Thursday, October 30, 2014

Commercially Speaking

I love TV commercials. One of my current favorites is, "Tell your doctor if you've been to a place where certain fungal infections are common." Like I'd know?

And I'm impressed by the number of commercials--I see at least a dozen every night--that say, "Ask your doctor if (whatever) is right for you." So I am supposed to take time away from whatever I'm doing to schedule an expensive doctor's appointment, for the sole purpose of asking, "Hey, doc, is Barf-Ex right for me?"

I delight in the ubiquitous Erectile Dysfunction commercials. I remember when it was just called  what it is: impotence. As a gay man, I find a certain reassurance in these commercials because obviously "E.D." affects only heterosexuals. I can't help but wonder, since the guys featured are always wearing a wedding ring, if perhaps their problem might lie in their having opted for the wrong sexual orientation.

I'm sorry that I don't see quite so many loan company ads as I used to, perhaps because it may finally have dawned on people that borrowing money not only does not resolve the problem of not having enough money, but that the money borrowed must be repaid with interest and therefore only adds one more bill to be paid.

I am deeply touched by the diligence with which advertisers adhere to the principle of Truth in Advertising. And right up there near the top is "Free Credit Report dot Com" which says you can go to their site and get your credit report absolutely free, and that's exactly what you can do. Apparently they just forgot, in the ad which lured you to their site in the first place, to mention that in order for the "Free" to kick in, you first have to pay out the nose to join something or other.

That so many commercials use exactly the same words and phrases is no coincidence. Though little known outside advertising circles, all advertisers rely heavily upon the Dictionary of Advertising Terms. A few of them follow, for your edification.

"Piled High!" means you can slip it under a closed door.

"Emerging science suggests" means they don't have a shred of actual proof of whatever they're claiming.

"New and Improved!" means they have added half a teaspoon of something to the 500 gallon vats from which the product is taken.

"For Well-Qualified Buyers" means you don't qualify.

"You must call within the next five minutes" means you can call whenever you want, day or night, and you'll still get it.

"Strict limit of 5 per customer" means if you are stupid enough to want 3,000 of the things they'll be delighted to sell them to you.

"Not sold in stores" means that no store was willing to carry it.

"Comes with a Certificate of Authenticity" means it comes with a worthless piece of paper with some words on it.

"Money Back Guarantee" means you're welcome to send it back at your own expense and see if it reaches the company before it goes bankrupt.

"Satisfied customers" means people who did not demand their money back.

Well, it's time for another richly rewarding evening of commercials. I just wish they'd stop trying to insert those annoying "programs" between them.

 Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday and Thursday. Please take a moment to visit his website ( and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (, which is also available as an audiobook (

1 comment:

Kage Alan said...

Yeah, you nailed this one. I can't remember the last time I actually watched a television program with commercials. Seriously. If it's a show I like, then I wait for the DVDs to come out and watch those. Or I'll stream it on my computer without commercials. Either way, I turn my nose up at the BS we call advertising.