Saturday, January 9, 2010

What's the Message?

Advertising is, by it's nature, getting you to do something you wouldn't have done without its help. I wouldn't own a Snuggie, nor have given them as gifts, if it wasn't for advertising. Would you know about the great deal on Coke this weekend at the grocery store, if you didn't have the flyer from the newspaper? How would you know who the candidates in that upcoming election are, and what's wrong with their opponent, without commercials? Perhaps that's taking things a bit far. Nevertheless, it's all about getting you the information you need to choose to do what they would like you to do.

"As Seen On TV!" may not carry the cachet it once did, since there are so many other ways to get your message out, but it's still one of the most powerful mediums available. Think of the sheer number of products you've heard about on your television. The message can last forever, long past the actual product's lifetime. "It slices, it dices!" Thank you, Ginsu knife! Then there are the items that you remember because of the pitchman, and how well he does his job. Billy Mays sold millions of products, simply by doing a fantastic presentation in a short time. OxiClean, OrangeGlo, Mighty Putty (and many, many more!) are all in use in lots of homes, thanks to him. And don't forget K-Tel. Why spend $20, $30, or more for all those different albums, when they've put together the best tracks of the year all on one platter, and for only $4.95? If you've been in range of a TV in your lifetime, you know how well the message gets through on TV.

Of course, there are so many ways to mangle your message. For every "Everyone know's it's Slinky!" there is a Domino's Noid. Sprint's commercials with all the numbers are clever once, but they grow old quickly, and the only reason I remember Sprint is because their ads annoy me. But there's one product I have in mind that, at least for me, completely misses the mark, and makes me want to not only avoid their product, but convince others not to buy it either. Those of you who know me, you know what's coming. If you've watched a football game in the last sixteen weeks, you've definitely heard from them. I speak of Cialis.

Cialis must be doing something right, since they keep making the ads. I cannot, for the life of me, figure out what it is. You've got a nondescript couple doing either everyday things, or obviously special things, all the while shooting lurid glances at each other. They live on isolated cliffs, or in homes so uncluttered and large that they could start a basketball game in the entrance hall; perhaps they're so bored from being so far apart from themselves in the large house and isolated from others, they can't help acting this way when they see each other. Or maybe it's the Cialis. It must be, because the very same man
that we've just seen acting all teenagerish is about to stop what he's doing and talk directly out of the TV at us. Wait, what? You're all Cialis-ed up, been making googly eyes at your wife, even went to the trouble of hauling two bathtubs up the cliff so they could each sit in one and hold hands in between them while admiring the view (HUH?), and you're going to stop right now and tell us about the side effects? So, we get what Cialis does, all right. Perhaps it's not the E.D. that's the trouble in the relationship, Mr. Creepy, but maybe it's the talking to the mysterious people right smack in the middle of your romantic moment that's causing the bedroom to be a bit cooler than the rest of the house!

Augh! Thanks for letting me get that out. I obviously have no need for Cialis, so maybe I just don't get it. Even if I were to have a friend that needed some help, I'd tell him, "do what you have to do, but stay away from Cialis." Everything about those commercials just rubs me the wrong way. If ever an ad campaign failed to make a positive impression, it's this one.

Now if Billy Mays had sold Cialis, I'd have bought several hundred dollars worth by now.


  1. Here are my two cents, for what they're worth. Cialis, and other similar products, are successful for one reason and one reason only. There's only one thing that most heterosexual men fear more than the perception of being gay, and that's the inability to perform. There's no more certain way to get a straight guy to fight than to question his sexual orientation or to suggest that he can't get it up. It's just the way their brains work. As for the TV ads, it almost doesn't matter what images the ads contain. If sexual function and satisfaction are guaranteed, men will buy the product. Period. On this Earth, it's as certain as gravity. My own belief is that the content of the ads isn't so much for the target demographic as for the folks who oversee television standards. The reason why ED products are so heavily advertised on TV is that they're made acceptable with images of romance and love. Without them, they'd probably be banned just like condom ads. Anyway, that's what I think. Anybody else have any comments on this?


  2. Just an addendum...I think those who set television standards should be billed for the cost of unwanted pregnancies in this country. Their refusal to air condom ads on TV is, I believe, largely responsible for our general failure to use them. Again, just my two cents, for what it's worth.


  3. My favorite comment I've heard after a Cialis Commercial is " If I had a five hour erection, I'd be calling all my friends, not my Doctor"