Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Advertising on PBS

The reason I love PBS is because there really isn't much advertising. In those little breaks when there is ten minute gap between shows (when they run that thing on Arno - so annoying!), is when I run to the loo or wash my face, or get a snack. However, lately I have been notice more and more mainstream ads creeping over onto channels 2 and 44.

Well, really it is called "sponsorship" and I understand that in order to bring me the programming that I dearly love, PBS has to have sponsorships.

Which means that the sponsors get to advertise at the start of each program they support.

So instead of the gravelly PBS announcer saying "This PBS program is brought to you with the generous support of XYZ Corporation" (unless you are watching Sesame Street, in which case it is brought to you by the letters X, Y, & Z), the sponsors now run an ad.

For example the Nature program is paid for by Toyota. Meaning that just before the Nature program comes on, an ad for a Toyota Hybrid comes on.

And it is a really silly ad that visually implies that the hybrid is biodegradable. Oh for peanuts sake people! Really? Who is going to spend $20K on a car that is designed to rot into a heap of compost? Uh.. .NO ONE.

I believe the Nature program is also sponsored in part by the SC Johnson Company. Which basically makes a crapload of chemical products that we spray, mist, wipe, and scour across most every surface in our house, including ourselves. Hey, no matter what, a cleaning chemical is a cleaning chemical. It really isn't natural. If you want natural, clean with baking soda and vinegar. Oh, but yeah, NOT together ok.

The SC Johnson (A Family Company, as they put it on their logo) line includes products like Drano, Pledge, Windex, and Off. These are not made up from apple peels and mountain spring water. Instead they are made from stuff like isoparaffinic hydrocarbon solvent, N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide, 1-tetradecylamine, sodium hydroxide.

Then these chemical combinations are bottled into steel aerosol cans, or plastic spray bottles, or saturated into cloth bits and packaged into plastic containers.

We use them up and then most of us will dump the packaging into the trash, where it will get thrown into a landfill.

But it's ok, because SC Johnson (A Family Company) is quick to tell us that they've built a plant on top of a former landfill so that they can use the methane gas produced by the garbage to run the plant. Which is the part of the ad that I hate. It seems SO wrong that a chemical company has to so fervently prove that they are in fact a jolly green giant of a company lovingly protecting Mother Nature.

Don't get me wrong, I love capitalism, but let's not fool ourselves here. Capitalism is all about "screw you where's my buck" not "let's take a hit in Q4 and plant a field of daisies".

It reminds me of the Philip-Morris ads that they ran trying to prove that even though they produced cancer-causing products (
of which I used to be a loyal & devoted fan) they were in fact a caring company that would be happy to help users kick the habit. Yeah, right, that's sincere.

And in the case of PBS, advertising seems inevitable. I mean
increased sponsorship.

The public doesn't seem to support it as much, but can you blame them? During fund raising season they show endless reruns of Doo Wop Hits and Andre Rieu. Neither of which is ever shown during the regular season. And even when they do run regular programming it is interrupted by idiotic commentary/QVC-ing of memberships and program related merchandise.

And I am sure it costs a lot more to make the programs. And to pay the staff. And to run the show. And to buy shows from the UK.

So maybe advertising IS the answer. But you know, that would suck. And it would be hypocritical according to PBS themselves!

Eh, maybe it's time to donate the Supernova.


Anonymous said...

I feel a bit guilty about this, because I watch a lot of PBS, but have never given money. I blame "Celtic Woman."

Miss. Von Schtoop said...

Hopefully this weekend you were able to catch "Celtic THUNDER".

Personally I am just excited that this campaign is featuring "Anne of Green Gables", a favorite of mine since it first came out in 1986.