And Now, A Brief Word From Our Sponsor…
I couldn’t sleep the other night and switched on the TV. That was my first mistake. My second mistake was channel-surfing until I saw incredibly fit and joyful people raving about how a certain product could cure everything from insomnia–this got my attention–to warts. I had to find out more, which was my third mistake.
I thought Bibles were going to be thumped against their lean happy bodies. Then they interrupted enthusiastic testimonials of people who were risen from the dead with just one month’s supply of this product with a commercial about the very same product! The commercial that interrupted the commercial featured the same healthy exuberant people, only it contained more explicit and annoyingly fast details about the cost (shipping and handling excluded) and the money-back guarantee if not completely satisfied. I guess that means if you’re dead when you order it and are not competing on “Dancing With the Stars” by the end of the month, you can get all of you money back. The fine print scrolled by really fast as they were tempting me with limited time second-month-for-free offer, so I’m sketchy on all the details.
I rarely watch commercials. I have a DVR and a really good trigger finger, so commercials just wiz by until the show I’m watching returns. My time is valuable. If I’m going to spend 8-10 hours a day watching TV, I want to watch the shows, not the commercials. Don’t judge me. I’m exaggerating. It’s really only about 6 hours…and I’m often doing something else very important while the TV is on, like eating, cutting my toenails, or on-line bill paying–anything that doesn’t require a great deal of attention.
I’ve noticed that commercials take up quite a bit of show time: about one-third of the program. The fact that I notice this concerns me deeply.
When I was younger, commercials punctuated the shows–they were brief reminders of the generous company sponsoring the program and the great product they made. Today, commercials bury the program–often with more memorable and complicated plots than the programs themselves.
So what? Times, they are a’ changin’, right? Not so fast, Kimosabe!
Those old-time commercials were bland, few, and far between. Yes, they sold products. But they did it obviously and politely. We were gently reminded that The Sponsor would be having a word with us. They didn’t inundate us with their messages until we were beaten into submission or, worse, inattention.
Commercials today are just part of our daily experience. Many of us don’t notice them–except for the funny ones (and we often don’t remember the product, just what made us laugh), or when commercials are missing, like the “pop-ups” we pay (pray) to disappear.
Just like anything that is so routine in our lives, it affects us, but we stop noticing it. Once we stop noticing, it has power over us rather than the other way around.
There are so few things in life that I can control, but Commercials, listen up–I’m on to you!
I didn’t buy the insomnia and worts cure. I don’t have warts, anyway.