A Couch Potato Way of Self-Knowledge
Following on from my previous post about self-Googling, let’s talk about self-knowledge.
“Know thyself” was inscribed on the ancient Temple of Apollo in Delphi, where the famous oracle made her pronouncements. Many have debated exactly what it means and how it can be achieved.
Back in 1972, the National Lampoon released Deteriorata1. A hilarious parody of the New Age-y spoken word recording Desiderata, it offered a number of take-offs on platitudes, including “Know yourself. If you need help, call the FBI.”
I’ve found another method of self-discovery – one that doesn’t require making a Freedom of Information Act request to the Department of Justice. In fact, it’s remarkably easy – all you have to do is look at the commercials that run during your favorite television programs.
First, let me back up. Many people operate under the assumption that programs are the content of television. Forget that – television programs are like the attract mode on video games in an arcade. The attract mode is designed to attract passers-by to play the game – the programs are designed to attract people to watch the real content: commercials.
Advertising is a hybrid of art and science – no commercial is ever run without hundreds of hours of research and testing to focus it “like a laser beam” on its intended audience. So… as I said, just examine the commercials on your favorite shows and you’ll get insight into who you are.
I’m a big fan of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. On Monday night (06/15/2009) the show and commercials were as follows:
Satirical coverage of the Iranian election [liked the joke about “Soccer Imams”] followed by commercials for:
- Geico car insurance (cavemen bowling)
- MGD 64 (low calorie beer)
- Quiznos (“torpedo” sandwiches)
- Doritos Tacos at Midnight (flavored tortilla chips)
- OnStar by GM (automatic crash response on Chevrolets)
- tosh.o (Comedy Central show about silly stuff on the Internet)
A segment about Long Island seceding from New York state followed by commercials for:
- Heineken (regular calorie beer)
- Zantac (heartburn medicine)
- Kraft Ranch Dressing
- Public Enemies(movie about John Dillinger starring Johnny Depp)
- 99 (“fragrance for men”)
- Smirnoff Ice (flavored “premium malt beverage”)
- Pantene Shampoo
- Febreze (anti-odor spray – features a teenager with a smelly room)
An interview with former Daily Show correspondent Ed Helms, promoting the movie The Hangover followed by commercials for:
- Natural Light (low calorie beer)
- Rogaine (hair re-growth foam)
- T-Mobile (cellular phone service)
- Away We Go (movie by director Sam Mendes starring John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph)
- Dunkin’ Donuts (featuring a 99 cent egg and cheese “Wake Up Wrap”)
- cube (Nissan’s version of the “box-on-wheels aimed at the youth market” vehicle)
So… what can we learn from this?
- All that time I’ve spent learning to appreciate fine wine was totally misguided – I’m actually a beer drinker! And, apparently, 75% of the time I’m watching my weight.
- I might be able to skip the Zantac if I cut out all the junk food.
- I need to check out the safety features on the Nissan cube, because I may be prone to car accidents.
- Keep your distance from me if you have fragrance allergies.
To quote Britney Spears, “That is just so typically me.”
Now, you try it! See what the sponsors of your favorite programs can tell you about yourself – if you dare!
Filed under: Humorous Musings | 9 Comments
Tags: advertisements, commercials, humor, m. j. dorn, National Lampoon, parody, self-knowledge, television, The Daily Show