Insane TV Commercials & Why They Work—Wit Without Wisdom, Ep. 09

WAD tv commercials pod

Every self-improvement program requires at least one product purchase. Seriously, what is the point of gaining a new habit, greater success, or a new and better you, if you don’t get to do some shopping?

Even something as simple as “walking” requires a new pair of shoes.

Thankfully, advertisers understand and are willing to spend millions of dollars to guide us toward that one thing, that single purchase that will help us reach our goals. And sometimes, because, well, we’re all kind of dumb, they don’t just create products, they create for us a need we didn’t even know we had . . . and then they create a product to serve that need.

Now, if you’re like us here at Wit Without Wisdom, then you’re way too smart to fall for the words and promises of these slick, snake oil salespersons, right? Maybe not.

In this episode, we explore the world of television commercials and reveal all their sneaky little tricks to get us to buy.

Plus, we’ll discuss:

  • A funny commercial whose product name people can’t remember
  • How a serious side effect became a big positive for one Pharma company
  • Science-y words that actually mean nothing
  • How you can buy Raymond’s house for just one dollar a month
  • And the power of psychological tricks that make us believe untested statements

So if you’ve ever bought a product this episode is for you. In fact, listeners* have said that subscribing to Wit Without Wisdom has increased their happiness by over fifteen percent.

(* two listeners have said that, Raymond and Shanny)


What is your favorite TV commercial?
Which one can you just NOT stand?

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  1. I’m not really a TV watcher anymore, but I do catch old stuff (and semi-current) on Netflix when I have time. I still remember most of the TV commercial jingles of my youth, though. And I remember the “glory days” of cable, telling us we’d never have to suffer through commercials again, lol. Lies, all lies.

    I hate the ads that seem like they’re comparing similar things (like Raymond’s example of cable & satellite) but really aren’t. They don’t count on people to actually look into those pesky details. And the ones that say, “Go ask your parents” were thankfully after my kids grew up, so I got to skip that guilt trip. Sorry, Shanny!

    When our boys were little, they were part of a test group at a marketing facility, and they had to watch toy commercials and give feedback. I remember the researchers coming out and just laughing because they were so cynical and logical for six- and eight-year-olds. One of the commercials was for some type of transformer car-type thing, and our oldest (in the middle of the commercial), must have said something like, “What the heck does that mean? A car that has no fear? Cars don’t have fear anyway!” and all the researchers just lost it.

    For the record, yes, I do want to buy Raymond’s house for a dollar per month. Maybe if I move down there and do the “rent to own” thing, I’ll have it 1/100th paid off by the time I die . . . but I’ll have enjoyed the swimming pool every day.

    1. So you fell for the ole “hey let us do some marketing research on your kids” – that’s exactly how the aliens replace them with replicas! I would ordinarily suggest sleeping with an aluminum hat but it’s far too late for that now lol. But for just the low-low price of $9.99 (plus s&h) I can send you the incredible ALIENATOR. With just a single press of a button, this technological wonder emits a soundless wavelength guaranteed to disrupt alien mind control attempts.

      1. Shoot. And I thought my kids were just weird teens. Pfft, aluminum hat. As if I haven’t had one for years. It sits beside the plate of roast chicken on my pillow.

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