Sunday, January 22, 2012

Peggy (Not Sue)

I've always been fascinated by commercials. Television. Radio. Print. I had a minor in marketing when I got my business degree. A thousand years ago. It meant I had 12 hours in “marketing” classes. Six were “Sales.” I hated sales. Three were a “Public Relations" course. Sort of okay. Three were in “Consumer Behavior.” That class fascinated me. Studying why people like what they do. What kind of advertising they might respond to—particularly as “groups.” Women. Men. Teens. Children. It was actually about psychology. I adore psychology! Unfortunately, I couldn’t figure out what to do with that tiny amount of “consumer behavior” knowledge when I graduated and moved to Fort Worth. So I did nothing. Except “behave.” Right. Yes, yes I did behave. Like a ‘consumer.” I’m very well-behaved, as a matter of fact and thank you very much.

Being a Baby Boomer (Hubby keeps insisting he’s a BB—alas, he’s not—misses it by a few years, bless his heart), I grew up with commercials attacking me from all sides—about 14/7. We all listened to radio in our cars, at home and work. There were some very clever radio and television commercials when I was in junior high and high school. There were several I really liked. There were okay ones. Then there were bad ones. REALLY bad ones. Often, as we watched television in the evenings or on the weekends, we’d (and by “we” I mean everyone in my family—kids and parents, alike) race to do chores or a homework assignment or make a quick phone call while the commercials were on. Sometimes we’d really like a particular commercial and wouldn't want to miss it—so we’d have to wait until the next go-round to rush, oh, say, to the powder room. {Remember, Younguns, we didn’t have the ability to record a show and then back it up. If you missed a favourite, and no one could tell you what happened, you had to pray you’d see the “re-run." Otherwise you were out of luck. Period.}

Clearly, video recorders changed the game. You could record a show—or several—and fast forward through the commercials when you watched it/them that night. (Thus began my obsession with not wasting time watching commercials. Especially bad ones. I’m actually quite a fanatic. It drives Hubby a little over the edge. He's not nearly as fast as I've become with the remote.) “Back in the day,”many of us watched our recorded  “stories” at night, after dinner. I was hooked on All My Children!

The Super Bowl also gradually altered the way we all viewed commercials. If you didn’t have a favourite team competing, you could (and still can!) at least anticipate and enjoy the high-priced commercials. “This year, an ad during the Super Bowl will cost one million dollars for a sixty-second ‘spot,’” Dan Rather would report on the national news. We’d respond: “Huh? What did he just say? Is that for real?” Singular “real.” We didn’t do “reals.”

Don’t most of us love the Budweiser commercials? Especially those with Clydesdales? A few of the car makers have delightfully entertaining commercials. Last year’s little fella who thought he was starting his parents’ car? Priceless. I’m smiling now because I can see him. Absolutely precious. They probably paid several million dollars for that sixty seconds, right?

The Discover commercials with “Peggy” have always tickled me. The first few times I see a new one? I’m laughing out loud. After I’ve seen the newest one several times? I’m STILL laughing out loud. Backing it up to watch it again. And again.

About two years ago, as I was leaving my downtown office early one winter evening, I called Sunny’s home phone number to ask her a question. A male voice picked up (her Hubby answers their home phone 7 out of 10 times during the evening—you could almost place a big bet on this) and immediately said: “This is Peggy.” I was startled and tres confused. It sounded like Sunny’s Hubby. What did he say? I was certain I hadn’t dialed wrong. I’d been dialing that number, at that point, for about 25 years.

“Hey,” the deep, male voice asked, when he realized I apparently wasn’t going to respond. “Haven’t you seen that commercial?”

Awww. Yep. I have, Sunny’s Silly Hubby. Trickin’ me. Again. He’d seen my name on Caller ID.

I’ve been calling him Peggy ever since. For the first few weeks after this happened, Sunny would ask: “Who are you talking about?” “Your husband. Peggy,” I’d howl. Now she calls him Peggy, too—frequently! Or “Mr. Clorox Wipes.” Another story for another time, perhaps.

Peggy is a good man. Funny. Smart. Kind. A great husband. (He calls Sunny “Princess.” Every day. Even when he’s not in trouble. Awesome.) A great Dad and Grandfather (Nelly and her brothers can testify to this fact). A great friend. Not too long ago, I met Sunny at her beautiful house for lunch. I brought the two of us Quizno sandwiches (unfortunately, we don’t have a Potbelly’s, TLC!). I didn’t even ask if Peggy would be home. When I walked in the front door, there he was. In their kitchen. With a great big surprised look on his face. (He, like TLC and My Sweet Hubby, could often qualify for an Oscar!) “You didn’t bring me a sandwich? Thanks. Thanks, a lot.” He feigned hurt and gave me the hardest time. In his cute way. I felt awful. I still do. He’d definitely have gotten me one, if the situation was reversed.

In a couple of weeks, if “Discover Peggy” has an ad during the Super Bowl, and I hope he does, I’ll be thinking of Sunny’s Dear Man. Not Buddy Holly Or Peggy Sue.

ttfn!…have a WONDERFUL week ...

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