A number of months ago I spent about a week house sitting for a couple who were away on vacation. It was the first time in quite a while I had that amount of time in a house that had cable. I do not have it in my house and the week I spent house sitting was an apt reminder of why I ditched cable from my life a few years ago.
I decided to do a bit of analysis on the types of commercials that were being shown. One thing to note is that the types of commercials vary from channel to channel and the time of day they’re shown. I decided to focus on prime time hours on the major networks. I discovered four products that were being advertised heavily. Afterwards, it occurred to me that there was a major link among all of them and it highlights one of the major issues in the United States. It all made complete sense. After all, prime time advertising on major networks is the most expensive advertising anywhere. The only companies that can afford it are successful ones operating in industries that are thriving. Here is the list in order of popularity:
- Weight loss products
Some of you may have already seen the connections among all of them. The third item the list is a big giveaway and the fourth one removes all doubt. Yes, these commercials highlight the issue of obesity. The proliferation of cars and food cause the problem, medication and weight loss try to make the problem go away.
Cars are comfortably the most popular product being advertised and it’s actually worse when it comes to radio advertising. The first couple of hundred years of America’s life didn’t have cars but the cities that were being built with their wide streets inadvertently catered very nicely when Henry Ford and other pioneers came along and revolutionized the car. Since then cities and towns all over the country were designed and built with the car in mind. The only statement of freedom less powerful than the first amendment is the ability of millions to be able to have their own car. And the more people drive, the less people walk or cycle and for many there’s no choice due to the infrastructure around them. What happens when the general population gets less and less exercise?
It’s a broad industry because sadly there are thousands of medical conditions out there that people suffer from. The advertising reflects this but I did see a number of commercials directly aimed at weight loss mostly in the form of weight loss pills. But what do we know about obesity and health? Well, obesity can cause a whole range of medical issues, diabetes and heart disease being two of the more well known ones. But it goes far beyond that. It causes back problems, hip and knee problems and it also puts a strain on practically every internal organ of the body. The list goes on and on. It’s fair to say that the medical industry is pretty happy to make fat profits from the unhealthy lifestyles of millions.
Have you ever seen a commercial for celery? Me neither. Maybe a trawl through the depths of youtube could yield one or two but you certainly won’t find one on prime time television. The food you see advertised is almost entirely that of food you shouldn’t be eating. We all know the dirtiest of the dirty, the fast food restaurants with their toxic junk. But there are many franchises out there that claim to serve healthy food when in fact they’re almost as bad as the junk peddlers. A prime example is Subway. Their food is total garbage and don’t let anyone else convince you otherwise. They say to eat fresh but their salt content makes the Dead Sea seem like a freshwater lake. There’s a simple rule to go by, if it’s a large franchise advertising on major networks then it’s food you should not be eating.
Weight loss products
Products are quite varied. They have weight loss pills which tie in directly with the medical industry. Also tying in are the surgeons trying to cut you open and suck all that fat out of you through a sterilized vacuum cleaner. There’s slimming shakes as well as so-called healthy meal plans which some companies try to sell to you. There’s the really crappy exercise equipment which claims to help reduce weight while sitting down watching television. What you won’t see advertised is your own block or your local park. Those things are free and are the best products out there for losing weight. Instead you’ll see a commercial for the latest treadmill with its twenty degree incline and other bells and whistles. But if you don’t have the space for one of those, there’s always the gym membership being advertised, enticing you with a special six month deal while knowing that you may show up for a month or two and then you’ll never be seen again, freeing up the gym equipment for the newest members to make a half assed attempt to deal with their obesity.
To conclude, these are four of the biggest industries in America today and there’s no reason why they won’t continue to grow as America’s waistline grows. You may not be able to account for your fellow citizens but you can certainly account for yourself and if you’re fat, a good place to start is to ditch your cable.