Have you ever noticed how some TV commercials sound louder than the programs you are watching? U.S. Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-California, 14th) has noticed, says it’s done on purpose, finds it annoying and has introduced a bill to make it stop.
Rep. Eshoo’s Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act, or CALM, would order the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to create and enforce federal regulations requiring that television advertisements not be excessively noisy.
I can’t tell you how many times Mr. Beale and I have frantically searched the sofa cushions and piles of newspaper on the coffee table looking for the remote control because “HEAD ON! APPLY DIRECTLY TO THE FOREHEAD!” is blaring at double the volume of whatever program we were watching. It’s annoying, infuriating and, sometimes, depending on the advertisement, frightening.
Actually, I thought we already had one of these laws. I kinda remembered a story going back to the ‘70s about a senior citizen who suffered a heart attack when she was scared out of her wits by a really loud advertisement. The FCC reacted by telling TV stations that advertisements couldn’t be louder than television programming. But maybe I’m making that up. Maybe it was just an urban legend.
Anyway, I know I’m not the only one annoyed by overly-loud advertisements; there’s even an online campaign.
I really despise the whole advertising/marketing industry. On NPR today I heard how they’re using neuroscience to rate ads’ effectiveness. “It studies brain activity to learn what TV audiences like,” says reporter Kim Masters.
Pssst! You know what TV audiences like? No commercials!
Here’s another thought: you can try all of the fancy neuroscience/viral/stealth marketing/hi-tech whizbang techniques you want but nothing beats old fashioned creativity for getting your message across.