Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Commercial Madness

When I was kid, hour-long TV shows were around fifty-two minutes of actual show, including credits, with the rest filled in with commercials. Today hour-long shows are ten minutes shorter (TEN MINUTES!) and it seems (although I haven't timed it out), that some cable shows and specials have an even worse ratio. It seems that just as though I start to get into a show, BAM, I get hit in the head with a commercial.

That's one minute of commercial for every three minutes of show. This ain't why there's a flat-screen on my Christmas list.

More frequent commercials aren't news and I'm sure that someone somewhere could make a compelling case for doing this. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't buy it but that may because I'm starting to get crotchety as I get older. Be that as it may, why do the commercials have to be so damned LOUD? I can't even relax in front of a baseball game because not only are the commercials as regular and unrelenting as body shots in a Tyson fight, their soundtracks are frequently obnoxious music that either doesn't fit the product (is that Led Zeppelin on those Cadillac bits?) or so inanely repetitive (vehix.com, for example) that I plug my ears and repeat la-la-la over and over until it's, um, well, over.

But then it comes back, usually in about five minutes...

To paraphrase Robin Williams' famous remark regarding cocaine, television commercials are God's way of letting advertisers know they have too much money. I don't need a Time-Warner commercial during every segment every show on every night on every channel. I tune them out, they turn me mean and nasty, and land them squarely atop the list of Last People I Will Ever Do Business With Willingly. Another note on the aforementioned vehix.com ads: um, yeah, got the point during the first bit the first time I saw it. Why, oh why, do you feel the need to run on the Cartoon Network in the middle of weekday afternoons? There are no adults watching! Really. My kids are watching and I overhear that damned annoying tune and guess what, I will never, ever, ever go to their website as long as I live.

Or as long as there's still cars.com, anyway. I've still got to get along, you know. But geez, it's still with less and less TV. Which isn't a bad thing. It's just that in the past it's been a choice, kind of like having an apple pie in the refrigerator, a snack that I can always dip into if I happen to get the urge. It's become the enemy now, a source of annoying sounds I can't get out of my head no matter how many nails I drive into it.

It's past the point where whatever value I'd get from watching any given show is outweighed by the annoyance factor of the commercials. TV advertising has almost become like spam e-mail to me, where I'd never consider buying anything it shows me. The problem is that Neilsen can't tracks folks like me. Um, assuming there are others.


Post a Comment

<< Home