I’m on spring break now, which while it’s nice not having to worry about classes for the week, more makes me sad since I can remember when spring break actually meant something. I still have a bit of work to keep me busy during the day but I’m bored as all hell tonight. I don’t know if it has something to do with the fact that I live alone and am alone so much, or if it’s just how my mind works, but sometimes I just get a feeling I can best describe as malaise. It’s not just being bored, it’s being bored to the point where anything I can think of doing sounds boring too. So, I figured I might as well try to kill some time by writing for a few.
Right now I have Chopped on the Food Network on in the background. I actually like the show but it reminded me of something that annoys the hell out of me: commercials. Chopped is one of those shows that does the cliffhanger commercial break before they eliminate someone etc. Obviously if it’s a show like Mad Men that I actually follow I’ll DVR it and fast foward through the commercials, but on a night like tonight where I’m just flipping, I’m forced to watch them. I think maybe I’m one of those people that tends to notice annoying or stupid things more than other people: obviously a great talent to have.
I think it was watching a lot of the NCAA basketball tourney that pushed me over the edge, because they not only have mandated tv timeouts but towards the end of games they go to commercial practically everytime someone is fouled and whenever a coach calls a timeout, which is a lot. I’ve realized that I despise most commercials. Now I understand that the reason that I’m getting to watch the NCAA’s or whatever show for free is that there are commercials and that they are a necessary evil. I just hate the fact that people that get paid millions upon millions of dollars per year..ie…the advertising firms, can’t come up with something even mildly clever and non insulting to my intelligence 75% of the time.
Granted, and not to sound arrogant, I realize that I’m more intelligent than a large amount of people in this country, and that I also have a tendency to get annoyed by things that others don’t notice, but seriously. Whether it’s the fact that most commercials portray men as bumbling idiots, or all groups of people together are apparently legally mandated to include a minority, or that every 4th commercial is for an insurance company that’s trying to tell me what great people they are and how they are going to improve my life, I can barely take it anymore.
Quick(or not so quick sidebar): I know I’ve bitched about insurance company commercials before but I feel the need to get deeper into that. As far as insurance companies go, we are either legally mandated to buy your product..ie…car insurance, or we buy it for peace of mind as in life or homeowner or other types of insurance. In turn, you bank on the fact that your customers will pay you more than you will ever have to actually pay out to them in claims. You’re a business, and from the fact that five or six insurance companies can afford to buy huge amounts of advertising time during big sporting events and primetime shows, you’re apparently raking in the cash. So quit trying to make out like you’re some charity made up of great people that just want to help your customers and that our lives will be better if we have an AllStateFarmGeico insurance policy. You’re looking to make money, not unlike any other business, but Starbucks doesn’t try to convince me that they are making my coffee to make my life better.
Insurance company ads are about as disingenuous as beer commercials where they basically imply that you have to have Bud or Miller or whatever beer at your party to have a good time, yet in tiny words at the bottom of the ad they tell you to drink responsibly. They don’t want you to drink responsibly, they could care less as long as you buy their product. They probably would prefer you don’t headon a family while driving drunk, but outside of that, they are responsible for as many deaths as cigarette companies, yet noone is up in arms at Anheuser Busch or Coors. I looked this up one time, because with people who have been shot suing gun companies, I was surprised that an alcohol company had never been sued for a drunk driving death. But apparently the alcohol lobby is strong, because it’s never happened.
But, despite the fact that the hypocrisy of these various industries’ ads, the ones that bother me the most are the ones that just flat out insult my intelligence. Every now and then you’ll see a clever ad campaign, but most of them are just mind numbingly stupid. Whether it’s the myriad of commercials that imply or flat out show that all men are apparently morons, or the commercials for a product that you’ve never heard of that do nothing to tell you what that product is, to the GoDaddy commercials that imply if you log onto their website that you’ll see Danica Patrick naked, just ugh. And then you have the pharmaceutical commercials for drugs for things that most people don’t really want to know about..ie…ED, problems with pissing, herpes, etc. And of course the government mandate that they tell you all the possible side effects that invariably sound worse than whatever was wrong with you in the first place.
Anyway, I could rant about this all night long but I’ll stop now. I’d just like to say that if your job is to get paid a shitload of money to come up with an ad campaign, earn your freaking money and don’t act like EVERY person in this country is a drooling moron.