Muted messages.

Thursday, January 16th, 2020

We are both, in our home, fairly fast on the mute button even as we consume what is probably an above average amount of commercial TV in real or real-ish time.

Yes, we have Netflix and Amazon Prime, but there are nightly news broadcasts and various other shows that have commercials embedded. And when you’ve muted them you can still see them. So there are a lot of commercials that I have seen—many times—yet never heard.

Does that count (in the world of ad buys and ratings) as an ‘impression’? I don’t know. In the aggregate, the impression I get from these is that there are a lot of older people who are enjoying their golden years (literally, cavorting in heaps of golden sunlight) out in the park or in a beautiful back yard with family and friends, and a fair number of dogs and cats.

Obviously, that’s not a very complete message. Maybe I’m tuning out the, ah yes, there’s type on the screen. There’s a product logo for some sort of mysterious thing: Elena, Humira, Yahwehanda—and there’s a more complex word, a name in tiny type that looks like a cat has taken a tumble on the keys. Huminiacronababatab! Zinfoldamawrapodun! There must be software that comes up with these names. And then at the bottom is three or four lines of type, changing throughout the commercial that, if you take a moment to read it in detail, lists warnings of side effects and possible consequences so dire that I would probably not be willing to take the risk, no matter what the drug did. Death is one of the lesser consequences!

And what does the drug—yeah, I’m pretty sure it’s a drug—do? Well, with the sound off, it’s really hard to tell. It seems to restore the ability to enjoy life in a golden light. It brings smiles, and romance, prosperity, security, and good, good health.

Just as long as none of that stuff enumerated at the bottom happens. Yee-gads.

These are long, expensively-produced commercials. I suppose I should be able to get more out of them than that.

But I think we like our mute button more than that option.