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Commercial Appeal - Do We Really Need To Know That

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Although this article is about American television commercials, I am quite sure other countries have their own which can be equally annoying or memorable.

Commercial appeal is what makes the difference between a commercial that lives on in our memories and ends up on TV Land and the ones we bolt out of the room as fast as possible to eat, use the out house, run for the shotgun to blow away the television set...

A commercial that is very effective does not necessarily live on in our memories unless it has an element that touches us. The same goes for some awful commercials, they strike a nerve that can aggravate us to no end.

Everyone knows [at least if you lived in the US during the 80s], "Where's the beef?" Why do we remember that commercial? Was it funny watching the little old lady looking up at the huge counter to pick up that bun that was almost bigger than her head to find that hockey puck stuck in there? Or maybe it was on some level we feel the same frustration when going to a fast food cancer joint to get a hamburger without much meat. I guess if I wanted to play it up, I would have had the same bun and hockey puck, but overflowing with sauce, onions, tomatoes and lettuce. I know when I go to those places it's more like having a salad coated in goo with a speck of hamburger somewhere in there.

Then there are the classics like the Native American going through the polluted land and standing nearby a highway crying. Why did this touch a nerve? Was it pure guilt or a sense of duty? Did we actually go out and clean up that mess and apologize to the man or did we feel bad for the moment and went back to laughter at the antics of Archie Bunker, hoping we would remember not to litter the streets.

And for some strange reason I have it glued in my mind that Wednesday is Prince Spaghetti Day, but to watch out for those spicy meatballs or I will need some Alka Seltzer. I also know if Mean Joe Green throws me a jersey, it will only because I gave him my last Coke and all those hippies from around the world will be happy and sing about peace and harmony. Coke is great, but personally, I'm a Pepper. It goes great after a breakfast of Freakies cereal. Wash down your Milkshake candy bar with Yaba Daba Doo fruit drink and get a real high. If you got sick from all that eating, take a bath and use the great shampoo, then you tell two friends and they tell two friends, and so on, and so on, and so on... Memorable? Showing my age again.

Other commercials that bother me are those that don't have a point. Nike is a big offender in this department. At least I think it is Nike since through the whole commercial they talk about anything but the shoe and near the end is a tiny logo with Nike. The most uncomfortable Nike commercial was where they showed all these people who were injured in the line of duty of sports with missing limbs, missing teeth and so forth. No mention whatsoever of the shoe, just the logo at the end. If anything, that commercial made me want to remain a couch potato so as to not end up like them and as one I would not buy those shoes.

In the 80's and early 90's were all these perfume companies who made commercials so out there that there was no way of telling what the product was that was being sold. This trend does not really create a lingering memory since we have no idea what it was we were supposed to remember.

Gap and Old Navy...UGHHHHHH! Can they come up with a campaign more annoying. These are the commercials where I wish I had a shot gun to blow the television set away. Gap and Old Navy may have clothing that is popular, but I would rather be out of style than purchasing these overpriced clothes to feed that mangy Old Navy dog and his old hag, and I don't mean Morgan Fairchild. I am beginning to wonder if they just throw material in a sewing machine and let it run to come up with some of those designs.

Oh for the golden age of television! Remember when a cigarette was your friend and could cure what ails you? Well, I don't. If you do, then you must be older than me. From the archives of commercial history, cigarettes were part of what made you a patriotic American. Even the doctors would endorse them. Today, you will be shot on site if you smoke in public. Times have changed, but these are still memorable commercials. They must be because I wasn't even born then and I remember it [thanks TV Land!] :-)

The bottom line to make a commercial memorable and live favorably in the hearts of many is to make it funny, short, sweet, and something to which we can relate.

Commercials make the programming we enjoy available. I can understand that it costs money for a tv or radio station to stay on air, keeping the license, hiring staff and to advertise to get more people to tune in. Without ad revenue, the stations have no support and no incentive to just give us programs which cost them money to air. What I cannot understand is the need to have certain commercials - personal products!

Tampons, sanitary pads, douche kits, kitty litter, jock itch creme, feminine itch creme, deodorant, condoms, herpes medication... the list goes on. I personally believe if you are in need of these products, you know what they are and how to get them. Why, oh why must they be broadcast during a meal?

I normally find the hair removal commercials rather disgusting as I don't like looking at hairy men covered in goo before putting a rag on them and ripping the hair out [OUCH!!!!!] Although I did find it entertaining to watch the Nads commercials for obvious reasons [if it isn't obvious, "nads" is slang for a certain part of the male anatomy]:

Announcer: "Women can use it anywhere"
Lady: "I went in the ladies room and talked to my friend and came out with Nads."

Lady: "I love to put Nads on my legs."

Lady: "I love it when my man uses Nads."

The worst yet commercial for me was an automatic kitty litter cleaning box that had simulated cat turds being scooped by the machine while our family was eating dinner, meatballs to be exact. Needless to say we lost our appetites.

Personally, I don't want to hear about what people use in their intimate or private moments either. If I want to get a condom, I know to go to the pharmacy and look at the wide selection available, all of them are just as good as the rest.

If I see that commercial one more time, "Mom, do you douche?" I will scream. If I were to ever ask my mom such a question she would probably disown me.

If I had herpes, I would not want to announce it to the world. I would head for the nearest doctor's office and get a prescription in private.

And what is up with all those prescription drug commercials. The short ones barely tell you the name of the product and tell you to ask your doctor about it then when you ask your doctor about it you find out it is for some condition you don't have. The long ones are scary. They tell you not only what it is for, but tell you the long list of side effects that sound worse than the disease itself.

Commmercials are great and funny and necessary, but do we really need all those types of commercials.

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