Archive for May 6th, 2024

Service of Surefire Inducements to Channel Surf–Irritating Commercials

Monday, May 6th, 2024

Some advertisers want me to run for my remote control to move away from the station I’m on. That’s what happens the second I hear their viscerally irritating commercials.

This isn’t the first time I’ve covered the subject. In 2018 I berated the forced laughter in 1-800-I-Got Junk radio commercials that put me on edge. Then there was an E*Trade ad designed to scare 30-somethings to save now or end up like the 85-year-olds depicted dropping heavy packages and dragging weighty fire hoses to the music of a favorite Harry Belafonte tune, “Banana Boat Song.” In that post I praised NYU Langone hospital and State Farm for their pleasing adverts.

The year before my tooth-grinding hit list included My Pillow, Flip this House and Kars4Kids.

There were a few posts going back to 2014 about false advertising, such as DirectTV offering a cheap subscription for a year without noting it was contingent on a two-year contract. I wrote about some goofs such as Bud Light’s label boast “The perfect beer for removing ‘no’ from your vocabulary for the night. #UpForWhatever,” which some interpreted as condoning rape, and off-putting company name choices—CheapOair was one.

Rereading something I wrote in 2011 made me laugh again. My husband had shown me a full-page ad in the Sunday New York Times Book Review section that left out a crucial piece of information: Who the book was about! There was a photo of a past American President on the featured book cover, but the face wasn’t familiar to my husband who had read thousands of pages of American history and had a great memory. The title included the word President–but not which one. The ad had room for plenty of copy–the usual praise such as “gripping” and “compulsive reading” to “harrowing and fascinating saga” and “crackling tale of suspense.” Mistakes happen.

Here are a few current examples of commercials that grate on my ears these days:

  • Haribo gummi candies lead the list. Those whiney children’s voices coming out of the mouths of grownups—whether fictitious sports or business figures—hurt.
  • TMI—too much information—is what nauseates me when I am subject to all body deodorant commercials like the one for Mando. I keep thinking: Here’s a bar of soap–now take a shower. Click.
  • Four women singing the Kellog’s Club Crackers riff—especially the last woman who takes it away while the others laugh. So annoying.

I wonder if before accepting the ads the stations weigh the income against loss of viewers as often, I don’t return once I’ve moved on to another show. Are there any commercials that cause you to run from the room, turn off the sound or click to another station?

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