Ad nauseum

It was sometime around 3 a.m. when my son, Sam, roused me from a feeble sleep to announce his wet diaper. The perpetual insomniac that I am, I couldn’t return to dreamland after changing him and, finding my wife, Laura, fast asleep, crept downstairs to watch TV so not to disturb her.

Commercials are abundant in the middle of the night and I am, as Laura often tells me, an advertising snob. These days, I rarely pay attention to the drivel that’s played between the short breaths of programming, not because I don’t care about what’s being promoted, but because advertisers have stopped telling me what they’re peddling.

If you write or produce TV commercials for your clients, do me a favor. Don’t beat around the bush. Don’t imply the sales pitch. And stop trying to wow me with stunning visuals or half-naked people — I ain’t buying it. Just get to the point.

How many vaguely happy people dancing in a field with a tagline like “Enervate — see your doctor today” do I have to watch before a drug company finally explains what disorder the drug treats? It is strangely humorous, though, that the only ads that get straight to the point sell allergy medication, male enhancement products or erectile dysfunction drugs.

Next, stop pitching mascots that make absolutely no sense, like the Arby’s oven mitt. The restaurant’s brain trust must know that the company’s logo is a cowboy hat. Whatever happened to creative ads that at least offered mascots close to the mark (though not exactly politically correct) such as the talking Mexican Chihuahua who wanted Taco Bell? It was silly, but at least I could associate Taco Bell with Mexican food.

And finally, quit overpromising and underdelivering. If you produce beer commercials, listen up. This means you. I’ve been to college — and numerous bars before I got married — and let me assure you that pounding cheap American swill with your friends doesn’t lead to a gaggle of supermodels suddenly joining your private soiree.

However, if it did, I can guarantee you that the world would be a much stranger — and less sober — place. And that would be truth in advertising.