Thursday, February 26, 2009

How Commercials Predict a Collapse of Society

The human brain, constantly bombarded with commercials on TV, the internet and the radio automatically tune them out so as not to waste precious calories of energy paying attention to them.

However, though my brain has more or less made it so the stimulus from commercials never really gets past my brain stem, something went atwitter in my brain while watching my favorite TV show, Hogans Heroes.

It was daytime and the commercials were all of the daytime TV variant;

"Are you a loser? Then go to college at your local degree mill! We offer Phd's in just 18 months!"

"Are you struggling under debt? Then call the Dead Beat Debt Consolidation Program. Expert financial advisors are standing by now to show you how to not pay back the money you owe!"

"Injured or just willing to say you've been? Call Chitty Ays Lawyers at 1-800-GOEF-SOCIETY."

And so forth and so on.

However, what went atwitter was the sheer volume of these commercials and just what a high percentage of them were for losers. It's almost as if all people during the daytime are idiots and the marketing suggests it. But what was truly eerie was I started to take note of just what percentage of the commercials were for losers during the rest of the day.

These commercials are on ALL THE TIME.

Extract yourself, if you will, from the US and imagine you're from a more "responsible" or "mature" country like Finland or Sweden. You come over here and on the TV is nothing but commercials for debt consolidation, credit cards, worthless degrees and personal injury lawyers. We don't see it, because we're inundated with it, but that still doesn't mean it isn't happening, nor does it change the statement it makes about America. If you take the time to actually observe just what a high percentage of total commercials these "loser" commercials account for, it is a scary testament to the status of the average American.

It doesn't matter if it's daytime TV (although there is more of a frequency) these commercials account for a jaw dropping percent of total commercials. Yes there is the debt consolidation and 2 year degree mills, but can you remember the last time you didn't hear a damn commercial for Viagra? Or some commercial for another stupid, inane weight loss program (because that "eat less and exercise more" concept is so freaking hard to understand). Or a check cashing place?

When I started paying attention to the commercials, two I find particularly interesting because they are a testament to the deteriorating economic condition this country's in;

Consignment shops


Cash for gold or "gold brokers."

People are hocking gold and personal items for cash, AND I HEARD THESE ADVERTISEMENTS ON TALK RADIO!

The larger point is this; commercials are a free market (and therefore very accurate) reflection of society. And whereas I would like commercials to be for things like personal F-16 fighter planes, documentaries on economics, encyclopedias, hovercars, surgeon school and other goods and services which would indicate a successful, productive and educated society, sadly it's the complete opposite.

Sex pills, means by which you can get "cash quick," weight loss, debt relief, lawyers, consignment shops, you name it, all point to a society that has not only lost its desire to be industrious, responsible and hard-working, but to a society that is on the brink of collapse.

Of course, again, I'm just the ole fuddy duddy. The curmudgeon that likes to spoil everybody's good time. The meanie that points out mean and harsh things (no matter how true they may be). But if you don't believe me, just try it yourself. Next time you're watching TV or listening to the radio or surfing the net, actually listen/watch/read the advertisements and see just what a high percentage these commercials are.

It really is eerie and depressing at the same time.


Anonymous said...

Yes, but how else am I supposed to know that I am entitled to a (huge cash) settlement because someone once used (insert product name) in my presence?

Anonymous said...

Could be that commercial composition doesn't reflect society, but the portion of it that is easily influenced by TV commercials. I believe that Scott Adams had a comic where Dogbert divides society into four groups ("stupid w/money", "stupid w/o money", "smart w/money", and "smart w/o money".) The target demographic for all sales is "stupid w/money" - smart people aren't buying your product and there's no money to be made off poor people. Pick any sales pitch - new homes, new cars, new degree, new politician, etc., and the target group is always dumb people w/money to spend.

Anonymous said...

I guess you could be right. Your ego is certainly pretty large, and I wouldn't want to challenge it.

But then you left out one vital statistic. What portion of the American Middle class is watching those shows?

With woman working outside the home, and a new list of 300 channels, its not clear that your "study" is valid for a very large portion of society.


Anonymous said...

I'm not so sure you're right about this. You're probably watching cable TV. Those cable/satellite channels charge a pittance for their ads (after all, the royalties on "Hogan's Heroes" aren't going to add up to much -- free market and all).

Cheap ad rates mean that lots of small businesses that couldn't afford TV ads in the old days are now able to buy ads that are narrowly targeted to specific demographics (e.g., the unemployed losers that are so bored they'll watch 40-year old reruns).

As we saw with the low interest rates in the mortgage market, cheapness attracts all manner of vermin that would otherwise have stayed in their filthy warrens.

Anonymous said...

Even more appalling is when those hideous advertisements are jammed within "Garage Logic"!

Hot Sam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

The best way to know what the biggest rip-offs are is to look at what's advertised. Great products at a good value price don't NEED advertising. They sell themselves by word of mouth.

Want to know the high profit margin meals at a restaurant? The waiter calls them the day's "specials."

Want to know which banking products to avoid? They're advertised in their window.

Macbooks are great, so why are they advertised? Because they are overpriced for what you get.

Why were there so many Obama ads?.....

Captain Capitalism said...

Hey, I like the Slowsky's!

Captain Capitalism said...

I also love Flo! She could advertise anything and it would automatically make that commercial legitimate.

Anonymous said...

Do you guys have the US Fidelis ads by you? Basic premise: If you have an old car, you could pay for the repairs yourself (like a chump) OR, you could let US Fidelis pay them for you!

Sounds perfectly logical to me. There couldn't possibly be a catch in there anywhere...

It's on at the exact same time every morning, while I'm putting on my makeup/ watching the local news to find out what the weather's going to be like/ ogling the cute young weather stud.

The Big Seester

Anonymous said...

how about any stupid add about suburbanites.the husband is always some stupid balding,overweight jerk,and the wife is hot and knows everything.and they always show them in a house worth 400 grand or never see any of these ads showing the wife and hubby living in a cape cod....