Ads Nauseam III – Stoopid!

Ads Nauseam III – Stoopid!

    Just how bleeping stupid do TV advertisers think we are, anyway? For the answer, watch some TV commercials. If these people are being truthful, then big banks are your best friends. They are genuinely concerned about your and your family and your financial well-being.  Gargantuan gas and oil companies would like nothing more than to provide you with cheap energy, while acting as good stewards of the environment.  Why, they wouldn’t swat a fly.  And those expensive prescription drugs the medical mafia have you hooked on?  They represent the most thorough scientific research and testing protocols.
    Let’s perform a scientific experiment right now.  It will test whether your gag reflexes are functioning properly.  This is an ad by, America’s Natural Gas.  There’s a montage of trees, grassy fields, happy families, while unicorns fart up rainbows in the background.  There’s a shot of a gas flame on a range, another of workers at a gas well.  They’re all wearing coveralls, hard hats, and safety glasses.  Everything is immaculate; their clothing and even their gloves look like they just came back from the cleaners.  There isn’t even so much as an oil stain on any of the equipment.  “We’re America’s natural gas, and here’s what we did today all across the nation,” gushes the announcer, his voice filled with pride.  “. . . gave Kelly a cleaner ride home from school . . . kept the lights on during a slow day at the wind farm . . . “  Get that?  Because wind isn’t reliable, is it?  “ . . . simmered Grandma’s chicken noodle soup . . . “  Oh, puh-LEEZE!  How’s that gag reflex?  Somehow in all this ecotopian hallucination, they forgot to mention how fracking is contaminating the drinking water of hundreds of thousands of Americans, making us all sick.
    Here’s an ad showing a woman carrying a pot of boiling spaghetti (most Americans lack the sophistication for the more exotic “pasta”) over to the sink to drain.  The cover slides off, the spaghetti is all over the sink and floor.  Enter Chef’s Basket to save the day!  A wire mesh nestles into the pot with a handle on each side.  Simply pour the spaghetti in, boil, and lift out the basket, shaking it, then moving over to the sink.  Watch out for that slippery starchy water on the floor.  Now you have to reposition your hands in an upside down position, flip the basket over in a very delicate and complex operation, and let the spaghetti drain.  If this woman is too damned stupid to drain it with a pot and lid, how the hell is she going to successfully use the Chef’s Basket?  And hasn’t she ever heard of a collander?
    I love the ads for those exercise machines.  The people using them have no need for exercise of any kind; they are the perfect Olympian ideal.  Let’s see a real American, say a 400-pounder, on that Ab-Glide.  That would be worth watching.  If you’ve never seen it, mere words can’t convey the pornographic idiocy of the “Shake Weight” — you simply have to see it to believe it.
    In the early years of the TV show “Saturday Night Live,” around the late 1970s, America had just been introduced to the newest disposable razor, one with two blades.  The TV ad showed an animation of how the first blade just pulls the hair out, then the second blade comes along and cuts it cleanly.  The brilliant SNL sketch was for the “Triple Tracker,” and had it’s own animation.  It concluded with, “The Triple Tracker, because you’ll believe anything.”  Today, over 30 years later, the latest disposable razors have four blades.  Because you’ll believe anything.  For late-night viewers, there are ads for more ‘adult’ products, like the Pos-T-Vac.[1]
    Why are we constantly deluged by this inanity?  Because it sells.  Do you honestly think they’d keep showing these imbecilic commercials if they didn’t move product?  Advertisers are in it for the money; profit isn’t everything, it’s the ONLY thing.  The fact that these are the type of ads that work best doesn’t say much for the intelligence of the American viewing public.  And you shouldn’t forget that this is the country that had to invent the Snuggie, because Americans are so damned dumb they can’t figure out how to throw a blanket over themselves, and still have their arms sticking out.
    Have you ever seen that ad for Restless Leg Syndrome?  They must have been selling muscle relaxers, or something.  What’s next?  “This is little Tommy.  Like millions of Americans, little Tommy suffers from Lazy Ass Syndrome.  Please give generously so that one day, little Tommy will get off his lazy ass and maybe do some housework.


The reason commercials succeed,
Is a function of corporate greed.
We’ve come a long ways
Since Edward Bernays,[2]
Now we buy stuff we don’t even need.

                                                                                                   _ _ _ Earnest Prankheimer

[1] See “Your Mail After 50” in the archives

[2] Bernays was the nephew of Sigmund Freud, and pretty much recognized as the father of the science of public relations and psychological manipulation.

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