Earlier this afternoon, I heard a radio commercial that made me shudder. I tried to find a clip of it online to post here, but couldn’t. I’d love to share it with you. Maybe you’ve already heard it, or will soon.
And hopefully my fellow listeners were able to engage their critical thinking skills. A serious media literacy intervention is desperately needed here.
It was one of Verizon’s “man-on-the street” interview spots, which I generally find annoying. That’s another rant for another day. Now, apparently, according to the fellow interviewed in the new commercial, men who use Verizon Wireless have better luck with the ladies!
Women will just swarm around you if you use the Verizon network.
The young man being interviewed sounds quite confident in his assertion that Verizon will make you breathtakingly popular with the ladies.
And why? Because, he explains, Verizon Wireless is a smart choice… and women like men who make smart choices.
Women like men who make choices based on believing stupid radio commercials? Really?
We are to conclude that if you switch to Verizon, your lonely days are over. You are about to become a player, son. Bring that hot tub up to a boil. It’s party time, big guy.
It’s an admirable stretch, a courageous leap of logic.
But am I the only one who finds this really, really distasteful?
I’m not even objecting to
(a) the notion that women would ever possibly be attracted to something so inane as a man’s wireless service,
(b) even the assumption that men would be dumb enough to believe it.
It’s simply the blatant emotional manipulation that’s going on here that irritates me. This sort of advertising has been going on forever, but (aside from maybe the men’s body spray ads), it’s almost always been far more subtle– basically implied but unspoken. An attractive woman invariably appears, and it’s all because the man has used the product.
Sure, they may have meant the Verizon commercial to be funny and ironic… or, worse, cleverly presented as funny and ironic, which is an entirely different and far more dangerous animal. When an ad dances on this fine line, it throws the listeners into confusion– “Wait, are they serious, or is this a joke?”– and confusion is exactly where the advertisers want us. We’re more vulnerable there.
But, like the proverbial “lovely and talented” bikini-girl writhing on the hood of the sportscar, the time-honored advertising technique of associating a product with increased attractiveness still gets under my skin. Advertisers wouldn’t be spending their budgets on this stuff if it didn’t work, though, right? Sigh.
Okay, back to Verizon.
- This particular radio station clearly targets male listeners age 18-24*
- Sex sells.
So, even if the commercial was meant to be tongue-in-cheek, it may still be effective. I wonder how many guys paused long enough to actually consider switching their wireless network.
Well, then. Maybe Verizon Shameless Wireless has a winner here.
* I’m a female listener, age north of 24, but I still like to rock.
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