Before the Super Bowl, we went to the store. Honestly, this was not the best plan as it was a mad house. As I stood in the extremely long checkout line, I had moment really look around at my surroundings. I noticed a game machine where you pick up a stuffed animal. The sign on it was pretty terrible. It looked liked someone threw it together in Print Shop. While I’m sure there is some interesting tech in gaming machines, I couldn’t help but wonder why something so generic and tacky still manages to get people to spend money on it.
This got me looking around at other logos and advertisements and realized how most were less than appealing. It was clear that the “good enough” for advertising was pretty horrible. It also was clear that they were somewhat successful. I’m sure there plenty of brands that I glanced at that will never be seen again, but there were plenty that relatively successful. The whole experience made me think, that as a culture, we’ve become so accustomed to seeing ads that even though their message is displayed with a huge lack of quality, we don’t really care.
The fact that a dumb game machine that has to compete with guarantees can even be around when it looks so shady. If I had learned the hook couldn’t possibly pick up 99% of the items, it wouldn’t surprise me.
Yet, even though the machines screams ripoff, it is still there and making money. The reason we are a culture of ads is because we spend our money on the products.
There is nothing wrong with spending money on something like a silly game picking up a stuffed animal. But, there is something wrong with a culture almost addicted to its own convincing. It might be that we feel desired when we see advertisements. That someone wants something of us. We feel needed. Personally, I don’t feel that way, but who knows what goes on in someones subconscious.
The Super Bowl and its tradition of “good” ads only supports the addiction. The people who say they watch the game for the commercials I think are lying. I watched the commercials and for every interesting gag, there were more regular commercials just showing produce and toilet paper.
My observation isn’t anything new, but for me personally, it was something I hadn’t personally realized. It honestly angered me to some degree that we’ve let ourselves become such consumers. Our senses are no longer focused on keeping out of danger or finding food, but instead they are interfaces for companies to give their pitch. Fortunately, we all have the choice whether or not to buy. And what’s more, the important aspect of that choice is that it’s something you as a single person do. No one chooses for you. The best way to combat the ad addiction is to simply exercise that choice and choose not to listen.