I've been doing some TV watching lately and while I haven't really been too impressed by the shows, I've really been entertained by the commercials. My personal favorite are the ones for different medicines being marketed directly to the public at large. Despite the moral issues, I think that they are absolute genius.
My favorite commercial of all time is the Viagra commercial with the voice over advising that if you experience an erection for greater than four hours to seek medical attention.
I wonder about the people that become the spokesmen for Valtrex. For those not in the know, Valtrex is a product from GlaxoSmithKline AKA: "Thank God in Heaven that We Aren't MERK". The drug, according to valtrex.com is "the hydrochloride salt of the L-valyl ester of the antiviral drug acyclovir". It is used primarily to protect the sexual partners of Herpes carriers between outbreaks and if I am clear, also intended to help suppress outbreaks as well. The commercials feature people who have contracted herpes and their uninfected sexual partners. I imagine that they are well compensated, but how much is it worth to become the spokesman for an STD?
Of course, if I were in advertising I would probably steer clear of the pharmaceuticals all together. I would love to do a commercial for Adidas. It would start out with the interior of the church, a camera is panning down from the choir loft pulling back with stained glass windows in the periphery. You can hear chanting in the background and the camera pulls back across the front pew where a line of nuns are kneeling with rosaries in hand. The camera stops on one nun focuses in on her rosary where instead of a crucifix there is a soccer ball. No tag line, no actual product, just fade to the Adidas logo... and I go to hell.
Maybe that is the price of success in advertising.
I hate to admit it, especially on the Internet with all those "spy-viruses" out there tapping my phone line, but I am so incredibly susceptible to marketing that it isn't even funny any more.
It was bad enough when I was a kid and I was constantly being sold on Count Chocula cereal that my parents would --rightfully-- never get for me, or a transformer that would turn from a bug into a blender and then into a robot. I'm still just as easily lured in by anything marketed by a cartoon or baseball player, but now the wares are much more expensive.
But even I have my limits.
I was on my way to the Marietta Square this morning, I killed my CD almost as soon as it started blaring Dropkick Murphys at me. It was way too early for a punk rendition of Fortunate Son, besides, Sunday morning is prime time for radio preachers.
I have this weird love affair with radio preachers, and in Atlanta, I am in a target-rich environment. I love listening to them. The good, the bad it doesn't matter. I've yet to find a Catholic Radio preacher, though there is one locally, a former Methodist Minister who is in the process of converting. I don't really listen for the message, mostly I am listening to try and get a feel for their passion. Sometimes its easy to hear, other times you can hear in their voice that they struggle just like the rest of us.
During one of the station breaks, between a Third Day song and a re-make of a Matt Maher song, I caught this commercial for "Light Scapes", a product that supposedly doubles the value of your landscaping by doubling the amount of time it can be seen from about 12 hours to 24. You can file this one under "funny maths" as well. The commercial was far fetched, but Atlanta is plagued with a huge number of obscenely wealthy people with no Idea how to spend their money, so I was willing to let it pass.
Until the last second of the commercial.
"Light Scapes -- A product you can't live without."
There are very few things that I own that I can't live without. In fact, I am having trouble coming up with a single thing. I own no medical devices that keep me from going paws up. I can do without technology, my car, furniture, and pretty much all other material goods. I can sleep anywhere and I've learned in the past that God will do for me that which I cannot do for myself. The only thing that I need to the point that I cannot live without it is not a product of any kind. It is relationships. As rough hewn and imperfect as they so often are, they are the one thing in our lives that are sustaining and eternal.
I am glad that the station I was listening to (104.7 FM -- The Fish) is mindful of the products that they are willing to advertise on their station. I hope that they also become more aware of how they advertise as well. Money, even though it is a little thing, is still something that has been given to us to tend. I doubt that lighting up my plants is the best way to use what has been put into my care.
Light Scapes, I can live without it. And truth be told, I probably should.