Harmless fun or mildly offensive? CaliforniaPsychics preys on stereotypical romance fantasies.
March 21, 2013
Normally, I don’t pay heed to infomercials or Direct Response TV (DRTV). In my last engagement I had to feign respect for them on account of the revenue they generated for my agency. But, like most semi-smart people, I considered it all shit. Suffice it to say, I’m damn happy no longer having to swim in the same tainted water as these bottom feeders. Damn glad. I’m not saying DRTV doesn’t sell; it does. But, all love to Ron Popeil, it doesn’t say much about the stuff it’s selling. DRTV is about moving inventory. Occasionally, one of these products becomes a kitschy pop culture icon like Shake Weights and Pocket Fisherman. Most come on strong and then mercifully fade into the bins at the Dollar Store.
The other day I watched all 60 seconds of a DRTV commercial for a phony product if ever there was one: CaliforniaPsychics.com. The spot I saw (attached above) is basically a string of people acknowledging how amazed and delighted they were with the service.
I don’t know why I find it unbelievable that an entity offering telepathy over the phone could make any money. After all, faith in improvable concepts never stopped anyone from believing in them and contributing money their way. Thousands, perhaps millions, of wacky exercise machines are sold this way every year. But fortunes over the phone? Don’t you at least need to see the mark in order to read her?
I’m afraid I must use the pronoun “her” with motive. Save for one man in the commercial (a token?) all of the principals are women. Why is that? Are men not gullible, too? Not if you read the tea leaves of this commercial. Here we have attractive, charming and seemingly intelligent females extolling the virtues of an online psychic. Many of them, if you listen, imply romance and/or relationship issues as the primary purpose for their calls.
We can glean much from the flotsam and jetsam of popular culture. Analyzing this turd of a commercial proves no exception. Observing it, one cannot help but think of the cliché that women are compelled to fantasy far more then men. (Fittingly, it is the lone man in the spot whose fortune pertains to opening a small business -not a relationship.) If I were a woman this would piss me off. It’s demeaning. Like that popular TV show The Bachelor, it assumes women will do anything to secure a mate. As a father of three daughters I wish this were not so. Unfortunately, I’m guessing California Psychics knows exactly for whom they’re fishing.