Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Taking Offense to Ads

Every now an then I will be watching TV and some ridiculous commercial will vie for my attention. Usually, commercials are just uninteresting since I am not in the market for a car, and every so often you get a commercial which you think is just so interesting, you will mention it in your next conversation with a friend.

However, there are some commercials that are just so stupid, you are insulted that the company thinks so low of you. Such commercials tell you how to think, how to react. They presuppose that you lack intellectual integrity. In such instances  you might roll your eyes while lightly shaking your head side to side, or struggle to find the remote to change the channel.

Therefore, the question is: How effective are such stupid commercials? Do they do their job and successfully advertise an object you may or may not want? Or do they subtract from the product making you not want to buy it and suppress the advertisement from you consciousness?


Ashira said...

There is one commercial on hulu for an energy drink that pisses me off so much.... it has a woman talking about how she gets home from work and starts her second job (being a mom) so she needs an energy drink meanwhile the dad is sitting on the couch watching tv (and clearly only works one job)! I suppose the commercial reflects the reality in some households, but it is so aggravating. Every time I see it I swear off the product (not that it was even a product that I'd use in the first place)

Brian said...

It takes a lot to get me to burst into print on any topic. Call it inertia, apathy or normally just being too busy with the essentials of life.

However, one of my pet peeves is pseudo science, especially when it used deceptively to sell something. On one occasion, a year or two ago now, I took the trouble to put in an official complaint to our UK Advertising Standards Authority regarding a TV commercial for some sort of multi-surface cleaning spray solution for the home. One of the commercial's main claims was "even kills MRSA".

For those not in the know, this stands for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. This particular strain of the common infection bacterium has taken hold in a number of British hospitals bcause it is resistant to the antibiotic Methicillin and becasue those hosptals' cleaning regimes were perhaps not quite as good as they should have been. People have died from infections of thisorganism which is obviously a very bad thing but that's a discussion for elsewhere. Suffice it to say it has unsurprisingly caused a huge furore here in the mainstream media and MRSA is the "super-bug" and is the big baddy of the bacterial world.

The reality is that it doesn't exist significantly outside of the hospital environment and it's it's not resistant to disinfectants, anti-septics or even probably good old fashioned soap, which kills most things if used thoroughly enough. The only thing which doesn't see it off is one widely and over-used broad spectrum antibiotic, Methicillin (which was what caused the resistance in the first place)

Saying that this product - I can't even remember what it was now - "even kills MRSA" plays on people's fear and ignorance and annoys the hell out of me.

By the way, I'm not in any medical profession, just a keen amateur scientist who likes to see things done right.

Brian said...

OK, I just did some more minimal research and it turns out that MRSA is resistant to other penicillin family antibiotics and does in fact exist in other intitutions, so my facts were slightly off but my point stands firm.

J. Weiss said...

I hate car commercials that talk about how much fun their vehicle is to drive. If I wanted fun I'd be on a bicycle feeling the wind in my face and watching the nature all around me. I use a car because I can't carry everything on a bike and because sometimes the weather doesn't allow biking. Fun is never a word I associate with driving.

Ashira, I've seen that ad on TV several times and never paid it much attention. Now that you mention it, I see how offensive it is.