2007-11-21 / Sam Bari

You can't beat a system you can't understand

1,200 words you do not want to hear
By Sam Bari

Our crack research team, the Googlamaniacs, have unearthed startling data that needs to be addressed. Apparently, the television networks have us so brain-washed, mesmerized and brain dead from watching years of nonsensical programming, that we don't even notice when we are being bombarded with an onslaught of tasteless, disgusting messages we do not want to hear.

After nanoseconds of intense study, the Googlamaniacs discovered that pharmaceutical companies own the 6 o'clock news hour. They sponsor the evening news on all three major networks.

Why is this significant? Because most people in this country eat their supper immediately before or after the 6 o'clock news. The more civilized households schedule dinner around the evening news hour to avoid watching television while they are dining.

However, I admit that when I am at home alone, I often eat my dinner while watching the news, and quite frankly, it's a disgusting experience. Not because the news is always bad, we have learned to live with that. Good news doesn't sell.

It is disgusting because, for eight minutes of every half-hour, the one-sided dinnertime conversation coming from the TV is talking about some product designed to cure or relieve the symptoms of obscure and not so obscure ailments or conditions suffered by humanity.

I can think of nothing more unappetizing than a television commercial announcing the latest remedy for unwanted leaking bodily fluids, or the best brand of anti-fungus medication recommended for weird growths under the toenails. What are these people thinking? If you want to lose weight, just watch the 6 o'clock news before you eat. Your appetite will be non-existent in less than 30-seconds - guaranteed.

Why would anyone want to consider the discomforts of nasal congestion while attempting to enjoy the bouquet of a fine French wine? Who, in their right mind wants to hear about ingesting something that "may cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, blurred vision, rapid heart beat, and possible dizziness, while anticipating the delicate flavor of a fork full of creamy seafood risotto? Nobody - that's who.

Nonetheless, that is what happens every evening between 6 and 7 o'clock. A 30-second TV commercial contains an average of 75 words. This translates into 150 words of advertising copy blaring from your television during every minute of commercial time. Since networks broadcast eight minutes of commercials every half hour, if you watch a 30-minute news program, you listen to 1,200 words that you do not want to hear, particularly at that time. If you choose to watch the local as well as the national news, that number can be doubled.

Logic tells me that if I were in the advertising business, I would want to advertise products that make people want to eat if I'm going to air a television commercial during the dinner hour. Maybe that just makes too much sense.

It seems to me that if the viewing audience is so repulsed by the television commercial they are watching that they would never buy the product being advertised, the worth of the product is of little consequence. Don'tcha think?

What is the matter with these people? Something is very wrong with this picture, or series of moving pictures as the case may be. Granted, I do have the alternative to not watch television and satisfy my need for news from other sources, and I have exercised that option many times. However, since I am a member of the target audience for some of the products being advertised, I want to state for the record, and I am sure I am not alone - that I will not buy products advertised in tasteless television commercials during the dinner hour.

Try this mister pharmaceutical advertiser: If the product you are advertising would not be an acceptable subject for polite dinner table conversation, then your viewers probably don't want to hear about it while they are eating. If that is beyond your limited realm of comprehension, show this column to a third-grader and they will probably be happy to explain it to you.

Tasteless television advertising is definitely a big part of that system we will never understand.

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