Time Warner, our local cable provider, runs a news and weather channel. I check it several times in the morning for updates, beginning at breakfast. That works. What doesn’t work are the ads. Talk about irritating. I hate most of the ones they run for all kinds of organizations: insurance brokers, furniture outlets, local restaurants, tire stores, and nonprofits with a cause to name a few.
Why do I hate them? First, the exact same ad for a business or nonprofit runs numerous times. Over and over, often times ten to fifteen minutes apart. Day in and day out for weeks or months at a time. Massive message oversaturation. Second, to make matters worse, they perpetuate the “It’s a Small World” syndrome. You know, that wretched song they play at Disneyworld as you ride in a cramped boat through a soggy tunnel looking at traditionally dressed fake children from around the world belting out the theme song. You hear it once and it sticks in your head for days and days and days. Disney mind control. Word has it Kim Jong-un plays it for foreign guests in lieu of waterboarding.
Many of these TV ads are accompanied by equally horrible jingles that make your hands shake and your eyes roll back in your head each time they come on. And, unfortunately, they stick with you for days too. You may even wake up in the middle of the night humming these wretched tunes. Don’t the business owners get that after only a few airings, ads turn into hugely annoying spectacles where everyone viewing them pledges to never buy a product from that advertiser EVER AGAIN! As the offending ads continue day in and day out, we viewers begin plotting the demise of the organization that paid for it, like hoping a tornado will flatten it or it will be consumed by flood waters. Oh please, divine intervention. Eventually these torture techniques go off the air and we all breathe a sigh of relief. Only to discover another monstrously infuriating ad has replaced the last one.
Even public service announcements get in on this act. One stands out. It consisted of showing a dead teenager after a night of drinking at a party. The body was either on the floor, staring blank-eyed at the camera in one version, or in a coffin in a funeral home in another. The mother or father stood there sobbing over the corpse. I was so put off by viewing this crappy scene for months while eating my bowl of cereal every morning, waiting for the weather forecast updates, that I finally took up early morning drinking. You know, dousing my Wheaties in Miller Light. Anything to take my mind off the dead teenager appearing every ten minutes on my TV. As I was eating my Breakfast of Champions, I would conjure up a sequel in which the dead teenager would get up, stumble out the door, track down the CEO of the goofy organization sponsoring the announcement, and drag her off into the woods. Poetic justice. The CEO is done in by her own creation.
Then again, I suppose I could just change the channel.