Writer’s Block: Hitting mute to block TV ad sound effects

It’s the dog days of summer.

Kelly Johnson
Kelly Johnson

Summer activities are done and school is just around the corner.

This is the time of year the summer seems to drag on for the kids.

They have tired of their usual activities. The neighborhood park is of no interest.

Bike rides are not as exciting as they were in summer’s early days.

They complain of boredom.

That’s when the television gets turned on and a seemingly endless stream of shows pour out of the handful of Nick or Disney stations available.

Nick’s programming is of particular interest to our kids. And with that programming comes commercials.

Advertising aimed directly at those eager young eyes. Egging them on to buy this new toy. Try this cereal. Wear these shoes.

The list of potential purchases is endless.

And the advertising works, too.

In the next couple of months, there will be countless requests of items for Christmas based on what the kids have seen on television.

And then those requests will change as the advertising focus moves to different items as the Christmas holiday nears.

Of course, not all the advertising is aimed at the kids. There are commercials for those items available by calling a toll free number or visiting a website.

The kids have determined that I should get the cookie making kits that result in tasty elephants and other animal shapes.

I most certainly need a set of pans to help me make cupcakes as big as a house.

And let’s not forget the handy little gadget that holds all sorts of office supplies and paperwork and folds up into a neat little square for storing.

Of course, there’s also the bathroom cleaner that turns colors when the bathtub has gone from dirty to clean. It’s a must have in the Johnson household, at least according to my kids.

I accept that advertising is a fact of life. I’m going to have to teach the kids about not always believing what they see on TV.

That they need to be careful consumers and that they certainly don’t need everything their heart tells them they want.

And television advertising has some good points.

When my oldest was potty training age, there was nothing that seemed to motivate her into leaving diapers behind. That is until she saw a commercial for Chuck E. Cheese’s while watching “Dora the Explorer.”

The slick editing, cool games and smiling kids were all she needed. The promise of visiting that magical place she had seen on TV was enough to have her saying goodbye to diapers within a week.

I can handle the requests from my kids to get that cup and ice cube thing that makes slushies at home. But what I’m having trouble with, as far as TV advertising goes these days, is the number of commercials that use certain sound effects.

You see, our dog is a nervous thing in his old age. He gets excited and wants to go outside or hide in the basement when he hears certain sounds.

He hates beeps that sound like smoke or carbon monoxide detectors. There was recently a car commercial that had a beep like that in it. It took a while, but I finally came to recognize the commercial and hit mute before the dog was in a complete panic.

Now, it seems, there’s a large number of commercials that use a bell-type noise that makes the dog nervous. I thought we’d nipped the problem by outlawing the show “Fairly Odd Parents,” where the fairies make that sound. But unfortunately toy companies have decided that’s the perfect sound to attract young eyes to their product.

That means we’re hitting mute more often. Luckily school starts soon and the advertising tsunami will get a good rest.