It’s no secret that what makes television appealing to advertisers is the opportunity to reach millions of viewers via the commercial breaks in a popular program. Probably the best known commercial breaks are those during the Super Bowl where last year a 30 second ad cost $2.6 million dollars. That’s a pricey ad but advertisers know people will actually watch their new and creative ways to pitch their products and hopefully buy them. Some of the Super Bowl commercials have been so popular that there are often shows devoted to showing the “best of” those commercials.

Of course that is an extreme example of commercialism but daily, if you watch television without the capability of skipping the commercials, the average viewer is blasted with messages advertising all manner of products, from baby’s first insurance policy to the good life of living in an pleasant and happy upscale senior citizen facility; from weight loss programs to male enhancement drugs. One certainly doesn’t have to go through life with the body they were given, there are enough products on the market to change every part of the body to make it better. A little nip and tuck or cream and makeup surely will enhance your life!

For example over a ten hour span of watching television you would see about 3 hours of commercials, that’s a lot of advertising which isn’t cheap, but commercials do work. Studies show people do remember and are influenced by clever and appealing commercials. Sadly they also remember the negative commercials seen frequently in the political arena. The power of visually seeing something that pertains to your interests is strong, so there is no lack of creativity in the making of a commercial in hopes it will win out in the battle for the viewers’ attention.

Now the type of commercials one sees depends on the kind of programs they watch. Commercials on sports shows are obviously going different than those on soap operas (which are called soap operas because the original shows were sponsored by soap manufactures) or travel shows. I happen to watch more sports shows than soaps so my take on commercials is somewhat bias especially this time of year when the football is in full swing and the baseball playoffs leading up to the World Series are filling the airwaves so I see a lot of adult beverage, automotive, and fast food ads. I know about all the products advertised, you’d have to live in a cave not to be aware of the new cars and food offerings and the liquids that go with them, so to get my dollar advertisers have to show me something better than the other guys!

The most creative way to get to me, and apparently many others, is through humor, especially the beverage ones. In that market brand identification is extremely important, people tend to stick with their beverage of choice through thick or thin so it takes a lot of repetition and cleverness to get the consumer to change. I can’t say that I’ve been moved enough by a commercial to switch brands very often but I have, just because I thought their commercials were great, bought a six pack of refreshment from a company that I normally don’t patronize.

I did this merely to support the hilarious commercials the company continues to produce which I look at as great mini comedies, a refreshing few seconds poking fun at us! How can you not get a kick out of two guys being drug to an opera, sneaking bottles of their favorite beverage in only to have the bottles explode when the opera singer hits a long high note, just like in the “is it live or Memorex” commercial with the sound of the voice shattering the glass! With liquid spewing forth all over the place a gentleman sitting in front of them turns around and calmly holds up a can of the same beverage which didn’t explode, and asks “first time at the opera boys?” I’ll continue to stick with my brand of beverage but at least I did pay attention to that commercial and actually plunked down my hard earned cash like they wanted me to. It was a small price to pay for a good laugh!!

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Rick Schultze

A few years ago at a writers conference held in the central Oregon coast town of Yachats, where I live, I listened to the late Ken Kesey, a frequent visitor to the area, tell a writer that this could be a hard place to write. “If you think you can sit there staring at the ocean for inspiration you’re wrong, it’s not out there, it’s in your head!” He was right; it is beautiful here in Lincoln County, the kind of beauty that makes concentrating on anything else tough and since hearing that insight, I’ve written at a desk facing a wall, no windows opening onto a ocean view, although I have one, but it’s worked. I’ve done, and do, different kinds of writing. As a freelance writer I’ve been a observational columnist, a humor columnist, a book and music reviewer for newspapers, magazines, and online. However, as a creative writer, my heart belongs to fiction. In that genre I do short stories, road adventure stories, musical adventure tales, and in current production, are three small novels. So really the purpose of this web site is to give you a glance of some of the things I’ve done, a preview of what’s coming, and hopefully, a view of what it’s like to be a writer living in a small town on the Oregon coast!