Thursday, May 17, 2007

Find A "Need" And Fill It?

I mentioned in my previous entry that I'd been thinking about doing a post concerning TV advertising, but maybe I'll widen my scope a bit. Believe it or not, I actually have hours and hours of old TV commercials on tape and I watch them from time to time for entertainment!

What I'm curious about is how so many people (myself, included) have come to be bamboozled into thinking that certain items are such necessities that entire industries spring up and prosper by serving these "needs." Here goes...

I'm certain if someone from 1964 was magically transported to the present day, he'd be convinced that somehow those "dirty commies" had succeeded in sabotaging our country's water processing plants. What other explanation could there possibly be for people buying cases and cases and cases of BOTTLED WATER?

I'm looking for the day I read a news story about someone dying of dehydration because they were stuck in their house with a fully functional kitchen faucet, but were unable to get to the store to buy their friggin' 144 count case of Aqua-Fina!

Another future headline:

Mother Rushes Three Year Old To Poison Control Center!
Tot Found Drinking From Water Tap -
Full Recovery Doubtful
How did we get to the point of thinking we had to pay $1.00 a mouthful for drinking water? What mass hypnosis is responsible for the irrational behavior? The beverage industry is no doubt looking into ways to market fresh air.

Taco Bell's "Fourthmeal!" Now, this one probably won't be as pernicious as that bottled water thing. But who knows?

I can imagine some corporate wag saying, "Oh, we're having fun with this one! Fourthmeal is that meal between dinner and breakfast. Heh, heh, heh. It's a cute and edgy concept. You know, Gorditos aren't just for breakfast anymore!"

But in their dark heart-of-hearts they're hoping people will be setting their alarm clocks for 3:00 am, panicked, lest they forget the "fourth most important meal of the day!"

"Mommy, I'm hungry! I didn't have my fourthmeal!"

Oh no! Don't let Social Services find out, you poor excuse for a parent!

One of my favorite movies is "That Thing You Do." There is a scene in the Patterson's appliance store where Skitch's Dad is looking at a newspaper ad for a competitor's store.

"Look at that," he grouses. "A shoe shine kit! You can't just grab a rag and shine your shoes any more. You need a shoe shine kit!" (He practically spits out the last three words, such is his contempt for the concept of a "shoe shine kit.")

Well, I feel the same way about these "swiffer" products. Aren't we using enough needlessly expensive disposable stuff yet? And the TV commercial is a CGI extravaganza showing the mop propelling itself through an upscale house leaving sparkling, cleaned-and-waxed floors in its wake. Uh, its not really that great a thrill, guys.

"You just can't grab a rag and clean your floors anymore. You need a swiffer mop! And its one-use-only tampax mop-head! And the 16-oz cleaner refill! Mutter... Mutter... Mutter..."


Blogger whimsical brainpan said...

I don't drink bottled water. I am lucky enough to live in a plaace with excellent water quality. Still it boggles my mind that people actually buy it.

May 17, 2007 5:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember when those twist-tie thingies used to fall out of a new box of trash bags. Did people really use those things? Or, like me, did they simply make a knot out of the top corners of the bag ...? Thankfully, today you can spend an extra 3 bucks per carton for the ones that have the closure tie manufactured into the bag itself... Progress, I guess.

May 17, 2007 6:43 PM  
Blogger Bardouble29 said...

I just bought a filter to go over our faucet. The water tastes terrible, no matter how much you try to pretend it doesn't. At least the filter takes some of the nasty taste away.

May 17, 2007 8:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, here's one that addresses both of your subjects - a stupid commercial which is lame because it advertises a useless product. I just saw an ad for Volvo's "heartbeat sensor" which is a feature on their keychain remote that warns you if there is an intruder sitting in your car. Beep, beep, beep! For all those times when an intruder is sitting in your car waiting for you to finish your shopping errands. How many times does that happen? Oh ya, NEVER!! What Volvo needs to add to their remote is a PARANOIA sensor!

May 17, 2007 9:32 PM  
Blogger Craig D said...

whim & bardouble29: I have a shame-filled admission to make. I've been using a BRITTA filter pitcher for the past 9 years! Those 90 day filters are about $7 a pop.

ian: A HEARTBEAT SENSOR to detect the inevitable backseat Volvo intruder?!?!? It's been said that "sex sells" but it's more recently been pointed out that "fear sells!" I think Michael Moore went on at length about that idea in "Bowling For Columbine."

May 18, 2007 6:44 AM  
Blogger furiousBall said...

Swiffer is crap, all you need to do is duct tape your cat to a broom handle and viola! Clean floors and fun for the cat.

May 18, 2007 12:01 PM  
Blogger CS said...

Americans have an insane fixation with disposable things. No wonder we're in so much trouble.

May 19, 2007 7:18 PM  
Blogger Judy said...

You are in good form on this one, Craig! LOL all the way through it.

"Gorditos aren't just for breakfast anymore" - ah hahahahaha!

Of course, here we drink - shudder - tap water... and you know what happened to us... (In case you forgot, nothing that $700 in medical tests and appointments, a couple hundred dollars worth of water tests, and a new $11,000 well couldn't fix... er, well, kinda fix. That doesn't count being shunned by friends and relations.) Hey! Do we drink bottled water now? Nope.

I wonder if I'm the only person alive who washes and re-uses a swifter pad over and over and over and ...

And what about those "Ask your doctor if Celebriagraestohemaroidalperkybreathalizatrix is right for you!" (Probably is if you don't drink the bottled water).

May 21, 2007 9:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Wizard,

Use that "Celebriag..." stuff with caution. Side effects are generally mild, but in rare cases, some users have reported yellowing of the fingernails, temporary eyelash loss, irreversible arterial sclerosis and little red, pussy lesions in and around the belly button.

May 21, 2007 11:07 AM  
Blogger Craig D said...

ian, wiz: I'm reminded of this item from

FDA Approves Sale Of Prescription Placebo

May 21, 2007 11:37 AM  
Blogger Judy said...

Ah, a prescription placebo is something we all need.

Have you ever heard Steve Goodman's Vegematic song? It starts:

Fell asleep last night with the TV on,
Oh what a dream I had.
I dreamed I went and answered every single one
Of those late night mail order ads;
Four to six weeks later,
What to my surprise,
The mailman came to my front door
And I couldn't believe my eyes,

When he brought the Vegematic
And the Pocket Fisherman too
An illuminated illustrated history of life
And Box Car Willie with a Ginzu knife
A bamboo steamer, and a Garden Weasel too
And a tie-dyed, dayglow souvenir shirt
From Six Flags Over Burbank.

All I can say is, BE CAREFUL!

May 21, 2007 9:16 PM  

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