Social Question

wundayatta's avatar

What do you do and think during TV advertisements?

Asked by wundayatta (58321 points ) July 5th, 2012

I resent them with a passion. So much so, that I rarely watch television. When I do, I prefer HBO, which doesn’t have advertisements.

However, my TV watching includes sports—football during the pro football season and post-season (especially if the Eagles are playing); baseball—if the Phillies are in the playoffs; and the Tour de France. It’s Tour de France time, and I am seeing ads for the first time since the Academy Awards.

It takes me two or three times to understand some of them. This creepy guy who leans in for a tongue kiss on his first date but his car warns him not to—took me a few watchings to understand what that was all about.

But after a while, I stop paying much attention. I bring my computer up, and fluther during ads. None of the ads are for things I would ever buy, so they are all useless information. I get impatient during the ads. Go pee. Water the plants. Take a nap (which is bad since often I don’t wake up for the show).

What do you do and what are you thinking when the adverts show up on the telly?

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35 Answers

elbanditoroso's avatar

Thats what remote controls are for. I will not watch commercials. If one comes on, I switch channels. I may or may not come back to the original show or sports event, depending on what I find.

What advertisers fail to realize that the single biggest reasons that they LOSE viewers like me (affluent, intelligent) is because they air commercials.

Sunny2's avatar

I just turn off the sound if they become annoying and don’t watch. I usually do something else while I watch TV anyhow, do crosswords or sudokus, play solitaire. There are few programs I just sit and watch.

CWOTUS's avatar

Sometimes I enjoy the commercials more than the program I’m nominally there to watch. It’s unusual, but possible, and I enjoy those moments.

But I often channel-surf at those times, too, or get up and do something else that needs to be done: I rewater or dewater at those times, for example.

But I watch so little television that a lot of the ads are somewhat novel to me, and I recognize that it’s the small annoyance cost for “free” programming. So I put up with it – I just avoid television more and more because of the nonsense to be found on the intentional programming.

Bill1939's avatar

When watching time shifted programming I skip forward 30 seconds through commercials until the program is back (sometime I need to skip back a bit since a chain of commercials does not always come out to even minutes). Otherwise I channel hop until the commercials on the program I am watching are over (picture in picture helps to monitor the preferred station while looking elsewhere).

laurenkem's avatar

What I’m usually thinking is how annoyingly loud commercials are. Seems to me that I heard something about advertisers being prevented from deliberately “upping the volume”, so to speak. Whatever happened to that rumor? Just a rumor that ran its course?

Bill1939's avatar

I believe that they got around the FCC’s audio level requirement by averaging the audio level, cutting the lower frequencies and boosting the higher frequencies.

laurenkem's avatar

Thanks for the info, @Bill1939 ! Figured those bastards found a way around it.

digitalimpression's avatar

I press mute and do 20 pushups. In this way, commercials can actually do something for me.

picante's avatar

I have always said that I am an ad man’s worst nightmare. Not that I watch commercial TV anymore, but back in the day, I could not make myself focus on an ad. It’s as if my brain shuts down. And if an ad is such that it does grab my attention, I might be able to recall some of the schtick, but I can never remember the product. To answer your question, I apparently zone out.

gorillapaws's avatar

I don’t watch TV much. I use Netflix to watch some series, and I’ll buy some things I really like on iTunes. This has the benefit of supporting only the shows I like, without pumping money into reality TV productions, and also the benefit of not bombarding my brain with crap for hours on end.

The result of this is that I inevitably end up watching TV at someone else’s house, and have zero patients whatsoever for commercials. When you get away from them for a long period of time ( >6 months), and then come back, you stop being so desensitized to it and really appreciate how obnoxious they are. I’d much rather pay a couple of bucks, support the show, and avoid the annoyance. Fuck you commercials!

Oh, and when you cut out commercials from your life, you gain a lot more extra time to do things like cook good food, learn new things, read the news, etc.

tedibear's avatar

Typically, I get up and do something else. Bathroom, drink refill, clean the litterboxes, that kind of thing. We have a DVR with the living room TV, so if I don’t want to get up, I hit pause and leave it that way for about 3 or 4 minutes. Then I fast forward through the commercials. It makes me feel oddly powerful…

Aster's avatar

I change channels. Commercials used to last 30 seconds. Now it seems like they last 90 seconds. They seem almost rude to me.

gailcalled's avatar

I change immediately to the PBS food channel and watch Jacques P├ępin and Julia throw 2 sticks of butter into every dish.

ucme's avatar

I normally sky plus the few telly progs I watch & then simply fast forward through the trash commercials.
Most ads on Eurosport which covers the tour de france are sports related, but still dull as dishwater.
Go Wiggins go!

jordym84's avatar

I just mute the TV and wait until the show comes back.

gailcalled's avatar

I keep some mending, a needle and thread, a nail file and lotion at hand and do mini-darning and mini-mani and pedi stuff.

Blondesjon's avatar

Fight the suddenly overwhelming urge to spend and consume.

Ponderer983's avatar

I may switch between 2 programs so I don’t have to watch the commercials, I’ll pee, clean up, take the dog outside, work, play games on my phone – stuff like that. Oh, blowdrying my hair is a big one at night. I’ll do a section per commercial break lol. I hate commercials so i usually space out during them.

Lightlyseared's avatar

What TV advertisements? I only watch the BBC!

JLeslie's avatar

DVR will change your life! Fast forward through commercials, watch an hour show in 45 minutes whenever you feel like it. Seriously, it sounds to me like you don’t have a DVR, and I know since you are not very TV oriented it might seem like an additional expense for a medium you are not obsessed with to begin with, but I think you would really benefit from it. Even watching movies on HBO, you can pause, rewind if you missed a line, etc.

Answering your main question, mostly I don’t like commercials, especially commercials for food. Makes me hungry. Every time I see a pizza advertised I want one. However, every once in a while I learn about a product I am interested in. Also, sometimes commercials are entertaining and clever, but mostly not. Certainly I don’t need to see the same ad 20 times. It loses its cuteness.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

I get in some quality toilet time!

Shippy's avatar

I ran away, and make a cup of tea!

Bellatrix's avatar

Fast forward through them.
Talk to my husband.
Moderate spam and the like.
Read things on the net.
Go to the loo.
Make tea.

bookish1's avatar

@wundayatta, I could have written the first line of your post verbatim.

Commercials often make me very angry, sometimes traumatized. I am very sensitive to them since I don’t encounter them very often, and they seem to get more ingenius every few months or so. I remember when I was a teenager noticing that radio and TV ads were starting to use songs that sounded very much like current popular music (something that sounds very similar to Linkin Park, for example) to draw in your attention before you could realize that the lyrics were all about a product. Recently I’ve seen commercials that begin looking like a “Making Of” TV show for a band, where a supposed “rock star” but also every day house wife is selling products to other house wives…

Mostly I resent the heterosexcapitalism. But I resent all kinds of other things as well, basic consumerism/materialism/keeping up with the joneses, thinking about how de facto slave and child labor is producing many of the products we are told we need, racial stereotypes, skin color differences in couples, the depiction of the normative white blonde meat eating American family with gender conforming straight children, misleading/fake environmentalism, etc…. I am a very auditory person, so I also often resent the stupid little jingles that someone makes big bucks to write so brilliantly that they will stick in your head for months.

Oh, this makes me think of a sweet sticker I saw in Paris the last time I was here. I liked it so much I took a photo. It has a housewifely-looking woman with a gleaming smile as if she is about to display a new product, and the caption says “Every day I wash my brain with advertising!” (For once, a direct translation. “Tous les jours je lave mon cerveau avec la pub!”)

I haven’t had TV service for over 10 years. I have a TV that I just use for video games and watching DVDs. So the only place I see ads is on Hulu. And when they come up, yes, I am usually Fluthering or checking my email :-p

flutherother's avatar

I cannot abide them. Fortunately we have the BBC here which is advert free. Programmes with adverts I record and fast forward through the ads.

woodcutter's avatar

I hurry and turn down the noise(volume). They are really loud compared to the regular programming. It makes me hate them more because the networks have taken my rights away. My right to set my volume at the level i like and still they fuck with it. The most annoying are the luxury car ads. The people they are hawking to are usually well healed and well off and supposedly more intelligent and they think those ridiculous ads are influencing them. Maybe rich folk are stupid. Cars that vibrate your clit (or balls) when you back into traffic as a car is coming to let you know you are about to fuck up. No shit? The rich are now not expected to friggin turn their pencil necks around and look where they are backing up?

Oh and here’s another can’t live without feature in an automobile. The car lets you know if you are inflating its tire too much….fuck, really? It’s called a tire gauge. Get one already..

bewailknot's avatar

I ignore most of them, except for the few I find entertaining/funny. I seldom watch any TV with my full attention, usually spending time on the computer or reading at the same time, so it is easy to tune out the ads.

Symbeline's avatar

Fuck commercials. I hate those things. I don’t watch TV either, or barely. But when I did, and when I do, I go take a piss, fix a snack, or check out a book or something. I had this little phase back when I had satellite TV though. When commercials came on, I’d shape my fingers like guns and point at the TV. I’d start ’‘shooting’’ at various things; cars, people, products, little dogs, logos, prices, diapers, chocolate bars, boats…stuff you see on commercials. Then I would imagine all these things exploding, bleeding, crumbling and being blasted away. I actually kinda had fun with some of it, and started making sound effects, too.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Symbeline GA! I know how you feel.

Buttonstc's avatar

If you’re getting HBO then its part of some cable or satellite service and every. one of them I know about offers DVRS as part of their service package or a nominal slightly extra fee. Its more than worth it compared to the cash outlay of buying a DVR on your own or an extra $15 per month for TiVo.

I almost never watch TV in real time anymore so I just fast forward through commercials routinely. And if its an event I want to watch close to real time (such as a sports game. or an awards show) I just give it about a 20–30 min. headstart so i can FF through the commercials.

Haleth's avatar

It reminds me that the programming is only there as a vehicle for the commercials, and that both are made to reach a certain target market.

Usually I only have tv on when I’m doing stuff around the house. If I lived alone, I’d be happy to order pizza every day and just let the boxes pile up and basically be a huge disgusting slob. But I don’t, so there are chores and cooking, so I watch tv sometimes.

Brian1946's avatar

When an annoying commercial starts, I usually mute the sound or surf for a program that’s not in commercial.

Sometimes when I’m riding that inter-channel wave, I’ll get three consecutive stations that are spamcasting. :-/

Ron_C's avatar

I have to admit I like the commercials where the baby give stock trading advice but forget the name of the sponsor. I love that baby though!

Otherwise, we mute the TV, or fast forward if its a taped show. I buy a lot of things at stores and on-line and doubt that I am swayed by television commercials.

GracieT's avatar

I live in the US. What’s really annoying about commercials is that here it is only a matter of time when we are unable to block them using a DVR or mute. In this country the dollar has become all important. Right now I am able to ignore them by working on my computer, fast forwarding through them, or using the mute key, I’m just convinced that we are going to lose all of these methods of ignoring commercials.

CWOTUS's avatar

You’re forgetting the easiest ways of all, @GracieT. Don’t turn on the television, for example. No one is holding a gun to your head. Or create your own programming, and give it away for free yourself. Or get together with like-minded individuals and commission your own programming, and avoid middlemen. It’s quite simple, really.

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