TV advertising? Culturally painful?!

TV Remote Control

Why is some TV advertising becoming culturally
akin to a small, dissolvable medicated solid?

TV advertising has reached a new crescendo in pure agonizing annoyance … and has mounted a blatant assault on the core of the English language!

David Wesley Tonkin


I am shocked that I actually catch myself muttering threats to “never, on principle, buy their (deleted words) product … just because their TV ad is so groundless, asinine and ridiculous.

A point of clarity before I continue … nowhere in this blog, beyond this, and the next short paragraph,  will you again see a mention of political campaign TV ads,  They defy rationalization with their usually time-wasting vulgar and coarse insults to the sponsor’s opponent; and usually the voters intelligence and integrity.

Also, as a word of advice to those seeking office, do not tell us that you approve or support the ad.  Do you really want the voters to associate you with that level of callousness and verbal or written vandalism? Another bit of advice for political ad purveyors … unless I am sadly mistaken; the voting-eligible public you are trying to reach have gone beyond a 2nd grade comprehension and reading level.

Right!  Now back to non-political TV. Why is it that local (in my case the greater Philadelphia area) new and used car dealers, carpet and flooring purveyors always assume that I and everyone else is deaf?  Also is it really necessary for car dealers to involve their grossly inarticulate wives, daughters and grandchildren in the ads … usually their dull expressions, unintelligible utterances and palpable on-camera uneasiness turns an already bad ad into a diabolical one.

Oh! Please forgive me when I incredulously shake my head when Mister Dealer’s apparently teenage daughter or trophy wife stares in a transfixed trance to the left of the camera and says. “I yam diffin-it-lee gong to co-siddur (Dealer’s name) for my nex ve-hick-uleer putch-aces!”  Well at least she did not use the word “like” four times in the sentence.

Ah!  The dreaded “like” epidemic!  In a recent pharmaceutical ad for smoking cessation products … “I am like well like yeah OK” or in a breakfast cereal commercial “I’m like digging this yogurt thing”.  Why?  What did the English language do to these people to deserve this flagrant torture?

If the person is ‘like happy” … are they really happy or only like (close too, but not really) happy? When they are “like smiling” are they smiling or just putting out a semi-frown-smile that is not totally, or wholeheartedly a smile?

After some research I became aware of the fact that I am not alone.  Various dictionaries also disparage the informal use of “like” in speech as “meaningless filler or to signify the speaker’s uncertainty about an expression used” Example:  There was this funny smell—like sort of dusty. This must mean that the population of “uncertain” people is the highest growth sector of the population!

I conjecture that the “like” scourge is the new replacement to the previous language pandemic of ads where the word “awkward” was sung by both males and females in a falsetto voice!

I am not too vexed and concerned about the warnings from the pharmaceutical companies that their revolutionary (unpronounceable!) product for depression or associated malady has the alarming side effect of “thoughts of suicide”.  I doubt it will ever come to that.  The totally wretched, downtrodden and unhappy expressions on the faces of the people pushing the product in their ads are already and instantly miserable enough to drag my spirits into the mire of depression!  Here is a concept to consider … show us the “after” (smiling, happy, hugging puppies and / or dancing though a field of daisies!) pictures … when their depression is all magically dissipated or cured due to only three months on drug unpronounceable. This more positive imagery has a “double-whammy” benefit … it also is  illustrative evidence that they survived (at least visually!) the travails of the drug’s other 387 heinous side effects shown for 1.02 seconds on the screen in a letter / word size nobody is ever able to, or intended to read! You would think that with the Billions that Big Pharmaceutical companies make they would splurge on spokespeople that speak the language of the intended audience with some ability and alacrity.

I thought it was just me … but I am observing more and more of my friends and acquaintances are becoming faster than Billy the Kid or Marshal Earp of Tombstone at rapidly hitting either the mute or channel change buttons on their remote to rid themselves of offensive advertising.  I asked a friend why he has become such a precipitous cable remote gunslinger.  He smiled and quoted Clint Eastwood, “Sometimes if you want to see a change for the better, you have to take things into your own hands.” Yes, that is an actual quote from Mr. Eastwood … maybe I should have used “Go ahead; make my day …”?

Another category of ads that shows the widest gulf between what is promised and what in the end is delivered … you guessed it! … airline ads. Dear airline executive; by the way you treat us travelling public and find a new fee category hourly we know you only want our money to make your shareholders happy. Please, please do not pretend in your ad that your service offering is out of a sense of caring for us! Also please realize that humans will never be 10” wide and need only 9” of legroom … so stop designing your seating configurations for that day! For many of us it is not our fault that we have to travel by air; stop punishing us!

Here is my rating of the top five ad genres and the 5 bottom of the bottom …

My ratings are visceral and do not have a theorem to support them. They are opinions based on the end-result; how did the ad make me feel and or think?  I know that [a] a lack of embarrassment for my fellow man, [b] a twinge of joy or soul-uplifting and [c] a healthy dose of humor, poignancy or originality scores  positively and high in my book. Whereas [a] loudness, [b] protracted gloom (usually pharmaceutical ads), [c] poor language use and zero originality will plunge the ad to the 2nd list; the one on the bottom!  (Pun totally intended!)

Top 5 TV ad categories / sources:

1. Dog food and treats commercials; with puppies!

2. Baby food and products

3. The always jolly Hershey and M&M’s ads

4.  The massively quirky Heineken ads

5. Ralph Lauren, Jaguar, Land / Range Rover and Victory motorcycle ads

The 5 at the bottom of the bottom

1. Local used car dealers

2. Local new car dealers {except those listed in 5 above}

3. Pharmaceutical ads

4. Any domestic and international airline ads

5. Talking Gekkonidae Cyrtodactylus

Will I debase myself and plead for change? No, for 2 reasons, [1] the advertisers are too wealthy to pay me  or the general public any heed and [2] I pride myself on my gunslinger’s ability to hit “mute”! “

Go ahead make my day …“ Thank you Mr. Eastwood!


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