Things for Suckers: A Multipart Series

There are a lot of things that are out there that are specifically made for Suckers. For example, the Gizmondo. Another example: working hard. I could give a million examples.

And I will, as part of my multipart series on Things For Suckers. I came across the following article at the NYTimes titled: “Someone Has to Pay for TV. But Who? And How?” Dear non-existent reader, I will tell you the answer. 1. Maybe. 2. Not me. 3. I could care less. The article talks about how 70 percent of DVR users skip commercials. Well duh. That is because 99% of all commercials suck and aren’t worth watching. Watching TV in real time with commercials IS FOR SUCKERS. The article is definitely worth a read, and I thought this perspective was actually quite innovative:

James Boyle, a law professor at Duke University, said that broadcasters offer a program knowing that only a fraction of the audience watches the commercials. Advertisers, he added, buy nothing more than “an option on a probability,” and the viewer is no more obligated to watch every commercial than a driver is obligated to read every billboard.

An option on probability. I like that.

In my view, the advertising industry is taking too many cues from the RIAA. The solution is not to battle against the erosion of your business plan using technology. As the RIAA and MPAA have learned painfully, that is never going to work. What advertisers should be doing is looking internally, for a way to make their generic car commercials suck less. Beer commercials. The old Volkswagen commercials. Even the new Burger King commercials. Those are funny. I’ll watch ’em. The latest Mercury Merkur commercial? I’ll pass, thanks. Just try and stop me.

Follow up: Here is an example of someone doing something right. Whoever came up with this at Warner Bros. should be promoted.

1 Response to “Things for Suckers: A Multipart Series”


  • There was an article a couple months back in Adbusters about how there are now commercials about commercials, i.e., ads urging viewers to pay more attention to the commercials on TV.

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