May 8, 2013
As commercials overwhelm seemingly nearly every living second of our well-being, you would think that the advertising men who create them and the corporations that finance them would be more astute in actually producing them. Watching old television shows on DVD, I am amazed that hour-long shows from the 1950s and ‘60s were actually fifty-two minutes long, leaving only eight minutes for advertisements. Now days, a show of this length is lucky to be forty-four minutes long. This represents at least a one hundred percent increase in the number of minutes that commercials are aired each hour since the days of my youth.
When you consider that networks now routinely show pop-up ads and product placements during a show, viewers probably watch twenty minutes worth of commercials for every forty minutes of actual programming. When watching reruns of old shows on television, the networks frequently chop off four or five minutes from the original half-hour show, replacing these lost minutes with, you guessed it, more commercials. Though it most likely isn’t the only network to do so, but I have noticed that during their late evening programming, TV Land bumps up their air time for a half-hour show to thirty-six minutes, something local news did many years ago with their 11:00 p.m. newscast. Are these local news broadcasts reporting any more news in the extra five minutes they now air? Of course not. I am a news junkie, however, I gave up watching locals news many years ago, because of its “if it bleeds it leads” mentality. When I do watch local news to catch the weather report or sports, it seems that the last twenty minutes of the broadcast consists of three minutes of weather and another three minutes for sports. Six minutes of news out of twenty minutes of airtime. Not for me!
I can somewhat tolerate smart or funny commercials, however I find stupid commercials very irritating. Especially when they are repeated over and over and over again, all day long. The latest example of a very dim-witted advertisement is the Ally Bank commercial that has been airing for several years. In the commercial, a man with a briefcase containing supposedly $100,000.00 in cash, asks complete strangers to watch it for him. The premise of the commercial is that you wouldn’t trust a stranger to watch your money and not take any “fees,” why would you trust your bank to do the same? This scenario begs for explanations to several questions such as where is the man going in such a hurry that he cannot take his very small briefcase with him? Why does he show each person he asks to watch his money what is in the briefcase? Also, why is he walking around with $100,000.00 in cash? Is he a drug dealer or what?
Is there any one, except for the very young, who actually believe these people chosen to watch a great deal of cash are real life citizens and not a paid actor? The television networks, radio and now the internet engulf our viewing and listening pleasures with nearly continuous commercials, please don’t insult our intelligence as well.
Steven H. Spring