As you might be are aware, I measure society by the quality of our television commercials, and I regret to tell you that we appear to be entering a time of great uncertainty.
I fear that the halcyon days of “Try it, you’ll like it” and “Where’s the beef” may be gone forever as we stumble down a path of national and commercial darkness.
It’s not just that creativity is lacking, it’s that the advertising field as a whole seems to be operating at an intelligence level normally associated with dairy cattle.
Perhaps you noticed the ice cream and tortilla chip commercials where they brag that their products are made with “real ingredients.”
Fine, but arsenic can be an “ingredient.” Every processed foodstuff on the face of the planet is made from “real ingredients,” regardless of whether they contain any actual food.
I’d be fine with it if I thought that these companies were merely trying to pull the wool over our eyes and make the food sound wholesome, even if it’s not.
But I don’t get that impression. I think whoever wrote the ad copy is under the delusion that “real ingredients” are always going to be good things. That’s an indicator of a society on the brink.
So is the commercial for eye drops where the woman (and you’re supposed to believe her because she’s a doctor) just about makes it through her entire 60-second commercial spot without blinking.
I guess as commercials go it’s good, because it sure holds my attention as I wait to see if a silty crust is going to form over her corneas that has to be removed with a water cannon. But it’s just kind of spooky the way she’s staring at you like a lizard, to the point I really don’t want any part of what she’s selling.
Nor do I understand the Viagra “this is the age of knowing how to get things done” series. To illustrate the point, we see a guy whose engine overheats, so he throws a bottle of cold water in the radiator.
First, this symbolically seems like the opposite of the message a product such as Viagra should be trying to send. But second — and I realize these ads are written by people in New York high-rises who probably have never seen an automobile engine in their lives — is topping off a radiator really such an act of mechanical wizardry? Holy smokes. Next thing you know, the dude’s going to be pumping his own gas.
But even so, he will not be outdone by the cowboy who is in a pickup truck pulling his draft horses behind him in a trailer. The pickup becomes stuck in a mud puddle, causing its rear wheels to spin, at which point the man removes the horses from the trailer and hitches them to the truck. He then gets back in the cab of the pickup (for some reason), and holding on to the reins and leaning out the window, he urges the horses to pull the truck and trailer out of the puddle.
The problem is that this man is on the wrong medication. Instead of Viagra, he needs to be taking whatever drug it is they use to treat dementia, because he is driving what is clearly a four-wheel-drive pickup. Yet, he doesn’t remember that, and instead of adding power to the front wheels, which are resting on dry, solid ground, he goes into full 20-mule-team-Borax mode, which probably explains why he isn’t getting home until 10 at night.
If you can watch this and still feel positive about the direction of our country, I have some real ingredients I’d like to sell you.
Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 6997, or via email at email@example.com. Tune in to the Rowland Rant at www.herald-mail.com, on antpod.com or on Antietam Cable’s WCL-TV Channel 30 at 6:30 p.m. New episodes are released every Wednesday.