The best thing that ever happened to TV was the invention of the DVR. The best thing it did was enable us to skip over commercials after we’d recorded a program. I’ll never understand why commercials have to be annoying. There seems to be some advertising rule that says “If it doesn’t bug you it’s not going to plug you.” Advertising is almost always intrusive, whether on TV or the Internet, at gas stations, on the radio – even the funny ones are only funny the first time. By the third or fourth viewing you want to strangle somebody.
The worst is probably on television when your favorite show ends, or takes a break, and suddenly you are bombarded with a Tsunami of noise. Your neighbors hear it, the cats and dogs run from the room, and you are jolted out of your calm in a fit to find the remote – where’s the remote! Where’s the remote!
As you dive for it you trace your fingers over the familiar buttons to find the “mute.” And in so doing, you can find a sense of calm again. Doesn’t it seem strange that advertisers think it’s a good idea to totally offend and make uncomfortable its target audience? Wouldn’t they want the experience to be somewhat pleasant? But of course not. Why would anyone pay attention to it if it wasn’t jarring?
It seems that some smart person out there decided to take action against the advertisers with a new bill. Rep. Anna Eshoo from California has introduced legislation that would force advertisers to consider the feelings of television viewers for a change. The The Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (CALM) Act was approved by a subcommittee and must next face the Energy & Commerce Committee and if it is approved by Congress, steps will have to be taken.
Eshoo said she had hoped television cable companies would voluntarily comply with the continued requests to do something about the noise but so far, nothing permanent or noticeable has taken effect. If there are any controversies to be had, they weren’t in the blogosphere this morning – just a long sigh of quiet relief for one of the annoying ongoing flies in the otherwise sweet honey.
The only tiny stumbling block appears to be that the smaller cable companies (there are such things as smaller cable companies?) could claim serious hardship in trying to comply with the standards. One imagines what punishments there might be for those who break the rules, and whether the cable companies will have to field numerous calls from customers who still think all of the commercials are too loud.
However, speaking as one who dives for the remote and does everything humanly possible to avoid commercials, the minor hassle in dealing with complications is nothing compared to the many joyful TV viewers out there who don’t have to be afraid any longer. Loud is not good unless maybe you’re talking about the waves pounding the shore, or the chirping of the swallows, or a Jimmy Page guitar solo. When you’re talking about Cialis, restasis, or anything else that does strange things to vulnerable body parts, isn’t it better that it be delivered at a five or below?