Watching ads has become a pastime for me, the past 2.5 weeks. Sometimes I just blank out watching them. The ad passes through my eyes and ears, bypassing the brain and goes right out.
Unlike in India where the ads do not reference their competition by name, it is a cut-throat world here. Competitors are named explicitly and their products (also named) taken to task. In India, ASCI (Advertising Standards Council of India), the watchguard body of Indian advertising, does not seem to allow calling names. You can guess the product in question. E.g. the Complan and Horlicks health drink ads. I think for a very short time, one of them named the other, but withdrew the ad after complaints. You can see a list of decisions taken on questionable ads at http://www.ascionline.org/feedback/cccdecisions.htm. Interesting read.
A recall of a few of the ads that I have been badgered with.
- Mobile telephone service ads-Everybody wants a pie of the game. Verizon and AT&T are on an all-out war naming each others' network as bad either in terms of functionality, coverage etc showing US maps showing how bad the other's coverage is or giving away phones for free for long term contracts with them. Buy one phone-get three free, kind of.
- Car insurance ads-Geico and AllState are always at loggerheads with Progressive throwing in more fuel into the fire. 15% or not, we don't ever worry much about motor insurance and liability. And funny that Geico uses a British accent in their radio ads.
- Car ads-Mostly I see the GM car ads comparing with Toyota or Honda on how better they are with fuel efficiency, crash safety etc. The Toyota recall is having some of these folks active with ads. Make hay while the sun shines.
- Lawyers and attorney agents-Have you heard of Mesothelioma? I learnt that it is a form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure from attorney houses and lawyers ad-ing on the TV. There are tons of ads these days stating, if you took this medicine or that medicine and if you suffer xyz ailment, that you may be eligible for settlement et al. There is one class 'helping' you to get around IRS (Internal Revenue Service, their Income Tax department) threats using legal restraints. Another states they will help you pay off your credit card loan with funds from Obama's stimulus program. For one, I think most of the attorneys here are like leeches, gnawing at you for their pound of flesh, no matter how much John Grisham glorifies them.
- Vanity creams et al-Oh Man, Cindy Crawford comes around showing her serum collection used by the creme de la fashion. There are acne removal creams, blackspot reducers, sunscreens, anti-aging, anti-wrinkle, botox and lots of other chemical treatment on your face and body. And what is it with these folks' constant reference to Europe when they strut their stuff? Does it imply a European hangover with respect to fashion? Maybe!
- Food ads-McDonalds, Burger King, Applebees and whatever. My burger is bigger and better than yours, 150 calorie meals, blah blah. Nation of junk foodies. :-) Not to mention pet food, pet medicine and vitamin supplements for the pets, leave alone the owners.
- Health and Fitness-Drink this, drink that and tons of probably useless gym equipment bandied about on the Home Shopping Network to get you up to shape. Slimming pills, weight loss devices, fitness programs, you name it, they got it. And discounts, bazaar style. Call in the next 20 minutes and you'll get one absolutely free.
- Others-Damn, there is even a gems and jewellery channel peddling 14k gold with all kinds of colored stones like the ones which we get from our gypsy folks (kuravan, kuraththi)
Hmmm... The rantosaurus rests here.