FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Dubious Radio Awards

by MARTHA ROSENBERG

You would never know there’s a recession going on by listening to commercial radio in 2012. Car dealership ads were exceeded only by home remodeling and bank ads. In fact, if unemployment is really going down, it’s probably all the contactors trying to “repipe” and “weatherproof” our homes. Nor were “sexual performance” product ads as prevalent as in 2011–evidently all the men are out buying cars.

The Discover Card became a new entrant in the funny ad category in 2012 even as Netflix suspended its hilarious mock quiz show ads (in which contestants anticipate the hosts’ questions–“If you multiply…?”/”The square root of 36!”/ “Correct!”) Geico’s funny ads have similarly vanished, replaced by an unfunny, blathering Englishman who never goes away.

There were some new ads urging people to adopt shelter dogs and cats in the public service announcement (PSA) category in 2012–both clever and effective. But station managers continue to run wolves-in-sheep-clothing ads from Big Pharma pretending to address the public good and really selling pills. 

Here are some early dubious radio awards for 2012.

More-Than-You’d-Ever-Want-To-Know-About Cancer Award:

Proton Therapy at ProCure Centers 

Are so many people getting cancer, the topic is now fit for radio ads? Or is treating it just so lucrative that ads can ignore the 90 percent plus of people not affected and not interested in the ads? Either way, ProCure ads for “prostate, brain and lung cancer” seem to be everywhere. Do we really want to know that men can avoid “erectile dysfunction” and “incontinence” if they treat their prostate cancer with proton therapy at a ProCure Center? Wouldn’t men rather hear this from their doctor–and we prefer that they do so?

Most-Sleazy-Disease-Mongering-Ad-Disguised-as-a-PSA Award:

Depression Is Real 

It’s a disease that “threatens the lives” of countless Americans, say the ads. It kills like cancer and is as physiologically-based as diabetes. It is “depression” and it makes billions of dollars a year for Pharma–especially when people with real job, family and money woes are made to believe they have it. Even though the Depression Is Real ads are partially funded by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), which was investigated by Congress for being a Pharma front group, they were afforded free PSA status on radio station in 2012.

Most-Sleazy-Disease-Mongering-Ad-Disguised-as-a-PSA Honorable Mention

Drive 4 COPD 

The best way to sell a disease (and the drugs designed to go with it) is spreading fear–especially the fear that the disease is a “silent killer.” So it is no wonder the “Drive 4 COPD” campaign proclaims that “Millions of Americans don’t know they may have COPD”–chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.  If you ever smoked cigarettes and are over 35 you may be harboring COPD without knowing it, warn the radio ads–which then turn around and say there is a way to treat the “symptoms” you were just told you probably don’t have. Though the campaign’s founding partner is Boehringer Ingelheim who makes a leading COPD drug, “Drive 4 COPD” ads are termed PSAs. Are you listening  station managers?

Most-Preachy-PSA-Not-From-Pharma Award

People Struggling With Hunger 

“Six: I’m the parking attendant. I park your car every day.” So begins a PSA ad that lists all the people you come into contact with every day who are silently suffering from lack of food. “I’m the gas station attendant. I pump your gas,” is another person on the list as are neighbors, parents you see at PTA meetings and families of kids your kid plays with. The ads are so eager to portray listeners as heartless rich people enjoying the services of downtrodden people, they overlook the fact that most people park their own cars these days and pump their own gas. Also, anyone who’s had a low income knows a bigger problem than the cost of food is the cost of housing, healthcare and transportation.

Buy-A-Car-Or-I’ll-Break-Your-Knee-Caps-Persuasion Award:

New and Used Car Ads, Assorted 

Why do car dealerships insist on having their owners read the ads? Even though they sound like lower echelon mobsters who will fit you for cement shoes if you don’t buy a car?  Even though for what they are spending on the ad campaign, a “real” announcer would cost peanuts? Why are new cars advertised at all with the price of gas escalating and half the world out of a job? And, even if someone is financially able to swing the car payments, gas, insurance, parking and repairs, who will remember the sales message after the 20 seconds of sped-up, rapid-fire disclosures at the end? (“Prices only good through”… pant pant…”must have credit score above”…. pant pant…”after three months payments increase to”…pant pant…”see dealerships for details”…..)

Do-You-Want-To-Be-A-Teller-or-Tell Jokes? Ad Award:

Banks Ads, Assorted 

2012 was the year that Chase, Fifth Third and other financial institutions joined First American bank in the pursuit of standup comedy yuks. Wacky situational humor included golf mishaps, going into the surgical operating room and fast action adventures for listeners’ entertainment. But there are two problems with money-related mirth. First, most people want the people entrusted with their money to be sober and in gray flannel suits not writing one-liners. Secondly, most people want their bankers to be financial conservatives who aren’t spending money on high budget frivolous ad campaigns which could  show up as “service charges” in a monthly statement.

Martha Rosenberg’s is an investigative health reporter. She is the author of  Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health (Prometheus).

 

Martha Rosenberg is an investigative health reporter. She is the author of  Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health (Prometheus).

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
January 20, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Divide and Rule: Class, Hate, and the 2016 Election
Andrew Levine
When Was America Great?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: This Ain’t a Dream No More, It’s the Real Thing
Yoav Litvin
Making Israel Greater Again: Justice for Palestinians in the Age of Trump
Linda Pentz Gunter
Nuclear Fiddling While the Planet Burns
Ruth Fowler
Standing With Standing Rock: Of Pipelines and Protests
David Green
Why Trump Won: the 50 Percenters Have Spoken
Dave Lindorff
Imagining a Sanders Presidency Beginning on Jan. 20
Pete Dolack
Eight People Own as Much as Half the World
Roger Harris
Too Many People in the World: Names Named
Steve Horn
Under Tillerson, Exxon Maintained Ties with Saudi Arabia, Despite Dismal Human Rights Record
John Berger
The Nature of Mass Demonstrations
Stephen Zielinski
It’s the End of the World as We Know It
David Swanson
Six Things We Should Do Better As Everything Gets Worse
Alci Rengifo
Trump Rex: Ancient Rome’s Shadow Over the Oval Office
Brian Cloughley
What Money Can Buy: the Quiet British-Israeli Scandal
Mel Gurtov
Donald Trump’s Lies And Team Trump’s Headaches
Kent Paterson
Mexico’s Great Winter of Discontent
Norman Solomon
Trump, the Democrats and the Logan Act
David Macaray
Attention, Feminists
Yves Engler
Demanding More From Our Media
James A Haught
Religious Madness in Ulster
Dean Baker
The Economics of the Affordable Care Act
Patrick Bond
Tripping Up Trumpism Through Global Boycott Divestment Sanctions
Robert Fisk
How a Trump Presidency Could Have Been Avoided
Robert Fantina
Trump: What Changes and What Remains the Same
David Rosen
Globalization vs. Empire: Can Trump Contain the Growing Split?
Elliot Sperber
Dystopia
Dan Bacher
New CA Carbon Trading Legislation Answers Big Oil’s Call to Continue Business As Usual
Wayne Clark
A Reset Button for Political America
Chris Welzenbach
“The Death Ship:” An Allegory for Today’s World
Uri Avnery
Being There
Peter Lee
The Deep State and the Sex Tape: Martin Luther King, J. Edgar Hoover, and Thurgood Marshall
Patrick Hiller
Guns Against Grizzlies at Schools or Peace Education as Resistance?
Randy Shields
The Devil’s Real Estate Dictionary
Ron Jacobs
Singing the Body Electric Across Time
Ann Garrison
Fifty-five Years After Lumumba’s Assassination, Congolese See No Relief
Christopher Brauchli
Swing Low Alabama
Dr. Juan Gómez-Quiñones
La Realidad: the Realities of Anti-Mexicanism
Jon Hochschartner
The Five Least Animal-Friendly Senate Democrats
Pauline Murphy
Fighting Fascism: the Irish at the Battle of Cordoba
Susan Block
#GoBonobos in 2017: Happy Year of the Cock!
Louis Proyect
Is Our Future That of “Sense8” or “Mr. Robot”?
Charles R. Larson
Review: Robert Coover’s “Huck out West”
David Yearsley
Manchester-by-the-Sea and the Present Catastrophe
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail