And Now, A Word From Our Sponsor
A couple of years ago, C started telling me what he knew about orange juice. He told me how many oranges it took to make a carton of orange juice, and about the size and shape of the container. He sounded very knowledgeable, and I was thinking that he must have watched some informative video at school that day. Then he finished with, “And there’s no room for anything else!” Which was a line from an orange juice commercial running at the time.
My children have always been easy prey for commercials. They have often recommended products to me using verbatim the script from the ads. “Mom, you should buy Green Bags. They’ll keep our bananas fresher longer.” “Mom, I really need some Wonder Hangers. They’re really a space saver in the closet.” “Mom, it’s okay if I get grass stains on my pants. Just get some Oxy Clean. It gets the tough stains out!” We’ve had many conversations about how the people who make the commercials are trying to make their product look as good as possible, and that everything they’re saying isn’t completely true. C had an especially hard time when we switched our cell phone service from Verizon to AT&T. It was during the same time that Verizon was running their “There’s a Map for That” commercials where they showed how superior their nationwide coverage was to AT&T’s. We had to explain to him (over and over) that while Verizon’s map looked better on the commercial, they didn’t have very good service where we live and that for us AT&T was better.
Recently, I was watching tv with C and I started to think that all of our conversations about being a smart consumer had started to sink in. A commercial came on for an Alka Seltzer cold medicine, and showed a woman who had just taken NyQuil but was still suffering from congestion. The voiceover explained that it was because NyQuil doesn’t treat nasal congestion. (Have you noticed, they’re no longer the “nighttime sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, stuffy-head, fever, so-you-can-rest medicine”? They’ve taken out the stuffy-head part.) So C looks at me and starts explaining. “Mom, I know they’re just saying that so you’ll buy that instead of NyQuil.” That’s my boy, I’m thinking. But then he continues, “Because Drew Brees takes NyQuil and DayQuil, and it works for him. So I know they’re just saying that.” Lesson almost learned?