The Sledgehammer – Version 2.0

August 18, 2009

A Lesson in Fiscal Irresponsibility

Filed under: Advertising — Tags: — Brian Lutz @ 12:06 am

For some reason I haven’t ever really figured out, I still listen to the radio in the car a fair bit.   I’m not sure why, to be honest;  I’d probably be perfectly fine to just leave it off and forget it, and even if I did want to listen to music I’ve got a 6-disc MP3-capable CD changer in the dash, or my Zune that I could listen to instead.  The problem with the Zune is that it’s just a hassle to deal with plugging it in, turning it on selecting stuff to play and fiddling with the volume and shuffle settings unless I’m going to be spending a significant amount of time driving.  The CD changer isn’t much better, since most of my MP3 CDs date back to my first portable MP3 CD player I got for Christmas around 2003 or so, and “Disc 3, folder 21” means nothing when you’re trying to find something specific. 

As far as convenience goes, radio is still hard to beat.  About the only station I bother listening to these days is KZOK, so I just leave it there.  On the other hand, it does have one big disadvantage:  Commercials.  Over the years, I’ve become a lot pickier about trying to avoid listening to ads, which means that probably at least half the time I just keep the radio off, mostly because a good chunk of the ads found on the radio these days are either played incessantly for at least six weeks after they have been run into the proverbial ground, or they’re just so insipid in the first place that you can almost feel your brain rotting just listening to the things.I’ve already ranted in depth on the topic some time ago, but this evening while I was out for a short drive I came across a commerical so thoroughly ludicrous I thought it warranted mention here.

The commerical seems to be trying to tell a little story, and starts off with a spendthrift young woman who had been saving up to go to France, but instead ended up blowing all her money on overpriced fashions, and was thus unable to save up enough to go on the trip.  Her mother, sensing her disappointment about this situation, has a few options in this situation.  She could:

  • a): Use this as a valuable lesson to teach the importance of being fiscally responsible;
  • b): Just pay for the trip, leaving  her daughter none the wiser (and all the more spoiled) for it; or
  • c):  Just say “deal with it” and move on.

While all three of these seem like plausible outcomes for this scenario in real life, none of them would make for a good radio commercial (aside from the first one possibly being turned into some sort of public service announcement, although it would work out much better as some sort of high school Home-Ec film for when the teacher wants to take a nap in class.)  Of course, this being a commercial, Mom had other ideas, leading to:

  • Option d): Take her daughter out to the casino.

And since the whole exercise would be otherwise completely pointless, Little Miss Spendthrift proceeds to win a jackpot on the slot machines, and gets to go to France anyway (and blow a whole bunch more money on expensive fashions in the process.)  As I’ve said before, I don’t necessarily have anything against gambling (in fact, I’ve been known to do a bit of it myself, although only when I’m on vacation and on the assumption I’ll lose everything I put in,) but this whole thing sounds pretty dang close to the worst possible lesson to be teaching here.  It’s stuff like this that turns an occasional “drop a few bucks on the Roulette table here and there” gambling habit into a “trying to pawn off your internal organs on the street corner” gambling habit.  Of course, none of the Tribal Casinos ever seem to bother with any sort of problem gambling disclaimer on their ads;  Apparently it’s only possible to get addicted to the Lottery.

I couldn’t find the radio spot anywhere on the Internet, but a video version of the same story (with a few details omitted) can be found on this page (#35.)  Either way, this just sounds suspiciously like exactly the wrong message to be sending, but it’s not like that ever stops anyone anyway…

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January 21, 2008

Radio Ad Nauseam

Filed under: Advertising, Entertainment — Tags: , , , , — Brian Lutz @ 3:22 am

 Over at buzz.mn today, James Lileks asked a question about what type of advertisements really get on your nerves.  This is something that I’ve been meaning to write a post about for a while now, so I figured this might be a good time to go ahead and do so.  I don’t actually watch a lot of TV these days (and what little TV I do watch I generally use a DVR for in order to be able to skip the commercials,) so most of the advertising I encounter comes from listening to the radio in the car while driving.  I usually alternate between the two local classic rock stations (102.5 KZOK FM and 95.7 KJR FM,) mostly trying to avoid the ads on one or the other.  The “hard break” at the top of the hour means that both stations will frequently be playing ads at the same time.  Unfortunately, this happens more often than I’d like, which doesn’t do me much good, but it does mean that I could probably quote Shane Co. ads from memory (Yeah, I have a friend in the diamond business.  Who knew?)

 On the other hand, even when the stations aren’t playing ads it doesn’t take much to get me to change the station, or if neither station is playing anything worth listening to at the moment I’ll just mute the volume.  One of the tiny little features I enjoy in my car is the fact that the stereo makes a satisfying little beep whenever the volume is turned down to zero, which really emphasizes the whole thing (although shouting “DELETED!“while you do it is probably not a good idea, especially with other passengers in the car.)  Needless to say, it doesn’t take much for an ad to get muted.  In a lot of cases, there isn’t anything particularly annoying about the ad itself, but the ad gets so overplayed that it completely loses whatever initial impact it might have had, and just annoys you.  On the other hand, there are some ads that are just annoying right away. A few examples of these are noted below, after the jump.

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