March 18th, 2011

TV programming here in Japan is slowly returning to normal, but not commercials. It seems few companies want to be seen as “insensitive jerks hawking their wares during a crisis”. This is a shame, because the alternative is driving us adults crazy (though the kids love it). The alternative I speak of is the constant broadcasting of maybe 4 or 5 Public Service Announcements (PSAs), urging people to recycle, or to be nice to old folks, or to say “Good Morning” and “Thank You”. I can’t find the specific ones on TV now on YouTube, but here are some very similar ones.

AC Commercial example 1

AC Commercial example 2

The particular PSAs on-air now are generally of the first variety, being 15 seconds long, with a few 30 second PSAs thrown in. And, as I say, there are only 4 or 5 total. This means that when you watch the news, and then they go to commercial, you get to hear the “AC” jingle every 15 seconds, and see the same PSA repeated every 45 seconds or so. You might see that junior high school kid help the old man up the stairs three times before the news resumes, or hear the mom and daughter talk about breast cancer screening four times.

So, yeah, driving us adults nuts. I know they need to cut to commercial breaks so that newscasters can have a sip of water, or they can get ready for the next segment, or the like, and there’s little enough breaking news that I don’t begrudge them taking commercial breaks. But, please, how about just showing a picture of ducks, or video of a waterfall, or something? You could overdub it with Beethoven, or the Orb, or the sound of crickets. Just anything other than these damn AC PSAs!!

Now, I did mention that its driving us adults mad, but the kids love it. Every time they sing “AC!” on TV, Alex chimes in with “AC!”, followed by Tony. Yumi, talking to other moms, has found out that every kid in school is doing the “AC!” singalong. So I guess it’s working out OK for them.

Leave a Reply