Service of It Must Work Because I Keep Hearing It

June 15th, 2017

Categories: Advertising, Charity, Commercials, Real Estate, Retail, Scams

Some commercials have always irritated me and they don’t get better with time. The adverts must do well or they would either be pulled or changed. For me they cause one action: I change stations.

I never again want to hear about My Pillow. While clearly a great success— reported that Michael Lindell has sold 26 million of them at $45 or more each and has a workforce of 1,500–I’m not tempted and I’m clearly alone. According to Josh Dean in “The Preposterous Success Story of America’s Pillow King” “…a huge number of them [are sold] directly to consumers who call and order by phone after seeing or hearing one of his inescapable TV and radio ads.”

In the Flip This House commercial you learn that the company is looking for “a few good people,” to join them. By now, in the NY Metro area alone, they must have found thousands or, based on years of hearing the same ad, they are really selling something else, like classes, which they are. FortuneBuilders is the name of the company that produces free 90 minute seminars offering the opportunity for more that you pay for. The Central Texas Better Business Bureau president Bill McGuire, with 22 years as a banker under his belt, told Brooke West, a reporter at “‘if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. Most of the folks [who will attend the seminars] are regular people interested in making money, and that’s what their focus is,’ McGuire said. ‘But these [FortuneBuilder representatives] are going to get into their back pockets.’” ‘Nuff said.

I haven’t heard lately the incessant jingle for “Kars4Kids.” This might be related to recent publicity. I read on Ruth McCambridge’s article “Kars4Kids: What the Jingle Leaves Out,” that first appeared in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. She wrote “…. how many among the general public know that Kars4Kids is directly affiliated with—and sends 90 percent of those proceeds that go to charity to—Oorah, a single youth charity in New Jersey which, according to tax forms, is “a Jewish outreach organization for the purpose of imparting Jewish education, values, and traditions, as well as guidance and support, to Jewish children who lack access to these fundamentals?” Key words in this quote are “that go to charity.”

McCambridge continues to share the findings of a 300 page report by Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson. For example: “out of $3 million raised in that state from 2012 to 2014, less than $12,000 went to children’s services in Minnesota…. She additionally found that though Kars4Kids reports spending 63 percent on mission, in actuality, of the $88 million raised nationally from 2012 to 2014, only 44 percent was given to charity, with $40 million going to Oorah. (When it comes to car donation programs in general, that 44 percent probably puts it on the high side, actually.)”

Do some commercials that you’ve heard for years drive you up walls? Have you bought anything after you heard or saw an ad for the billionth time? Does Genucel’s Chamonix cream really remove those bags under your eyes?

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9 Responses to “Service of It Must Work Because I Keep Hearing It”

  1. David Reich Said:

    As you know, in advertising, it’s about repetition, repetition, repetition.

    Since I’ve been watching more cable news lately (thank you, Donald) I’ve had to sit through more of the never-ending direct-sales ads, for My Pillow, all sorts of pain remedies, insurance and reverse-mortgage pitches, etc etc.

    There are many ads that you don’t mind seeing again and again, but these ads that say call now, and if you call now we’ll add free shipping or double your order at no extra cost (except for added “handling” charge) drive me crazy. But I suppose that’s the price we pay to see free TV.

  2. hb Said:

    To my mind, while, no doubt, all perfectly legal, these are all scams. Thank you for exposing them.

    I take a cautious approach towards anything that is heavily advertised or marketed, including politicians. I’d prefer a glimpse of reality before I buy.

    Especially heinous are the billions, if not trillions, spent by the medical care industry, including insurance companies, pushing their goods and services. We’d all be much better off if that all that money were spent instead making sick people well.

  3. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Remote control helps a bit during advertising breaks though it’s remarkable how many shows–from news to sitcom–advertise at the same time. I wonder if there are rules against this coordination? Probably not. And under this administration, we must all fasten our seatbelts as any controls anywhere–such as banking–that protect small fries, will be lifted. It is back to the wild west.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I agree that all that advertising money would be better spent to cure the ill. I wonder if there are studies to show how much time is wasted when patients ask doctors about the meds they’ve seen on TV, most of which are probably not appropriate for them. And God help the doctor who doesn’t want to endanger a patient with a drug that might do more harm than good but that tempts a patient on the tube.

  5. Lucrezia Said:

    Annoyance is part of the sales pitch, so I tune out by picking up a ‘zine, newspaper or simply leave the room. Agreed that a number of ads are scams, but it’s an exaggeration and unfair to label all as such.

    Unfortunately, many advertisers take advantage of stupidity and/or vulnerability of captive audiences, and Ralph Nader’s “truth in advertising” mandate appears to be conveniently forgotten.

    Nothing will help unless the public ignores the glitz and fails to buy until corporations clean up their act. Don’t hold your breath!

  6. Deborah Brown Said:

    The music that plays in taxis for “Del Frisco’s Steak House” and the unappealing man saying: “Welcome to Del Frisco’s.” That would be a “no” for me!

  7. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I wonder if the adverts change by neighborhood? I’m not familiar with Del Frisco! We scramble to disconnect the noise from taxi screens as soon as we enter. It’s almost a game. Sometimes we can and other times we suffer.

  8. Martha Takayama Said:

    I do not pay attention to or buy any of the products advertised. My husband turns the sound off or rushes around to change the screen until he thinks the commercials are over. I find the potency ads embarrassingly gauche, but the most unpleasant are the doubles that accompany people discussing their bowels or intestinal functions. Remember when there were topics not considered suitable to discuss at the table? Enough said.

    My favorite set of ads in recent years are the Subaru dog tested ads such as

    My only recommendation is that we look at the ads of other countries such as Brazil or Japan which do address serious problems including aids with humor and grace. Our admixture of false Puritanism and denial combined with no charm is counter-productive.

  9. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I fear that what we enjoy–or don’t mind–doesn’t sell and what does work is obnoxious so we’re stuck with using the remote control or in the case of the radio, changing stations. 100 years ago the Bert and Harry Piels commercials were such fun that when they went on the TV my Dad would call me in to see them. He loved beer but didn’t care for Piels…so all he enjoyed were the charming characters with voices of comedians Bob and Ray. Pretty sure if the beer was tastier he’d have supported the funny fellows!

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