Every year a few weeks before the Super Bowl the hype starts. We get the standard inside stories about the teams and players, and the back stories about everything imaginable that might be of interest to the avid professional football fan.
There is also a lot of speculation about the advertising that will be aired for the first time before, during and just after the game. Some people watch the contest just for the advertising. If my favorite team is not on the field, that includes me.
Advertising intrigues me. It requires a creative streak I don’t have.
Sometimes I get the feeling these things come from a group of people “spitballing” around a conference room table. It would never occur to me, for example, to suggest the most interesting man in the world “once double-parked a train.” Who comes up with this stuff? Perhaps one person popped that out with a dozen other out-of-the-box-type thinkers who have, over the past couple of years, said “I’ve got an idea…”
Advertising does have a singular objective. It is intended to get people to take some action. I am afraid there are a few that have the reverse effect on me.
I will not, under any circumstance, be courteous in a checkout line by letting someone else go first while I sort through what I plan to buy. I don’t care if the other shopper has but one item and I have 37; there is no way I am willing to take the chance I will miss out on being the winner of thousands of dollars as the 1 millionth shopper.
Sadly for the advertiser, I can’t tell you what product or service is touted in that one.
The commercials for magical chemical remedies for what ails you lose me as well. Responsibly, some government agency or another requires warnings. It is hard to imagine that anyone will “ask your doctor” about a medicine that has death as a not-too-frequent but possible side effect. Is curing arthritis worth that risk?
I don’t know if there is an advertisement for a medicine that easies arthritis pain with the occasional side effect of death, but you get the point. I understand the need to understand the risk.
Is it a coincidence that often in the same commercial break there is a pitch by some attorney group urging people to join a class action suit because of the harm they claim caused serious problems? Probably.
Every time I hear one of those infomercials with the phrase “But wait…” I lose interest. I’ve learned “but wait” means the high speed spokesperson wants me to get two of something I don’t want one of.
It is hard to ignore all those infomercials. They are annoyingly frequent.
My wife and I recently got hooked by one of those new special hose commercials, the ones offering a hose that is perfect for nearly every possible use and that can be rolled up to fit in a small sandwich bag.
We were caught by the promise they were designed along the lines of a fire hose and there was a lifetime money back guarantee. We succumbed to the “but wait” phrase and bought two, plus an extra shipping and handling fee, of course.
As of this column, we are on our fifth such hose, awaiting the sixth. One of the first two hoses we purchased began leaking almost as soon as we hooked it up. The nearly no-hassle phone call got a promise of a replacement. Before it arrived, the second hose began to leak. That one lost so much water over the several feet of hose that none came out the business end.
Meanwhile, the first replacement arrived. It lasted about a week. I made another call and received another promise. The third hose lasted about 10 minutes. Still another call. The fourth to arrive lasted 10 days. So, another call. If you’ve been counting, the fifth hose is on the spigot. The sixth should be here eventually.
No. 5 still has its integrity so maybe we bought the “but wait” part before the hose production process was perfected. We will see how the sixth version works out, if it ever gets here.
Advertising obviously works. We bought the hoses. Often, though, it is more rewarding to observe the ad than buy the product.
Hawkins is retired after 35 years as a construction industry association manager. He was broadcast reporter and news anchor in Denver. As a Navy officer, he saw action in Vietnam in the River Assault Squadrons and is the recipient of a Silver Star and Purple Heart.