Television ads. Do you ever really listen to them? Are they just background noise for you or do you really hear what they are saying? For me they are usually just back ground noise like the ticking of the clock, or music in a grocery store. However, lately I have listened to a number of ads and have wondered “what are they thinking?” For example:
There is an ongoing ad that promotes a particular brand of a prescriptive anti- depressant The prescriptive medication that is being promoted in this ad is intended to help you when you are depressed. At the first part of the ad, the people look sad, they look depressed. Face it, they are supposed to look that way because they are sad and depressed. The voice over in the ad tells you that if you have this malady of depression your life can be better if you get your doctor to prescribe this particular brand of anti-depressant. The visuals change to attractive men and women smiling, playing in the park, walking with friends and families; doing fun stuff, smiling and looking like they are having a blast. After listening to the ad, you are thinking” hey I need to be happier; I need to have more fun”. Maybe I should get my doctor to give me some of these fun pills. But then it happens. The fast spoken disclaimer is stated in quiet and serious tones by the announcer.
“This medication may cause you to be depressed. It may cause you to feel suicidal. If you take this medication you may not be able to have sex, or talk. You may bleed from the anus, you may have dry mouth and unable to swallow. You may become dizzy and unable to walk.”
For goodness sake, the side effects and risk of taking this anti-depressant drug is that you may become more depressed, even suicidal? Maybe this is not such an effective drug. I am sad, depressed, down, unhappy so I take the drug, I become more depressed, even suicidal. I can’t swallow, talk, or have sex and I start bleeding from an orifice. It causes me to be dizzy and unable to walk straight. Call me crazy, but this does not sound like a particularly effective drug. If I don’t take the drug, I remain depressed but I am not bleeding from my backside, I can swallow and still have sex and I won’t walk around in a dizzy state. I mean really, would you buy a window cleaning product that had a side effect of making your windows dirty? Would you buy a “smart” pill that you made dumber? I don’t think so. This ad does not convince me that this pill would be all that helpful.
Another ad that just strikes me as totally unbelievable is for the dog food Beneful. In the ad the announcer says that Beneful has all of the things your dog loves like peas and carrots (and meat products). Oh really, things my dog loves likes peas and carrots? Do you really think a dog craves peas and carrots? When you walk in the door after being gone all day, do you think your hungry dog is really jumping around, wagging his tail, barking and thinking, “Oh boy he is home, I hope he brought me some peas and carrots?” Of course not, your starving, slobbering dog, who has been dreaming about chasing and eating rabbits before you arrive home sees you and is thinking, “ I am starved, I need meat, I hope he killed a deer for me, I hope he brought me a steak. I need a bone to chew on.” Did you ever hear about a pack of wild dogs hunting for peas or carrots?
Try this experiment. Don’t feed your dog for 24 hours. Then place a bowl of peas (ok, make that peas and carrots) before your dog and also place a juicy steak or a pork chop in front of your dog. Is there any question in your mind what food the dog would go after? Of course not, he would chew your hand off getting to the meat.
To Beneful, I say maybe peas and carrots add some nutritional value to the dog food, but please don’t tell me the dog craves peas and carrots. I might have been born on a day, it just wasn’t yesterday.
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