First we saw the advent of television. Then it was commercials to support it. Then it was color television. And then it was commercials during the Super Bowl, and that’s what is starting to bug Philadelphia columnist and baby boomer Leslie Handler who complains, Commercials Are Changing My Life.
The disappearance of good old-fashioned jingles in today’s commercials makes no sense to me.
Back in the day (which means, the day when jingles were still in our commercials), I’d find myself in the middle of the lunch meat aisle trying to remember what it was we needed. Oh, yes, lunch meat, I’d think to myself, but which kind was it that the kids wanted? All I’d have to do is think about the commercial, and I was home free: “My bologna has a first name, it’s O-S-C-A-R, my bologna” … and there you have it: jingle, memory, success!
Cereal? Oh of course: Snap, crackle, pop. I needed Rice Krispies.
The medicine aisle? No problem. Which bandage did I want to get? “I am stuck on Band Aid Brand.” That upset stomach medicine I needed? “Plop, plop, fizz, fizz.” Sure, that’s it, I needed Alka Seltzer.
Dinner? No worries, because “La Choy makes Chinese food swing American,” and if I was more in the mood for Italian, I could always pick up “Rice-a-Roni,” the San Francisco treat.
And who could forget how we could load the car and have enough time to “See the USA in my Chevrolet.”
But today’s commercials make me an emotional mess. They can’t just give a boomer a nice simple jingle and call it a day. There is so much emotional baggage that comes with them that my friend, a therapist, could put her couch in Aisle Two at the grocery store and use that as her office.
A Budweiser commercial during the Super Bowl with a puppy and a pony in the cast took me on such an emotional rollercoaster ride that my husband thought they were playing free Hallmark movies right there in Aisle Nine when I went out for beer.
As for driving today, to get me to drive a Honda, they make me listen to Bruce Willis talk over piano music about having a hug fest for the safety of my family. By the end of the commercial, I feel that if I don’t buy that Honda, I don’t really love my family. It’s a whole guilt trip.
Cialis wants me to go back to outdoor plumbing with two separate bathtubs in the middle of a meadow. Trouble is, if I go to the store and try to remember which product the ad told me to buy, I have no idea, because all I can think about is a picture of me and my husband naked in the middle of a meadow, each with our own separate tubs. So somehow, when I unpack my groceries, two containers of bath salts come out of the bag. Wait, what?
MetLife has a commercial with the Peanuts character, Schroeder, playing the National Anthem on his piano in an empty football stadium. This commercial makes me so patriotic that I stand up in my living room with my hand over my heart. Even the dog goes and gets our American flag out of the closet as a gesture of mutual allegiance.
Extra, the gum brand, has a commercial showing a dad making little origami cranes for his daughter on numerous occasions while she’s growing up. As an adult, an entire box of them spills out of her car. That one almost makes me weep.
I feel sorry for today’s youth. I don’t know how they’re ever going to be able to remember what they need at the store. They’ll probably just have to stand in the aisles and have a good cry while sending out a tweet to see if anyone can remember why they came to the store in the first place.
As for me, I may have to stop watching commercials all together. But first, let me go buy some Zoloft and Ambien so I can sleep until my mood swings go away.