Certainly in one sense it is the irritation of this retired person. Maybe it’s the channels I watch and the radio programmes I listen to – Railroad Alaska, Father Brown – all those repeat channels on which there are as many adverts as there are programmes or Classic FM on the radio with the most annoying car adverts in the world. I like the programmes but can’t stand the adverts to the point of turning them off if the remote is at hand.
Strange really because I remember the days when the adverts were to be treasured, looked forward to for their creativity – was it right to admire adverts as works of art? Was it moral even? When you get an advert like Cadbury’s gorilla (right above) playing the drums to Phil Collins ‘Something in the air tonight’, an absolute work on art in my humble opinion; the Smash Martians; Hamlet cigars; Levis in the Laundrette. Works of art every one. So, yes, it was right and moral. Did they sell the product? Probably not, I love the gorilla but had forgotten it was advertising Cadbury’s chocolate. Just as with the famous coffee advert that made an on-going story (each development eagerly awaited) about whether the couple would get together. People loved the story, gripped by it they were, but hadn’t a clue which coffee brand was being advertised. At least that’s how I heard it.
These days any dilemmas about the morality of advertising (the efficiency is another thing and beyond the bounds of this blog, today it’s targeted, based on meta-data or some such) take a different form. Let me explain. This week I received another email (I’ve had 5 or 6 since I started the blog) about advertising on my blog. I was curious enough to follow their link just out of interest, you understand, about what kind of product I would be supporting if I agreed, which, dear reader, fear not, I have no intention of doing. But I was curious.
Anyway to cut a short story even shorter, it turned out to be an American site offering all kind of services – residential care, care at home, assisted living, memory care, independent living – you know all the kind of things we’ll be requiring at some point in the hopefully distant future. I’m not going to name them for obvious reasons, that would be free advertising and this is a cut-throat business I’m dealing with here. They seemed to cover every state and out of even idler curiosity I looked in Colorado and they had a care facility in Durango where, the more alert of you will remember, we have a piece of land with plans to build a cabin there sometime. Maybe I should rethink the cabin and build a care home.
Not sure what the relevance of that is but I thought you’d like to know. And in case you were interested in the offer it said – ‘your website seems like a perfect match … people looking for help with their parents… you could get money for any lead you send our way… let me know if you are interested in having a 10 minute call.’ Not quite sure what ‘any lead you send our way’ means in this context. Do I have to parcel up the old person and physically send them to one of their facilities? Or just send name and address of an old person, preferably American, who they can ‘help’ regardless of whether they want it or not?
As I say I was not tempted but it did make me wonder. And this is my point. Why my blog? Have I been targetted? I mean I’ve obviously not won best blog of the year after having been nominated in the top 41 some while ago, probably came in at number 41. Unless I hear different, but I can’t check because I’ve lost the email link to the competition but I’m assuming I would have heard if I had come in the top 3 or 10 or even 20. So how are blogs chosen for advertising and offered the opportunity to make simply oodles of money. Even the barman on our recent Irish holiday said I should be making money from advertising on my blog and bar persons know a thing or two.
So I wondered if anybody out there can help me understand this process. Are blogs simply chosen at random by some computer or other regardless of whether we have two or two thousand readers? Is it a quantity issue or are ‘they’ whoever or whatever ‘they’ may be, looking for quality regardless of numbers? Should I be flattered that ‘these people’ have recognised the quality of my writing and, after much research, decided that mine is a blog that they want to be associated with, one that epitomises everything they stand for? No, I thought not. Worse still it occurs to me that they have actually read my blog and see Mrs Summerhouse and I as being potential candidates for their forms of assisted living and this is there strategy for gaining us as customers.
It might be I’m reading too much into this offer. You know the devil makes work for idle hands. I’ve too much retirement time on my hands and I fill it by fantasising about untold wealth to be made through selling The Summerhouse Years as the advertising vehicle for the retired person. The sky would be the limit. No tat of course but well-designed incontinence pants, fast and reliable stair lifts, beautifully made plastic non-spill drinking mugs, souped-up wheelchairs with low-profile tyres and disc brakes. This could be big, we could design and sell our own Summerhouse Years products and before you could say, old git, we’d be advertising our own products. How silly I’ve been to overlook the commercial opportunities from having an award-winning (well in the top 41 at any rate) blog.
Yes, you’re right, it’s time for my lie down, time for Mrs Summerhouse to cover me with my blanky, maybe an aspirin in a cup of warm milk to help me relax. I love this retirement business, so many opportunities for good, clean fun.