Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Commercial Annoyances

by Joyce

To me, there aren't too many things more annoying than commercials. I know commercials serve a purpose--they pay for the shows we watch, or songs we listen to, but it would be nice if those of us in the intended audience were treated more like valued customers and less like gullible schmucks.

There are a few commercials that I've heard on the radio lately that drive me absolutely nuts. Yes, I know. I don't have far to go. I'm not going to mention the products because I don't want to take a chance that someone will decide to fall for their line of BS. And I'd like to avoid a lawsuit.

One commercial played over and over on the radio is for an at-home business that sounds great at first. There's usually someone talking about how they wanted to spend more time with their children, or they wanted to save for retirement, and now they're earning beaucoup bucks with this "plan." Out of curiosity, I called the number to see what this "plan" really entailed and listened to a recording. It's basically a multi-level marketing business (which is usually just a nice name for a pyramid scheme--not always, though) selling some weird kind of juice. Now really. How much juice can you sell over the phone?

Another commercial that bugs me is the one that tells listeners they can have an internet business selling products that they never see, never have to store, and get this--never have to pay for! How does that work? For the life of me, I can't figure that one out.

There's another commercial, that when it comes on, I end up yelling at the radio. It usually begins with a woman talking about how her child was defiant and wouldn't listen to her. (Kind of reminds me of the people who call the police because their kid won't go to school.) But she bought this guy's CD and now her child is a wonder-kid/angel/straight A student/future President--whoops, got a little carried away there. You get the idea. The guy selling the CD then says he can make any child listen in six minutes or less.

Yeah? I can do that too, and it doesn't take me six minutes. More like six seconds. Most of the time all it took was one look.

How about you? Which commercials make you yell at the radio or TV? Or maybe you like commercials. I'd like to hear about that, too.


Annette said...

We must listen to the same radio station.

You mean those "commercials" were SERIOUS??? And here I thought they were a little comic relief.

Lee Lofland said...

This isn't quite the same thing, but I really hate those stupid translucent network logos that take up nearly a fourth of the TV screen.

And, the animated ads at the lower right corner of the television screen - you know the ones, where some little man jumps up and down waving at us trying to get our attention - make me angry. It never fails, they pop up at the worst times possible hiding whatever it is I'm trying to see, like a fumbled ball, or a game-losing slide at home plate. Grr...

Wilfred Bereswill said...

FOr television, that's why I have my DVR. It has a nice little skip button that moves ahead in 3 minute intervals. If a show starts at 7 PM, I tune in at about 7:15 and skip all the commercials. I usually catch up to live TV by the end of the show.

I know the one about the bad kids. Not good.

Working at Anheuser-Busch means I have high expectations from commercials. I have been debating with my daughter that is in Journalism about the new Microsoft commericials with Bill Gates and Seinfeld. She says on the surface, they are commercials "about nothing." But the series is supposed to connect with people. She says they're brilliant. I'm not so sure.

Commercials and jingles don't have to be great, just memorable and are supposed to somehow translate into sales. "REAL MEN OF GENIUS" anyone?

Wilfred Bereswill said...

I can't agree more Lee. FOX seems to be the most culpable there.

Gina said...

OK, Joyce, I admit that I don't like the commercials you mentioned or the logos on the screen or -- my pet peeve -- the way they shrink the credits down too small to see to make room for some ad on the screen, after you've waited the whole show to find out who that familiar-looking actor was. I love some commercials, though. Some of my all time favorites are from Dairy Queen, like the Land of Dairy Queen, an ice cream landscape with chocolate syrup rivers, or the spicy hot sandwich commercial where the guy who eats it starts breathing fire, causing his office to catch fire and activating the sprinkler system. Or the Hormel commercial in which sandwiches are arranged in tiers like a choir, and they open up to sing "Coming Through the Rye." That's genius.

Joyce said...

Will, Anheuser Busch has some of the best commercials, especially the ones featuring Clydesdales. I loved the one where the horse didn't make the team and a Dalmation put him through training. And the one where the Clydesdales bow on one of the anniversaries of 9-11 was awesome.

Joyce said...

Gina, I'm sorry to say I've never seen any of the commercials you mentioned.

Another one I hate on the radio here are the ones from the local mattress company. I don't care how good his mattresses are. I priced them and they're double what you'd pay for a name brand. Probably because he has to pay for all that advertising!

Tory said...

"Another commercial that bugs me is the one that tells listeners they can have an internet business selling products that they never see, never have to store, and get this--never have to pay for! How does that work?"

It's called the stock market!

Annette said...

And we know how well THAT'S doing.

Anonymous said...

Nothing is as bad as the endless erectile dysfunction commercials--nothing.

kathie said...

Hey Joyce, I know exactly which commercial you're talking about!! When I hear these ads with wild claims I often think it would be fun to order the item and try it out just to see if it works--this stuff has to be made up, the results I mean.