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Monday, October 10, 2016

Annoying Commercials

I have a love/hate relationship with TV commercials.  I love humorous ones and hate annoying ones.  Dad used to mute commercials, but I always found the deafening silence more annoying than the commercial themselves.  So I grew pretty immune to them.

That doesn't mean I didn't hear what they said.  The mind just filters out the brand names  And sometimes there is a new product that will actually draw my interest in the general product.  Then I research similar products that do the same work better.  Then I sometimes find stuff that really works. 

And they have learned a couple of new tricks this year.  In the first, they repeat the same commercial the 1st and 3rd time in a single station break.  In the second, they have the same commercial played on related channels at the same time.  So if you are watching the Science channel and an annoying commercial comes and you switch to the History channel, you are likely to see the same commercial.

But, my favorite disliked commercials...

1.  Some allergy medication that says their competitor treats 1 problem and they treat 6 AND 6 IS GREATER THAN 1.  Was 6 being greater than 1 supposed to be a revelation to me?

2.  A car insurance company that criticizes a competitor for telling a customer they should have bought "full replacement insurance" and says the customer should have researched that company better.  And then offers to sell you "full replacement insurance".  Just like they criticized the competitor for doing.

3.  I'll name names for this one.  For several years, Comcast has been comparing its cable service speed to Verizons DSL service saying "we are 5x faster".  I don't know if you remember what DSL is, but it stands for "Digital Subscriber Service".  DSL is about 40 years old technology.  It worked over old twisted copper wire telephone lines that were basically cleaned of static so that 9600 kbs could be transmitted over old-fashioned telephone lines. 

Its like comparing a 1940s Oldsmobile car to a 2016 Mercedes Benz in terms of spped, safety, and features.  And you only know Comcast is comparing their current service to DSL if you listen the the fast-talk and the very end on the commercial.

4.  All the car insurance companies who claim to have better rates than the others...  Every insurance company has slightly different rates for coverage and cost.  Everyone has SOME combination where they are cheaper than the others.  They can all prove they are better than the others at SOME specific coverage even if that coverage combination is so limited and bizarre that almost no one would choose it.

5.  Another one I dislike is a medication that says ours can start working in 30 minutes while out competitor's can take up to 24 hours.  I get such a kick out of that.  From what little I can discover, they are the same chemical.   Medication tests show a range of response times to the medications.  For the same medication, some people respond very quickly and some respond very slowly. 

So a particular medication may work very quickly on some people and very slowly on others.  There are many causes for that, but don't worry about that.  What Company "A is saying is that SOME test subjects self-reported an effect in 30 minutes.  And that SOME of Company X's test subjects reported irt took 24 hours.  What they are NOT telling you (because they don't have to" as that some of THEIR test subjects took 24 hours to respond and some of the Competitor test subjects took only 30 minutes. 

In other words, they were identical.  One company took the absolute lowest response time and compared it to the other company's longest response time.


It can be hard to stay ahead of the advertizing.

Rule 1 is to look for hidden insults.  Advertisers assume everyone is stupid and gullible.  "6 is greater than 1" is the best example I have seen of that in many years.

Rule 2 is to think about the assumptions.  Is a car showing it being driven at 120 mph better than a car being driven at 60?  How often do you drive at 120?

Rule 3 is to read the fine print at the bottom of the screen at the end of the commercial.  Puse it or record it.  That's were ALL the truth is.

Rule 4 is to turn off the sound and look at the commercial without the expensive talented narrator.

Rule 5 is to do the opposite. Close your eyes and listen to the narrator.  Sometimes what he or she says doesn't actually make much sense. 

Rule 6 is to apply some basic knowledge.   All through history, people have claimed benefits from and sold common or bizarre substances.   Most people are basically honest.  They have to be to keep the respect of family and friends and neighbors.  Salesmen don't! 

If anyone says "Scientists (or Doctors) Don't Want You To Know This", that's because the claim IS NOT TRUE.  Wearing copper bracelets or moving "special" magnets over your joints does not work.  Otherwise, doctors would be doing that!  Any doctor who could show by patient recovery that some odd idea worked would become FAMOUS.

Rule 7 is that "If it seems to be too good to be true, then it isn't true".  Ideas that are good generally don't need much advertising.  There isn't a lot of business advertising telling you to eat more fruits and vegetables.  There ARE a lot telling you to eat more Toaster Sugar Blasts and Chocolate-Frosted Sugar-Bomb cereal.  Because YOU KNOW that fresh fruits and vegetables and "some" meat is good for you and eating a pound of sugar a day isn't and they have to work hard to convince you to buy their sugar/fat products.

And since the sugar/fat foods, copper bracelets, magnets, etc, etc, etc are their only way to make a fortune, they try it.  And when it works, they are gleeful.  They think it is sure better than having a REAL job...


Megan said...

I understand that advertisers pay so that we can access free-to-air television. I'm willing to tolerate some advertisements. (But, like your father, I typically mute the TV! LOL) But the reason why I rarely watch commercial television any longer is that the number of advertisements played back-to-back and the number of breaks for advertisements make the interruptions too distracting. I don't understand why so many viewers tolerate the current situation. If more of us turned off, the TV channel owners might get the message.

Sydney, Australia

Mark's Mews (Ayla, Iza, and Marley) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark's Mews (Ayla, Iza, and Marley) said...

We just want commercials that are more informative and less insulting.