We’re already a week into 2014, but my New Year’s resolution — or “revolution” as the kid on TV says — is not complicated: I want to watch fewer commercials. Noble goal, you say, and one made much easier now that college football season is over and the NFL’s end not far behind.
These days live TV is my main, and usually only, impetus to sit through commericials. In the age of streaming and DVRing, there’s no need to spend a minute (or even 30 seconds) away from your show of choice. In fact, I barely know what days the shows I watch actually air; they are just collected and watched when the schedule permits, commericials relegated to fast forward.
In a fast-food world it’s easy to rail against “kids these days” and their need to constantly be engaged, be it with iPhones at restaurants, DVD players in the car and earbuds everywhere. But adults are no different (we’ve seen you updated your Facebook status at the stoplight), which I’m reminded of every time an actual commerical somehow sneaks its way onto my television.
The shriek that emanates from my wife’s side of the couch when that happens would make you think an armed intruder had entered the house, only to find out it’s just the Nissan Rogue commercial (which, honestly, can seem just as intrusive.) As an aside, that commerical, as one of my friends on social media was quick to point out, likely ensures that a plethora of agitated viewers will never purchase said vehicle. The same goes for many other products, whose pitches have become cumbersome.
I get the idea that repetition makes you remember the commericals and therefore the products. But when you see one for the fifth time during the same football game, it makes you want to hurt yourself and the people who produced it. And that goes for the good ones, too.
Then again, as long as the commercial (like a cheesy song you hear on the radio) sticks in your mind, the company gets what it wants no matter how annoying the ad might be. (Full disclosure: The idea for this column came while paying my phone bill online and thinking of those commercials. There’s no escaping it.)
So this is where I find myself. Instead of making traditional vows — lose weight, eat healthy, etc. — I’m busy doing my best to avoid those bothersome commercials, and the dinosaurs that turn into robots and chop the water like karate ninjas that inhabit them.
Turns out it’s more complicated than I thought.
Email Todd Cline at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears on Wednesdays.