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Guest column | Jim Aylward

Commercials guaranteed to drive you bonkers

I just hate it when a termite the size of Shaquille O'Neal rings the door bell asking for directions. I can see his old car out there and another termite waiting for him to go to the next place. I can't really understand what he's saying, but I know I don't like it.

I can't understand why pest control commercials on television have to show me huge bugs walking, talking and driving. I know they think they have to have a gimmick, but I don't want to look at it.

That commercial spot usually is followed by a huge ugly something crawling out of a sink and sewing very large saddle-back cockroaches all over the county. Nice? No.

I know a little bit about commercials. My first big job in broadcasting was in Medford, Mass., writing commercials for local sponsors — car dealers and restaurants. I could sell tail fins and wrap-around windows and submarine sandwiches. I learned how to sell the sizzle.

Today, a lot of local commercials are loud, shouting, perky and generally unpleasant. Commercials for local car dealers feature young blondes in red dresses excited about something. The rush too many words together. They say everything with a toothy smile. Do you know how difficult it is to talk properly when you're smiling constantly?

And then there are agencies and/or clients who insist on ending commercials with somebody else's slogan.

"I guarantee it!''

The man who established that line sells men's clothes. But now it is being used by the owner of a local restaurant. He promises your satisfaction, too.

"I guarantee it!''

He likely thinks that's clever, but it isn't.

I can't stand the very long and expensive commercials turned out by the people at the oil company that caused the spill in the gulf. They tell us they're committed and that they're a part of us. They want us to eat shrimp. They even hired local folks from the gulf coast to shill for them.

I'm not buying it. I don't mean the shrimp. I mean I'm not buying their stated commitment.

Are you thinking of buying a car? Have you noticed that almost all of these expensive cars now look alike. They look just like the less-expensive cars. It used to be a very luxurious automobile had its own, terrific style. Not today. Cars that cost a lot look, in their commercials, almost identical to the cheaper cars costing less.

At least a car doesn't come with a list of side effects. The disclaimers on health-care-related commercials are too much. I love that one of the potential results of one medication is sudden death. There are plenty of other ailments, too.

Actor/director/activist Emilio Estevez was quoted in the July issue of Science of Mind magazine: "if you watch television of any length of time, you're going to feel there's a lot wrong with you; your body doesn't work, you have pains you didn't know you had, you're depressed, you're overweight, your teeth aren't bright enough, on and on and on.''

He's right and he didn't even have to guarantee it.

Of course, there is a three-letter remedy to this commercial-induced malaise:

PBS.

Jim Aylward of New Port Richey was formerly a nationally syndicated columnist and radio host in New York City.

Commercials guaranteed to drive you bonkers 09/06/12 [Last modified: Thursday, September 6, 2012 5:12pm]

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