While knitting and cogitating on the day’s jury* events, the background drone of TV commercials finally penetrated.
“What,” I wondered, “do companies advertise when the stock market’s below 7,000 and new (monthly) unemployment claims regularly exceed half a million? What’s worth the hefty investment in TV advertising?”
During the Wednesday night 7:30-9:30 time slot (MSNBC, USA, CBS) a snapshot emerged. The largest advertising sector was Cable TV’s ads for its own products: new programs, old programs and upcoming specials guaranteed to improve your tax outlook and trim your monthly budget.
In terms of “products,” Madison Avenue supports our return to home-cooked goodness, so gather the family round the table and make some nostalgia as you tuck into old fashioned dehydrated macaroni & cheese and canned chunky soup brimful of luscious garden veggies. Or, for a treat (only your budget knows the limits) try a chef-cooked bucket from the local KFC.
If you haven’t been drinking enough Brita-filtered tap water, stock up on Activia yogurt or the colon cleanser of your choice. Also, if you’re noticing an uptick in cholesterol, edema and/or chest pain and the emergency room’s sick of seeing you, get a bottle of aspirin and join Jenny Craig or a similar national diet plan. (MONEY SAVER IDEA: purchase a single membership and apportion the food to your family of four. Huge budget benefits guaranteed!)
Our neo back-to-Foxfire-basic relies on simple things: Fixodent, toilet paper, TV.com (save electricity by planning your nightly viewing) GMC trucks (if your patriotism includes rebuilding America!) Dunkin Donut’s aromalicious beans for homebrew, Olay deep cleansing wash (for after a day of shoveling compost), Dr. Phil, anti-depressants & anti-constipation drugs of choice sold cheap at Walgreen’s or Wal-Mart (not your local pharmacy), quick-flush toilets, do-it-yourself legal forms and finally, two attorneys — one for torts and one for bankruptcy. If you’re a small business owner who’s still hanging an open sign, Verizon wants their Small Business Toolkit to be your new bff. Yee gads! Verizon’s got your number! What? Well of course they’ll have to turn the phones back on….
For those of us not living in a new back-to-basic tent city neighborhood, add Travelocity to the list of resources bolstering your pared down life.
Except for one final advertiser, that’s it in a nutshell: a yellow brick trip through Madison Avenue Oz and its representative, Cable TV.
I want to underscore my last advertiser for its uplifting message. Bank of America is America’s Bank of Opportunity. I swear on an oath, I smelled green grass and green tech constructing a green and bounteous future. An inspirational partner for each of us, no doubt. As a start, if you were one of the thousands of BOA partners they accidentally socked for improper fees, make sure you apply for your $78 refund from the the class action fund.
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Skeletal thoughts from the past week:
Jon Stewart’s rip of CNBC, Jim Santelli and Jim Cramer is the most brilliant commentary I’ve seen in years. (Cramer will be Stewart’s guest tonight. That is, if he doesn’t “bail out” like Santelli did.)
In the large picture, Bernie Madoff is a scapegoat. Let’s see what happens to those who made all the destructive schemes possible: the SEC overseers, ratings agencies, Congress and Presidents going back to at least Reagan. For sure, he should go to prison; but how does that benefit his (and the SEC’s) thousands of victims?
CNBC and its guests are taking a hand in shoring up our trust in the financial markets and their institutions. The new confidence game is beefy with cheery language and predictions. MSNBC’s Morning Joe crew groaned at Mark Haines’ proclivity for gloomy predictions. Two mornings ago, Haines eschewed doom and announced the Market had found its bottom. The Dow’s closed in positive territory since. In fairness, his gloomy outlook changed the same day Citi’s CEO announced that his company was doing just fine. Quick fix.
*Aside: Am currently serving on a Grand Jury which has an impact on my writing schedule. More on that near the end of April when the service is complete.