I’m a firm believer in advertising. Consumers get reminded everyday of the products, services, ideas, and relationships they can’t live without. Business people want consumers to believe in what they’re selling.
Everybody likes money, attention, consent, and encouragement. There’s nothing wrong with promotion. It makes the world go ‘round, keeping advertisers and consumers on their toes.
But maybe I’m starting to lose touch with reality, or reality is losing touch with me. Everywhere I am, it seems, there’s a poster, flyer, coupon, or sales pitch, advertising a product, service, process, or idea. These ads are on gas pumps, in restrooms, and even up on YouTube. Advertising is on billboards, in the sky, over taxicabs, and on the menus of restaurants. They’re delivered by the pound to my mailbox, and could fill a 40-gallon garbage can.
It’s not just mail. It’s also 60-second radio ads with half a minute devoted to bribes, disclosures, exemptions, and denials. I don’t know about y’all, but I can’t keep up with those high-speed disclaimers warning of excessive bleeding, natural vomiting, allergic reactions and the risk of sudden heart failure. Whatever they’re selling, I’m not buying, no matter how it improves your looks, reduces my waistline, or erases our wrinkles.
TV ads are even worse, because the people are happily biking along the seashore, hand in hand with laughing children, as the announcer reminds us of the potential for suicide, depression, blindness, or fraternity hazing. I don’t know about you, but I’m liking the fast-forward button more every day.
Recently I was watching a 1947 happy/sappy story about Santa Claus. It was listed as two hours long and included eight breaks featuring 112 commercials. Each segment featured ads for fast food, bubbly wine, new clothes, and breakfast cereal. Apparently Raison Bran isn’t just for breakfast anymore.
They also included digital games, coffee additives, skincare, and cold remedies, which covers the coveted 25-54 demographic exactly. The only problem is, with 15 consecutive ads in less than five minutes, who remembers any of it? After 50 commercials, in fact, it’ll be a miracle on 34th street if I can remember the name of the movie we’re watching.
It’s not much different even at the local Quik-Save gas station-and-convenience store. Every gas pump features cardboard cutouts of important information like the price of slushi drinks and ballpark hotdogs. There’s barely enough room, in small print, to remind drivers they’re pumping a highly flammable product just inches from their dangling cigarette.
If there’s room to walk down the aisles, according to corporate management, then there isn’t enough merchandise on the shelves. Important things, like plastic keychains, china-made lapel pins, and magazines sealed in transparent packaging. I don’t know what’s in those magazines, but my wife would kill me over a buck-fifty donut. Imagine what she would do if I spent ten bucks on a comic book!
The world can’t live without advertising. I can’t live without my girl. In fact, it was advertising on an internet dating site that brought us together. She read my profile, and immediately fell in love after an exhaustive background investigation.
I suppose any woman would appreciate my good looks and devilish charms, but this one was looking for things that were not so readily apparent. Things like warrants, liens, lawsuits, and a recent haircut. You’re right, three out of four ain’t bad, I reckon!
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Choose honesty over perfection every time.