Tuesday, January 31, 2012



Yours truly listens to a lot of radio, especially news radio and talk radio. While the commercial announcements on such radio stations are generally better than the ads on television, the inanity of which nearly matches that of the shows they sponsor, radio has more than its shares of genuinely stupid advertising. Two ads that are currently running on the news/talk circuit are especially worthy of note for their sheer idiocy.

Note that I do not remember what specific product either of these ads is promoting. It is a maxim of advertising that no matter how good, bad, or simply attention grabbing an ad is, it is worthless if the ad does not sell the product, and the product cannot be sold if the typical listener cannot remember what product the ad is intended to promote. Such a shortcoming may not be present in either of these ads; neither ad is good but both are certainly attention getting, mostly by virtue of their astronomically high annoyance factors. That I cannot remember what product (or service) either is promoting may be more a function of my not now or ever being in the market for the types of products being promoted and hence not paying close attention to the name of the sponsor. Or maybe not; perhaps these are just lousy ads on every front. That digression having been endured, we can move on to my tirades concerning these extraordinarily, even by standards of advertising, inane radio commercials.

The first ad is set in the form of a phone call from an anonymous, or at least unnamed, woman caller to her friend Claire. Claire is not home or is, wisely as it apparently turns out, simply avoiding the caller and, hence, the call is answered by a machine or similar means of voicemail. The caller goes on to explain to Clair that she (the caller) is enamored of a new product that somehow balances her hormones and helps her eliminate her “belly fat.”


Who is Claire and why does she want to know about her caller’s belly fat? Do women, or men, call each other to discuss their belly fat? I guess I can see how belly fat might work its way into a wide ranging conversation, but does anyone call her (or his, I suppose) friends expressly to discuss one’s belly fat? Do people want to hear about their friends’ bouts with belly fat? I suppose there could an obvious reason that Claire might be concerned about her caller’s belly fat, but, in that case, one would suppose that Claire would already be painfully, or at least dyspeptically, aware of her caller’s belly fat; she would not need a phone call to know that her lover suffers from a bout with belly fat. If the callee is not so aware, perhaps the term “lover” does not extend to the physical realm, which, one supposes, would miss the whole point of the exercise. At any rate, even if the last explanation holds some water, how many of you would like your lover, wife, or husband to call to discuss his or her belly fat? Isn’t there a more convenient and appropriate forum for such discussion?

The second ad, for a service that allows you to pretend you have an office at some “prestigious address” and will even provide conference rooms for you to conduct meeting for unsuspecting clients and potential clients, features some businesswoman telling us that

To my friends, I work out of my home. To my clients, I work out of the Empire State Building.”

So the relationship starts with deception and proceeds to ongoing series of lies about something as basic as the location of the person with whom you are doing business. This does not sound like the type of business relationship I would want to embark on any more than I would want to pursue a friendship with someone who wants to yammer on about his or her belly fat. However, this scheme by which you can lie to your clients and potential clients about your business address does say something about the current state of things in America, where, of course, everything is looking up and our best days are ahead of us: “Prestige” is more important than honesty and forthrightness. O tempora, o mores!

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