September 04, 2007

How to Watch TV Commercials

Now that fall is approaching, the new tv season is almost upon us. There used to be just one new tv season every year. But now there’s a new season every, well, season.

We can all get more out of the commercials we’ll be seeing if we know a little more about advertising.

The first thing you need to know is that there are basically two types of tv commercials: those with talking animals and those without talking animals.

Commercials with talking animals are the best commercials because they are for the best things -- like car insurance, cable tv, and beer. There's one with a duck for supplemental disability insurance, but no one knows what that is, so it doesn't count. In the recent past we’ve seen hilarious frogs, polar bears, lizards, geckos, and dogs. Who knew animals could be so funny? (Well, we knew monkeys and amphibians were funny, but reptiles?)

When I was a kid there used to be talking camels but the government outlawed them because they were too dangerous. (Plus, when they talked, their mouths looked really stupid.) So then they invented camels that smoked, but one of our former Presidents didn’t like that so he outlawed them, too. That President didn’t think people should use smoking materials. Not for smoking, anyway.

A while back the advertising industry demonstrated its commitment to diversity by introducing dogs that spoke in a foreign language. These dogs were popular but didn’t sell very many tacos. Adios, amigos!

Once in a while you see insects in commercials, but they never talk. They usually just die.

One ad agency took the monkeys out of their ads and they lost the account. Let that be a lesson.

Commercials without talking animals are not nearly as creative. Sometimes they just have very poor kids from far-away lands talking about the internet. Or sweaty “urban” people playing basketball. Or half-ton pick-ups with 0% financing for 60 months.

A few years ago a new kind of advertising started appearing. It has 27 seconds of something really "creative", then 3 seconds of the company’s logo. Nobody knows what this means. It’s called branding.

I hope this will help you enjoy the new season. If it doesn’t, don’t worry. There’ll be another new season in a few weeks.


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