Beyond the debate over which mode of marketing is more effective, image marketing or direct response (though I will briefly address that subject, too)…
Why are there no cigarette commercials on TV?
One answer is: It causes lung cancer and it’ll eventually kill you. Okay, score one for our benevolent social mores and representative government.
Of course, smoking also costs health and life insurance companies a fortune – forcing them to pay out billions in claims and benefits.
So, no doubt, they made sure our representative government heard of their powerful and influential displeasure.
These are the same reasons there are no gun commercials on TV. Nor are there any TV commercials selling hard alcohol, though the distinction between hard alcohol and beer and wine escapes me. But it probably has to do, once again, with powerful and influential forces roaming the halls of Congress.
This also might explain why certain car commercials are permitted.
If you’ve noticed…
There are two types of car commercials on TV
You have the dealers, practicing for the most part, though not always, direct response advertising – offering time limited deals while clowning around on the screen like used-car salesman.
And, you have the car manufactures who practice, exclusively, image advertising.
Other than for those small, budget-priced or hybrid cars, the image the manufacturers are selling is sex and speed – in the hope of driving you into the outreached arms of the nearest local dealer.
Personally, I’ve got no problem with sexual innuendos, or even overt expressions. It doesn’t hurt anyone. It doesn’t cause anyone to rape and pillage, or even practice unsafe sex.
If the car manufacturers want to imply that you will look or feel sexier, and attract the opposite sex, by owning one of their sleek and polished models – so be it.
Speed, on the other hand, kills
Which makes you wonder, who has a stronger PAC, the car manufacturers or the insurance companies? What makes the answer to that question even more interesting, and elusive – both industries, to varying degrees, were bailed out by our representative government.
Anyway, when you see on TV a Cadillac SUV for example, speeding down a winding, rain-slicked mountain road in the dead of night, splashing through puddles and spraying jets of water in it’s wake – does that not encourage drivers to do the same?
After all, that looks like so much fun!
Or, how about Jaguars racing each other on urban dark streets, spinning out, breaking, accelerating, burning rubber? Don’t you want to jump off the couch and go out and do that, too – even if you’re only headed to the nearest 7-11 in a 20-year old VW bug?
Or, how about cars smashing through barricades or shushing down snow-covered alpine mountains, or racing fighter jets in the desert and performing multiple 360’s and spraying dust and sand in every direction?
Do you get the point I’m making?
These TV commercials encourage speeding – often reckless speeding – which kills!
So why are they allowed, why is there no public uproar – not to mention from car insurers? Is it collision collusion among certain national players? I don’t know.
I guess I should point out that the same argument can be made against gratuitous violence in the media and in the gaming industry.
No quick answers obviously, but I find it annoying and perplexing nonetheless.