My son likes to watch the Disney cartoon Phineas and Ferb. I have to admit, I enjoy it as well. Two boys spend their summer vacation doing unimaginable things while their teen-age sister tries to get them busted. In the episode we watched this morning the boys decide to make a toy after seeing a new Har D Har toy that bores them. They invent, and successfully sell, Perry the Platypus Inaction Figure....It does Nothing. I started thinking, why isn't all advertising in the United States required to be like Phineas and Ferb?
Everyday we see things advertised that promise to make life better, more fulfilling, easier. Cleaning products sold by loud little men who look like deranged elves (You know who I'm talking about...), pharmacutical products (if you can call them that) that promise you too can smile like "Bob". Vauge references to "a certain part of the male body". Promises of quick cleaning, fast weight loss, smoother skin, younger looks...we are indundated daily with images of how we, the lowly consumer, can be better.
Shouldn't we be demanding that the advertisements we see state the truth? In the 1950's cigarettes were sold by cartoon characters and promised happiness and energy. If someone tried that today, we'd run them out on a rail. Yet, we don't stand up and shout for any kind of truth in the advertisements we see every day. How odd is that? Shouldn't products that offer "male enhancement" actually have to enhance men? We all know products like Extenze and Enzite are complete bullshit, but the ads are everywhere. Shouldn't toy commercials have to show what the toy really does so we don't have to explain to our children why it's just a plastic that doesn't do anything much? How about the yogurt commercials that promise "digestive health"? Medical research shows that virtually all yogurt has that benefit when eaten regularly...but as a nation we're being conned into paying twice as much for the "Activia Challenge".
Have we really become so complacent and shallow as a nation that a children's television show can use our shopping habits as comic fodder? I'm going to suggest that everyone who reads this call or write to one company who produces a product you felt fell short of it's advertising claim. Let them know someone is actually awake out here and paying attention. Once you do it, encourage your friends and family to do it as well. Let's see how much noise we can make.