Monthly Archives: August 2010

Subtly Disturbing Commercial

There are plenty of overtly disturbing commercials out there these days — for example, any TV ad related to reality television. However, one recent commercial struck me as disturbing in a subtle way.

It goes something like this: The ad is hawking a mobile TV product that allows you to watch live programming right on a portable device. As a toddler heads toward the bathroom, he informs his dad that he’s going to use the “big boy potty.” He locks the door, sits down on the floor, makes himself comfortable, and then begins giggling as he watches a kid’s program on the mobile device.

The dad chimes in with, “I’m proud of you!” Up to this point, it seems like just another funny and innocent commercial. But then, the voice-over says, “Need some quality alone time? Get away with your favorite shows with [insert product name here].”

Excuse me? Quality alone time? Is this 4 year old kid so traumatized by the toils of everyday life that he needs some “quality alone time” spent away from his (obviously) loving father? Is he not getting what he needs from that relationship and, instead, being forced to seek comfort from the warm glow of a battery-powered idiot box?

I’m fully aware of my generation’s obsession with shutting out personal interaction and contact with the outside world in favor of a text message, a laptop screen, or a pair of white iPod earphones. It just struck me as odd that a company would portray a 4 year old in that light.

Am I crazy? See here for yourself.