Now, it would be easy to go to the dictionary and look up the meaning of the word, but let’s face it: I’ve never been one to color inside the lines, and I ain’t gonna start now. Let’s start with a commercial…
I grew up watching a lot of TV, as you probably already know, and my favorite shows were the game shows, like Jeopardy!, Wheel Of Fortune, The Price Is Right, Password, The Match Game, and Let’s Make A Deal. During the summer, I’d work my afternoon schedule around them, sometimes sitting in front of the TV, in my underwear, watching the morning game shows, getting dressed when the soap operas started, and getting back in front of the TV in time for the afternoon shows.
Now that I think of it, the game shows were little more than filler between commercials. In a typical thirty-minute game show, commercials took almost fifteen minutes, and of the rest of the time, descriptions of the products, including who manufactured them and from where they were obtained, took another five minutes. And if you’re talking The Price Is Right or Let’s Make A Deal, the whole damn show was commercials. Hey, the time was paid for by the household-product companies like Lever Brothers, Colgate-Palmolive, Johnson Wax, Drackett, and Procter & Gamble, what did you expect? Those companies also sponsored the soap operas, which got their name how? By being sponsored by ther makers of Tide, Wisk, Dash, and the other laundry detergent companies.
Not that I minded. Watching the commercials was fun and kind of educational. I heard all about the latest trends in cleaning and about all the new packaged food items that were available. I went to the store for my mother almost daily, and I’d spend some of the time seeking out and reading the packages, boxes and cans for the products. What was really interesting was that, looking at the ingredients for the cleaning products, they were pretty much exactly the same. What differentiated them was the ad campaigns, the way the products were marketed. Why does someone buy Mr. Clean over Top Job or Janitor in a Drum, or Glo-Coat over AeroWax?
My business degree was in Production and Operations Management. I think I should have majored in Marketing. Chicago was where many of the advertising compamies were based. Hmmm….
By the way, Spiegel, where so many of the glamorous gifts given away by the game shows came from, is based in Chicago. There’s no Spiegel store, though; they sold everything through their glamorous catalog. Later in life, I met a guy who worked for Spiegel. Turns out Spiegel is a warehouse in the meat-packing area north of the Chicago Stockyards. Did you say you thought that blouse smelled funny?