Monday, December 22, 2008

We interrupt this program to bring you these important commercials....

Maybe I tend to read too much into things, but I’m well aware that advertisers will target their commercials to a certain audience segment and that they work in conjunction with programmers at the local and national level to make sure that their ads are shown at certain times during certain shows. Thanks to the miracle of TiVO and other DVR devices, most of us just record shows and fast-forward through the commercials.

Being that I’m on vacation this week, I started to really check out what commercials were on at what times, because I’ve noticed in the past that shows like Maury and Jerry Springer (guilty pleasures I engage in every couple months) generate the sort of commercials that paint a rather grim picture of the average viewer.

They must think that the average viewer of their show is broke, has bad credit, is undereducated, in failing health, and is looking for a way to sue somebody and get a settlement. As evidence, I checked out the commercials this morning: in the space of two hours I saw multiple ads for adult education (tech-schools and courses in the medical field, and a massage therapist school), an ad to get your invention patented, ads for tax debt relief and for credit counseling, two different ads for low-cost self-paid health insurance, multiple ads for minimum-coverage cheap car insurance, ads for diabetic testing supplies and home breathing-aid supplies, cheap no-credit used cars, the Scooter Store ad, and just a couple ads for actual products you can buy in a store, like Airwick air freshener, Playtex tampons, and Prefer-On scar remover. By far, though, the main brunt of the ads were from the ambulance-chasers. There were nearly a dozen ads for personal injury lawyers. All the local names were there: Akim Anastapoulo (The Strong Arm), a stay safe holiday message from Clekis Law Firm, one out of the blue from a firm I’d never heard of (Howell & Christmas), a few from everyone’s favorite local guy Bill Green (The Heavy Hitter), and a barrage bombardment from the Joye Law Firm. Reese Joye was everywhere; I mean there was a Joye ad on every commercial break.

There isn't a single human being in greater Charleston who doesn't know who this dude is...

Later on, for fun, I checked a commercial block during One Life To Live while I was channel surfing. Ads were seemingly geared towards Mom, who must do all the shopping for the family, I guess. Tylenol PM, Liquid Plumber, Loreal hair color, 1-800-Flowers, Crest Whitening, Wal-Mart, Joye Law Firm’s ad for suing a nursing home, the massage therapy school again, Dixie Furniture(Dixie’ll do it, ‘cause Dixie don’t care!), Folger’s, Totino’s Pizza Rolls, Build a Bear Workshop, Colgate Total Advanced Whitening, some drug called Abilify to treat your depression (it’s not recommended for dementia, by the way), M&M’s, Sears, Pilsbury Crescent Rolls (mmm, I’m making some tonight), Disney DVD’s on sale, and Alka Seltzer Plus cold medicine.

I was scared of what I might find over on MTV. Bounty paper towels…that was a surprise. An ad for Zoo York sneakers with talking roaches, a pretty cool recruiting ad for the Army, a couple cell phone ads, some video game you play with your butt, Axe Body Wash (guaranteed to get you laid it seems), the Academy of Art, a WWE wrestling video game, a couple commercials for upcoming movies, Progressive insurance, and a bevy of ads for crappy faux-reality shows on MTV.

But what about The Military Channel? That’s where I usually hang out. What commercials are geared towards me, I wonder? Vonage, so I can make international calls, the USO, which is a very worthy cause, DirectBuy for getting the things I need to build my new home, the Rosetta Stone software to teach me other languages, the Playstation 3 movie downloader so I can do more with the system than waste time playing games, Gravity Defyer dress shoes, and a laundry list of ads for other shows on sister networks owned by the Discovery Channel.

For $549.00, you too can learn Irish Gaelic!!!

In the afternoon, the second round of Maury/Springer was the same as before but added a George Sink personal injury lawyer ad, and one for Enzyte.

I shudder to think about the commercials on the Playboy Channel…do they even have commercials on there?

1 comment:

jms1 said...

This is why I rarely, if ever, watch TV anymore... between the incessant flood of advertising and the almost universal downfall of program quality, it feels like TV is getting dumber and dumber as time goes by. We've almost reached the point where TV is little more than an endless stream of insipid babbling (i.e. "hoodabibbadiddy?") to distract the masses while the country rides merrily along... at least it's a comfortable handbasket, with big-screen TVs and ten-eighty-eye, whatever the hell that is ("I dunno what it is but I want it!"... a perfect quote for a good little American consumer. Shut up, be happy.)

The few current TV shows I do enjoy (and it is a very small list) I only watch on TV until the DVD box sets are released. At least the box sets don't have commercials in them (unless you count their "public" service messages about not copying movies, which they try to force you to watch, even though you've already bought and paid for the friggin' DVD... Thank ${DEITY} for VLC player.)