I’m not here to talk about baseball fans. At Coors Field last Thursday afternoon, we met a lady who was also from St. Louis and declared herself a Rockies fan and a Cardinals fan, and said she couldn’t lose when they played each other. Also waiting for the elevator was a guy in a Rockies jersey and a Cardinals hat.
I’m here to talk about conflicted television ads.
First of all, we have the horrible, tedious, disgusting ads for pharmaceuticals. A thirty-second ad is made up of two equal and opposite parts. One part describes some health malady that you have probably never heard of (or by now, heard too much about) and how this miraculous drug cures that. The other part lists all the crippling, mortal side effects of the drug. This is the equivalent of telling someone, “Yes, that’s a great drug, but if you take it you might die in a painful, terrible way.” This is what we used to call a “left-handed compliment.” I hate these ads. I hate all these drugs.
Secondly, we have ads that actually include two products. One is “piggy-backing” on another. Like an ad for Carnival Cruise Lines that also includes hype for the new Iron Man movie. Something like that. I’m used to ads that tell me one clear message: BUY THIS THING! When an ad says, “Buy this thing and oh, by the way, go see this movie too,” then I’m confused. Should I buy the thing or see the movie? I’m paralyzed with indecision. Too many choices. It’s like trying to buy Oreos… there are just SO many different kinds. I’d rather just skip it.
Life is complicated enough without these mixed messages.