The Wonderful World Of Advertising

A Geezer’s Notebook, By Jim Foster

Where is the United States going and who ordered 300 million handbaskets?

Now I am not totally stupid, although that is debatable. I know the world needs TV advertising for all kinds of reasons, to keep the economy going for one thing, to introduce new products to the marketplace for another, and also to remind us of the long-established goods we use all the time. Had we not heard of all those marvellous new health foods and chemicals available today while watching TV we would never have become the fine specimens of humanity lying on the couch, or half-asleep in a recliner, we are today.

Advertising is not only important for our bodies, it is essential for our mental health too. Without someone telling us what to do with our money we would be sitting at home wondering if we should just burn the damned stuff or stack it beside the road hoping some dummy will pick it up and take it off our hands. There are people out there who can help us get rid of it and lightning fast too.

Each and every day we learn of new medical discoveries that will help us lose weight, gain weight, grow hair on a billiard ball, even cure our erectile dysfunction so we too can come late to the opera, step on everyone’s toes and high-five the tenor who hasn’t had one since he tried to lift that overly-large soprano and threw his back out.  

We use to rely on snake oil salesmen at the fall fair for all kinds of products to keep us healthy, although come to think about it, I don’t ever remember seeing a snake oil salesman at a fair unless he was peddling draft in the beer tent. Snake oil must be an American thing. I know, I saw a lot of it during the past election.

But now all these wonder drugs and elixirs that flood the marketplace are on our TV screens with a constant flow of wonderful products to enrich our lives and the lives of the manufacturers too, only more-so. Granted, advertisers do have a bad habit of running the side effects across the bottom so small or so fast that we sometimes miss the paralysis and sudden death warnings.

There is a remarkable new product we can buy that looks like a set of bicycle pedals sticking out the side of a box and by simply sitting on your couch and pedalling away while you watch more ads on TV, in a matter of months or years you can lose dozens of pounds, and with a lot of determination, once more gain the youthful figure you remember so well – but never had in the first place.

I can buy countless millions of dollars of life insurance without a medical by simply answering a few simple questions. Although at 83-years-young I suspect their very first questions will be, “Do you think we are nuts? Two triple bypasses and an IQ less than the average person’s shoe size? On the other hand sir, how much money can you come up with?”

I don’t suppose you have noticed that the little yellow Canadian guy with the big sideways nose handing out the Canada Protection Plan brochures and sporting a bright red tie hasn’t got any pants on. How did that get by the CRTC?

Okay, let’s take it for granted we need TV ads, but do we really need to see the same ones over and over and over again? During the last U.S. presidential campaign, CNN ran the same batch of obnoxious cons to help out old American geezers. I got totally confused. I didn’t know who was running for the presidency, Joe Namath, Tom Selleck, or the bozo with the orange hair? Tom’s last TV show got cancelled; maybe he better take a serious look at trying that reverse mortgage he has been promoting.

On Jessica Fletcher’s Vision Channel it was that silly old fart riding up and down the stairs on his new Acorn Stair-Lift that drove me wild. He was surprised it was so affordable. While we are at it, what happened to the other old geezer who was the king of his castle? Did it short-circuit and dump him down the stairs or did his long-suffering wife just get fed up listening to him and fiddled with his heart medication?

Myself, I think old Jessica just got sick and tired of listening to him and set the down speed so high it drove him right through the floor and into the basement.

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