Columbia Star

1963        Celebrating 60 Years      2023

It’s not a criticism, it’s an observation.

Madison Avenue's influence

Mike  Cox

Mike Cox

Tide is offering a new laundry detergent spiked with lilacs and something else designed to calm emotions. The commercial introducing it suggests that couples who are fighting when they retire for the night will relax once they crawl between sheets washed with the new Tide.

We all know sex is used to sell everything under the sun, but laundry detergent? The implication is pretty obvious. If a fighting couple goes to bed mad, then the calming effect of the clean sheets makes the bad feelings go away, well you get the idea. Whether it works or not, this new product will get guys to wash the bedding more often and change sheets every day.

In case you haven’t noticed, marketing controls every aspect of our lives. The people who we elect to run things use commercials to influence voters; we are too lazy to actually check candidates’ position on the issues.

Speaking of the issues, television controls those, too. Newscasts and shows like Oprah and Good Morning America pick and choose what they want to debate and expose. Since ratings and advertising rates determine which shows air, dull issues like health care and road construction don’t get talked about. We discuss internet predators and the dangers of fried foods.

No matter what we believe in this country, the position is influenced by advertisers. Twenty years ago, cigarette companies hired experts to testify before Congress that cigarettes weren’t addictive. Today, the same principle is being used to deny climate change.

No one knows they need the latest cell phone, TV, or video player until an ad says it is the coolest thing around. Then it becomes a necessity. I hope that doesn’t happen to a product I heard advertised on the radio last week. Something called the Man Groomer is now available. It is evidently an electric shaver on a stick designed to get rid of “unwanted back hair without going through the embarrassment of waxing.”

I know a lot of hairy guys and none of them really care whether anyone else sees their hairy back or not, and I’ve never been in a discussion where a man considered even briefly getting a Brazilian Wax Job. Maybe in California.

This is one of those products where no one knows there is a problem until Madison Avenue convinces us otherwise. Then they have a product to help us out. Like the heartbreak of psoriasis or males who need enhancing.

Drug companies have used this tactic to make more money than the Pope. What used to be bothersome conditions are now life- altering diseases; and, yes there is a drug available for it. How come none of these conditions are serious diseases until someone has a high- priced drug ready for market?

If advertisers can’t shame us or scare us, they use moral or patriotic tactics. More and more businesses are using religion to sell their products. And last week I saw a dispenser in a restroom with something called Freedom Ticklers. I have no idea. Maybe the TV commercials will explain.

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