Media Cons Viewers This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   An unusual theory dawned on me after seeing an"Everybody in leather" Gap commercial, featuring malnourished modelssporting painfully tight leather pants and singing a tune. At first, I consideredbuying these trendy pants for myself. But then reality set in, as I heard mybuns-of-not-so-steel laughing at me.

My theory is that our generation isfalling prey to more infomercial scams and propaganda than any before us. Theadvertising industry is booming, and every company is aiming for you to be theirnext victim.

Luckily the whole leather-pants episode ended safely: Ireasoned that, even if I did shimmy into some of those anti-circulation pants, Iwould not be singing like the models on TV but, while focusing on how to inhaleand exhale normally, would trip on a sidewalk crack and kill myself. Thebandwagon approach, however, was quite appealing, and had I not cared so much fora healthy circulatory system, I might have bought a pair.

In additionto the "Everybody's got it" commercials, there are the ad techniquesthat promote a company's generosity by informing viewers that with every bar ofX-Brand soap purchased, 2% of the proceeds will benefit the American Removal ofIngrown Toenails College Fund. Granted, this is a noble thing for a company todo, what with America's toe problem and all, but how do we, the public, know thatthe money doesn't end up in the pocket of some brown-nosing assistant manager? Dowe really want to pay for the Boss Man's employees or in-laws to drive a new BMW?I think not.

Another famous line thrown out by advertisers is theever-clever "new and improved" tactic, which is portrayed incommercials by real-life, honest-to-goodness customers who swear up and down thatBrand-Y "new and improved" hemorrhoid cream helped them accomplishtheir goals. What kind of goals do good bum creams achieve besides sliding downwater slides with renewed confidence? This is similar to strategic marketers whotry to fool customers into believing a product is "new and improved"simply by adding pictures of happy, smiling people to the box and changing thelettering to fancy colored script. News flash! The average person does not careabout which box of Gas-Z looks the prettiest. They are instead focusing on how tohide the stuff under a bundle of bananas in the grocery cart.

The finaladvertising technique is perhaps the most fatal of them all: the Home ShoppingNetwork. People who tune in almost cannot help calling and ordering anunnecessary item. It's like they fall under a QVC spell; they buy an item andwalk away in a daze, only to awaken later and wonder what exactly abeefer-creamer is used for.

A prime example of this feverish shopping isthe food dehydrator my parents bought from QVC for $200. Yes, that's correct,$200 was spent so we could have the luxury of drying fruits and meats in theprivacy of our home. What became of this mailorder gem, you ask? One year and 20pounds of beef jerky later, we sold it at our garage sale for fivebucks.

I have come to the conclusion that TV commercials and otheradvertising play on people's emotional soft spots in a truly vindictive way. It'sreally annoying when an emotionally draining commercial comes on, mists up thetear ducts, and then advertises something completely bizarre and irrelevant:"Alcoholism creates dysfunctional families and unemployment. So come on downto Buffalo Bill's Bar-B-Q Barn and sample our baby-back ribs and cheesefries!" It is pathetic that advertisers will say anything to make abuck.

I leave you with one final thought, a phrase recited many times bymy grandpa: "Believe half of what you see and none of what you hear."So the next time you find yourself being sucked into an Ovaltine commercial bysmiles and "Yea! Ovaltine is fun!" cheers of approval, remember: theseare paid actors who have earned their rent by keeping grins on their faces whiledrinking processed, chalk-based liquids. Why do they do this for a living, youask? So they can sit at home in their spare time wearing leather pants and watchQVC.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






Join the Discussion

This article has 1 comment. Post your own now!

Chrissy L. said...
Apr. 29, 2009 at 11:28 pm
You are spot-on. Commercials are just playing with our minds. And yes, it rarely has anything to do with the product itself. I love these articles that dare to defy society's way of function. I also say we are wasting our precious resourses in an ever-heating world so we can make "the world's bounciest super ball."
 
bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback