And Now, A Brief Word From Our Sponsor…

It's a miracle, a wonder drug, and it's only available if I call in the next 10 minutes!

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!

And now, a brief word from our sponsor...

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!

That’s what I see for the future. I’d better cut my viewing hours down, DVR or not…

I didn’t buy the insomnia and worts cure. I don’t have warts, anyway.

~ by Lorna's Voice on June 26, 2011.

8 Responses to “And Now, A Brief Word From Our Sponsor…”

  1. […] was delighted when Lorna, a humorist who blogs at Lorna’s Voice, turned up as the 7000th comment on my blog. As some of you will recall, I like to do an interview […]

  2. Interesting tidbit about the middle ages marketing craze–thanks! I love learning new things.

    As for cable, you reminded me of a major disappointment I experienced when I first had cable installed. I was horrified that all but the premium movie channels (and TCM) had commercials. Why was I paying for cable? I figured all cable channels were commercial-free. I don’t admit this to most people because they would want to escort me to the nearest ER for a psych evaluation!

    Thanks for visiting by blog and reading this post!

  3. I asked someone bitterly, “When did marketing become bigger than the entertainment?” He said, “somewhere around the middle ages when the juggler or the barker who wanted you to buy a ticket was more interesting than the bearded lady or the morality play.” I guess the commercial is our ticket. But wait — then what is that bill I get every month from the cable company?

  4. I always get sucked into infomercials. I have to change the channel or I will start ordering things I do not need! Old commercials are classic, There was always a great jingle that got stuck in your head.

  5. I remember the “good” old days when networks “signed off” and nothing was broadcast from midnight until 6:00am. You could watch “snow” on the screen,which was way better than the blather of all these crazy people with crazy products. It was sort of soothing…Whose idea was it to broad cast 24-7? These endless commercials pretending to be “news shows or “how-to” shows are just more noise in a chaotic society. We’re doomed!

  6. But, wait, if you call within the next 10 minutes, you can buy two Apocalypse survival kits for the price of one…

  7. Infomercials are just another sign that the Apocalypse is upon us.

  8. I love this post! Sounds like you got smacked in the eyes by an infomercial. Even the mini ones are annoying. Rainbow always gets smitten by the exercise ones and likes to record them on our DVR. I swear they are one of the plagues of the last days.

Silence can be just what the doctor ordered. You know I'm a doctor, right?

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