My favorite ad (meaning the one that jumped out as the most shameless piece of manipulative shit) that ran during the Commercial Bowl the other day was the one that tried to pass itself off as a “tribute” to our heroic heroes in uniform (whose sacrifice makes all of this endless whoring possible, no doubt) before revealing itself at the last moment as a sales pitch for Jeep. The ad itself consisted of a video collage of picturesque small towns, rosy-cheeked marines in their dress uniforms, and rippling flags, underscored by maudlin music and a voice-over spouting all the usual platitudes about the military. I love cynical appeals to the patriotism of the ignorant as a sales ploy. It makes me proud to be an American. Next time I think they should go whole hog, though. I want to see smoking Humvees, triple amputees, and body bags, with the message: Buy a Jeep. You don’t want these lives to have been ruined for nothing, do you?
Lately I’ve noticed “suicidal thoughts or feelings” listed as one of the several dozen side-effects in ads for two different drugs being peddled on TV. That one of these ads is for an anti-depressant suggests that its creator has a sharp sense of irony. Then again, maybe they’re onto something. Suicide will surely put an end to whatever pesky ailment you happen to be suffering from.
The local NPR affiliate in Philly, WHYY, is in the midst of one of its annual pledge drives, and this morning its main pitch man, a pompous twit whose affected highbrow manner of speaking arouses a powerful urge to drag him to the nearest high school and stuff him in a locker (after dumping his backpack and stealing his lunch money, of course) was going on about how “you, the listener” are responsible for financing the station and how they’re able to bring us the high-quality programming they do because they’re not beholden to the commercial interests that other stations are.
Then, I swear less than two minutes later, the other pitch person said something about how they’re probably going to get less money from the federal government (not a “commercial” interest, true, but certainly a pretty big interest nevertheless, wouldn’t you say?) this year, so listener pledges are even more important than usual; and this was followed by a spot for a local hospital that specializes in cancer care. So, for shits and giggles, I went onto the station’s website and, sure enough, there’s a page dedicated entirely to soliciting corporate “underwriters.”
Well, gee whiz, and all along I was wondering why their programming is basically no different than the so-called commercial media outlets.