Just Mute It

indexTV is managing to ramp up the Disgust Factor by offering us advertising about grosser and more personal subjects than ever before.

I am not much of a TV-watcher but find it on more than I would like now that there are two of us who are retired and I won’t mention names or point fingers but one of us is a news junkie. There is WAY more 24-hour News Drone on than I would prefer. It’s entirely another topic, but someday I’d like to write about the BREAKING NEWS! stories (which are seldom stories at all).

BREAKING NEWS! Unemployment rate for September the same as August!

Oh really. How, um, interesting.

Anyway. At the risk of becoming a real asshole, I have been convincing enough that all parties now agree (or pretend to agree) that commercials which offend me the most should be muted. But if only by the very act of  muting, someone would know it. They know everything else about what we’re doing, why not that? That would be great! You’d mute and that activity would be picked up by all the stations. They’d tell the major networks and the cable networks who would tell all the Companies Who Make Gross Products, especially big Pharma (who are laughing their asses off at our erectile insecurity all the way to the MegaBank). Everyone would KNOW we are doing it.

That strikes me as a pretty good advertising tool. The offending companies would ask themselves: Are there commercials out there that are annoying our audience so much that they mute us, or {gasp} turn us off completely? Whoa!

Wish I knew how to implement such an add-on. Because if I did, then after I told the stations who’d tell all the networks who’d tell the advertisers, then they’d start using my amazing mute-detection system. Then I’d go on a huge campaign to get everyone to mute. Then those companies would see how much they are offending people. Then they’d take those abhorrent ads off the air. Then I’d be happy and could watch that cute Geico gecko and Flo from Progressive all day.

I googled something like “how to complain about erectile dysfunction ads” but only got sites that want me to buy Viagra and Cialis or “teach” me about this disorder. So, naturally, I’m outraged.

I did find this by Puddytat, a very interesting comment about ED ads occurring in early afternoon during football games when there are likely to be children present. I thought this quote very humorous, although sad, because it is true:

“Naturally, the “family values” crowd have been silent on the subject. I suspect that this is because a mega corporation (drug company) is profiting from the sale of outrageously priced penis pills. If not, marching orders would have gone out to gin up pearl clutching, phony outrage, and “think of the children” talking points.”

Great perspective, there.

The following is a partial list of mute-worthy advertising subjects:

  • erectile dysfunction
  • vaginal dryness
  • condoms (WOW, I didn’t think they could do this but MTV Music Awards did)
  • constipation
  • bladder control
  • catheters
  • toenail fungus

As I said, a partial list.

More and more, I’m convinced there is no romance left in this world. No topic is too sensitive to discuss, or advertise, or promote for profit.

Am I the only one who feels that way? If not, is there anything we can do about it?

To add an additional insult onto my ever-growing misery, I get my AARP Magazine which usually covers interesting, informative, safe topics and on the cover:

Best. Sex. Ever. Even in your 70’s – We Show You How.

Huh? This is AARP Magazine? WTF??!!

I wrote them an email and here’s what I said:

To whom it may concern:

I am someone who turns off the TV (or at least mutes it) when I see commercials for a) erectile dysfunction, b) vaginal dryness, c) bladder control, d) anything mentioning “black or bloody stools”, e) feminine catheters and f) toenail fungus.

Is there anything we can do to get these disgusting commercials off the air? And further, why does AARP (of ALL organizations) feel the need to jump on the how-can-we-be-grosser bandwagon with this article? I didn’t read your article, and threw the magazine directly into the recycle bin without reading anything else either. Except to get your email address so I can complain.

I am a writer. I write women’s fiction. I can’t believe we have come to this. Is nothing sacred? Is there absolutely NO romance left in the world? Do we really have to be inundated with these over-the-top, way-too-personal topics?

And surely, anyone who is getting your magazine, i.e. those of us who are over fifty, pretty much knows the mechanics of sex by now. The commercials have told us the products we need.

If you would, kindly remove us from your mailing list. You are a huge disappointment.

 Do you think I’ll get a reply? Do you think my email will be printed?

Hunh. No way.

3 thoughts on “Just Mute It

  1. Lynn,

    You obviously haven’t seen the video add for Poo-pourri or I’m sure that would have been in your list. Don’t google it, or it will pop up everywhere.

    I don’t enjoy these ads either, but direct-to-consumer ads get people to ask their doctor if there is something they can do about [insert your embarrassing health issue here]. It makes the topic safe to ask about, because it’s on TV. Pfizer actually started all of this with Viagra some 15 years ago, and their sales convinced every other pharma company to invest in mass media instead of relying on doctors to prescribe their drugs.

    It’s the repetition of these ads that wears you out. But that may be why the ads work. I can name brands for almost all of those conditions you listed up there, and I bet you can too. (And we can probably rattle off the adverse affects too.:”Call your doctor for an erection that lasts more than two hours… “)

    I don’t think AARP will publish your letter in their letters to the editor column, but I do expect you will get an answer about how those ads enable AARP to do good work for seniors, publish their magazine and newsletter, etc.

    Appreciate your righteous indignation but this is not going away.


    • Chris,

      I appreciate your thoughts on this subject. And, of course, I realize you are right about all of it. It does get so tiresome and I am one of those people who walk around looking for the ridiculous (and getting upset about it) rather than accepting that it isn’t going away.

      If there were more people like me who really do turn off the TV when they are disgusted, maybe someone would take notice. But of course many won’t do that because then they might miss that new episode of The Bachelor. Or Keeping up with the Kardashians.

      Has it really been 15 years since Bob Dole started advertising Viagra? Seems like only yesterday.


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