by Jerome Little | February 1 , 2005
I’ve noticed that TV ads have taken a turn in the last couple of years. Actually it’s probably been longer than that. But I’m not totally comfortable with the way things are headed in that industry. It seems the type of products now being pushed are things I really don’t want to know about, let alone consider actually having to use.
I’m not sure how to take it when I’m watching Everybody Loves Ramond with my wife and kids and an ad for adult diapers comes on. Talk about taking the fun out of family night. My kids give me those sideways glances and I just know they are trying not to visualize me wearing those. I have become an expert at pretending I’m interested in something else in the room at those times. I’m not ready for the level of intimacy to which these commercials take us.
I remember when I was a youngster growing up in a more puritanical time. Just about the time my voice was beginning to change, the wonder bra hit the market. I felt extremely squeezed between my strict, sanitary background and some ladies foreground, if you get my drift. I didn’t know if I should leave the room or just pretend to still be dumb about such things. We didn’t even dare say the word bra let alone be caught looking at one. During the whole commercial I sat frozen in place, wondering if God was going to blast me with a bolt of lightening.
Back in those days, women weren’t even allowed to get pregnant. They became PG. We never heard the word pregnant until high school, and then only about some poor young girl who was in the habit of wearing “those kind of bras”. You talk about sheltered lives.
Underwear ads, men or women’s were rarely seen in the newspaper let alone on television. Have you paid attention to what’s being shown on the tube lately? I saw a Fredrick’s of Hollywood commercial the other night that still has me blushing. Holy Cow, I just about sprained my eyes trying to watch the ad while looking like I wasn’t, and keep an eye out for my wife’s reaction to my attention to such products. I figured if God didn’t get me, she would.
And there are the advertisements for certain medicines that are supposed to help us guys in time of, shall I say, romantic need. These have become so graphic as to explain in detail just how much it helps, and even if it helps too much. The dilemma here is that if I pay any attention at all, someone may assume I really need this product. No man will just up and admit that. I really pretend to be busy during these ads. It’s not so bad that they put these on during prime time, when the whole family may be watching. It’s when the kids ask for more information that things get a little dicey. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, enjoy the bliss of ignorance. It’s wonderfully calming.
We are pretty much blind sided by these ads too. It seems in days of yore, the commercials kind of went with the programming. You know, soap operas were brought to you by stuff the ladies use, make- up, laundry products, beauty items, etc. Cowboy shows usually had guy stuff, razors, hot cars, beer and junk like that. Not anymore. Now you have no idea what’s coming during the next commercial break. I try to time my bathroom runs with the ads, as to be put on the spot as little as possible.
Madison Avenue tries to leave us with some dignity by always suggesting that we consult a doctor to see if these products are right for us. What kills me is most of the time they don’t even tell what the stupid pill, ointment or whatever is for. They just tell you how great it is, how much you would benefit from it, give it some Latin medical name then tell you to ask your doctor if it’s right for you. Then they list all the possible side affects, which the least of is having to wear those diapers. When I do ask my doctor about it, it’s something for the opposite sex, and he looks at me like I’ve lost my mind.
You know, I think most of us adults know what we need without being bombarded every ten to fifteen minutes. It’s hard enough to get older and consider the effects of age without someone joyfully offering us some embarrassing solution. I’d just as soon pick my way through this on my own.
See you around.
This article first appeared in the February 1, 2005 issue of the Voyageur Press.