Posted by Adam @ 2:25 pm on March 9th 2007

The US for limeys, Part 4: Television advertising I

Our hard-hitting investigative plunge into Americotedium continues with an introduction to television advertising.

You are a Gilmore Girls addict. Every week, you tune in to find out whether Lorelai and Rory are talking, whether Luke and Lorelai are talking, whether Lorelai and her mother are talking and whether Lorelai and Chris are talking. You want to know what it is that they are saying when they are talking, or what they are saying about each other when they are not talking. You live the sweet, sweet agony of not knowing if they are talking or if they are about to start talking or, perhaps, stop talking. If you have any friends*, you can to talk to them about Lorelei, Rory, Emily, Luke and Chris talking, or not.

Obviously, you want to buy the DVDs of this series so that you can put them under your television and never watch them, secure in the knowledge that if you ever wanted to watch them and couldn’t wait until the next Gilmore Girls all-day marathon on ABC Family Channel, you could spend a relaxing five minutes opening the theft-proof DVD packaging before kicking back to watch an episode or two with a nice cup of hot cocoa and a clean dog curled by the foot of the chair as you sit cross-legged with a blanket over your lap in front of a crackling fire while the snow falls gently outside.

As all fans of this cutesy light-hearted human-comedy masterpiece know, the scheduled time for a showing of Gilmore Girls is one hour. The running time of an episode on the DVD, however, is 42 minutes. 30% of your cherished hour of scatty females failing to connect with dumb but secretly sensitive males in the picturesque Connecticut town of Stars Hollow is made up of television advertising aimed at the needs, I said needs, godamnit, of people between 18 and 49 years old.

One might foolishly think that television advertising is the Enemy of Intelligent Thought, but you’d be wronger than a gimpsuited midget in a nunnery. Without advertising, the supply of money to the network television broadcasters would dry up. Shows wouldn’t get made, pet boutiques all over Los Angeles and New York City would shut and the price of cocaine would plummet. There is, thus, a common bond uniting the couch potato, the dog shampooist and the neighbourhood cocaine dealer; television advertising, you see, binds us together like an intellectually vacant glue. And that’s before we consider the effect on the children. Why, oh why, does no one ever think of the children? Without television to guide their selfish, avaricious gaze toward expensive toys their parents cannot afford, the spoilt bastards would never know the pleasure of owning exactly the same overpriced mass-produced crap that all their friends have for the two weeks that it takes them all to tire of it and declare it no longer cool whilst their parents reassure themselves that any child that stupid is never going to need a college fund.

The average consumer needs television advertising. How can we heed the President’s advice to go shopping more to Save the Free World if we don’t know what stuff to buy? Why else would you need credit? Without television advertising, why, a consumer could buy a car that wouldn’t outrun a volcanic eruption, buy the wrong worthless piece of paper from only a second-tier online educational institution, fail to hear that their political representative is a no-good tax-raising lecher in the pocket of special interests or never get the chance to convince themselves that they suffer from an invented medical condition for which a newly released pharmaceutical treatment is available if only they know to ask their doctor whether it’s right for them. The pillars that support the economic sky will crumble if we mindlessly and selfishly appreciate what we have rather than desire the new, imperceptibly improved version that we don’t. If people stop throwing away perfectly good stuff, libertarians, winos, crackheads and other dumpsterdiving vagrants will have to turn to other trades to make ends meet and, whilst America is a varied, diverse and openminded nation, no one wants to see a libertarian walking the mean streets in a short dress and stockings.

How many marriages could have been saved had the right anti-wrinkle cream, hair restoration treatment, miracle diet pill, warming personal lubricant or Erectile Dysfunction medication been purchased? Next time you are in a store staffed by unnattractive stupid people with the temperament and physique of manic-depressive rhinoceri, curse yourself for not using television advertising to locate the stores full of beautiful happy employees, brimming over with a zest for retail life and equipped with both an encyclopedic knowledge of all the products in the store and the techniques to best maximise your use of them. How can women be expected to select the correct sanitary products without the benefit of a computer graphics demonstration that shows a pantyliner slurping up masses of liquid of any colour but red whilst a bevy of beautiful young women play beach volleyball? Why, you might as well ask how men, the poor dumb always-the-last-to-realise-but-don’t-you-just-have-to-love-them creatures, can be expected to work out which Light Beer has the ‘most taste’ without seeing a televisual exposition on which full-flavoured low-calorie beverage will make them handsomest, funniest and most able to expertly operate a female.

Without the millions of dollars spent on television advertising attracted by the millions of dollars spent making television shows to attract millions of dollars’ worth of television advertising, couch potatoes will have to purchase trousers, the dog shampooists of America will be driven into porn or selling real estate, the secondhand Cadillac Escalade market will tank and the average consumer will have to rely on their own judgement to select the best products for their actual needs. Nobody wants to live in that kind of world, my friend, nobody. What are you, a godamned communist?

*People used to have these before television. It’s like when Lorelei and Luke are talking, but without the sex. Normally.


  1. More importantly, how would I know which drugs would give me the bonus side effects of anal leakage or catastrophic heart failure?

    Comment by Vacuous — 3/9/2007 @ 2:53 pm

  2. You will have to stay tuned for the next limey guide dealing with television advertising. All these questions, and more, will be answered.

    Comment by Adam — 3/9/2007 @ 2:58 pm

  3. […] 30% of your precious Lorelai time is made up of television advertisements, lovingly tailored by advertising executives three to five lines into their morning Colombian […]

    Pingback by The Crossed Pond » The US for limeys, Part 5: television advertising II, medical advertisements — 3/23/2007 @ 8:37 pm

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