This Facebook posting tonight just begged to be put into a blog. It jogs my early memories as a child growing up in South Africa. Those radio commercials were always so confusing (we didn’t get TV until 1976). Well things aren’t much different here in California a generation later and a continent removed as one Dad posted the following:
“I’m watching TV with my boys and a commercial comes on. I was really not paying attention to what the commercial is all about until one said “dad what’s a reptile dysfunction?” Well at this point I became very much aware of what the commercial is about THEN the even bigger question was asked. “How does one catch it? and if you get it do you turn into a reptile?” I am very proud of my answer to this very awkward question. I said, “Son, you have nothing to be concerned about because kids your age don’t turn into reptiles.” AWKWARD!!!”
Talk about confusing, I don’t think many adults appreciate how befuddling some of our commercial messaging can be. I even have a hard time following the logic. Just regarding the commercial being referenced here, can someone explain how a product promoting intimacy and a cure for reptile dysfunction has two people in separate bath tubs holding hands watching a sunset outside? It seems like this product would only really work if they ended up in the same bath tub and hopefully one larger and more private than those narrow single bathtubs out in a field? I digress. I’m just trying to point out that if these ads are confusing to even us adults, just imagine what they are to kids.
I mean look at those pharmaceutical commercials showing some tablet that’s supposed to help you to sleep or that has some other supposed benefit. As you watch it, they often show smiling people playing in slow motion with their children or grandchildren. All this fun stuff is happening while the announcer rattles off all the horrific side effects, often including “death” or how about that lady with the elephant on her chest? Think how a kid would interpret that image.
My childhood in South Africa was filled with such confusions, chief of which was how Santa’s sleigh was somehow going to make it to our home in 104 degree heat as we singed on the other side of the earth in mid summer. One year when the gifts came late we were told it was because Santa’s sleigh had derailed on those rocks far in the distance. No wonder Rudolf’s nose was red, what with all that blazing African sun and all that rock crashing! But back to those confusing radio commercials. Ours in South Africa were for things like Black Cat Peanut Butter, two items that had nothing to do with each other or for the underarm deodorant MUM for Men!!! That commercial always ended with the question “hasn’t your Mum always looked after you?” Well of course she has but what has that got to do with stuff under your arms?
I close by inviting my readers to give what your answer might have been if your boy asked you “what’s reptile dysfunction and how does one catch it?” Remember you only have 8 seconds to think before giving an answer and please no snake references!!! Also what was your most confusing commercial as a child?…Have fun sharing your insights and memories!!!