Bob Mitchell: Commercials dominate too much TV time

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The ever-increasing amount of time on TV being dominated by commercial messages continues to be more and more irritating in many circles. This fact makes it even more certain in my way of thinking that there have only been two outstanding commercial messages in about two years.

In both cases, the agencies made good use of dogs in their presentations. In these two instances, the only fault that can be found in these efforts was the breed of animal used. Neither dog was an English Setter, which most folks who have been around long enough might remember was the favorite around our household. See what they are later in this column.

Can be regulated

Since the airways over which TV arrives at your receiver are licensed, it would be possible for agencies to regulate the amount of time that would be taken away from entertainment programming to capture an audience that is paying for the service.

TV is now commercially dominated, and it could possibly become more so in the future.

So many of the messages that interrupt desired watching and hearing verge on being ridiculous to the extent that it is a wonder any business venture would spend the required amounts of piles of cash to buy the air time to deliver such messages. When some of them flash upon the screen, it can make one wonder just what the producing agencies think the level of intelligence of the audience might be, at least that’s the thought that races through my way of thinking.

The length and volume the way messages are presented is solid proof that some action needs to result in the obvious abuse that exists in the industry these days. The volume factor was once addressed by legislative action in Congress, and the problem was solved briefly, but has found volume gradually and steadily increasing.

Drugs limit proposed

It took the senior senator from Missouri to propose in Congress limitations on pharmaceutical companies use of advertising their products for tax exemption purposes. Senator Claire McCaskill’s proposal, which would be a good move, would involve a heavy percentage of TV time on various medicines being promoted these days.

In her announcement, the senator suggested it would be a better idea for people to rely more on their physician to recommend a medication, rather than an ad agency or manufacturer. Putting an incorrect medicine into someone’s hands could have less than desired results.

An interesting factor might be to record, perhaps for an evening, the number of medications that are offered in a viewing period. It might surprise some folks and at the same time wake some minds to what extent this part of the problem might be.

My two favorite commercials

One of my favorite commercials was sponsored by Budweiser a couple of years ago during the Super Bowl. It involved a Budweiser Clydesdale colt and a pup, both in their young stages. That commercial followed them into growth years following the bonding they developed. It was a delightful story and one the company should repeat at every opportunity. Surely they kept copies of the presentation materials making it more economical to re-make their message.

The other one was this past Christmas by Mercedes and Santa Claus, who was traveling down as snow-covered road. The reindeer were represented by white vehicles, the sleigh by a red one. All of a sudden there was a stoppage, the sleigh passenger door opened and a white puppy bounded out, crossed the ditch and went into the woods to relieve itself. In the process, the pup peeked around some bushes, making sure his ride remained in place. Finishing his chore, he bounded through the snow, across the ditch, and into the vehicle. When he was up on the seat, he looked up at Santa, and barked, and the whole group continued on their route.

These examples might not appear significant to some viewers, but they obviously have made a place in my preference. Like was previously mentioned, those animals could have, by preference, been English Setters.

What the Almanac says

There isn’t much good to say about the weather, so far as the Almanac is concerned about this part of February. In fact, there is a somewhat uncertain leaning for conditions for the remainder of the month.

For those brave enough to get out on the water, the very best fishing days in the rest of February happen to be the 24th and 25th, with good days happening the 14th and 15th. There is no assurance temperatures will even be bearable on these dates.

As a reminder, in case you might have overlooked this date, today, February 14, is Valentine’s Day, so if you’re reading this information Tuesday evening or early Wednesday, you still have time to rush to whatever source you might choose to select an appropriate gift for that special person in your life. If you haven’t received this message, best of luck to you!

Bob Mitchell is the former editor and publisher of the Cassville Democrat. He is a 2017 inductee to both the Missouri Press Association Hall of Fame and Missouri Southern State University’s Regional Media Hall of Fame.