, HMS), delivers his lines with an almost-but-not-quite condescension and a tongue-planted-firmly-in-cheek sense of humor. The sheer height of his hair and how he pronounces “roof” might have something to do with it, too. You’ll see.
First, we’ll take a look at where Bob started, before he found his muse, then get ready for some Sahara Desert levels of dry comedy:
Tired of Renting?
Bless Your Heart
A Connecticut Yankee in Bob Lovell’s Court
The True Meaning of Peace
Bob Has Balls for Local “Celebrities” Pugs and Kelly
He’s Not Always Funny?**
Even now, after years spent watching and laughing with these ads, I don’t really know what HMS does. Of course, I don’t really care, either, because being a “home owner” has never once been on my bucket list. Yet every time I see one of these ads, I have the sudden urge to buy a home, fix it up, and then sell it just so I have a reason to call Bob. Then, when I explain what I’ve done, he could tell me, straight to my beaming face, “Bless your heart.” And the hole in my soul would finally be filled.
* No matter how much I love Pete Holmes, I hate, hate, mother flippin’ hate those ads.
** Don’t sell yourself short, Bob!
Rob Payne also writes the comic The Unstoppable Force, tweets on the Twitter, tumbls on the Tumblr, and his wares can be purchased here. He used to love “Joe Isuzu,” too, but the actor’s career post-Joe is kind of depressing.