Friday, August 06, 2010

Commercials in our times. . . .

It struck me tonight. My wife and I were watching television, a thing we don't do often. When we do, it's usually one of just a few cable channels, as there are only a few that are bearable. We have been seeing the same commercial several weeks now, maybe a month. Several times an evening. Actually, too many times in an evening. My wife thought it was advertising a new movie we wouldn't be interested in watching.

I knew better. The commercial features some voluptuous yet firm female in a series of quick-cut female super-action-figure poses, ending with her flashing an insinuating smile. That's evidently what a female super-action-figure does right after overcoming the forces of sleaze and insobriety. Or something.

It was a commercial for lemon flavored vodka. I'm pretty sure.

The commercial had obviously cost considerable bucks to produce, so the ad people were going to get all the good out of it by showing it over and over and over again, all to maximize its influence. And cash registers were ka-chinging in advertising land and television city. I'm sure all the professionals involved in creating this little few seconds of commercial drama worked to the highest standards of their profession to produce a little commercial skit. So the company whose product was supposed to be showcased obvious spent and continues to spend a lot of money for this little commercial jewel.

And the commercial doesn't do a damn thing to make anybody interested in buying the product. It's possible, my wife illustrates the proposition, that intelligent people being exposed repeatedly to the commercial, would remain unclear exactly what product is being sold, here. There was so much art and artifice in putting the message out there, that the message itself was lost somewhere. Probably wasn't all that important to the commercial-making talent.

I would call that a failure. An expensive failure. I think the guys with the checkbook who want the buy a commercial product frequently find themselves unwittingly facilitating a bunch, dare I say it, of self-involved commercial artistes. In other words, the "talent" has the business guys charmed to the point where they've lost sight of the purpose of a commercial, which is to generate increased sales of the product.

You tell me. Does the sight of a hot, self-satisfied, hot woman in a hot, tight yellow hot skin suit engaged in the illusion of stylishly kicking the ass of an obnoxious sleaze with a toupee cause you to want vodka? Me neither. But she looks good, right?

And while she is pleasing to look at, that's not enough to sell a product, whether it's green beans, cell-phones, or liquid fertilizer. And it isn't just lemon vodka, it's all sorts of commercials. Hell, maybe even most of them.

Commercials should say, "Hey, look at this product which you should try because it is either enjoyable or provides some benefit to you." The commercial should not say, "Hey, look at me; I'm creative. I can make stuff you will see on television, paid for by some guys in suits. Hey, seriously, look at me."

Oh, I know. They want to make a commercial that will catch our attention without getting lost in all the many stimuli facing us. I"m just thinking that maybe they are going all out for the getting our attention part, but the selling a product part -- not so much.

In conclusion, first, I think the buyers of commercials should go for more than simply the assurance from the advertising company that it's responsible for increasing the number of eyes at the fairgrounds.. Hold out for a product that works.

And second, I'm getting really bored with the same useless commercials over and over. If there's gonna be bad commercials, can we at least get some new ads? They obviously have the money to spend on the current ad, and commercials pay the bills, right? I promise I'll watch 'em of you guys make new ones. I mean, I'm pretty sure I'll watch new ads. Really, I might watch your new commercials.


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