An Inconvenient Convenience

May 9, 2011

As longtime readers will know, I look forward each summer to the three major cycling road races: the Giro D’Itali, the Tour de France and the Vuelta Espana.  Each of them gives me three weeks of excellent racing between now and September, and they each are perfectly timed for an early riser like me.  TV coverage usally covers the last 90 minutes of each day’s racing starting at 6:30am.  This morning, I got up before six and was comfortably esconced on my sofa with a steaming cup of tea when the broadcast began and I thoroughly enjoyed the first quarter hour or so.

And then it hit me: an ad for a Toronto radio station. It hit me several times over the next hour and annoyed me more and more on each hearing.  The problem?  The whole point of the commercial was to say that their morning commute programme was as full and complete and interesting as the daily newspaper — but without the inconvenience of actually having to read.

Good God!  Are we really selling stuff on the basis that reading is inconvenient?  Come on!  What a terrible, terrible message to send. Radio and advertizing and the listening public deserve better than that.  And yes, you can say that I’m making a mountain out of the molehill of some clever ad copy. But if these kind of things are not picked up and talked about then what they say becomes normalized, acceptable.  And that is not acceptable to me.