Enjoying the fine print on car dealer radio ads


By John Tredrea
   Like a lot of people, my fastest reflex action by far is to hit a button on my car radio to change the station the instant the music stops. I generally don’t mind the disk jockeys, but the commercials are such an upbeat drag.
   For some reason I didn’t change the station while driving on Scotch Road the other day and so heard a commercial from a car dealer or car manufacturer. For some reason I half-paid attention to it. Go figure.
   ‘Twas wondrous pitiful and strange. About the first 95 percent of the time consumed by the ad was a pretty standard sales pitch about what a great deal you could get if you would only shop at this dealer or buy this type of car. About the last 5 percent of the time the ad consumed was the oral fine print — a guy speaking so incredibly fast that it was impossible to remember anything other than that he had enunciated each and every word with the utmost clarity and precision and that it all seemed to address the topic of how the advertiser might be exempt from what you might have been led to believe by the sales pitch that had consumed the first 95 percent of the ad’s time.
   Listening to it, I realized I’d been hearing this kind of thing for years and had long since stopped consciously noticing it. Then I remembered that there is another version of the same thing on television ads, when a great wealth of very small print comes on the screen at the end of a commercial.
   I don’t mean to pick on car dealers or manufacturers particularly. Business is business and let the buyer beware and being free to take my business elsewhere is fair enough a game for me. Besides, what’s the alternative?
   But what can they be thinking, do you think? Jamming all that fine print onto the end seems to be the perfect way to gain total distrust. Or maybe they just figure we’re numb to it by now. I suspect that must be the case. But it was a shock to notice it on Scotch Road that day, and a shock to realize how much stuff like it I’ve heard, and for how long I’ve been hearing it.
   Cruising and playing the radio, with no particular place to go. Know what I’m sayin’?