These Commercials Are Making Me Batty!

Lately it seems like everyone is trying to SELL something to me! Yes, I know that if I spend $500 on your couch you’ll give me $50 back, but guess what? That means I have to give you $450!  So while it’s *savings*, it’s also spending like a mother.

Those one-a-day sites are starting to piss me off a little too (gasp!).  I know it’s bad, but every time I hear an ad for Living Social, or Groupon, or any of their trendy comrades all I hear is “Come spend money so you can save money!” And then, “You didn’t even know you WANTED me, did you?  Well Here I am!  All the cool kids are doing it, come and get me!” The funny part about this is that I literally have a draft post I’m sitting on that talks about how awesome some of these sites are ;)

But I also think it depends on why you’re going to them. If you’re looking for something in particular and you find a bargain, that’s great!  Go for the gold, Huck. But if you’re subliminally getting convinced that all these sites are here to help you and that it’s okay to spend money on them whenever you want, I’m not a fan. There’s a big difference between seeking this stuff out and getting brainwashed into buying things.

I’ll give you an example. has been on my first 5 sites to check out every morning going on 3 years now, and I’ve finally realized it just teases me. I rarely buy anything on there anymore, but for some reason I’ve felt like if I don’t check one day I was gonna miss out on something BIG.  Something so awesome that I’d be cRaZy if I didn’t rush to get it. But the truth of the matter was that it was pure habit. I log into my USAA accounts, my 401(k), blog stats, the emails, and then Woot.  I kept telling myself that it helps me to save money but it doesn’t. So it’s now crossed off.

Every time I see an ad come up on TV or online, all I perceive is a company trying to take my money. And it makes me frown inside – even the funny ones.  Cuz they’re being funny to convince me to spend!  And that AWESOME new car that’s coming out to make my life easier and happier?  They’re not doing that out of the kindness of their hearts, they’re doing that cuz their research shows people “need” them and will thus depart of their money. I heard an ad for Ocean City Beaches the other day, by the Mayor actually, touting all the FREE stuff you can do there.  The beaches, the bands, they’re all free!  Come spend $200 a night here so you can get all that FREE stuff and have the time of your lives!  Ugh. A cheery salesman.

I don’t know, maybe I’m just in a pissy mood.  But do you guys ever think about this stuff too? How everything around us is trying to milk us of our money? I’m sure I’ll go back to pimping Amazon and all the great deals you can find there soon, but for today I’m spent (no pun intended).

(Advertising collage by Alejandrooo !)

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  1. Jacob Rios July 15, 2010 at 8:22 AM

    Marketing really is an amazing thing. I actually enjoy watching commercials, and reading ads. There’s a critital thinker in me that really analyzes these kinds of things – what emotion are they trying to invoke?, what is their target market?, how are they branding their product?, etc.

    I gotta say, I do think some things get old. Have you ever been watching tv and the same commercial comes on two times in a row? That really irks me. And the constant advertising for the same product every time a commercial break comes really irritates me.

    My favorite commercials lately have been the Old Spice commercials and the ones for Staples. Wow! That’s a low price!

  2. Caitlin July 15, 2010 at 8:28 AM

    I subscribe to groupon AND I bought my computer off of! Ha! I subscribe to groupon because my husband and I love to do things around our city, and they often have groupons for things that we want to do. The only one I’ve purchased so far is a two-for-one ticket to a local museum that we plan on visiting for my birthday. Very exciting, I know. And the computer was a planned purchase that I had saved money for, but offered a similar computer for half the price one day, so I pounced on it and I haven’t regretted it for a second. It’s been a wonderful buy.

    I know what you mean about how advertising can get to you if you let it, though. and groupon should be used responsibly–you should buy because a great deal comes up that you really need, not because a deal came up and you convinced yourself that you need it because it’s such a great price. Like all shopping, it should be done with careful thought and discretion, not because it sounds like such a great deal.

  3. Jeff @ sustainablelifeblog July 15, 2010 at 8:41 AM

    I completely feel you on this one. All the time, there are ads saying things like “check out how much you can save”, you’re still spending money, just not as much as you would have. If you actually needed the item, you’re in for a treat because you get a discount.
    Unfortunately, I think that’s not the case for most people, as they buy it “because it’s on sale” and not if they actually need it. People think they are savvy consumers if they got something on sale. They aren’t they just got taken from a different angle this time.

  4. DC Grrl July 15, 2010 at 9:23 AM

    J, You are not alone.
    I make a living in marketing. (We ARE trying to sell you things!) But from my point of view, these ads and commercials have been getting more and more pitiful and desperate. And I think it’s because of the shape our economy is in. Ad agencies are being used less frequently, especially in print and television.
    Online ads and campaigns get more attention because the roll-out cost is low and more can be spent on the talent developing the ads. However, something like the fabulous Old Spice ads by Wieden + Kennedy costs time, talent and money; most companies just don’t invest in that kind of branding any more.
    As for coupons, online or in the newspaper, and hot deals online, I always remember what my dad told me. Look for deals on what you’re planning on buying. Don’t look to buy things that there are deals on.

  5. philip July 15, 2010 at 9:23 AM

    Uh Oh, I have the woot ap on my iPhone and check it very soon after getting up every morning, usually while having my breakfast.

    I have recently signed up for groupon emails so I can see those early (not a sellout issue so timing is not as important). My brother has checked it for a while and has purchased several for restaurants. We both bought one the other day though for going Sky Diving! We had done it before and knew the price they gave was a great price for it and I have wanted to do it again since we did it a couple years ago. If I had not seen the deal we would probably not have payed for it otherwise but feel fine about doing it. Really it is giving ideas of events you can do around town like Caitlin said.

  6. Brandi July 15, 2010 at 9:33 AM

    The pissy attitude is refreshing :)

    Reminds us that you really aren’t always so perky and glass half full and ‘cheerleader-esque’ haha!

    And yes…those sites annoy the CRAP OUT OF ME!!

  7. Beth July 15, 2010 at 10:29 AM

    I don’t find them that bad. Its all about knowing what you need to do to control the temptation of buying just because its on sale/a great deal. I like the concept of groupon and am hoping a great restaurant coupon with show up before a friend comes to town, so I’m checking that everyday right now. But I have my gmail set up so most advertising and deal offers go directly into a folder labeled retail and all are marked read, so I don’t even notice them most of the time. Then when I do want to buy something, I just check the retail folder first to see if there is any great deal I can take advantage of. Yes I might miss out on some great deals, but I also miss out on “saving” money on deals I wouldn’t have purchased – which saves me a lot more.

  8. kt- lifedividend July 15, 2010 at 11:11 AM

    the easiest way to get rich is to sell something. Everyone wants to get rich and so you can imagine that there must be a lot of things to sell. The thing is to control yourself and not buy everything that is pushed to you because this is not ending any time soon.I am also guilty of this so that is why i am the advertisers side

  9. J. Money July 15, 2010 at 1:17 PM

    @Jacob Rios – Ha! I will admit I do love those Old Spice ones…and I tend to analyze a lot also ;) Which I kinda hate actually cuz it makes me pay attention to them more!
    @Caitlin – Exactly. I’m all for coupons and woots and groupons and all that stuff because they ARE handy and do save us money. But if you don’t pay attention they’ll also suck it all out too.
    @Jeff @ sustainablelifeblog – Amen, brotha!
    @DC Grrl – YES, we have proof! Haha…forgot you were in marketing ;) Thanks for joining the convo!
    @philip – I can see that, great point :) Hadn’t considered it from that light.
    @Brandi – !!!!!!!!! I originally titled this – “Commercials are starting to piss me off” and then went back and re-edited it cuz it was so negative ;) The truth of the matter is, while it’s not as juicy, I’m trying really hard not to add more negativity to the world. It tends to limit what I say at times, but i’m liking this new me :) I’ve seriously cut out a good 50% of crap from my life since doing this! It’s amazing…but sometimes I just have to vent or I’d go crazy. Thanks for bringing this up :)
    @Beth – That’s a helluva great idea actually! I do the same w/ other things (like, press releases I get emailed all the time) but doing this for coupons/savings is genius! Well done my friend.
    @kt- lifedividend – Yup, ain’t that the truth. I mean $hit, I advertise my blog like crazy too! And if I were take down the ads on this site I’d lose lots of money as well – so I’m certainly no angel ;) It’s the “all up in my face” part that’s just gotten to me. I’ll be fixed soon.

  10. SophieW July 15, 2010 at 1:18 PM

    I HATE all the advertising these days. Even now that I have re-discovered my frugal self, every now and then I get caught up in the “OMG, that’s such a good deal! I don’t dare pass it up…” Luckily I have come to my senses before shelling out the cash, but I feel bad for the poor suckers that don’t have the self-control or self-awareness that I have…

    The worst is when a friend comes to work showing off her new bag she bought – 50% off! She exclaimed – of course it was still around $300 but the fact that she ‘saved’ $300 is what she is most excited about. The sad part is that she paid for it on her credit card with 24% interest that I know is almost maxed out… By the time she pays it off that $300 she ‘saved’ will be given to the bank in interest!


  11. Donna Freedman July 15, 2010 at 1:26 PM

    Yet another reason why I do not miss having a television.

  12. Matt July 15, 2010 at 2:17 PM

    Your post begs the question: What are the other four sites you check each morning? Curious minds want to know…

  13. Matt July 15, 2010 at 2:18 PM

    And then those curious minds read the post in detail and connect the dots, figuring out that you’ve already answered their question.

  14. Kate July 15, 2010 at 5:21 PM

    I actually enjoy living social, groupon and scoutmob. I have only bought 2 things – one is for a mani/pedi at a fantastic spa, I got one to go with my girlfriends and one to take my dad (he loves mani/pedis). I saved over 50% and it ended up being a little less than going to a random nail salon in a strip mall. The other thing I bought is for a ladies night out where we come away with a piece of original art work. My friends and I love to find things to do in our city together and we are redeeming the nail coupon Sunday! I am totally checking woot now…

  15. J. Money July 15, 2010 at 5:24 PM

    @SophieW – I know a lot of people like that too. Luckily I also know a few who save up for deals like that – Mostly you guys! haha…
    @Donna Freedman – But then how do you watch Jersey Shore? ;)
    @Matt – Haha….nice seeing ya here good sir.

  16. Carrie July 15, 2010 at 6:06 PM

    one aspect of groupon that i do like is that it emphasizes spending on experiences over spending on stuff

  17. J. Money July 15, 2010 at 6:18 PM

    I will agree with that 100%! Very very true in my books.

  18. Holly @ Shopaholly July 16, 2010 at 4:08 AM

    I love Groupon but only because I’m savvy enough to not snap everything up. It only recently launched in Aberdeen so there have been quite limited offers but I can also buy vouchers for London and do cheap stuff on my next visit!

    I actually think that there should be some education about how advertising works in school. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard people talk about “bargains” that they only bought because there was a saving. It’s pretty insane thinking but I get it because I used to be insane!

  19. Khaleef @ KNS Financial July 16, 2010 at 11:51 AM

    I definitely agree with you on the whole “spend your $ and save!!!” approach! It is easy to get sucked in to paying for something we don’t need in order to get imaginary savings.

    It’s great if you already planned to buy the product, but many times it gets us when we weren’t even looking to shop!

    I know what you mean about Woot. I would actually stay up until 1:00 am (I’m on the east coast), refreshing my browser to see what the new deal would be. I was afraid of waking to an amazing deal that was sold out – especially a bag of crap! But I haven’t been to the site in ages – for the same reason as you (ok, ok, I just looked while typing this comment)!

  20. Frances July 16, 2010 at 3:27 PM

    I agree wholeheartedly. I have become very skeptical about anything that could even possibly be construed as “trying to sell” something to me. It can affect the credibility of the person involved, for example, a conference or seminar. I will walk out of one if I feel a speaker is shamelessly self-promoting. I understand advertising is a necessary evil and try to use it as a “teachable moment” for my grandkids to help in their critical thinking.

  21. J. Money July 18, 2010 at 7:37 PM

    @Holly @ Shopaholly – Advertising is taught in school – The best ways to Advertise and market your own business!!! haha… I minored in marketing actually, you learn all about it there ;)
    @Khaleef @ KNS Financial – Haha… i’ve given up on the chances to win a bag of woot :) the only time i got close my page froze and all was sold out by the time it went through. maybe they don’t even exist!?
    @Frances – OH man, those seminars/conferences are a whole other story. I got suckered into a few of those in my past and learned to never again!

  22. July 18, 2010 at 8:40 PM

    There is a commercial on TV about foreclosure homes (I notice it because it’s what I do, otherwise I wouldn’t pay a bit of attention), anyway, in the commercial the announcer states “Anyone that doesn’t already own a home may call today, all others may call tomorrow”.

    Oh come on, do they really think we listen to that? They are trying to make ‘non-homeowners’ feel like they are something special when we all know that anyone can call anytime and they will talk to us all the same. Once again, the ‘fear factor’…call us first before the rest of the world comes running at full speed and you miss out…ugh!

  23. Kevin I July 20, 2010 at 5:02 PM

    I’m much more susceptible to in-store deals than advertising. Maybe it’s because no matter how good a deal something on TV is, I still have to get up, put the kid in the car, drive over, find the room in the budget etc. My laziness is bigger than my gullibility.

    But in-store stuff gets me all the time, there was a T-shirt I wanted at a shop the other day and it was $20 alone, but it was two for $35. I picked up a second shirt I wanted, but had no intentions of buying, by the time I came down from that bargain high and realized I didn’t save $5 but instead spent $15 it was too late.

    My discipline for groupon or living social and the like is to only spring for something if it replaces something more expensive. Tickets to a museum we want to visit that are $20 cheaper then the plans I already had for the day? Sure. A better restaurant deal to use on a date night? awesome. Win-win. It’s when it becomes an extra added-on something that it starts getting dangerous for me, and it’s just been a discipline of cooling down from the one-day-only frenzy.

  24. J. Money July 24, 2010 at 2:35 PM

    Haha yeah I hear ya on that. I’m pretty good at avoiding everything on my way to the clearance racks, but every now and then I see that glittery “look at me! look at me!” sign and I get suckered in. It’s a good thing I’m great at returning items later once I’ve realized what I’ve done ;)