Saturday, March 19, 2011

March Madness

Ah, the anticipation of March Madness grew and grew as this wacky time of year approached and when it arrived, the most avid fan was sated - that's if your an avid fan of commercials.  The genius who came up with this concept had to be an advertising executive.

It's true, my friends, you do get to see some great basketball between these commercials and the national exposure for these college athletes is fantastic, but I can see why the networks paid a combined billion and a half  dollars to the NCAA for advertising time.  No you didn't read incorrectly; I did say BILLION.

Now I have to admit, I hate commercials.  I didn't used to, but since my physical activities lessened and I began to listen to more radio and watch more TV, I developed an abhorring taste for the constant interruptions of programming by stupid commercials.  Some ads are mildly cute, but most are a personal affront to any sane person.  And how many times does it take to see the same commercial, cute or not, to drive you crazy?  Hey, there's another reason for a government study that cost hundreds of million taxpayer dollars.  I guess the rote method of learning lives on.

I have changed batteries in my remote twice already changing stations to catch games on CBS, TBS, TNT and something called TRU TV, which is a station I never even knew existed.  I don't know if I have a special talent or the advertising gods are onto me, but when a team on CBS breaks for commercial, I switch to another game (let's say on TBS) to catch the action, but invariably, I get more commercials.  Then, in a great display of optimism, I flip to another game (let's say TNT) only to see the same commercial I muted on station number one.  At this point the ad gods are batting a 750 average, so I figure there's no way they can hit 1000.  Wrong.  As I reluctantly change to channel number four, (by now I'm usually in total confusion about which channel has which game - let's say TRU) I witness another car ad.

The last I read, advertising takes up 22 minutes of every hour of TV programming. That's slightly more than 36% of programming time.  If you watch your favorite hour-long program, you are exposed to over a third of that hour being enticed by some company to purchase their product.  Maybe it wouldn't be so bad if the ads weren't so inane and redundant.  But then again, how many different ways can you promote a product that is basically the same as ten of their competitors? 

I am going to write my state senator to deliver a bill to demand one day a year free of advertising.  I know the advertising lobby is too strong to ever let it pass, but just imagine that day.  Envision a full day of 36% dead air time on the radio and TV.  To give you an idea of what this would be like, tomorrow cut out all the advertising in your local newspaper and see the results.  Imagine empty billboards and adless computer time.  I'm getting excited just thinking about it.

1 comment:

  1. It gets worse if you're a radio fan. Here in L.A., where there are, at last count, over 80 FM stations, some diabolical SOB has managed to collaborate with most of the other stations to run ad blocks simultaneously. That means that it no longer helps to change stations because station "B" -- and C and D and E -- will be running its own ads at precisely the same time as station "A." Talk about driving you nuts!

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