Sunday, January 21, 2007

The Reality Impared Consumer

I think it says a sad thing about the intelligence of the US consumer when a company feels the need to add obvious disclaimers. You know, like the commercials where there are explosions, people falling out of windows, or clinging on top of speeding vehicles. When you look closely, you will always see small text at the bottom of the TV saying: Performed by a professional stunt person. Do not attempt. These are the broadcast equivalent of product disclaimers on toaster ovens that state it may not be in your best interest to toast that French bread pizza in the bath (or is that Freedom bread? I've woefully behind on the jingoism of the week).

While my fervent hope is that these are just the product of over cautious lawyers putting these in preemptively, there very well could be legions of people out there immolating or defenestrating themselves in imitation of a commercial. Personally, I don't see that as a bad thing. Just a good cleansing of the gene pool as far as I'm concerned.

I was watching the playoffs this afternoon (yay, Bears!), and a Ford Edge commercial was played. It's the one with the funky, fuzzy rock music with a Ford Edge skimming across the edge of buildings (get it?) on two wheels. Now, I'm thinking, "Hey, that's a clever tie-in to the name, and some decent FX to boot (they managed to paint in the shadows)". Never once did it enter my mind "I gotta try that!" But at the bottom of the screen in tiny letters was this:
Yes, this is fantasy. Cars cannot drive on buildings.

Kudos to Ford for injecting some humor into the disclaimer. However, the fact that they felt it necessary means that somewhere in America this thought rattled through the skulls of the cognitively challenged.
Cool! I gotta try that... Wait, what's that say at the bottom... Aaww!

Many of these disclaimers create much amusement for myself and my friends, but the fact that they exist strikes a subtle terror into my heart. Things like this make me fear for the future.