It is nearly seventy years since television retuned to the air after its wartime suspension. With the BBC broadcasting on a single channel programmes were very decorous and staid, with no profanity, sexual innuendo or advertising, and closing down at about midnight with an Epilogue and the National Anthem.
What a shock to the system when ITV started up in 1955 when viewers could no longer watch a play or film right through without a break, but had to endure several sets of commercial adverts every fifteen minutes. In the United States sponsorship of programmes by the big manufacturers of soap powders became so intrusive that some wit dubbed them “soap operas”. a name that has become universally used today, even if its origin is forgotten.
Since then TV commercials have become a huge industry as manufacturers have found how big an audience they command, and they use every technique possible to engage their viewers.
Humour, slogans, musical jingles, or cuddly puppies, talking meerkats, and lisping kiddies with gap-toothed smiles are all part of their armoury.
During the course of an evening’s viewing we are shown tasty looking foods, massive buckets of fried chicken and multi-layered burgers needing two hands to hold. Cosmetic makers promise to “disguise the appearance of wrinkles” using pseudo-scientific named ingredients to enhance their effectiveness.
Gambling comes on in the later time – roulette, poker, bingo, all enticing you with offers of £10 worth of free bets. And there are several Lotteries, all enticing you with the prospect of winning millions.
A pathetic side view is seeing “has-been” celebrities reduced to promoting stair lifts, foot spas and funeral plans. One conspicuous absence of recent years is that of tobacco products; one wonders whether the same may become of alcohol one day.
How can one resist this avalanche of persuasion? Perhaps the Bible may offer some guidance.
“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have.”
Hebrews 13 : 5
“Be on your guard against all kinds of greed: a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
Luke 12 : 15
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
1 Corinthians 10 : 31
“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
Romans 14 : 17
Perhaps if we keep these in mind when viewing it might prevent us from being carried away into believing it all.