Commercialism

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It seems like these days everywhere you look there is some kind of advertisement for something, doesn’t it? Network TV is filled with commercials, billboards are everywhere along the highways, flashing lights, tacky logos plastered all over clothing. It’s pretty hard to escape it. And the whole point of it all is to try and get you to buy something. It’s not a tough concept, especially with social media nowadays offering companies unlimited free advertising – you don’t even need to go to school for marketing or advertising to figure out how to make a product appealing. Basically shouting in people’s faces, directly or indirectly, and telling them they need your products or services is easier than ever, but at what cost?

Is it really fair to market car insurance to adults by using animated, talking animals? A lot of us dislike being hounded by TV ads and goofy marketing ploys, but I feel down-right insulted by the fact that a boardroom full of advertising people think the only thing that can get my attention is an animated army general surfing next to an animated penguin. An animated lizard trying to sell me car insurance? No thank you. A monster truck driving through buildings with flames and pyrotechnics to sell snack food? I’m a grown-up; bug off. I’ve watched the amount and overall length of commercials on TV increase over the years and because of that I go out of my way to avoid it all together. I watch mainly movies and programs on premium channels to avoid being insulted. And something I pride myself on is that fact that I’ve actually learned to tone out commercials when I do come across them. I’ll see the same commercial multiple times and for the life of me, even if something about it sticks in my head, I’ll never remember what it was promoting or any details other than I saw a commercial.

CommercialismI’m not impressed by cheesy background music, goofy shouting, tawdry costumes, or any type of animations. We as a society are better than that, aren’t we? We’ve accomplished quite a bit, I think we deserve more respect. Don’t insult my intelligence with your moronic marketing strategies. Not only that, but think about how much money it must cost to have a monster truck trash a china store with fireworks in the background. Granted the crappy animated lizards are pretty cheap to make with today’s technology, but the building of sets, buying props, renting vehicles – hiring stunt drivers, voice artists, actors, editors – just to try and get someone to buy a bag of chips? In today’s economy isn’t that a little disgusting? A company that already has a huge customer base is spending oodles of money on a slap-in-the-face fun-fest that basically treats its adult would-be customers like they have severe ADHD. Not to mention that people are being paid huge salaries to cook this stuff up. Men and women at huge conference tables are coming together, being asked how to bring in new customers from their target demographic, and deciding that this slapstick is the most effective way.

If I were a CMO of a big company you know what I would do? I would respect my customers. After all, they would be making my huge bank account, my corporate expense account, and my bombshell trophy wife possible. Why assume they’re all morons? I mean, sure, people are earth-shatteringly dumb in record numbers these days, but if they’re paying your salary shouldn’t you avoid basically telling them that to their faces? As a CMO I would personally do a generic commercial for my company. I would introduce myself, and in a plain suit with a plain backdrop tell the viewers that I respect them and their patronage, and instead of using their money to blow up a building to get their attention we are putting it back into product development, job creation, and constructive economic growth. Wouldn’t that be nice? Even just as a consumer, if I saw a commercial like that I’d buy the product whether I needed it or not, because that’s how I want to be treated. I’m an intelligent, resourceful human being who deserves to be talked to like one. I don’t need, or want, people to shove ads in my face that look like they were conceptualized by a five-year-old. That’s not how respectful companies do business.

All things considered, there are plenty of things in capitalism and corporate America that need some rethinking, but this one is pretty easy, isn’t it? There are a lot of people out there who hate corporations, there always have been. Why give them ammo? I mean, look at me. I’m not a red-ribbon wearing Leninite, but I had enough ammo for this article, didn’t I? People need to demand respect from those whose salaries they pay, be they public officials or corporate officers. But before we can stand up and do that we as Americans need to start respecting ourselves again. I don’t fall victim to idiot advertising and if someone insults me I don’t give them business, that makes me feel pretty good about myself.

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