And now a word from our program...
I wouldn't want to act in commercials because that would imply I actually USE the product.
Take Depends, for instance, the adult answer to Pampers. If I was June Allyson, I'd ramble
defensively with, "I don't wear these personally but I hear they're really effective!"
Most TV viewers leave the room for snacks or bathroom breaks during commercials. But to
research this column, I stuck around for a word from our sponsor and split during the program.
Somehow I had a lot less time for errands.
You don't see records advertised any more but CD and cassette ads abound. I saw one for a
groovy collection of oldies songs but hesitated to order it. With my luck it would only play five
seconds of each tune like the commercial.
What makes TV ads so effective? How do they convince me in thirty seconds that I can't live
without the product? Maybe it's all that fast talking they do. Or that commanding voice-over:
"Have your credit card ready! Here's how to order." I've bought more darn merchandise because
they told me to.
I'm also pressured by that catchy phrase, "Operators are standing by." Poor
things just hanging r around the phone -- the least I can do is purchase something, right?
TV gears its commercials toward a general viewing audience. You won't see someone hawking
Ex-Lax on the Cartoon Network, for example. Similarly, televised sports run guy-type ads,
inferring that every spectator drinks beer and drives a rock -- er, I mean a truck. I'd like to see a
laundry detergent ad appear once in awhile. Then those avid (but responsible) sports fans might say,
"That reminds me -- I need to throw in a load of whites."
Although I could live without most of today's commercials, a few gems stand out. These shine
because they are creative and entertaining, unlike the meaningless shows they sponsor.
One of my all-time favorites featured a sleepless character named Ralph who moaned, "I can't
believe I ate the whole thing!" I felt the same way myself last evening so I watched a late-night paid
program, which is TV-Land talk for endless commercial.
It pitched a costly new diet aid and showed
a party of well-built, refined people gorging themselves like swine. That production inspired me to
take action. So I got up and shut it off.
Corky is Lois Corcoran. Her column appears in the Ft. Worth Star Telegram Online and on a free parenting e-zine, The "M" Word.
"Jest Between You and Me," is now available at Hard Shell Word Factory. For a short reading, visit the Free Gallery of Authors' Voices.
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