To Market to Market
John Norberg, humor columnist s

There are a lot of articles in magazines and quizzes on the Internet that are designed to help us learn about ourselves. This information is very important. It gives us, as Robert Burns said, the opportunity to see ourselves as other see us.

But there is an even better way to find out about yourself.

All you need to do is pay attention to the commercials on our favorite TV shows.

For example, as I've gotten older I've discovered that most of the commercial sponsors for the TV shows I watch are pharmaceutical companies, funeral homes, and reverse mortgage companies.

You have to face the fact that you're getting older if your favorite TV show is sponsored by Medicare supplemental insurance plans.

Advertisers and marketing people are smart. They don't waste money just throwing their commercials at everyone. They target their ads.

You're not going to see a lot of commercials for the opera and ballet on TV shows like "Swamp People." And when I turn on "Andy Griffith" and it's sponsored by Denture Cream, I start thinking they know the audience isn't made up of teenagers.

I can remember when I was young and the TV shows I watched had commercials for fast, sporty cars. I used to watch Brylcreen shows ("a little dab'll do ya.") I used to be a target audience for the latest, most stylish clothes, men's cologne, trendy restaurants and the latest movies.

Now I find myself watching Time Life Golden Oldie Infomercials. And loving them.

Some of the advertisements they have on TV today I don't even understand. They're advertising things on television these days that we weren't even supposed to think about 30 years ago.

Me: "What is low-T?"

Wife: "I don't know but maybe you'll like it. You liked High Tea when we vacationed in England."

I'm retired now so I'm home all day. My wife is also retired and when she's around I try to look busy at my computer. But when she's out of the house I can do other things.

Me: "Do you think my skin needs deep clarifying and moisturizing? My face isn't as smooth and as soft as it once was."

Wife: "I pleaded with you not to watch those women talk shows on daytime TV. Can't you tell by the commercials that those shows aren't meant for you?"

Me: "But look at me. My skin is white and dry."

Wife: "Your skin is white and dry because you've been in the house with the heat turned up all winter."

Me: "Maybe I need some of that vanishing skin cream. But why would I want my skin to vanish. It sounds kind of gross."

Wife: "The cream vanishes, not your skin."

This is the other problem I have with TV commercials. Whatever problem they advertise I automatically think I've got. And daytime TV is full of ads focused on seniors and their problems.

Daytime TV Commercial spokesman: "Are you tired . . . "

Me: "Yes, yes, I want to take a nap right now."

Spokesman: "Do you have occasional headaches and that achy feeling? Do you have trouble sleeping at night? Do you sometimes forget important things like your wedding anniversary and your wife's birthday?"

Me: "That's me. I've got all those symptoms."

Spokesman: "Call your doctor right away and tell him you need this prescription. Possible side effects include fatigue, headaches, that achy feeling, sleeplessness and forgetfulness . . ."

Me: "But those are the things I'm taking the drug to get rid of."

Spokesman: "Other possible side effects include slow and painful death but this is rare and only occurs in men who spend too much time watching the History Channel."

Me: "Oh, oh."

I guess as we get older we all want to feel young again. Young felt so good. So from now on when I want to feel young again I'm going to turn on a show about vampires or zombies.

I want to see some ads for video games and colognes with Italian names and make believe they're targeting me.

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