This column addresses the raging torrent of communications that threatens to overwhelm and inundate our personal lifestyle.

Just to count, sort, classify, and analyze the barrage of ads demands a computer.

Let’s face it. Commerce depends on advertising designed to sell something. TV, magazines, and radio are driven and supported by ads — overt and covert.

In olden times, a good ad (there were precious few of these) would get you to read it and possibly buy the product.

Today, that is not enough.

Now you are subject to sensory overload of sight and sound.

Take time to count the number of full page ads in the Reader’s Digest.

If you really want to stretch your arithmetic skills, count the number of ads — large and small — in OPRAH. Flip the pages of TIME, Newsweek, and US News and World Report and count some more. Do this for a week or month and be amazed.

To blow your mind, estimate how much reading you would have to do to read each ad for content.

Many things, not all good, happen on radio and television. For example, the half-hour situation comedy on a good night will last an amazing 22 minutes. Translated, this means an amazing 26 percent of the time is available for network announcements (not profitable) and time for advertisers (extremely profitable).

To do the math requires the utilization of probable faulty assumptions.

If each minute is reserved for two 30 second ads, the total would be 16 commercials.

Of course, many ads only require 15 seconds.

Do the math with all time combinations and be astounded at the sheer number of messages.

Do this for two or three hours of TV and your brain will suffer from information overload.

The indirect ads are subtle and insidious — without harsh commercial messages.

You will notice actors drinking Starbucks coffee.

You see the choice of automobiles and models reflecting which companies paid for prominent brand placement so the audience will subconsciously notice brands and models.

Kitchen scenes usually include brand name detergents, a choice of beer or soft drinks. perhaps orange juice, and the ubiquitous box of cereal.

This does not even count in the time allotted for commercials.

Cell phones may look alike but those in the know are aware of which brands are on prominent display.

If that was not bad enough and continuing to infringe upon your enjoyment, notice icons appearing at the bottom of the screen. These may reflect the network name and logo, or the name of the upcoming show and the symbol of the networks. Even cable networks have the line of print and symbols scrolling across the bottom of the screen. One night, I was watching some cable movie and timed the interruptions for one segment. The commercials lasted eight minutes, the show continued for seven more, and the messages started again, I shudder to think how many messages appeared in the space of one movie.

Indeed, most movies on TV have been condensed, abbreviated, and mutilated to take from your watching pleasure and make more time available for more messages.

This message was composed on a BRAND NAME COMPUTER utilizing the many features of BRAND NAME SOFTWARE PROGRAMS.

The land-line BRAND NAME telephone company was used to transmit this message through a BRAND NAME INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDER to another BRAND NAME computer and then to the Huntsville Item.

Then it was processed through BRAND NAME SOFTWARE was used in laying out the pages.


For the record, I receive no compensation in any form for any part of the preceding. My independence has not been compromised.

Today, as this is being written I received seven advertisements in the mail.

Only one was in a plain brown wrapper. The manufacturer said this was to protect my privacy.

It also provided impetus for me to take the mailer home and read the material.

The others were trashed and shredded without being read.

Actually, I have found it necessary to read and heed much of the fine print in the credit card offers from banks.

There is not free ride, interest rates and fees and charges thrive and multiply and my bank account suffers.

Some of these I have to read for ESP.

For those who do not know the words behind ESP, they are ENLIGHTENED SELF PROTECTION.

If you think I am overdoing this and beating a dead horse, go to any store and try to buy sneakers, blue jeans, and dress or pullover shirts that do not prominently display a name or logo somewhere for the world to see.

Worse yet, you pay a premium for be seen walking around advertising BRAND NAME PRODUCTS.

Welcome to the world of free enterprise. Even in this world, there is something of a jungle.

If you must read the ads, read them carefully at least three times.

Perhaps you will find a kernel of truth and full disclosure. It is your job to be alert.

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