I would love to be a fly on the wall when advertising moguls get together to brainstorm on what lines they’re going to feed the public in order to get them to purchase their products.
So many of the ads coin phrases that encourage one to feel that the items have miraculous properties. Many of the skin-care creams show women who look reptilian prior to applying the so-called anti-wrinkling elixir. “It only takes one application to see results.” “After a week, your friends will remark on how much younger you look.” According to the ad, the reason you get such remarkable results is because the cream penetrates the skin and goes down several layers. Are they talking about skin or descending into a mine shaft?
“New and improved” always gets me. If it’s new isn’t it already improved? This is a particularly seductive statement in a culture that seems to get bored easily with the gadget of the moment. Companies know there is a contingency of the public that wants the latest and greatest. After all, if your phone can take pictures, make movies, take you to your destination and more, why not keep going and add a small vacuum, dishwasher and microwave for emergencies? You never know when you might be in the mood to vacuum your car or heat up a piece of pizza while you’re waiting for a light to change. Don’t want to waste any time!
Over-the-counter drugs for myriad problems offer “fast relief.” How fast will I be relieved? No one ever tells you. Lots of products now state they are “extra strength.” What does that mean? It means it will cost more money and you would probably get the same effect if you took two of the weaker stuff. But, hey, ad men know that faster or stronger sells. We need relief now!
My favorite ads are the ones on television for cleaning products that can virtually do anything. They not only remove stains, but they more than likely could whiten your teeth, repel mosquitoes and be used to remove odors.
Unfortunately P.T Barnum was right when he said, “There’s a sucker born every day.” I have fallen into the sucker trap over the years, but my sense of humor has helped me become more discerning. I hope yours will kick in, too.
Author, humorist, PBS star and Fortune 500 trainer Loretta LaRoche lives in Plymouth, Mass. To share your pet peeves, questions or comments, write to The Humor Potential, 50 Court St., Plymouth, MA 02360. Visit her website at www.stressed.com.