Is the Death of the TV Commercial Really a Good Thing?


   Source: The days are numbered for the 30-second TV spot – Mar. 14, 2007

While this isn’t the source where I originally heard this story, it reports essentially the same news–that Apple’s new TV Device, due to be released this week, which will allow people to send downloaded shows from iTunes to their TVs, is perhaps the true beginning of the end for the TV commercial.

This may or may not be true. And while I am certainly not bothered by the prospect of (and looking forward to) TV free of commercials (without having to fast-forward the DVR), as I was musing about this news, I wondered if the death of TV commercials is really a good thing. And I’m troubled by my own thoughts on this.

Modern media advertising is no friend of the people. It is a tool of business used to manipulate and coerce consumers into purchasing things – even if they don’t really need or want them.

Yet despite my own aversion to the excesses of capitalism run amuck, I found myself thinking that I might actually miss the commercials. Consider the positive aspects of TV commercials, and the things we might lose:

1. There are any number of truly creative geniuses out there, and some commercials are truly entertaining.

2. On occasion, a commercial will truly alert me to a new product I might not otherwise discover that may be of interest (or simply a curiosity.)

3. Network spots during commercial breaks often alert me to information like when a certain show may go off hiatus and begin airing new episodes.

4. When I know I’m under the deadline of a commercial break and I get up off my lazy tuchis to do some chore, the knowledge that I have a limited time before the show resumes helps keep me focused, on task, and efficient. (Truth be told. sometimes, even when using the DVR, I will let the recorded program run during the commercials breaks precisely for this reason.)

5. I might learn of a special sale, or a limited time offer.

6. I love playing the "spot the actor" game with commercials. To think how miserable I might have been not to know that the guy in the Verizon commercial down at the docks also plays the jilted boyfriend on Ugly Betty. and of course, the other show to commercial connection in all those lovely Apple vs PC advertisements.

7. I’d miss the razor wars. Just think, 6 and 7-bladed shavers!! Imagine the dodeca-bladed razor!

8. I wouldn’t see all those commercials for shows and movies that absolutely reinforce my desire to never actually watch them.

9. All those factoids I might never learn for lack of all those wonderful public service announcements.

10. Could this also be the end of Public TV pledge drive breaks?

Anyway, I am sure you can think of more pros and cons. Let’s hear ’em. Meanwhile, I’m gonna go soak in some more commercials before they’re gone.

  Migdalor Guy


About migdalorguy

Jewish Educator & Musician, Technology Nerd and all around nice Renaissance guy
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