It’s the most wonderful time of the year

| Forum Editor

I turn on the TV, and the usual, nonsensical advertisements seem to take over every channel. There’s something that annoys me during the start of the holiday season—advertising agencies flood the airwaves with repetitive, mindless, flashy commercials that brainwash people into unquestionably buying unnecessary products. That was a mouthful, but it needed to be said.

As one of the most powerful nations in the world, we do spend ridiculous amounts of money on advertising. Other “Third World” nations buy videos of “As Seen on TV” ads just to enjoy the luxury of being able to imagine the types of products available in the good ole’ U.S. of A. And here I am, trying to watch Scrubs as ridiculous Geico and Oberto ads destroy the brain cells I desperately need for physics.

Specifically, I was watching a commercial that was advertising a new Nerf Gun called the Vulcan that looked like a Gatling gun and shot a ridiculous number of bullets at insane speeds. As I was thinking, “Who would spend $40 on that?” my suitemate steps out and begins shooting with the gun I just saw on TV. Coincidence? I think not. My hypothesis is simple: The ad agencies come out with their best material that makes people want to buy their product (no matter how silly or pointless) during this time of year. Children begin to go crazy for toys, and adults feel a need to spend more than they have to make their loved ones feel happy. Don’t get me wrong. I love Christmas, but I feel that people need to question what commercials tell them to buy.

It gets worse when holiday ads start running in the beginning of November. I swear I saw a commercial for a brand of vacuum cleaners with a Christmas jingle last week. I was furious, watching how they try to employ the holiday season this early to suck people into buying products they don’t need. I admit, we all get drawn into buying things we want but we maybe don’t need, but that can be changed with some forethought and awareness. We always hear “the season is about giving.” How much do we give to those who don’t have anything to give their loved ones? Many of us who attend this college have the privilege of waking up Christmas morning and getting a gift we’ve wanted. But do we do more than donate a few dollars to the Salvation Army red kettles on our way to the mall where we purchase goodies for loved ones? Some of us do, but more people need to become aware of growing poverty in America.

Do not get sucked into ads that leave you chanting, “Must…have…pony.” By all means, enjoy the hard-earned money you have, but at the same time, remember that there are ways and means to give to those who desperately need something this holiday season.

Sign up for the email edition

Stay up to date with everything happening as Washington University returns to campus.