What bothers me is the fact that they keep speaking to us as if we are not the saltiest pretzel in the bag.
Of course, I’m talking about American television advertisers. Beer commercials are the worst for treating the male population as having one thought on their mind -- and it’s not the usual thought on a man’s mind. The girls in beer commercials are usually bikini-clad or understanding and embarrassed saints for putting up with the husband’s one or two bad habits, beer and football.
It all started back in the ‘80s, I believe, with the great debate, Taste Great vs. Less Filling. They pounded those four words into our heads and for the last 30 years we have let them get away with it.
Back in the day we had cartoons for beer commercials, reasonable guys out on a nice date with a very attractive woman who also happened to love something called Schaefer Beer. Or better yet, we had zaftig women dressed as barmaids in a hofbrauhaus serving their delicious brew.
Look at insurance companies. I want something dependable and strong. I want someone who is going to be there for me when the chips are down. I want a Piece of the Rock or to be in Good Hands. I don’t want Flo or the General coming over to my house because I tore the bumper off in the parking garage on North Street. (Again.)
And that Mayhem guy who keeps flying off of the roofs of moving cars or falling out of trees.
Insurance companies once were respected and represented by square guys in Robert Hall suits. Now they want me to buy car insurance from a little green lizard with a bogus English accent?
It’s not as if I’m watching an ad for maple syrup and the old lady on the bottle is telling me how it’s full of real butter. I’m buying protection for me and my family and I’m thinking I could get a better protection policy from the mafia. Just keep up with the premiums, or you’ll sleep with the fishes.
Contrary, companies like investment firms should talk to us as if we were 5, but they talk to us as if we have inside trader information. I don’t understand odds at a racetrack, fractions, and decimal points, and they want me to know the difference between a bull and bear market.
They need to talk to me as if they were a kindergarten teacher: "Johnnie, we are going to take a few pennies from your paycheck. Don’t cry. We’ll turn it in to a few dollars and over the course of years, it will be socked away so you can afford to refill your prescriptions after you retire."
They have you following a dern green line to financial security. Basically, the green line is there to make sure you behave. Charles Schwab is way too uptight.
He needs to hang with Jimmy Buffet or Willie Nelson for a week and go mellow. Charlie scares me. All I hear from him is "If you don’t invest with us you’ll be eating dog food, or worse, corned beef hash."
I want to be spoken to as if I’m the self-educated, babe magnet that I am. I don’t need to be sold anything. I will formulate my own opinions and buy what I want. I will not be dumbed down -- well, anymore than I already am.
Johnnie Carrier is a freelance writer who pleads with you to shut the dern TV off and read a book. Or read your Kindle. Books are so last century. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.