About the last twenty years of their lives, my parents muted television commercials. My Dad was the czar of the remote. Whatever he might be doing, he stopped long enough to tap the remote, muting each commercial. It was odd. He had to watch intently, or he might miss part of the program, for him, usually a sports event.
Now, after secretly laughing at their little quirk, I find myself doing the same thing, but not for all commercials. On this, the ninth anniversary of my Dad’s passing to the Lord, I must confess to muting some television commercials. What are they?
Any Medicare Insurance Advisor Commercials – If you aren’t old enough, you would not understand, but you can only sign up for supplemental insurance at two points in your life, upon turning 65 years old or during the free enrollment period from about mid-October until early in December of each year. A commercial then is okay, if the company is reputable, by I doubt some are. If the company that you select is a fraud, you are stuck with them until the next enrollment period a year later. From a bad experience that my wife and I are having this year, I suggest that all seniors re-enroll with their supplements, both supplemental and pharmacy every year – at least a detailed check, even if you research the plan and choose the exact same plan again. Being former military, I have USAA and they have a calculator on their website, comparing all plans. Their pharmacy calculator lets me enter every prescription medicine and will give me annual cost for each plan. I am sure there are others that do that – leading to no hard pressure salesman selling you something that makes them a large commission and costs you money. If the insurance company changes the name of your plan, but says, when you call on the phone, that it’s the same thing, just a different name, RUN FOR THE HILLS. As Admiral Ackbar from Star Wars said, “It’s a trap!!!!” This warning is from firsthand experience.
My reason for muting these commercials is that they tell you they can help you and they say “Call now!” They will try to sell you something that you don’t need that is overpriced and finally add after an hour of confusion that you wasted your time, and to call them back in late October. And when the company that uses Joe Namath as the spokesman has him on, why does Namath say “Dental” as if it is a question? Did he not get the memo? There ought to be a law…
Wrinkle Removers – The one that is a cream is horribly offensive, and it lasts the entire commercial break. I worked hard for these wrinkles! Why would I want to get rid of them? But seriously, one commercial starts with two narcissistic octogenarians asking who that was in the mirror because it wasn’t them. How hokey!!!! Okay, if they are only in their sixties, they ought to give the old-person face that they have on back to the 80-something they stole it from… Then they have this woman with wrinkles on her forehead who pretends to almost say a word that you can’t say on television. Why?!?!?! What she says afterwards is fine without cussing. The company used her joke to attract people to what she was saying – a clear sign that our nation has gone deeper into the sewer when cussing is attractive – to some people. Then they show a before and after picture of a self-identified 50-something that looks like she is a 90-something. (I thought of saying that she looks like the missing link, but that would be naughty.) The two photos are so bad, due to her ruddy complexion, that they look the same (being an exercise guru, she uses the tan salon too much). Why buy something, if you can’t tell the difference? And why worry about it anyway? Own it. You worked hard for it. A lot of people don’t live long enough to see wrinkles. Praise God you have them. There are other commercials regarding pills and injections, but this one is too much and much too long.
A National Organization to Protect Animals – Their commercials, like the wrinkle commercials are lengthy, and the ones on my weather station have become a game for me. The woman says, “Within the next minute…” Then I say, “You get muted!!!!” Actually, in that one, they show a beagle in a cage, who sadly looks at the camera. I had beagles growing up that looked just like her and on a hot day, had no more energy than the one in the video, not proof of abuse or neglect. Is the dog really sad? Then Basset Hounds are the saddest animals on the face of the planet! The part that I don’t like about these ads is that most of the videos could have been from our backyard when I was growing up. There are some injured or sick animals in the videos, but that is not proof of abuse. Then I think, why are you cramming your morality down my throat? Who allowed you to play God? Who gets to decide that one animal is being cared for properly and another is neglected? Yes, there are those on the extremes that are obvious. They need to be dealt with, but the gray area in the middle allows these do-gooder organizations to take the family pets away from loving families. The winter videos look sad, but these animals may have been bred to handle such environments. The worst abuse is to have an all-season hunting dog trapped in an apartment in the city, yet they would see a pampered dog and think that to be wonderful. Are there knowledgeable people making these moral decisions before they “raid” someone’s property? I think they overextend their side of the gray area to the detriment of others. Removing the really bad people is a good thing, but they overreach in my book.
As for short commercials that I have seen lately that irritate, but too short to mute, there is one for a pouched drink where the girl states that children today are ready to take matters into their own hands. In the commercial a group of girls moves the cafeteria tables around so that the isolated boy, isolated by bullies in a clique, will have someone to eat with. First, the girls would have their own clique and not notice or care. Second, it harkens memories to a mass shooting a few years ago at a high school. The surviving students continue to get in the news years later as they press Congress for stricter gun control. Never considering that their actions or the atmosphere that they created at their school could have been the tipping point. It makes me wonder that if these children are so self-aware that they become politically active at the federal level, I have no wonder how an average student who has mental problems, or is just socially awkward, could feel all alone in a crowd like that. He is made to feel inferior due to the perceived excellence of everyone else. It is wrong to take matters into your own hands and kill your classmates, but it is a bit wrong to be so above everyone else, demanding your voice to be heard while ignoring those around you that you stepped upon in order to be heard. Children taking matters into their own hands reminds me of Lord of the Flies.
And who doesn’t love a family enjoying a peaceful meal of Mac-n-Cheese – But how does each commercial start? One with the “parent” chasing the child through the house screaming “One more bite!” Another with a boy seeing fish for supper and pretending to throw up. And a third with two children swearing that they will sleep at the kitchen table that night, because they were not eating what was on their plates. My wife loves these commercials because they play an Enya song at the end during the idyllic meal. I like Enya too, but… Thank you, Madison Avenue, for teaching the next generation Great Parenting Skills. I think the children are in control in each of these situations and the parents are clueless. Now, the microwaved French fry commercial is a little better with the parent bribing the child to eat broccoli by rewarding her with French fries. Maybe not great parenting, but both sides got what they desired.
And one insurance company wanted to be COVID-19 responsible by giving $2 billion dollars back to their subscribers. They have $2 billion dollars are ready cash, sitting around, to just throw around? Hey subscribers, that’s just a drop in the bucket compared to the money that they make off your hard-earned premiums!!!! I don’t think Madison Avenue thought of different ways to interpret that one. They look like the rich man that only throws the dog a bone when millions of eyes are looking in their direction.
Now for a heart-warmer – A dog food commercial has a dog enter a hospital room and the little girl squeals with delight as she had dreaded another treatment. The girl pets the dog as she says that it is pretty. It is heart-warming, but the dog just sits there. Is it a male dog wanting to be called “Handsome?” Does it matter? It is a breed bred to be calm in uncomfortable situations and trained for that purpose also. The dog does what they do instinctively, and we are richer for it. Yes, treat the dog well with a balanced diet, but don’t attribute human traits to what the dog is doing. Thank God that He saw fit to create that kind of animal.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.