I grew up exposed to advertisements – literally everywhere. Love them or hate them, they’re to stay. Deal with it.
My sisters and I used to compete on who could first identify the product featured in the first few seconds of the commercial. That was how we dealt with TV commercials that occupied more airtime than the telenovelas we were watching.
In school, there was this game on who could reenact and guess the most commercials. The game had individual and group categories. There were no prizes for both situations – except bragging rights. It’s amazing how students could remember the dialogue and reenact a 30-second clip when not required but have difficulty in explaining the simple concepts discussed in class. With the significantly longer exposure on commercials students have compared school discussions, it’s something rather expected.
Fast forward to post-college years and I find myself depending on my 2.5 x 4 x 1-inch radio. I could not yet afford and maintain a television and cable subscription. I’m not really a radio person however, I felt the need to update myself on current events as I was teaching journalism. Plus it’s nice to hear something else aside from the clock ticking in the apartment. The morning news and commentaries helped be prepare examples and topics for discussion in my classes.
Going back to advertisements, radio as with television also exposes its audience to commercials. It has become a habit to critique the script of commercials as they were repeatedly paid. In the one year that I’ve been listening to morning radio, I cannot help but wonder how on earth some radio plugs got the nod to be aired. I know the advertisements are designed to sell whatever product or service. There are good ads – very few, I believe. These are the ads that gets you to buy the product. These ads are well though of and is logically sound. The next batch of plugs are the average ones. They’re… average. Not good, not bad… average. And then there’s the ads that make you wonder how come it was approved for airing. The ads contain misleading messages and are not logically sound. It challenges the listeners to figure out the connection between the sentences in the script. Some of the most dominant cases are cited below.
(Radio) Ad #1. Classroom Setting Assignments – buy drug (their product) – win raffle – A+ rating ?!!! This radio ad starts with the teacher checking her students’ assignment. She then notes that one student has no preparation. The student then reassures the teacher he will buy the advertised drug so he could win the raffle prize to be claimed from a bookstore. Go figure where the logical connection between the assignment and the raffle prize is. What makes things worse is that the teacher commends the student and gives him an A+!
(Radio) Ad #2. Anti-climate change product To fight climate change – the erratic weather conditions – people are advised to take a vitamin C (ascorbic acid) product.
(Print) Ad #3. Anti-AH1N1 product (aka Vit C supplement) This product claim to keep you safe from AH1N1. Yeah, right. If that were true, how come it wasn’t distributed en masse to avoid the spread of AH1N1?
(TV) Ad #4. A smart woman’s testimonial on a whitening (or was it anti-ageing product) The commercial features an attractive, smart woman seated on a settee. The text identifying her position and work establishes her as a smart woman. The woman tells us about this product and how it was tested by a laboratory of an institute. Okay, so the product was tested by a supposedly credible institute. Just one question here, DO YOU REALLY BELIEVE THE LAB OF THE INSTITUTE WHICH HAPPENED TO BE OWNED BY THE SAME COMPANY WILL PROVIDE NEGATIVE RESULTS FOR YOUR PRODUCT? (The product brand happens to be the name of the institute.)
These are the ads I can recall as I was writing this entry. Do feel free to share your list of “how-the-hell-was-this-approved-for airing?!!” (HTHWTAA?!!) ads. Seriously, I cannot understand how such a script received a go for production and for airing. So students buy the drug – or whatever product – to get a ticket to win in a raffle so he can claim his prize that he can submit as an assignment.
I’ve grown to accept that most – of not all – companies get away with bombarding us with misleading advertisements on a daily basis. All we need to do is to evolve and become smarter consumers. But can these companies at least give us advertisement content which are meant for people who think? What concerns me is that a lot of children are regularly exposed to these sort of advertisements. If they grow up exposed to this quality of thinking, I hope I’d be a retired teacher – or resting peacefully in my grave.
- DTC advertising, and its history with the FDA (kevinmd.com)
- Kinect TV adverts will make you vomit into your hands (destructoid.com)