Growing Dichotomy Between Commercials And Reality ~ Random Waves of Insight
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Friday, October 12, 2007

Growing Dichotomy Between Commercials And Reality



Have you ever seen an ad on TV that seemed “too good to be true?” I know I have. But usually you could tell which ones were pushing the envelope of believability. I notice a lot of infomercials that give off that feel of “whatever we’re selling, it’s not as good as we say it is.” But lately some commercials seem to be crafting deceptively clever ads that skew the line between what you can expect in real life and what is depicted on television.

Commercials that I enjoy (and they do exist) are often entertaining, but the real kicker is when they seem trustworthy. A commercial that communicates a message that is congruent and believable has me thinking, “Yeah, that sounds good. That feels right.” Lately I’ve noticed a few that seem to give off the air of trustworthiness, while communicating an incongruent idea. The two main examples are the Maytag Repairman commercial and the Verizon FiOS Tech ad series.

Both these ads feature friendly, knowledgeable, likable characters that can fix up just about anything, or upgrade your home from cable to FiOS with no problems whatsoever. I’m sure iconic repairmen have always existed in some advertising form or another, but the sad fact of the matter is I actually caught myself believing in these “ideals” for a brief moment. I thought, “Yeah, Fios! The technicians will know everything!” But if you’ve read my post on how Comcast Digital Voice Took Away My Internet, And Not On Purpose, Either, you’re probably wondering how I could have put so much faith in an ideal that is obviously scarcely realized on earth.

Technicians and repair guys only know so much. That’s just the nature of this world, a place in which new information and new problems arise every day. No one man can know it all. So to advertise your brand of technician as being a know-it-all leader, and to do so congruently, in a way that makes people trust you, is a pretty terrifying thing. A lot of people must then believe in and expect a lot from ordinary everyday technicians, and a lot of people will probably be sorely disappointed when those ordinary people make ordinary mistakes. But I guess that’s what advertising is for -- building up hopes that have little chance of spontaneously arising in the real world.

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