Thursday, March 05, 2009

Barking Up the Wrong Tree

      One of the most bitter and hotly contested business battles of recent times has been between the powers that be who control the satellite television companies, and those who run the cable companies. And while our television has come a long, long way from the days of Junior sitting in front of the gigantic RCA with the 13' screen that was poaching his insides while he watched Howdy Doody, the idea of television that has been put out by the good people at Hulu is still not far from the truth. Because, while back then your set basically cooked your insides with all manner of radiation, now it just cooks your brain with mindless dribble. And by that I mean the commercials for the cable company that I watch on my cable TV.
     Let's be fair, here Company. It works both ways. The satellite companies force the people who get their services to watch satellite TV commercials on their sets too, and you know what? It's just not fair. It just makes no sense. You are basically spending your money to appeal to people who already pay you their money. And this makes no sense. Now, I understand that they pay to advertise on that specific channel across its whole range of viewers, so that the cable company ads are targeting those who are watching, say, TNT on satellite, and the satellite companies are targeting those of us like me who are watching on cable. It's the same phenomenon that makes me have to watch ads for companies who don't have branches where I live. Fine. I get that. But that doesn't necessarily make things right. And it certainly doesn't make it less annoying.
     First of all, it annoys the hell out of me because I am already a customer, and most of the offers they go on and on and on about are for people signing up for the first time. There is not slap in the face quite like the one that is reading your $100 cable bill when they are touting the same plan for $29.99 for the first three months if you sign up new. That's cold. Plus, those newbies are getting a newer and faster cable box than the dinosaur that I have on the shelf underneath my TV. And they are getting a better and faster modem for their Internet as well. This sort of pisses me off. If they can afford to give say, 10% of their customers at any given time a big fat discount, doesn't it stand to reason that maybe they can give EVERYONE a smaller discount ALL the time and still be making the same amount. All these special sales tell me is that they can afford to survive with charging me less and that they have been fleecing me for God knows how long. Fantastic.
     Second, the particular cable company that serves my area makes the all time cheesiest and worst commercials with the cheapest production values I have seen in a long, long time. The worst part is that some of these commercials are touting the production arm of the cable company. "Hey, come and get you commercial made by us! This is how crappy it will turn out looking!" This is terrible because it is the double worst advertisement I have ever seen. It is was a fraternity at Faber College it would be on double secret probation. I will tell you why. Because first of all it's a terrible commercial that everyone who watches TV on cable instinctively avoids because you know it sucks. Like that chick at the party who always shows up but then can't stop talking about how great she is when really she is not even average at best in any category that you just avoid without even realizing that you are avoiding. When you are watching TV you don't even pay attention to the cable or satellite company ad. So the advertisement encourages you not to listen. Then, if you do happen to listen like by mistake or something, you are treated to an absolute pile of crap. How terrible. Come give up your hard earned advertising money and we will produce you a commercial that is terrible and that no one will pay attention to. Great advertisement cable company.
     So here's the deal: stop the commercials. Or at least make them good, because quite frankly I am tired as tired can be of this business. I am already hooked, you don't need to keep flashing shiny things in front of my face to get me in line. I am already along for this ride so settle down and leave me be. I am trying to watch Mr. Belvedere.

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