Every time I have to sit through commercials while watching televison, I'm exceptionally thankful that I have a DVR at home so I can fast forward through them. Maybe I'm not the target for those genius ad executives, but most of the commercials I see just annoy the hell out of me. They actually drive me away from the products they're trying to sell.
A perfect example of this is the guy from Subway. When he started coming on TV telling us how he lost all this weight eating at Subway, I said "hooray for him, now pass me that Quarter Pounder." It didn't convince me to eat at Subway, but it didn't annoy me either. Now, the genius ad execs have given Jared a new mission in life, to put down every other restaurant's food. Now, he comes on with a smirk telling us how much fat is in this or that and how superior Subway's food is to those other guys. Sorry, but I've eaten at Subway. I wouldn't say it's any worse than McDonald's or Burger King, but I wouldn't say it's any better either. I've always believed that when you had to attack the competition, it's probably because whatever you're trying to sell can't stand on its own.
And besides, who the hell is this guy to look down on me because I choose to have a double cheeseburger instead of a sweet teriyaki chicken sandwich? It's not even like the sandwich they show on TV is the one with only five grams of fat, either. That's the one on wheat bread with no condiments whatsoever.
It struck me as funny the other day when I drove by a local Subway and saw on the sign that they're now offering pizza. Here's this guy on TV telling me that Subway is so much more healthy than anywhere else, and now they're serving pizza. I'm sure those pizzas only have five grams of fat, right?
But in all fairness, it's not just Jared. He's just been the most annoying of late. A while back there were those Truth "anti-smoking" ads. I put that in quotation marks because I came away from most of those commercials actually feeling better about the tobacco industry -- and that's sad. Then again, they were sponsored by a tobacco company, so maybe that's what they were designed to do. They always had a bunch of snotty, annoying kids pulling some kind of publicity stunt. One that sticks out in my mind had these kids sneaking through a hotel in the middle of the night, putting signs on the door knobs. My reaction to that was, "If you're so proud of what you're doing, why don't you march your punk ass in there during the day and do it?" Of course, then they might meet some of these people they're villainizing, and it would be most inconvenient to actually have someone express a differing viewpoint, wouldn't it?
But some of the most mind-boggling commercials to me are the ones that the police put on TV. Locally, we have these seat belt commercials from the state police with this macho-sounding voiceover (and you'd really have to hear it to understand just how bullying and condescending it is) saying "IF YOU DON'T WEAR YOUR SEAT BELT, YOU WILL GET A TICKET." Yeah, threats always get the desired response out of your audience. Being the personal freedom advocate that I am, I'm not the biggest fan of seat belt laws to begin with, but every time I see one of these commercials, it makes me want to get a knife and cut the seat belt out of my truck. Do they honestly think they're convincing people to wear their seat belt by threatening them? My guess is they're actually galvanizing people who don't wear their seat belt against the laws.
If you can't sell me your products on their own merit or convince me why I should do something without threats, then obviously what you're selling isn't worth buying. And even if it is, you're still not selling it to me. Maybe one day advertisers will come around and realize that the best way to get your point across is not by annoying or bullying people. Until then, my finger's on the fast forward button.