Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Support Our Annual Fund Drive! CounterPunch is entirely supported by our readers. Your donations pay for our small staff, tiny office, writers, designers, techies, bandwidth and servers. We don’t owe anything to advertisers, foundations, one-percenters or political parties. You are our only safety net. Please make a tax-deductible donation today.
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:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

September 29, 2016
Robert Fisk
The Butcher of Qana: Shimon Peres Was No Peacemaker
James Rose
Politics in the Echo Chamber: How Trump Becomes President
Russell Mokhiber
The Corporate Vice Grip on the Presidential Debates
Daniel Kato
Rethinking the Race over Race: What Clinton Should do Now About ‘Super-Predators’
Peter Certo
Clinton’s Awkward Stumbles on Trade
Fran Shor
Demonizing the Green Party Vote
Rev. William Alberts
Trump’s Road Rage to the White House
Luke O'Brien
Because We Couldn’t Have Sanders, You’ll Get Trump
Michael J. Sainato
How the Payday Loan Industry is Obstructing Reform
Robert Fantina
You Can’t Have War Without Racism
Gregory Barrett
Bad Theater at the United Nations (Starring Kerry, Power, and Obama
James A Haught
The Long, Long Journey to Female Equality
Thomas Knapp
US Military Aid: Thai-ed to Torture
Jack Smith
Must They be Enemies? Russia, Putin and the US
Gilbert Mercier
Clinton vs Trump: Lesser of Two Evils or the Devil You Know
Tom H. Hastings
Manifesting the Worst Old Norms
George Ella Lyon
This Just in From Rancho Politico
September 28, 2016
Eric Draitser
Stop Trump! Stop Clinton!! Stop the Madness (and Let Me Get Off)!
Ted Rall
The Thrilla at Hofstra: How Trump Won the Debate
Robert Fisk
Cliché and Banality at the Debates: Trump and Clinton on the Middle East
Patrick Cockburn
Cracks in the Kingdom: Saudi Arabia Rocked by Financial Strains
Lowell Flanders
Donald Trump, Islamophobia and Immigrants
Shane Burley
Defining the Alt Right and the New American Fascism
Jan Oberg
Ukraine as the Border of NATO Expansion
Ramzy Baroud
Ban Ki-Moon’s Legacy in Palestine: Failure in Words and Deeds
Gareth Porter
How We Could End the Permanent War State
Sam Husseini
Debate Night’s Biggest Lie Was Told by Lester Holt
Laura Carlsen
Ayotzinapa’s Message to the World: Organize!
Binoy Kampmark
The Triumph of Momentum: Re-Electing Jeremy Corbyn
David Macaray
When the Saints Go Marching In
Seth Oelbaum
All Black Lives Will Never Matter for Clinton and Trump
Adam Parsons
Standing in Solidarity for a Humanity Without Borders
Cesar Chelala
The Trump Bubble
September 27, 2016
Louisa Willcox
The Tribal Fight for Nature: From the Grizzly to the Black Snake of the Dakota Pipeline
Paul Street
The Roots are in the System: Charlotte and Beyond
Jeffrey St. Clair
Idiot Winds at Hofstra: Notes on the Not-So-Great Debate
Mark Harris
Clinton, Trump, and the Death of Idealism
Mike Whitney
Putin Ups the Ante: Ceasefire Sabotage Triggers Major Offensive in Aleppo
Anthony DiMaggio
The Debates as Democratic Façade: Voter “Rationality” in American Elections
Binoy Kampmark
Punishing the Punished: the Torments of Chelsea Manning
Paul Buhle
Why “Snowden” is Important (or How Kafka Foresaw the Juggernaut State)
Jack Rasmus
Hillary’s Ghosts
Brian Cloughley
Billions Down the Afghan Drain
Lawrence Davidson
True Believers and the U.S. Election
Matt Peppe
Taking a Knee: Resisting Enforced Patriotism
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail
[i]
[i]
[i]
[i]