Thursday, May 28, 2009

Ads that bug me

First, let me get this out of the way. I think advertising is essentially wrong. I'm not kidding. Unless you're only saying "here's the product and here's where you can get it", there's always some misleading going on. But that's capitalism. So, aside from my ridiculous assumption (all advertising is wrong), I actually think that some ads nowadays are entertaining. But some ads really annoy me.

I don't know if I'm becoming overly sensitive, but there's one ad that I can't stand on TV right now. I've seen it countless times, but can't remember exactly what they're selling - some sort of mobile phone service is all I can tell you. Maybe you've seen it. A "nice family" is in an ice cream shop and someone is explaining their calling plan to them. Why that is happening in an ice cream shop is not apparent. The thing is, I think there's a subtle racism (fear of the black man)under the surface of this ad. The nice man, with a wife and sweet little kids, takes an entire glass container of sprinkles (that's jimmies to you Northern New Englanders) and dumps them on top of the counter (on top of some ice cream?) The guy behind the counter asks him, rather limply, "Would you like whipped cream on that?" Now, it seems harmless, but every time I see it, I think "fear of the black man." The guy is big, but he looks perfectly harmless in his "I'm a good guy, dressed nicely in pastels, out with my family" kind of way. But, even with his big aw-shucks smile, he can do damage, even with sprinkles. Don't let the pastels and ice cream shop fool you! So, that's my take on it. Oversensitive? I dunno. If you watch the ad, tell me if I'm crazy.

There's another ad that bothers me for reasons I do not understand in the least. It's a series of ads, actually, for some new car. It has special effects that are so subtle that you hardly know they're happening. People appear out of nowhere. Things pop up out of nowhere. I don't know what the message is, and I can't watch. It bothers my sense of reality, I think. When I say I can't watch, I mean it. I actually close my eyes.

I've been watching too much tv, I'd say. I only get one channel and I think I watch too much television! I should be more worried about my Bejeweled Blitz addiction, don't you think?

But seriously, there were eight years of my life when I didn't have a television, and I'm sure I spent more time doing things than just sitting here, watching ads and shows about serial killers. Those are the shows I watch - Criminal Minds, NCSI, Without a Trace, and The Mentalist. I also watch the Big Bang Theory, which, so far, has had no serial killers. I find the character of Sheldon to be not only amusing, but get pleasure from watching the actor fine tune his tics and such. If someone hadn't done some research on Asberger's Syndrome, I'd be surprised.

So, there you have it. My life with TV. I feel rather like Andy Rooney, which is truly horrifying, for I also still watch 60 Minutes on occasion, and I wish that they'd let Andy Rooney go. He's so out of touch, he gives elderly people a bad reputation. The man's bad graces sometimes border on upsetting. One evening he whined on about the useless gifts fans send him. It was sad to watch. He's lucky he still does get any gifts from fans.

Okay, now I'm done.


jmcleod76 said...

Hmm, I haven't seen this racist sprinkles ad, but now I realy want to.

I don't think advertising is inherently wrong. I do, however, think advertising that makes people want things they don't need is wring, and that is a huge category of advertising. But a lot of products and services are things we need to buy anyway, and I don't have a problem with one company trying to make a case for why their version is better than the other options. Then again, I don't usually make my cumsumption decisions on the basis of ads. I usually decide by price, by reading other consumers' reviews, or simply on a gut feeling that I like one better than the other. I suppose that gut feeling is where advertising works, but I'm thinking more about things that aren't advertized - different translations of a particular text, different styles of shoes, that sort of thing. Besides, if I'm going to go wild and crazy and buy a whole bunch of things I don't need, I don't have to be spurred on by an ad - I buy books, tons and tons of used books, usually about religion. Wooh hoo! Wild and crazy up in here!

I hate TV. I have seen every episode of that gross, sexist, shallow show "Two and a Half Men" at least half a dozen times. WHy? Not because I enjoy it, but because the TV stays on all night at my house, and we only get three channels. I'd be a lot happier if I could give the effing thing away, but then I'd be divorced.

Julie H. Rose said...

Oooh, I would have a difficult time with the TV being on all the time!

My weakness is books, too.

I worked for a company once that believed advertising products like pharmaceuticals was unethical. They believed that the only ethical "advertising" is word-of-mouth, so they put together tele-conferences to speed up the process. Now, the web does that.

Advertising does indeed work on gut feelings. Ofen, ads weasel their way into our subconscious, making us "feel good" about a product, for no reason other than they have a good ad.

Of course, you're right, that if we see an ad for something that's nice looking to us, that also affects us, and there's nothing wrong with that.

smith kaich jones said...

Well, I've seen this ad several times, and never even noticed the guy was black. So. Not sure if your theory of an underlying racist thing is viable or not.

marinik said...

the worse thing about ads is that they get into your brain and make an imprint.. let me explain... you know the Enzite commercials? they have that annoying whistling tune throughout the ad, and my 12 year old was whistling it the other day, he didn't even know where it came from...see they get in your brain like that..

marinik said...

maybe it's not Enzite, I can't remember, but it is a "male enhansment" drug..