By Tim Cerantola
you were to ask me, Tim, as a media professional who knows absolutely
nothing about advertising, what would you say is the most effective way
to advertise a product on TV?
Well, judging by what I’ve seen of
TV ads I’d say, first, assume that the entire viewing audience is
completely and totally without a critical thinking process and must be
addressed as if you were speaking to people with the IQ’s of mayonnaise.
as if speaking to people with severe hearing disorders, you must scream
your ad at them with decibel levels approaching that of jet aircraft
Third. Rattle off your ad at a rapid, break neck
speed so that no one will actually be able to understand what you are
saying, other than the odd burst of the words sale, save or buy. This
is how advertising is done.
Now, if through this muddled
process, you can manage to add a few bits about how your product will
make people the envy of all of their friends, rich beyond their wildest
dreams as well as lose that sagging fat that seems to collect around
their thighs and midsections, that will help your ad immensely - even
if you’re selling laundry soap.
Of course, the whole point of
advertising is to make the general public feel bad about themselves,
their lives, friends, families and everything they ever believed in.
once you’ve got them feeling suicidal, tell them that your “product”
will cure them of their inadequacies and, all of their problems will
vanish instantly with one ingestion, application or insertion (?) of
your “product” - that is, until they run out. Then of course, their
lives will return to a steaming pathetic pile of crap (unless they
purchase more of your product immediately).
Seriously, can you
people even stand yourselves unless you have shiny silky hair, soft
toilet paper and armpits that smell like pine cones?
Well… can you?
I certainly can’t stand myself. And, as far as I can tell, I can’t stand any of you either - and I don’t even know most of you.
“Oh honey,” the commercial begins. “It’s our son Bill on the phone. He’s just bought life insurance and he’s so very happy now!” (Father takes the phone).
“Good for you son. You know, I own lots of insurance too. Now we can both die and leave lots of money to our widows (and their new gigolo boyfriends). You’ve made me very proud son.”
I’m all for life insurance if you have a young family. But, I’ve never
once called my parents to excitedly announce my new premiums.
OK, let’s play a little game. I’ll describe the commercial and you try to guess what they’re advertising.
woman is riding a horse along the beach. Then, she’s parachuting out of
a plane. Finally, she’s snorkeling in scuba gear along some brilliantly
colored coral reef surrounded by a vast array of colorful tropical
fish. What do you associate this imagery with?
No, not sports. NO, NOT FITNESS!
What? Didn’t “feminine products” immediately spring to mind? What’s wrong with you?
would think the ad would address severe painful cramps, agonizing lower
back pain and a crabby, nagging pain-in-the-ass kind of attitude, but
no. From my way of thinking, when it comes to a woman’s monthly
dementia, skydiving isn’t usually a high priority for most women. Heck,
when my wife goes into her cycle, I like to wear my hockey helmet
around the house.
That was too easy. Let’s try something more difficult then.
camera circles as it descends to reveal a lovely, beaming woman dressed
in a frilly summery dress, a sun hat and in her arms, a huge bouquet of
flowers. She’s twirling around madly and unashamedly - around and
around and around, insanely out of control in a meadow full of tall
grass and wild flowers.
If you guessed cream
cheese, you’re right! It’s amazing how a little bit of cream cheese can
send someone into a whirling, twirling, psychotic episode. It must be
good cheese! Hey, count me in. I want a cheese that can drive a woman
Sex usually sells. Try to guess this next product.
attractive woman and her woefully, pathetic, potato-like, sofa-loaf of
a boyfriend are sitting together watching TV. While her listless man
lump lies lethargically inert watching a football game, stuffing his
fat, goofy-looking face with “cheesits” - she stares off into space,
secretly fantasizing, transforming this sad, sloppy slug of a man both
facially and bodily, into some kind of Adonis love-god to suit her
lustful desires. Then, suddenly, her new hunk-of-a-man burps
grotesquely aloud and bursts her fantasy bubble, returning her guy to
his normal pathetic presentation of paunchy paralysis.
Now, what product could they possibly be advertising?
If you guessed shampoo, you must be an advertising geni-ass, because never in a million years, did I see that one coming.
of course, when it comes to advertising, require far less fantasy and
more, hit them over the head with a two-foot long salami kind of
presentation. So, this next one should be easy.
The scene opens
with a large group of guys, pals, chums, buddies - arms slung over each
other’s shoulders singing and laughing and smiling as they belt out a
very manly baritone sounding anthem of pure, unadulterated joy.
If you guessed beer ad, you guessed right.
easy I know. But guys are basically simple-minded creatures. When we
get together to drunkenly sing our anthems of love to our favorite
beer, to my way of thinking, it’s like admitting, YES, all male
friendships are merely based on our beer preferences. We don’t usually
don’t get along that well, unless we’re wobbly, plastered or fall-down,
stupid. Because, other than beer, we really don’t have a good reason to
base our friendships on. When the beer is gone, we just go home and
Finally, this is an easy one.
fluffy kittens and angels. They’re floating, tumbling, playfully
frolicking and running about in sheep-speckled fields of white and
eiderdown. They are so cuddly, and or, heavenly in their disposition as
they subtly breach the delicate nature of the product at hand.
reasons that defy explanation, we in the western world are consumed
with the need for soft bathroom tissue. For, in this most tender of
human matters, it would seem that advertisers believe that what people
really want, is to wipe their butts with furry little animals (and/or
heavenly beings). But don’t you dare. PETA and Greenpeace lurk behind
every fuzzy little thing on this planet.
Seriously, it’s amazing
how a little bit of softness up the back passage can send so many
people into a world of delusional happiness.