Have you seen this commercial? The one which starts off with an on-screen graphic and the announcer saying, “THIS IS A PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT!!”?
It’s for some company, the name of which I cannot remember, which handles distressed properties and distributes information on how YOU can take advantage of foreclosures or some such thing. Apparently they’re trying to create the impression that it’s a Public SERVICE Announcement, or some sort of official government announcement. But no matter what, it’s deceitful, intentionally deceptive, and, worst of all, really insulting to the intelligence.
Is there really anyone out there who hears this and says, “Pipe down, kids… this is a PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT! We’d better listen closely!” ?
But the insult to the intelligence doesn’t end there. At the end of the commercial, the voiceover says, “Those whose last names begin with A through N, call now. All others may call tomorrow.” The commercial then ends with the words, “REPEAT: THIS IS A PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT!” Of course, it matters not a whit when you call… but is anyone really fooled by this false sense of urgency? Wait, what am I saying? Of course they are.
I haven’t seen these much recently, but a few years ago I used to receive official looking junk mail, which came in red, white and blue envelopes, which looked a little bit like Fed Ex packages. Usually, there was something like “JET EXPRESS MAIL” on the front, something that looked a tiny bit like a UPS or FED EX shipping form, and a phony tracking number. Of course, the giveaway was that it was sent at bulk mail rates. And frequently, there was a dire-sounding warning that the postmaster had better deliver this to recipient in accordance with Postal Regulation 938484 or something, otherwise the postmaster would be interfering with Official Business.
Then there’s the web equivalent:
So which is better, that, or how to lose 7 pounds of belly fat by using One Weird Old Tip? Or hearing about the single mom, who lives not only near you, but near me, who has discovered a teeth-whitening secret that DENTISTS DON”T WANT YOU TO KNOW ABOUT? Oooh, I know! I’ll rant about that stuff tomorrow, okay?