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Stop trying to sell me things
Posted March 06, 2009

Water, oxygen and sunlight are three things which are vital for human survival. America has added an extra factor which is vital for its survival and impossible to escape. That is advertising.

I think I should take this moment to mention a few things. The first is that I’m from England. The second is that some television and radio stations in England have no advertising at all, and other channels have limited advertising.

I first noticed American advertising on the journey from Los Angeles International Airport to La Verne. I had been on an 11 hour flight from the U.K., so you can imagine how tired I was at the time.

I was sitting in the shuttle, trying my best to stay awake while listening to the accents of the people talking on the radio and taking as much interest as I could in the news. It was in that time I discovered the joy of the advertising surrounding radio news.

Now, it is not like we do not have advertising in England, we have plenty of it. Sometimes in the prime time hour you can have a three minute song and then five minutes of advertising. But nothing could prepare me for what I heard.

Instead of the company making their advertisement, the person who reported the traffic news read out their advertisement for them.

It took me quite a while in my sleepy condition to realize that the traffic reporter had stopped reporting and was advertising the new deal Toyota had on their trucks.

I did not believe what I was hearing the first time. It took me three different traffic reports to realize that I was not imagining it.

See back home, the news and traffic reporters do not read the advertisements, the companies make it themselves and it is very clear and distinctive.

I prefer it this way because when news readers read the advertisements, it seems like the company puts no effort into selling their products.

Another part of advertising that I have noticed since I have been here is television advertising, or the frequency of it to be more precise. When I sit down to watch “NCIS” or “Law and Order,” I want to watch those programs. I do not want to sit down and watch the opening credits of TV shows and then advertisements.

I think if the TV stations organized themselves to show advertising at set times, such as every 15 minutes like the stations do in England, then it would make much more sense. At least that way you can anticipate the advertisements and make yourself a cup of tea or butter a scone while you wait.

I also like channel hopping, something which is very hard to do over here due to advertising. At home, if I don’t like one show and I time it just right, none of the channels have advertising on them. Here it is a bit more pot-luck than that. You might get a show, but the chances are you’ll end up watching yet another advertisement.

So come on America, quit hurting our eyes and ears with your products. Or if you must advertise so much, turn it into a game. Make us guess what the companies are advertising; you may find the advertisements become more popular than the TV programs.

Diane Scott, a visiting international student from Great Britain, is editorial director of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at diane.scott@ laverne.edu.