I've never seen a Super Bowl game, but I'd like to bitch about three commercials I hear on XM Satellite Radio. I hate them and they DRIVE ME NUTS each night. (My wife, dog and I sleep with the radio on, and hear bits of programs and commercials during periods when we are awake.) Unfortunately, I have no TiVo for radio, and can't fast-forward through the crap.
- One is a commercial hyping American gold coins, recently discovered in a "stash" in Europe, that had miraculously escaped the FDR-ordered coin meltdown during the Great Depression. The reader is a pleasant-sounding woman who wants to seem like my friend or neighbor. She tells us about the announcement she heard -- rather than making the announcement herself -- and then says, " the number to call ... here it is...is 1 800..." She's acting like she is not doing a commercial. It was somewhat startling, different and effective the first time I heard it, but not the hundredth time.
- Next is a spot for Dr. Something's Secret Formula for removing stretch marks. As part of a special marketing test, the first 100 unhappy ladies in the area of my "local station" are entitled to free samples of the miracle goop. The commercial plays NATIONALLY. There is no limitation to any area, or a limit of 100 samples. Chances are, the handling fee on the "free sample is high enough to provide a nice profit for the drug peddler.
- Then there is a whole class of commercials aimed at the financial unfortunates who need to get out of debt. These spots were first aimed at folks who need to negotiate a deal to settle their credit card debts, and then expanded to include money owed to IRS, and then offered help with mortgages and car loans. Some of the spots are designed to sound like government announcements, and have lines like "This is a PUBLIC announcement" and "Incoming phone lines are in operation now." The worst piece of bullshit is the script that says, "People with last names that begin with the letters A through M should call right now, and people with names beginning with N through Z should call tomorrow." I find it hard to believe that if Mr. Newhouse or Ms. Zymanski call TODAY, that their pleas and fees would be rejected. No matter what time Newhouse or Zymanski hear the commercial, it's NEVER the right day to call.
(photo from Treehugger.com)