Wednesday, July 02, 2014

You’re advertising what now?

The ad was out of place
My wife and I were watching a BBC teen comedy raunch-fest about a group of mismatched first year college students forced to share a house, when we noticed something odd.
“I noticed something odd,” my wife said in an amazing display of knowing precisely what I was going to write the next morning.
“You mean the commercial?”
She nodded. “It doesn’t really fit, does it?”
No, it did not. All the previous commercials for birth control and pimple cream went along with the theme of the show. Especially the birth control disclaimers, which, if these won’t keep young people from having sex, nothing will – symptoms include blood clots, sudden high fever, vomiting, diarrhea, fainting, liver tumors, high blood pressure, headaches, depression, weight gain, acne, and I believe your gall bladder explodes.
The odd commercial was for erectile dysfunction, and it was played during a program that’s core demographic were people who still get I.D.ed buying cigarettes. Why would a company run a commercial during a young person’s program featuring people who were basically Abe Vigoda and Olivia de Havilland getting frisky? By the way, both actors are still alive, and in their 90s.
A poll I’m not making up (I actually did read it, I just don’t remember where) shows 60 percent of Americans believe advertising is out of control. With ads on things we wear, an 87,000-square-foot KFC logo in the Nevada desert that can be seen from space, and erectile dysfunction commercials during what is basically the British version of Beavis and Butthead, I’m not surprised.
Astronauts love the DoubleDown.
The same poll showed 61 percent of Americans, who must have seen the Abe Vigoda/Olivia de Havilland commercial, have a negative opinion of advertising. Every time a lapful of cologne-scented cards falls from a magazine, I get the same feeling.
Of course, we can do nothing but deal with it.
Ad space makes up 50 percent of a magazine, and 60 to 80 percent of a newspaper. Radio stations run about 28 minutes of advertising every hour, and television runs 13:52 minutes an hour. Of course, that doesn’t take into consideration the 7:59 minutes of product placements within the programs themselves. The Internet? Pfft. Every web page looks like a NASCAR driver’s uniform.
Yeah. Deal with it.
I listen to sports talk in the morning while cooking breakfast for the kids before I shove them out the door to the school bus and go back to bed. No erectile dysfunction commercials. No, not here. Just commercials for testosterone replacement therapy (the Girl hasn’t asked what that is yet. Phew), and beer.
Beer commercials? At 6:30 a.m.? Who are they trying to reach? Sure, Bud Man has been hopelessly unemployed for decades, but I’d hope he has something more constructive to do than drink beer before 7 a.m.
I’m not against advertising. Heck, it paid my salary for almost 20 years. I just want it to get out of my face. There, I’m taking a stand. I won’t spend money on obnoxious advertising.
And ... I’m wearing a Kansas City Chiefs T-shirt. Wow. I’m part of the problem.

Jason Offutt’s latest book, “Across a Corn-Swept Land: An epic beer run through the Upper Midwest,” is available at

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