Confessions of a Social Media Ad Addict

Social media video ads are to today’s small screen users what TV infomercials were to those of us of a certain age who still remember rotary phones and cassette tapes.

I grew up watching infomercials. Aside from that Time Life Sounds of the Seventies CD set, which could be the greatest collection of music that has ever been created, I never understood who actually bought this stuff.

This knife is so sharp it cuts through a can! You NEED IT! This blender can blend Barbies! You NEED IT! (Because one never knows when a Barbie-blending occasion might arise). You can freeze-dry ANYTHING!!! Buy now, operators are standing by!

I don’t know why anyone wants to cut a can with a knife, blend a Barbie, or who has time to freeze dry a bunch of stuff. But these products clearly appealed to someone – probably a lot of someones.

So, I judged.

I judged those people lured by the Home Shopping Network to purchase the BEST MITTENS EVER! I judged people who, in a weak moment, sprang for that freeze dryer and then wondered when they were actually going to have an occasion to make their own jerky. (Honestly, though, is that even safe?)

But I was foolish, because I should have remembered that I, of all people, should never judge. Because once I do, I’m going to end up doing whatever that thing I judged was to an extreme degree.

This has happened across the board with me – most notably in parenting. My first child had homemade everything: Baby food, bread, pasta. I remember being shocked when someone served a snack with carrots and ranch dressing. So many preservatives! Why can’t the kid just eat a plain carrot?

Then I had my second child who, at 16, still puts ranch dressing on everything.

There have been many lessons in my life, but the one I’m still trying to nail down is: Never, ever judge.

Foolishly, I watched those Facebook ads thinking, who in their right mind is believing this stuff?! Why is anyone actually spending money on things like poo-pori. (If you don’t know, click here). Is a fancy, no-pull ponytail holder really necessary? Can’t you just get a pack of 20 at CVS like normal people? Are you actually saving money by buying your razors in bulk online? Is it really that onerous?

Tsk, tsk. Some people are so gullible.

That was before my “gateway” ad. The ad that got me was simple. “Don’t you hate it when your teenage son has a bunch of his friends come over and you aren’t wearing a bra?” OMG yes! “Try these pajamas and never stress again about who stops by.”

Note to JJWinks: You have a dumb name, but that “no bra, no stress” nightgown sure is cute.

Admittedly, it took me a while to actually take the plunge. But it happened.

The ad came around more and more. Taunting me with these comfortably clad, (and I’m guessing bra-less), women who would welcome their son’s teenage friends into their home with a look of joy instead of a screech. These women were not scurrying in horror up to their bedrooms to put on their bras.

So I crumbled. The nightgown came, and – guess what? – I loved it. It’s quite honestly one of my favorite articles of clothing. It’s so comfortable. San I stroll down the street bra-less in it? No, but it’s not a huge deal if someone pops by. It has more than lived up to the hype.

Here’s where I get screwed for judging, because now I had proof – the ads were all true, and I was a believer.I entered into the “must buy” zone.

Ad: De-stress your pet with this pet bed! It is the best pet bed out there! Your dog or cat is stressed and upset. YOU MUST GET THIS!

Me: Hmmmm, he doesn’t look too stressed, but he does need a new dog bed. Maybe I should get this for him to make his life more relaxed and comfortable.

Verdict: Fail. The bed took about a million years to come in this tiny, dramatically vacuumed-packed package. My dog weighs 35 pounds. I got the size for 25-to-45-pound dogs. I’m not positive what size 45 pound dogs are wherever this dog bed was made, but they are clearly made of much denser stock than my dog. It’s half his size. There’s no real way to figure out how to return it. I’m giving it to my friend with a 10-pound dog as I think it will be perfect. But if you see this ad, don’t be tempted.

Ad: Have you ever wondered how women wear these dresses with no backs and no sides and still wear a bra?

Me: Yes! Yes! Tell me more!

Ad: With these sticky boob holders! They are like magic and so strong, they can hold up a 5-gallon water jug!

Also me: Wow! No one’s boobs are THAT heavy! I can’t wait to wear all those awesome backless and sideless dresses!

Verdict: I’m an idiot. Why would I think that something that could hold up something rigid like a water jug could easily hold up a breast? They are NOTHING LIKE A WATER COOLER JUG. I mean, first of all, they jiggle. Enough said. The women who wear those backless and/or sideless dresses are 20-something, and their bodies do all sorts of things that they won’t do in another few years. (Enjoy it while you can, ladies). A sticker is not going to magically do the same job as a bra. It’s just not.

I’m hoping that by exposing my own stupidity and gullibility I can save some others from my plight. Maybe I’ll get some support from some kind folks willing to gently remind me about how most of these things don’t even work.

But my friend just got this paint-by-number canvas and she thinks it’s going to be so relaxing. She said that the ad insisted paint-by-numbers is the hot new way to de-stress! Everyone is doing it!

I’m not going to lie, she seems more relaxed than I’ve ever seen her before, and she hasn’t even received her canvas yet! I’m keeping an eye out on my feed…I’ll let you know how it goes.



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