Tuesday, May 12, 2015

And Now a Word From Our Sponsors

My favorite magazine arrived: Cigar Aficionado. The first place I always turn is to “The Good Life” section, where they have the greatest ads for the newest toys and have-to-go-there destinations, with photos that pop and copy that elicits drooling. This month’s (June) ads include a TaylorMade R-15 driver for $435; the new Volvo XC90, still boxy and safe, but now with loads of new bells and whistles, starting at around $49,000; the Grand Del Mar Resort in San Diego, with a photo that screams, Luxury; and, my favorite ad in this issue, The Royal Scotsman train, ”…unlike its many rivals, South Africa’s Blue Train, Australia’s Ghan…it doesn’t link destinations, usually traveling in a loop….” A train that goes nowhere—in style: for $1500-1900 per person per night.  Is that awwwwwesome or what?

I love advertizing, whether it is print, radio, Internet (okay, I hate pop-ups), or television, I am fascinated by what all goes into the ad. Why this color, that copy, those personalities, this page or time-slot, and the particular demographic to which the ad is aimed? Sometimes the information is useful to me, sometimes it isn’t, and sometimes I am left doubled over in laughter—not the good kind—or yelling something such as, “Pathetic!”

Some advertisements are classy, some of them tacky, and some of them are downright idiotic: in my opinion. Obviously, if the ad campaign that I think is idiotic continues running then my opinion is in the minority, because the ads are driving customers to purchase the advertized product.

I know: some of our more sensitive fellow citizens are frequently mortified by advertizing, as it is, in their estimation, without dignity, appealing only to our base instincts. “Look, Edith! Kate Upton in a bikini, a bare chested Channing Tatum, three laughing toddlers and … puppies!!! We gotta buy this car!” “Case closed, Wilson. The Feds need to govern all ads so as to protect people from themselves.” And you think the Feds would stop with only governing ads for consumers and not gradually demand that the public be protected from the dissemination of information from “dangerous” philosophies and religions … why? And since when is being tacky against the law or synonymous with “immoral”?

Advertisers utilize tacky because the public responds to tacky. If the majority of people only responded to classy ads then that is what would be produced. This reminds me of those people whom scream and whine about the unjust profits of large corporations, demanding the Feds step in and take away its ill-gotten gain. From where do you think those profits came: the buying public who is demanding the product.  The real problem for the haters of tacky is not with the advertisers; it is with their neighbors, the buying public.   

“No, no, no, Wilson. Advertisers are shaping the values of our families and nation.” Question: Who is in charge of shaping “our families” values? That would be parents and grandparents. So, if you want to be ticked off at someone, let’s place the responsibility where it belongs. If advertisers are shaping your children’s values, then you need to be angry with yourself. Case closed.

While capitalism provides arenas of achievement where we earn our incomes, as well as with a cornucopia of products and services to purchase, it does not impart discernment. It is neither the fault of capitalism or advertisers that the masses prefer Fifty Shades of Grey to Macbeth or pays sports stars more than school- teachers. If this troubles you, then take it up with your family and neighbors.

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2015

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