When one examines the putrid state of today's world of advertising and marketing, it should be easy to be recognize part of the reason our society is in such a state of distress.
The problem ranges far beyond the grammatical slop that we hear in promotions, including McDonald's, "I'm lovin' it," and "The more you shop, the more you Kohl's, "Nobody Doesn't Like Sara Lee", and Servicemaster's, "Like It Never Even Happened."
Television is blanketed with ads for dangerous drugs with side effects ranging from suicidal thoughts to death, yet when we become ill, we demand that our physicians prescribe something not to cure us, but to treat our symptoms. Despite the availability of all of these "marvelous" medications, we are the sickest people on earth spending the greatest amount per capita of any nation in the world on health. Addiction to legally prescribed medications is an increasingly prominent cause of death, including the loss of many celebrities.
The sports sections of many major newspapers, including "One of America's Great Newspapers," have become the smut sections with products designed to facilitate "good sex". Even on primetime broadcasts, we, including our impressionable children, receive information on products to treat erectile dysfunction. The "family hour" from days of yore is a distant memory, tossed in the trash along with broadcast standards. Today, one must be always on guard for embarrassing ads that one will be hard-pressed to explain to young, inquiring minds. Must such ads be presented to children watching baseball games in early evening? How did we ever reach this point?
Former Saturday Night Live comedian Norm McDonald, apparently desperate for money, is seen on a Banksville Road billboard in a promotion for a cut-rate automobile insurer which seeks out the bottom of the client barrel, those who have had multiple fault accidents. Anyone is insurable! You are an unsafe driver? Who cares?
McDonald encourages the public to "Do the Minimum. I do." This means that since owning and operating a vehicle is now seen as a right rather than a privilege, and because individuals must carry automobile insurance, according to McDonald and the company for which he prostitutes himself, only minimum coverage is necessary. What this translates into is, "I, the policyholder, am poor. I demand my 'right' to drive at the cheapest possible price. If I have a serious accident which creates significant damage, I will not have sufficient coverage to make whole the person I have struck. Who cares? The victim's only recourse would be to sue, and if he or she does so successfully, all they will get is a worthless legal judgment that I will never be able to pay! The heck with my fellow drivers! I can be as irresponsible as I wish! I get to use my money for important things like cigarettes, booze and my $150 monthly cell phone bill. Who needs a sufficient amount of insurance coverage to protect others?"
I hope that those who are responsible for the ads which help to diminish us are proud of their handiwork.
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