The Non-Expert

Truth in Advertising

Experts answer what they know. The Non-Expert answers anything. This week we show a reader concerned about television’s wasteland how advertisers could create more socially aware campaigns.

Have a question? Need some advice? Ignored by everyone else? Send us your questions via email. The Non-Expert handles all subjects and is updated on Fridays, and is written by a member of The Morning News staff.


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Question: Dear Non-Expert: Please inform us why almost all television (except for PBS, thankfully) has turned into a medium for advertising and bulls**t when it was invented to be an educational tool and a public service? Thank you. First-time emailer, long-time laugher. —Christina M.

Answer: That’s because educational television doesn’t pay the mortgage on a Brentwood estate. But since advertising is what keeps the airwaves afloat, perhaps that’s the best place to start—restore television’s educational mantle by producing commercials that address today’s real issues. For example: the obesity epidemic.

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Two female angels are sitting in a living room, surrounded by clouds.

First Angel: Are you eating more of that cream cheese?

Second Angel: It’s so heavenly! Want some?

First Angel: No thanks. I ate a double-smeared bagel every morning until one day I had a massive coronary and died. Honestly, seeing it only reminds me of the husband and baby I left on earth.

Second Angel: But this is new Philadelphia Brand Light Cream Cheese!

First Angel: Oh yeah? Well float that over!

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Wife comes home from work and addresses husband, who’s sitting on the couch.

Husband: Hi hon!

Wife: Phew—what a day. You know what I feel like having for dinner? Grilled tuna.

Husband: Mmm… Where do you want to go?

Charlie the Tuna: How about we stay here!

Couple, in unison: Grilled tuna? At home?

Charlie: You know it. But what you might not know is that tuna is low in fat yet high in omega-3 fatty acids. That means by eating more tuna you can help lower your cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. And you know what? High cholesterol has also been linked to hypertension, fatigue, and sexual dysfunction.

Wife: Hello!

Charlie: Let’s party!

* * *

Andie MacDowell is walking through a room filled with white lacquer furniture.

Andie MacDowell: Ladies, let’s face it: As we get older, our makeup doesn’t go as far as it once did. And that’s because as we age, our faces get bigger. That’s why L’Oréal now packs 15 percent more makeup in its foundation products.

Now that’s putting your best face forward!

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Mom enters kitchen to find her family seated at the table.

Mom: So what do you guys want for dinner?

Son: Original Recipe®!

Dad: Green Beans!

Daughter: Tender Roast®!

Son: Seasoned Rice!

Dad: Homestyle Biscuits!

Daughter: The Colonel’s Crispy Strips®!

Son: KFC® Snacker!

Dad: Hot & Spicy!

Daughter: Corn on the Cob!

Son: Apple Pie Minis!

Dad: Caesar Salad!

Daughter: Mashed Potatoes & Gravy!

Son: Bundt Cake!

Dad: Honey BBQ!

Daughter: Twister®!

Son: BLT Salad!

Dad: Extra Crispy™!

Daughter: BBQ Baked Beans!

Son: Cole Slaw!

Dad: Mac & Cheese!

Daughter: Little Bucket™ Parfait!

Son: Wings!

Dad: Popcorn Chicken!

Daughter: Potato Wedges!

Voiceover: KFC. Resistance is futile.

* * *

Coroner is showing a cadaver’s clogged artery to the camera.

Interviewer: So what do you have there?

Coroner: This is the aorta from a 32-year-old female who died last week.

[Coroner presses down on the artery; thick, light-colored mucus squeezes out the other end.]

Interviewer: What is all that?

Coroner: That’s arterial plaque.

Interviewer: Could that have been caused by smoking?

Coroner: Oh god no, smoking helps you lose weight—look at this. [Camera zooms in on section of lumpier plaque] That’s hamburgers right there.

End screen: Eating—it’s time to quit. (Paid for by the R.J. Reynolds Company)

* * *

A cartoon gecko is standing on a tree branch, leaning against the trunk.

Gecko: So you need car insurance. You go to the computer—bip bip bip—that’s all it takes. Easy as pie, and everybody loves the steak and kidney—though you more than most, from the looks of it. But no worries, because there’s variable rates depending on the health of the driver and all that.

It’s Geico, innit? It’s that easy, even if you’ve gone a bit postman.


Andrew Womack is a founding editor of The Morning News. He is always working on the next installment of the Albums of the Year series at TMN. More by Andrew Womack