by Yvonne B. Garris
I was watching television last night and, once again, several commercials were aired that I have no idea what they were selling. This has been a pet peeve of mine for quite some time, and I would like to know if anyone else feels the same way. I am legally blind, so I do not see what is on the television, but I can generally follow along. However, when it comes to commercials, there are some that are just music and some where the dialogue does nothing to describe the product.
Here is what I want the advertisers to know. Just because a person may be visually impaired does not mean they do not shop, dine out, go to movies and do everything else a sighted person would do. According to the American Foundation for the Blind, 20.6 million American adults age 18 and older reported experiencing vision loss. This large number warrants advertising companies produce commercials that everyone can understand. Visually impaired people should be valued no less than our sighted counterparts. I challenge advertisers to close their eyes and listen to their commercials. After hearing your ad, do you know what the commercial is for? If not, please change the commercial.
One commercial that drove me crazy repeatedly mentioned the brand name but not the product. The brand name, let’s call it Aura (not the real name), gave me no hint as to what was for sale. I had to wait until a sighted person told me what they were promoting. Imagine my surprise in learning it was a food product. I ask you, what does “aura” have to do with food? This commercial had an adverse effect on me. Instead of wanting to buy the product, I actually do not want to buy it because it made no effort to convince me and it left me frustrated, repeatedly.
There are several examples of good commercials. Restaurants generally have good commercials with descriptions of their food that make my mouth water. Now if you were in advertising, this should be music to your ears. When I want to go out to eat, what will I think about? Yes, those mouth-watering commercials. Auto companies also make good commercials. I have a good idea what kind of car gets the best gas mileage and has the best financing.
There is another category of commercials that seems to be good but fails to deliver. These are the ones that make the product sound so good I’m ready to pull out my wallet and buy, buy, buy. Then what happens? They say call the number on your screen or enter the code you see on the screen to get a discount. That’s where they lose my money — I can’t see the number or the discount code.
I want to challenge all advertisers to make your commercials clear to all consumers, not just those gifted with sight. Companies are losing business because one segment of the population cannot decipher what you are trying to promote.