CALL NOW!

I’m sick and tired of mind numbing commercials on American television. Especially late night cable programming. I’m a night owl. I leave the TV running in the wee hours of mornings. Sometimes I catch myself staring at the screen with my eyes half shut and my mouth gaping open. If I was overweight with a bag of chips in my hand, I’d look like a typical couch potato who has no life whatsoever.

In Korea, commercial breaks during a program on the public broadcasting channel is prohibited. That’s right. Advertisers can only insert ads before and after shows. On cable, a reasonable amount of commercials are allowed to be played in the middle of the program. The length and the number of ads depend on the length of the program, and are limited by strict regulations. If these rules were changed, there would be an uproar. A RIOT! Can you imagine? No “we’ll be right back,” no “we’re going to have a short commercial break,” yada yada yada.

One thing that bothers me the MOST is how they play the SAME goddamn ads on every goddamn commercial break during a program. I realize that this is to make sure that the ad is seen by people who’re just tuning in, but what about the rest of us who were actually watching from the beginning? I also realize that it’s to really drill the ad into our minds. But is this really how you want to approach your audience? By annoying us to death so that we’d remember your stupid commercial?

A particular ad comes to mind… The Great Neck Nissan commercial. It’s of this guy who literally YELLS AT YOU saying FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS CASH!!!!!! over and over and over again. Have you seen it? Click on the link and watch it. It’s ridiculous. Just thinking about the late nights hearing that dude yell at me on every commercial break gives me a headache. It blows my mind how IN YOUR FACE it is. Is it really necessary? Another ad that comes to mind is the 5 Hour Energy commercial. The ad isn’t TOO terrible, but I just hate that douchey guy in the end. “That was fast and easy,” he says, as he sits down and reads the newspaper like a douchey douchebag. I can’t really pinpoint why I hate him so much. I just do.

Oh and you gotta love the lawyer commercials like this one. The speaker is always staring you down. Literally. They don’t even blink. I’m guessing it’s some kind of strategy to make them seem more convincing? OH and how could I forget the countless drug commercials! Oh my fucking god, the drug commercials. They drive me insane. You know, how they show completely irrelevant visuals of people running around laughing on the beach during sunset while they list all the horrible side effects of the drug (as quickly as possible). The side effects list of the drug is always longer its benefits list. That’s why they have to say it fast. I’m sure most people don’t even hear them, they’re probably mesmerized by the beautiful images on screen… like this Cymbalta commercial (used to treat depression). I love the part where the voice over says “including increased thoughts of suicide,” and it shows a dog licking the lady’s face. Suicide… HOW CUTE. And you gotta love the commercial that comes after it, you know, one of those “If you’ve taken ____ and suffered massive internal bleeding you may be titled to compensation” ads. Ha-fucking-ha.

Anyway, my point is, American commercials are getting dumber and dumber. More obvious. More in your face. More CASH NOW and THIS NOW and THAT NOW. CALL NOW! WHY AREN’T YOU CALLING? CALL RIGHT FUCKING NOW!!! Enough already. Bloody hell. The ironic thing is, I want to go into advertising. I won’t be working on low budget bullshit though (I hope). When I was creating ads for Direct Marketing class, the professor kept telling me “you’re not showing the offer early enough,” over and over again.  My efforts of giving the ad some artistic substance and story were ignored. You gotta present the deal up front. You gotta display the call number up front. You gotta yell CALL NOW up front. That’s just how it is. Have you ever seen the movie “Idiocracy“? If not, look it up. It’s where we’re headed.

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About Han J.

Located in NYC.

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