A boomer asks, Are TV ads making you sick?

Remember the good old days of TV commercials? Someone stood in front of a refrigerator (probably avocado-colored) and showed you how it looks inside. Or they pulled a wristwatch off a wet propeller and showed you how it still was ticking. But today, that’s all changed. As author Katharine Giovanni of Wake Forest, North Carolina asks, Are television commercials making us sick? You be the judge.

We all watch television. That means that although some of us have figured out how to bypass them, lots of us also watch the commercials! As we stare at the screen, we see impossibly pretty people happily telling us about something great that we need to buy. All good, right?

Katharine Giovanni

Katharine Giovanni


Have you REALLY looked at those ads?

I was watching TV the other night and noticed a commercial that struck me as really negative. So much so that I started to pay attention to all the commercials that came on. Take a look at what I saw in the few hours, once I actually paid attention …

You need a lawyer! Have you been injured? No? Well you will one day because your life will eventually crash and burn.

Suffering from chronic knee pain? Take this pill so you don’t get a stroke… but wait… it might cause bleeding and blood clots! Don’t worry about it. See these happy people? Take the pill anyway. Pain? Take this pill. Can’t sleep? There’s a pill for that. Sure, it has side effects like death, but don’t worry about that. See the happy people? Pay attention to them!

teeth_whiteSo many weight loss programs! Apparently we are all overweight.

See my white teeth? See all these young and pretty people partying with me? Yes, you can look like me if you use this toothpaste. You can have this life. Just buy the toothpaste and all will be yours!

You’re too old! Take this proven anti-aging product and be young again.

But I have saved the best for last. A commercial for a cleaner that tells me to buy it “because it wipes out dysentery and blood from crime scenes.” I hit the replay button so I could get the exact wording, and that’s what you just read. I have no words for that one.

TV_pitchIn every commercial I saw actors implying that we all need to be young and look like them. When we don’t measure up, many of us get depressed, but wait, there is a pill for that too!

There is no profit in health; the profit’s in sickness and fear. They want us to believe we’re not good enough, wealthy enough, or thin enough, so we will buy their product or service.

I am a cancer survivor. I think life is a gift. Every day I am here is a gift. Growing old IS A GIFT! I embrace my wrinkles. Bring them on!


Wrinkles mean that I am still here!

face_agingDon’t feed the fear trolls. Instead, choose to see happy and prosperous people and things wherever you look and wherever you go.

Personally, I practice what I preach and eat clean food (no chemicals), I exercise, meditate, and try to see beauty around me every day. I also keep a gratitude journal and every morning I write down the three greatest things that happened to me yesterday. I then write down what I am grateful for right now.

I genuinely believe that gratitude and love are the only way you’ll erase fear. So do what I do… feed love and kindness, and starve the fear trolls.

Katharine is online: www.KatharineGiovannni.com


  1. I truly enjoyed reading the article. I appreciate the “bring it on” attitude of aging. As I tell young people when they talk about my age…..”I’ve gotten here, you still have to get here.”

    1. Thank you Katharine. I also hate the idea in adds that anyone over 50 or 55 has one foot in the grave and needs to buy burial insurance immediately! Also, isn’t it interesting that ALL of those FDA approved drugs that are constantly advertised come with deadly side effects according to the ominous-sounding male voice over. And yet, they tell us that vitamin supplements are dangerous because they are NOT FDA approved. I actually live outside side the U.S. now and whenever I visit, I get sick when I turn on American TV.

  2. The fact that you see the ads is directly related to the demographic that still WATCHES tv with commercials! So they have them! The younger generation don’t watch commercials. They subscribe to Netflix Hulu etc… so they have us! lol PS: I recently got netflix and can watch movies and a lot of TV shows with NO COMMERCIALS! When I go back to old school TV and cannot take the huge increase of commercials on a show. Check out Shark Tank and see!

    1. I have numerous friends that use Netflix/Hulu … we just record everything and fast forward through the ads … LOL

  3. It’s not only the content of commercials thats becoming more and more annoying, but the fact that they are approaching 50% of the viewing time. When I found out that I could watch a sports event in 1 1/2 hour instead of 3, I took to recording all of them. Then I just fast forward during commercials and or if the team I am rooting for loses, I don’t even bother watching the event. I find I enjoy viewing when I know the results is a win. DC at http://www.justageezer.com

      1. What I notice is that the music is from the 60’s and 70’s which is pandering to Baby Boomers. Trying to make us feel nostalgic and buy the product.

  4. Today’s commercials are not the same. I used to love the ones where John Cameron Swasey threw the watch off the Empire State Building or whatever. Now people don’t even wear watches any more unless it’s a status symbol. I also liked when they took the William Tell Overture and turned it into “Have a Lark, Have a Lark, Have a Lark Today.”
    Modern commercials I do like: The Progressive Insurance ones, which tell the continuing story of Flo and her associates. It’s like a soap opera. I also like anything with the anthropomorphic M&Ms. I’m just sayin’.

  5. Katherine, I also agree with you about the age-ism. What the @#$ is wrong with looking our age, and don’t anybody give me that Gloria Steinem crap about “This is what 40 looks like.” It’s too bad that our generation fought for racial and gender equality, and now we all — gender and race notwithstanding — face ageism. Which unifies us all, I guess.
    One commercial I really liked, but I doubt if we’ll see it again, was the Johnson and Johnson one last Thanksgiving, where the returning soldier brought his new bride the two little “Pilgrim” candles. We saw that couple evolve through the 50s, 60s and 70s, saw their family grow, and saw them receive a toast and thanks from that same family gathered around the table for Thanksgiving. AND they still had the Pilgrim candles! AND the directors made no effort to have this couple look “younger.” They were attractive but they were definitely seniors and it was okay. I loved that couple. I named them “Edward” and “Phyllis.”

  6. My GF and I laugh at the medical product ads especially the names of the drugs. We’re thinking about a rap song using all the odd brand names. It’s also obvious only aging boomers watch the nightly news because all the ads are aimed at us. Sometimes we watch with the sound off to see if we can figure out what the product does… if you didn’t know otherwise, just watched the images with no sound, you might think all the ads promote drugs to cure erectile dysfunction…

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