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A commercial, commercial break, or advert (from Greek commerc = commerce, ial = annoying) is an annoying interruption inserted between TV shows, internet videos and songs on the radio to get you to buy things (also known as advertising, though this term is very offensive to most). Commercials are infamously boring, though in recent years commercials have attempted to present themselves as being humorous, though they are not. Despite their displeasing nature, commercials have been very successful in getting people to buy stuff through subliminal messaging, false advertising, and featuring really rich and important celebrities (see also: Chuck Norris and Total Gym Fitness).
The very first commercial predates modern communications. It was performed in ancient Greece on February 30th, 1298 B.C., between Acts II and III of the play "Damn, It's Zeus Again," written by the Greek poet/philosopher/playwright/con man, Testicles.
Since the notion of women acting was socially frowned upon, and because most Greek men were gay, all the roles in the first commercial — an ad for condoms — were played by men. The ad was so successful that Trojans continue to be sold in gas stations and really cheap stores everywhere today, though nowadays they are not made of bronze as they originally were.
Commercials continued. Gladiator battles in the Roman Coliseum often had commercial breaks. In one famous commercial series, during a duel, one gladiator would turn to the other and say, "Pardon me, would you have any Grey Poupon?", before being stabbed in the neck by the other gladiator's dagger. Despite this, Grey Poupon sales in Roman times were extremely low.
In the Dark Ages, Lord Trudeau, a man historically remembered for his scamming, published a book titled, "Natural Cures For The Plague "They" Don't Want You To Know About". Despite not being an apothecary or alchemist, Trudeau's books were heavily popular before he died of the plague in 1348. Trudeau employed fake testimonials, fake statements from certified alchemists, fake anecdotes, and slapstick humor to make his commercials successful.
The cotton gin, which was invented in 1793, was heavily advertised by Eli Whitney. Commercials for it often featured a slave complaining to his master about the difficulty of separating cotton fibers from the seedpods and the sometimes sticky seeds. The slave owner would then start rambling on about the brand new "cotton gin" he bought, explain a little about it, and then whip the slave and demand he get back to work.
Late in his life, around 1939 or so, Leon Trotsky attempted to capitalize on Communism and market his own line of writing utensils in Mexico after being exiled by Stalin. As such, Trotsky is credited with bringing the ability of written language to the people of Mexico. However, the United States refused to allow such a pro-Communism product be advertised, and they quickly became unpopular.
With the introduction of the television in America came the horrors of watching limbs and other body parts explode in Vietnam and the horrors of watching commercials. But along with the war came all kinds of counterculture problems that needed to be exploited by corporations. For example, razor commercials attempted to appeal to "all natural" hippie women (a failed endeavor). But because nobody would put commercials made by hippies on TV, hippies were stuck to promoting the Summer of Love and Woodstock with fliers.
With the invention of the internet came the invention of commercials for the internet, such as pop-ups. Though they are technically considered commercials, they are infinitely more annoying and thus have their own category. They're used to promote all sorts of things, from lame websites to free viruses for your computer. The internet is also full of banners, spam in your e-mail, and commercials on videos. Just to watch a news clip on MSN.com, you're forced to watch some stupid car commercial.
Commercials, like many annoying things in life, come in a variety, which have developed throughout the centuries. Despite their long existence, businesses have still not yet perfected the art of commercials as plenty of people don't buy stuff when a commercial tells them to. Anyways, below are just a few of the known types.
- Infomercials — infomercials are commercials which are usually found in the early hours of the morning on normal cable networks. As their name implies, infomercials present information. After gaining your trust by "educating" you, they then tell you to go out and buy their products. They often feature a celebrity, who is highly paid to talk about something they know nothing about. Somewhat effective, as infomercials appeal to insomniacs and drunks, who are easy prey.
- Girls Gone Wild — by far the best commercials on television. Only available early in the morning like infomercials, Girls Gone Wild commercials are as close to softcore porn as you can get on cable television. Very effective, as Girls Gone Wild commercials appeal to horny insomniacs and drunks, who are easy prey.
- Super Bowl commercials — the aristocrats of commercials, Super Bowl commercials are very expensive to air. As their name also suggests, they air during the Super Bowl. This is such a "big deal" because everyone and their dead grandmother watches the Super Bowl. They're usually beer commercials. Very effective, as Super Bowl commercials reach a wide audience and appeal to drunks, who are easy prey.
- Child charity commercials — these commercials ask for donations to help feed little Maddox, Angelina Jolie's adopted Cambodian baby, and other unfortunate poverty-stricken foreign children who have the misfortune of being adopted by famous American celebrities, who probably do infomercials when they're not acting, making music, or adopting more children. Child charity commercials appeal to hospitable people and drunks, who are easy prey.
- Political advertising — commercials that try to gain your vote by lying to you about how great a candidate is, or by smearing the reputation of an opposing politician. Also known as "false advertising", political advertisements are not very effective, though they appeal to drunks, who are easy prey.
Is your soul really white?
"I thought my soul was clean — until I saw my neighbor’s! He showed me his secret — and now mine is as shining as his!"
A product that appeals to those who are religious and are always looking for a way to not go to hell. The side effects of this product are read in a swift manner so the viewer cannot catch them and possibly mistakes them for rap music.
Have you checked on your karma lately?
Many beings don't get the reincarnation they deserve. You meditate daily, avoid getting violent when forced to wait in a long line at the bank, and you even recycle. But a lifetime of spiritual strivings can easily be devastated by a temporary sinfulness. A regular check on the karmic meter is a must for the serious seeker, but why go the hard way?
Let Karma Cola™ do it for you!
Karma Cola™ is a product used for "restoring your astral body to a perfect condition". To the blind and incautious Hindu, it seems like an excellent product. But in reality, it's a placebo. It also tastes like crap.
New! Wankers Sensations!
No, of course you haven't! You've never even had sex!
But with new Wankers Sensations (now with integrated spermicide), you can feel full when your bed is empty. Now in four exciting flavors: Yummy Cummy, Extra Creamy Meatballs, Creme` of Sumyunguy, and Chicken.
Corny theme song: Wankers Sensations: An aphrodisiac, for those lonely masturbations!
Wankers Sensations was pulled off the shelves in 2006 for containing spermicide, which fatally poisoned over two-thousand people. In this commercial, they attempted to appeal to one's vulnerability. A lot of middle-aged men can relate to the brief monologue in the commercial. By exploiting all the lonely and hungry masturbators out there, Wankers Sensations made quite a profit. But they also taste like crap.
Problems with colors? Are your blacks not hanging correctly? Got whites that aren't so pure? Well curbstomp those stains goodbye!
With Aryan Inc.'s new bleach-free detergent washing powder, you can look to keep your ceremonial robes whiter than white and 100% soot-free, or your money back! In fact, you can try it after 30 days, and if you don't like it, send it back, free of charge!
Call now for only six easy payments of $49.99 for two 500g boxes. Dial the number on your screen now (867-5309). Visa and MasterCard are accepted only.
We will now continue with our regularly scheduled programming.
Another commercial that attempts to appeal to a common problem: the frustrations of laundry. After getting the viewer excited that somebody actually relates to their problems, the viewer is then willing to ignore the cost to purchase the product. It also tastes like crap.
Folgers knows coffee. The fresh taste of natural caffeine and bitter, grinded up charcoal filtering the tap water straight from your kitchen in an oversized cupcake paper cup container thing. I tell ya' folks, there ain't nothin' like it in the whole world. Only the finest from Folgers. Folgers-brand Folgers Crystals are thick as mud and will wake ya' up like a stampede of butterflies under the Montana sun.
Folgers Crystals: The best part of wakin' up, is the mystery that is, Folgers crystals! In your cup!!
By having an "All American" cowboy-style narrator, many Americans' patriotism is exploited by the company. All Americans know that cowboys would never lie, sell bad coffee, or kill Native Americans, so cowboys are often trusted. But in reality, the actor in the commercial is probably not a cowboy at all. But the coffee is actually pretty good.
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