Today I'm going to talk about commercials. We all know commercials and other advertisements have only one purpose -- to convince you to buy something. They can do this in a multitude of ways. Sometimes they'll use weirdness to make the product stick in your memory, sometimes they'll use cool effects, or celebrity endorsements. Sometimes they will even demonstrate the product, and then keep driving the price down until it is impossible to resist. Late at night, this technique works wonders on people like me who cannot be simultaneously trusted with both credit cards and alcohol.
About 15 years ago, I bought a Soloflex machine in the middle of a 3am showing of First Blood because at that exact moment of drunkenness, I sincerely believed that it could make me as hardcore as Sylvester Stallone in only 15 minutes a day. I sold it about a year later. While it didn't get me ripped like Sly, I can say this: Those things will hold a truly amazing amount of clothes.
Also, flowbees do kinda work. Don't ask me how I know.
That being said, there is one marketing technique that drives me nuts, and that is using babies in commercials. Now it's all good if you're using the baby to sell baby stuff. You want to use a little pooper to sell diapers, baby food, carseats or toys? Knock yourself out. That's fine. The thing I have a problem with is the whole blatantly manipulative attempt to pull the viewer's heartstrings with a gratuitous baby.
A gratuitous baby is there for one reason only -- to try to make you go "awwwww, isn't that cute" or to make you think that you'll be considered a better parent if you buy whatever shit they're selling.
I haven't been blinded by babies, since I don't have any. I don't know if that's the reason these commercials are so incredibly transparent to me or not. In the last three days, I've seen babies used to sell cars, insurance, breakfast cereal, flooring and allergy medicine, just to name a few. In all cases, the baby had absolutely nothing to do with the product. How stupid do these marketers think people are? Sadly, the answer is probably "not as stupid as people actually are."
These babies are always the perfect specimens, too. Happy, smiling, well-behaved, pretty little babies. They never show them like they sometimes really are. I think there's an untapped marketing resource here. It could be huge. Here's a few of my ideas:
Man: "For god's sake, Carol, can't you shut that kid up? He's been screaming for 3 hours. He's giving me a frickin' migraine."
Woman: "What the hell do you want from me? I've tried everything short of a pillow, but he's teething.
Announcer: "Don't smother your baby. Instead, try new extra-strength Excedrin Migraine. It gets into your system 3 times faster than other brands."
Man: [walking into room] "Jeez, It really stinks in here."
Woman: "Yes, little bobby has the runs. He's pooping his diaper faster than I can change it."
Announcer: "For those tough to handle odors like crap and puke, try new Glad FreshAire diaper crystals. They don't just mask odor, they destroy it at the source -- your baby's butt."
[Screaming baby in background]
Man: [Punching hole in sheetrock] "SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! JUST SHUT THE HELL UP!!!!"
Announcer: Do you sometimes feel Angry? Depressed? Do you feel like your life is falling apart and you aren't in control? Check with your doctor to see if Prozac might be right for you.
[Screaming baby in background]
Man: [Puts on Bose Noise-cancellation headphones, and sits back, a peaceful smile on his face.]
All you marketers out there, how about it? Tell it like it is, that's all I'm askin.