Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Where's the remote?

Last night saw the debut of another season of NFL Monday Night Football. Now, I realize I've already touched upon football and its idiosyncrasies, so I won't beat that horse any further. Not only, however, was it the beginning of another football season, but also marked was the onset of a fresh batch of television advertising. I've worked in the advertising profession for twenty years, and I probably pay a little too close attention to this stuff, but here's what I found.
It seems like every advertiser attempts to top not only its competitors, but also its own previous products. For example, Pizza Hut started out pushing just pizza, you know—crust, sauce, cheese and toppings. Then they decided there wasn't quite enough saturated fat on there, so they also stuffed the crust with cheese. And this year, they've introduced cheese-stuffed-crust pizza with an additional ring of cheese on top of the crust. Seriously? Why doesn't the delivery person show up with little cans along with your pizza so you can have a Cheez-Whiz chaser with every bite? Watching that commercial, I could almost feel the lumpy curds of mozzarella coursing through my arteries toward their final resting place along my left ventricle.
And that's just the beginning of the extreme advertising makeover this year. Now there's lime-flavored light beer. How much are we trying to accomplish here? Or, how about the KFC "Famous Bowl" with fried chicken, corn, cheese, mashed potatoes and gravy. The folks at Kentucky Fried could've saved quite a bit in research and development if they just asked my dad for one of his crockpot recipes.
On the high testosterone front, we see bearded men driving trucks call "Ram" and "Tundra" and "Tacoma" (Tacoma?) scaling sheer rock cliffs while pulling trailers filled with lead boulders. 
And who can forget those ads showing attractive, middle-aged couples of all shapes and sizes smiling amorously at each other, and we all know why—that little blue pill. Those drive me crazier than any of the aforementioned marketing ploys combined, and it's simply because they always seem to come on when I'm watching TV with one of my daughters. One of the first times this occurred, my daughter, who was about eight at the time, asked me what that pill was for. I tried to explain it as succinctly and simply as an eight-year-old needed to know. 
"Do all men use that pill, Dad?" 
"No, not all men," I uncomfortably replied. 
And then, she dropped the bombshell. "Do you?"
I got up, picked up the phone and ordered a pizza.

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