Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I'm Not a Child

I have never appreciated being treated like a child -- even when I actually was a child. I hated being spoken to as though I had landed in some alien territory. My parents socialized with several childless couples, friends of theirs from before they had mid-life children. So visits with these couples during the 1950s exposed me to adult conversations and mannerisms. I learned to appreciate conversation on an adult level.

That's one reason I'm so insulted by advertising -- it treats all consumers as though we were unsophisticated slobs who salivate at products being waved before us. We are not children and are willing to hold onto our money until the right opportunity comes along.

You may have noticed a plethora of media advertising recently. Retailers and businesses of all types are frantic to get our attention and our money. Apparently they believe that they can wear down our resistance with repetitive messages imploring us to spend.

Newspaper advertising usually arrives in the form of large, glossy supplements resembling pricey magazines. These multi-page behemoths feature the items we are made to feel we must purchase for Christmas. Skinny models and unreasonably well-behaved kids smile broadly as they cavort through the pages. Fortunately for newspaper readers, the glossy enclosures can be perused and discarded very quickly. I don't know if the advertisers are aware of this sorting technique. Perhaps they believe shoppers wander through their stores clutching the flyers feverishly. Sorry to disappoint. The average flyer remains on my coffee table for .5 nano-seconds. A huge waste of trees, fellas, although I do recycle. An eye-scan through the paper debris and I can resume breakfast.

On the other end of the advertising onslaught -- there's television. Its incessant advertising blather is enough to put me over the edge. It can annoy the most die hard Yuletide fan.

In the early days of television broadcasting, advertisements were usually 30 or 60 seconds long. That got viewers used to few -- even though longer -- commercials. But in the 1990s, the rules for television programming were altered. The FCC dictates were relaxed to allow up to 21 minutes of non-programmed viewing (such as commercials, public service announcements and promotional material) within each hour. Commercials began to shrink over time from 30 and 60 seconds to 10 and 15 seconds. As a result, when a break in a program occurs now, viewers are subjected to numerous short and often obnoxious ads.

Watching these bursts of commercials reminds me of stepping outdoors on a summer's evening and turning on the porch light. That action brings hoards of insects out of the darkness. As the bugs attack, the flick their wings against your face, nearing your eyes and mouth. You swat at them wildly, trying to deflect the assault. The best escape is to hurriedly open the door and switch off the light. That adequately describes how I feel when experiencing an onslaught of numerous short, shallow TV ads.

Attention advertisers: How about trying to be creative? If you are invading my living room, how about entertaining me? Why not make me want to watch your mindless commercial rather than retreating to the kitchen to refill my iced tea? If women are a target shopping audience (and we often do the majority of shopping), give us something to keep us watching. I am more likely to watch an ad featuring an attractive man than one showing a child having a tantrum. It really doesn't matter what product is being hyped. It could be recycled galoshes. But if there is a hunky male featured, I'm going to pay more attention. Just sayin'.

Like the blizzard of political ads that has (finally) subsided, we should take consolation in the fact that the holiday blitz will be over in the near future. But in the meantime, they are quite simply not worth my time to watch.

Remember advertisers -- if you want women to help your sales figures, give us more to look at than Donald Trump and Justin Bieber. There are plenty of households where money is spent by women between the ages of 16 and 90.

How about a little eye candy? Oh, and remember -- we are not children.

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