Do the Visuals Alone of a TV Commercial Inspire You to Listen?

retro televisionWhile watching TV, my friend and I often play a game of muting the sound of commercials.

I suspect a large portion of the population tends to mute commercials too – and justifiably so. However, the trick of our game is to see if the visuals alone of a commercial inspire us to want to listen to what is has to say. AND to figure out who the advertiser is?

More often than not, most commercials are too stupid or annoying to even watch. But every now and again, there are some good ones 🙂


Most marketing and advertising perpetuates a sense of inadequacy

The sad truth is, most marketing and advertising perpetuates a sense of inadequacy. Seriously, when is the last time a TV commercial actually made you feel good about ANYTHING?

Most TV commercials promote nothing more than mass consumerism (no secret there). A bunch of stuff you DON’T need and nasty fast food and toxic household products that should not go anywhere near or in our bodies.

medicine bottle and pillsLook at big pharma ads. They’ve got to be the worst! It’s one thing to sit through the initial commercial pimping some kind of chronic illness. Then the list of side effects goes on and on… Makes you feel good about life now doesn’t it?

The imagery is not bad per se, but the message itself is rarely something anyone I know wants to listen to. And that applies to young and old alike. But there’s BIG money in those ads for sure!

Interesting enough, during our “mute game”, we noticed that there were NO big pharma ads during prime time of the 2018 Winter Olympics. Wonder if any one else noticed that???


Some miss the mark completely!

Love ’em or hate ’em, some of the Geico or Progressive commercials can be quite clever. And Apple’s TV commercials tend to make you want to give them a look and a listen. One of my favs is till the original iPod commercial. Then again, Apple often has good music to go with their tv advertising too.

Sometimes advertising is so bad, I have to ask: Who pitched the idea in the first place? What were they thinking? And sometimes it really does bite advertisers in the ass in a VERY bad way. Think Dove’s epic fail with it’s October 2017 ad promoting body lotion. Dove’s ad, since removed from Facebook. Photograph: @Naytemua

While this ad was on their Facebook page rather than on TV, it still hit a wide audience. Much to the brand’s dismay they wound up being accused of racism – ultimately issuing an apology for an ad showing a black woman turning into white one. They claim to have “missed the mark”. Really?


We are visual by nature and imagery draws us in

We ARE visual by nature and good imagery tends to draws us in – ideally wanting us to learn more… It’s something to keep in mind when developing any type of advertising campaign. That is if you want it to be successful so that folks both watch AND listen to your messaging.

mute button Otherwise your advertising efforts are for naught and you’ll fall prey to what I (and many others) consider the best button on a TV remote – the MUTE button.



eco-conscious graphic designer barbara rogersWritten by Barbara Rogers of Future Primitive Graphics. Graphic Designer and Nature Inspired Art photographer visually enhancing client’s print and digital media. Creatively collaborating with those who genuinely want to make the world a better place.