I swear that my dear Uncle George invented the first “mute” button for television. He was a very clever and electronically savy guy, and I remember going to my Aunt Edie and Uncle George’s house many years ago and discovering that he had found a way to electronically mute the television when commercials came on. It was amazing!
These days, with the flip of a switch, or a click of a remote or mouse we can ignore television or online commercials to our hearts’ content. We love to hate ads.
But here is my confession; our family income for the last 30 or so years has mainly come from commercial production because that’s what my husband does for a living. Sometimes he turns to me after showing me a new spot (that’s television lingo for commercial) and asks me “But do you think it will sell (fill in the blank)?” He genuinely wants his clients to succeed.
Now before you write us off as sleazy “Mad Men” ad types, let’s take a step back and think about it for a minute. There are a lot of people you know, perhaps including yourself, who work for or own small businesses or big companies who create services or products that all of us require or want. How do you let anyone know that you even exist without some kind of advertising? If you don’t get customers or clients, you fail. If you don’t sound your horn as loud or louder than your competitors, nobody hears you. Our economy succeeds when businesses, big and small, thrive. And as much as you might hate to admit it, advertising is a big part of that.
Word of mouth is certainly one way to succeed in selling a service or product, sticking out a sign or knocking on doors might work to some degree, but that would confine you to a very small, local circle at first and take time to spread. Newspaper, magazine, radio and television, and more recently online advertising is a way to spread that word more quickly and to more people.
Now I know, there are some pretty annoying commercials out there, whether it’s the voice over (that’s lingo for the voice you hear “over” the video you see in television), the weird music, the actors, or just the overall concept of an ad. Sometimes I watch those over-the-top, big budget national car or perfume spots and wonder “what the heck was that all about??” I’m sure you can all recall a commercial that really got on your nerves or left you with a ?.
But you have to admit, you’ve also seen some very creative and entertaining commercials over the years (those of you who have been actually watching or listening for years!). There are some really clever creative people out there, my husband included, who spend all or most of their time thinking of ways to draw your attention, whether it’s by making you laugh, cry, surprising you or simply introducing you to something new and exciting. And what if you hadn’t found out about that great sale at ____? You would never have saved all that money! When you’re in the market to buy something, you are paying a LOT of attention to ads because you want the best deal you can get!
Do commercials succeed? Well, if they didn’t, they would have fizzled out a long, long time ago. And as little as you might consider it, much of what you hear or view, your favourite programs, online content, radio talk shows, whatever you like, is there for you to enjoy because of advertising dollars.
I know I’m not going to talk you out of that mouse click or that PVR fast forward, but the next time you see a commercial that makes you laugh, remember that some people went to an awful lot of trouble hoping that you would!