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Opinion April 2012

Some Commercials Are Ridiculous!

By Denton Harris

As the old saying goes, “Good advertising doesn’t wear out; it wears in.” I dispute this as a fact and base it only on my amateur sleuthing among a number of my peers who agree.

I’ve just seen a commercial on local TV, and I’m concerned as to what it meant. Not concerned really – confused is the right description.

It seems advertising “experts” must spend sleepless nights creating such advertising.

As the old saying goes, “Good advertising doesn’t wear out; it wears in.” I dispute this as a fact and base it only on my amateur sleuthing among a number of my peers who agree.

For example, in my neighborhood with various types of homes, varying from standard single story ranch style to some I describe as “mini mansions,” we have hosted several crews filming television commercials. After this happened a few times, we realized they were clogging the street, changing the exterior of several of the homes and, in general, making a nuisance of themselves. So we levied a $l,000 fee for their use of our area.

Because I have a few years of advertising and publishing experience, I asked a couple of the production people questions. Remember these were people who produced what was given to them and were not the creators.

“Tell me frankly how you feel about this commercial you are doing?” I asked one. He looked around sheepishly and said, “In confidence, I think this and many others stink to high heaven!”

Advertising that offers unbelievable discounts, special deals, all kinds of incentives are puzzling. I have enough experience in both retailing and manufacturing to understand retailers can offer discounts to increase sales, but they MUST make a profit. And some of the offers on current TV are almost ridiculous and, in a few cases, are forerunners to going out of business.

Perhaps my biggest complaint is the deals offered by car dealers. How can they sell a car and still offer thousands in discounts, employee discounts, seasonal specials or a dozen other gimmicks? Will we ever have an established price, and then we can barter with the dealer for a discount?

Some television commercials are so doggone costly to produce, they are repeated for weeks and even months until the public is bored to death. Examples: I despise that little lizard featured in the Geico ads, that goose (or duck) in the Aflac commercials, the cows featured in Chik-fil-A promotions. (By the way, the cows they have are dairy cattle and NOT beef. The advertising gurus who create their ads must have never been on a farm or ranch.) True, these are good companies and may not deserve my comments, but I am passing on the feelings of many others.

Another complaint is the use of violence in commercials, whether food, credit cards or movies, etc., especially ads that will probably be seen by children.

Is the belief they will entertain and sell the merchandise, whereas, I’ve heard folks say “just tell me what you are selling, how it will help me and what is the cost?”

That pretty well sums it up for me and my opinion, and – I suspect – yours, too.


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