“There’s a sucker born every minute.” (David Hannum)

I know, I know everybody thinks it was P.T. Barnum who said this but I looked it up and it was David Hannum, who was one of Barnum’s competitors. I still learn something new every day. But wait it gets better. Thanks to television commercials and Google, I now know how to figure the price of gold when broken down into milligrams and I saved myself $10.00 in the process. I was watching Chris Rock on Comedy Central tonight and the same commercial came on about every 10 minutes, so I was obliged to hear this sales pitch over and over again. For a mere $9.95, plus handling, I could buy up to five gold proofs that commemorated the famous buffalo nickel. What a deal! These proofs are clad in 14 milligrams of pure gold and were originally supposed to be sold for the remarkably low price of $50 each, but for a limited time I could be one of the lucky  few who could actually own this piece of history. By acting immediately, I could even get mine in the order they were produced and I would not have to suffer from future regret for having missed out on this once in a lifetime opportunity. It just doesn’t get any better than this!

Just one problem. According to the current price of an ounce of gold, which is roughly $1500.00, and the fact that there are 28,349 milligrams in an ounce of gold, that would mean I get to purchase something worth roughly 76 pennies. As an old white guy, I may not be much of a judge of gold bling but that doesn’t sound like much to me. Now let’s take this math problem a step further and ask ourselves what does a 30 second spot on Comedy Central, in primetime, cost and then multiply that by 10 spots a night times 7 days a week for a month. Just for simplicity’s sake and the fact that CC’s website is woefully inadequate when it comes to a standard rate sheet, let’s just say it’s $50.00 per spot with a good-sized quantity discount for a month’s worth of roughly 300 spots in primetime. That works out to $15,000 for advertising a genuine, worthless piece of crap. Given that most advertisers on television or other media outlets usually make more money than they spend, that means that at least 1500 suckers actually signed up for this once in a lifetime bargain. I was not one of them.

I am still a little worried about that future regret thing though. You just never know when one might run out of things to regret. At last count, I still regret not betting big money on Genuine Risk in the 1980 Kentucky Derby. I picked it to win that day and it was a huge upset as I recall. I also regret my water pistol attack on my high school English teacher, mainly because he almost caught me as I ran out the front door of the building. Boy would that have been humiliating, losing a race to a middle-aged, heavy smoker like Mr. Rees. That’s just a fraction of the things I can look forward to in the area of  memorable regrets. Getting ripped off by television advertising doesn’t even make the list of stupid things I’ve done. I must be getting pretty jaded in my old age, after all those years in the printing business and all the “advertising” I helped print.  Maybe this blog is my way of balancing my account with the good Lord.

Folks, my advice when it comes to advertising is pretty simple. Check everything and do the math necessary to understand what you’re paying. Advertising is legalized lying and most companies, like this one, are not really trying very hard to help you understand the value of your purchase. You know what, I would bet that if enough people chose not to buy their crap, they would eventually stop making, promoting and selling it. I hope I live long enough to see that day.

©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content


About grhgraph

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2 Responses to “There’s a sucker born every minute.” (David Hannum)

  1. I was an advertising major at KU…I never realized some of this stuff was made up or exaggerated!

  2. grhgraph says:

    Sad but true, marketing/advertising/PR majors are not held to a very high ethical standard. You were better off not knowing.

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