Blogs » Quixotic Quicksand » Viewers&#151;Be <em>Shame</em>fully Aware!


Currently, there’s a locally produced commercial gracing Victoria’s digital cable airwaves that concerns me. Maybe you’ve seen it. It features a bubbly blonde account executive from Cox Digital Cable. She urges viewers who have a product or service to sell to consider advertising via local commercials, much like she, herself, is doing in this very ad.

My concern isn’t the poor sound quality of this ad because that’s typical for most local commercials. My concern isn’t even the poorly written script—which is, sadly, another norm for this medium of advertising.

My concern is what’s in the background. The woman’s milieu consists of a hodgepodge of props and generally byzantine clutter. Located centrally on a shelf behind her, in the viewer’s plain sight, is a collection of wood-carved letters. They say

That’s a D*mn Shame

Without the asterisk, of course. So, I am hopeful that you can relate to my concern here. I really just want to know what the purpose of this bizarre knick-knack is. Who would need something like this and why would they need it? And what is it doing in a cable television commercial?

We’re presented with an interesting conundrum here. This salesperson is promoting her own product by using it. As she talks to viewers about the effectiveness of this form of advertising, her viewers are barraged with background visuals that evoke questions: Are we supposed to be able to see those words back there? Are they a subliminal message? Is there a higher level of meaning associated with these words? Did I leave the oven on?

Perhaps the use of this dubious set of words is intended to show the viewer how many effective details can be put into a commercial. Perhaps the words are there to make the viewer remember the commercial. Perhaps the producer simply overlooked them and failed to remove them from the set before filming began…Who knows?

Not me, as usual. I’m just relaying the message.