Thursday, June 26, 2014

Annoyed by Advertising

As I am packing up, I spend lots of time watching shows on either Netflix or Hulu. Netflix is my favorite because I get to watch my shows ad-free. Hulu... Well, I wonder sometimes why I even bother to watch anything on Hulu. For one thing, they have this annoying habit of asking which ad I'd prefer viewing. Seriously? I'd prefer not having to use the Page Reload trick to skip the usual 5 commercials they show.

Are there ads that I don't mind? Sure. I liked the one with the little girl "driving" from the backseat while her dad does donuts in a parking lot. I liked it. The first twenty times I saw it. When I see it now, I find that adorable little girl to be an irritating brat I never want to see again.

I'm not just annoyed with TV ads. I hate almost any kind of advertising.

The worst advertisements are the ones that so clearly misrepresent the service of whatever company they hype. Capital One? Yeah, I want them in my wallet until I'm two days late with a payment. Bank of America? Well, they might want to sell themselves as a giant of customer service, but I've seen first-hand how lousy they are at employee relations... Such a joke.

Whenever Jennifer Aniston comes on to tell us how Aveeno is her secret weapon of beauty, I want to ask for a notarized statement of truth about the photoshop and makeup artists that are hiding behind the backdrop. Come on now. There's nothing wrong with a little vanity, but when you are lying to your fans about your "natural" beauty, I start seeing visions of Diane Keaton's and Ellen's un-photoshopped pics. Fight the battle of the wrinkles in the front lines next to me, but stop lying about your results.

Then there is the ad for some car. The prospective customer is hesitating over his purchase until he recalls all the good deals he's missed out on his life: dumping some now-famous actress because she was ugly; skipping out on the Twitter start-up because he didn't understand the 140 character idea... So, yeah, he better jump right on buying this new car. That's so stupid, all I can do is shake my head. The girl was an investment in love, the start-up was an investment in finances. The car? That's going to lose value the minute you get your car keys from the dealer.

Is it that ad agencies are lazy? Or do they just realize most of us pay only the most minor attention to anything we see or hear?

Tell you what, I was fascinated when someone took screen shots of all the fine print shown in minuscule font at the bottoms of most ads. I still needed to wear two pairs of glasses to see the enlarged shots of those. Once I saw them, I realized I'd need a top attorney, a linguistics expert and an inside man from Madison Avenue to interpret the fine print.

Why not just advertise what you're selling without all the lies, hoopla and spin? Just tell me that the candy tastes good. I don't need to believe it's going to make me see psychedelic colors or swim across the moon. I just want to know whether it's chocolate or not, does or does not have nuts, and maybe if I can buy it in a multi-pack or singles. If you're selling makeup, I only need to know if it's got sunscreen and what shades it comes in. Laundry soap: with bleach or without?

Car commercials are the most outrageous. Apparently, car companies are selling way more than a machine that goes forward, backwards and stops. I guess it's not a "car" if it doesn't talk to you or entertain you. Oh, and don't forget that any decent car must inspire drivers to play music inspired by Motown or 80's teen movies so that people pulling up alongside in traffic will want to dance and sing along with you and your car. Huh?

And what's with the people in the commercials? Where are all the folks that I can relate to? I've never seen people so happy to do dishes, laundry or other chores as the ones who appear in commercials. If we believe advertising, all our homes are full of light and sunshine and families who are nicely and neatly dressed enough to, well, appear in another ad.

Even the sort-of-cute ads by the popular nighttime cold medicine was a laughable jab at my self-esteem. You know the one - it showed people getting such a good night sleep that they were (supposedly) unconcerned with the way they looked. Yeah. Out of five or six people, there was one seriously real-life looking chick. She must have really had a cold at the time she filmed. The others - hah! - they could have been models for a pin-up calendar called "Sick and Sexy". (I might need to work on that title, but you get what I mean.)

I'm so sick of commercials now that, as I'm packing, I get the most stuff done the minute I hear an advertisement begin.

Maybe when ad agencies realize that they are starting to get stale with their "new and fresh" approach, they will just get back to basics. We really only need to know 3 things about any product: what it is, how much it costs, where we can buy it. Otherwise, it's all "adverse-tising".

I'm dreaming into a worm hole if I think even one advertiser gives a whit what I think. But, um, isn't that the whole point of their existence?