I had the TV on the other night as I reorganized my recipe notebook (Admit it: you are sooooo jealous of my jetsetter life.) Commercial after commercial, advertisement after advertisement cluttered the screen, desperately trying to convince me how badly I need mildew sprays, dating websites, eternally uplifting bras, absorbent diapers, attorneys who will fight to get me the settlement I deserve. There seem to be more and more commercials all the while and I couldn’t help but notice … it’s not what is being advertised so much as it is how. Over and over, advertisers were clamoring to get my attention with humor, sex, flashing lights, cutesy kids, and announcers paid to sound compassionate. And that’s when something else hit me:
Advertisers think American citizens are idiots.
In their defense, I must admit that our country is overrun with more than our fair share of the intellectually challenged, but some of what I saw went far beyond a handful of blithering buffoons. For example, a commercial for Leading Brand dishwasher detergent showed a dirty lasagna pan in a dishwasher rack. The camera zoomed in on the soap dispenser and showed a life-sized “command center” with holographic maps of said dirty lasagna pan. A serious-faced official in a snow white outfit/space suit started barking orders to attack the offending residue with full power. The peons scrambled to fulfill his bidding and micro-warriors blasted the cheesy tomato gunk away from the pan. Over the top commercial? Yeah, a little. Silly parody of sci-fi flicks? Sure, why not. But does anyone really think a miniature command center is located in the internal workings of his dishwasher? Apparently so because Leading Brand felt it necessary to inform us that this was, and I quote, a “dramatization”. Really?! I’m so very glad they told me because I was about to run out and purchase boxes and boxes of Leading Brand just for the sheer entertainment value. Can you imagine how many hours Buttercup and I could wile away on a Saturday afternoon just staring at the micro-warriors scrubbing week-old biscuit dough off our dishes?
Just as I was beginning to cope with my utter disappointment in Leading Brand dishwasher detergent, I saw a commercial for breakfast cereal. The camera showed an average boy sitting at his breakfast table enjoying a bowl of Sugar Attack-O’s. As the boy took a bite of his cereal, his eyes widened and suddenly he was sucked into the box in a colorful whirlwind where he was taken on a magical 20-second journey of wonderment into a world of edible sidewalks, trees made of Sugar Attack-O’s, talking animated animals, and a river of milk. The boy danced and laughed at the sheer ecstasy of a day started by nutritious, wholesome Sugar Attack-O’s until another rainbow whirlwind sucked him back into reality. He shrugged his shoulders and kept eating. I sat in amazement. How could this kid just shrug his shoulders like that?! I’d be crawling back in that box! As a matter of fact, I think I’ll run out and buy a case of Sugar Attack-O’s right now! Wait … what’s that? It’s a “dramatization” and I should not try this at home? That’s it. I’m switching to Shredded Mulch Squares right now. It’s boring but at least they don’t get my hopes up about a free vacation to an animated paradise.
My discoveries about the commercials continued. My heart sank as I realized the kindly man with the stethoscope around his neck was merely a “doctor portrayal”. I felt pangs of bitter disappointment as I learned that if I called 1-600-YUCKY-MEDS, my call would be answered by an operator and not that nice attorney who was standing in front of that shelf of important-looking law books. I was barely able to stand after I discovered the 1.9% auto loan was only for “well-qualified buyers” after a thorough financial examination, $6,000 down, a pint of blood, and the deed to my firstborn. The pain was unbearable. I had been duped. That doctor looked so trusting and, COME ON, he had a stethoscope! And that lawyer? He was so compassionate. I just KNOW he’s going to fight for my rights … he said he would! How could they deceive me? HOW?!!
Yes, there are some idiots in the world. There are plenty right here in America. But does anyone really think a slather of Magic Butterfat Sparkle Lotion is going to send handsome men pounding at the front door? Does anyone really expect Super X Dog Food can make your dog fly? Does anyone believe those sandwiches pictured on the screen are that thick and meaty in real life? I do! That nice man with the stethoscope told me so.
© Bertha Grizzly 2011. All Rights Reserved. No duplication or distribution.