Uncomfortable Much?

>> Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Sometimes I think that advertisers don't always listen to (or read) their ads before they go to air or print.

At least, I can hope this to be true.

I am not hostile to advertising, nor am I all that picky. (Honest.) I fully understand that some of the most effective ads are the most irritating simply because they are irritating.

Sometimes, though, I just have to wonder, "What were they thinking?"

Take Facebook for example. Each day Facebook users are inundated with advertisements on the right side of their pages extorting us to buy this or that or sign up for this or that service. My personal favorite is the one that says, "President Obama wants Moms to go back to college!" He does? What about dads? stepmoms? childless married couples? Does he want them to go back to college, too? I later learned that on some of my male friend's pages, the ad reads, "President Obama wants Dads to go back to college!" To me, this begs the question, did the ad-preparer really think that the ads would be more effective if it said, "Mom" or "Dad" instead of "Parents?" or how about, "President Obama wants adults to go back to college." Honestly, I don't think the reference to "mom" made me at all more likely to click the ad. I can't say I totally appreciated that the picture shown with the ad was of a well-styled mom holding lots of shopping bags. Hey, if she can afford to buy all that stuff, why should she go back to college? She seems to be doing just fine on her own.

Another of those Facebook ads that I find rather disturbing is the one with three women standing there in cyberspace under the title, "Cervical Cancer and You."

What is this, a party? Thanks, but this is one invitation you can keep to yourselves.

I am presuming (and this might be dangerous) that the goal is to have me so interested that I click on the ad and learn all I need to know about protecting myself from cervical cancer. This ad makes me think I might actually get the disease if I look too closely. Woops! Someone missed the boat there. I may have to go wash my computer screen.

In their defense, medical advertising can be tricky. You have to be relatable, accessible, not too gross, not too scary, but scary enough to be memorable and motivating. Oh. Yes. And you have to sell products to sick people or hypochondriacs, and you have to be memorable enough for healthy people to remember when they are sick, all without losing decorum or being too crass about the "sell" part.

That isn't too hard, is it?

Let's take a look at another ad. Yesterday, I heard a commercial on the radio for a nearby hospital and its Breast Cancer Clinic -- one of the top rated in the nation. This commercial had a woman talking about how she was going to fight her cancer with the help of a "Breast Care Navigator"

Wait. What was that?

Breast Care Navigator?

Did I hear that right?

Apparently this is a nurse who is supposed to guide you through the process, but I guarantee if I took this title out of context, a whole lot of men in the world would have an entirely different idea of what the job was and apply on the spot.

On the whole, the ad was inspirational and comforting, so I am not faulting the idea. But, "Breast Care Navigator?" Really? I don't know. I just don't get good vibes from this term. I think it was a dubious choice. I can't get past the vision of hypersalivating men with big, big eyes.

Then again ... I won't forget the commercial anytime soon, will I?

Tell me -- what commercials make you cringe?


T. Daniel December 23, 2009 at 8:55 AM  

I keep seeing ads to find out who "Googled" me. They always show some well-endowed woman, trying to make me believe that some hot babe wants to find me? Why would she want to find me? Unless she needs a good laugh.

Karin January 13, 2010 at 10:56 AM  

A good laugh? You write a humor blog, too????? Does this mean you don't think your wife is a "hot babe" or a "well-endowed woman?" Somehow methinks you do.... so, if she likes you, it is humanly possible that others may, too. Really. This is a universe of infinite possibilities.....

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