While watching television a few weeks ago, I saw a ridiculous amount of insurance commercials over a very short period of time.
My first thought was confusion, how can it be possible that each one can save me more money than the rest?
Wouldn’t this disrupt the time/space continuum?
It’s baffling that whoever runs their ad campaigns truly believed that the “We can save you up to $500 a year” gimmick would work. But it does.
My exasperation comes from the fact that almost EVERY single one of them uses the tactic.
Unfortunately, no insurance companies’ media relations were available for comment on this.
The frequency of these commercials is copious. So I conducted my own [absolutely un-scientific] study to determine exactly how often we see these commercials.
Disclaimer – I am not qualified to do this type of research. But, thanks to NWMSU, I remember the scientific method (Ok, I had to Google it… At least I remembered what it was called!).
In the sake of not dragging this out - I took the steps, got my question, did a bit of research, made my hypothesis, and began my experiment.
It could go without saying, but I logged some TV time. I flipped channels, stopping only on commercials.
I had originally planned to count the commercials by types, like food or insurance, or ads for other shows, but I realized it was way more complicated that I thought.
But I didn't give up that easily. I got what I could and looked at my data. I found that over a two week span - random times and channels - there is almost always an insurance commercial every break. That’s a hefty advertising budget.
This is bad news people, the insurance companies are at war. And we are the collateral.
The campaigns seem different - catchy songs or wacky characters, the serious guy or the guy that represents mayhem – it’s the fact that they blast one after the other at you.
For me, the saving grace could be that we do have plenty of options when it comes to insurance. As a general rule, competition results in higher quality at lower prices.
But then I thought about how many companies actually exist, and how many are owned by a bigger corporation.
I found that there are thousands (if not more) of insurance companies in the country, but that many are owned by the same corporation. Cross-referencing licensed insurers in all states would be too time consuming. Plus I'd rather be fishing.
Anyways, I came to the conclusion that this advertising war may just be a semblance of one.
By semblance, I mean that to the general public, there are plenty of options. But in reality, there is only a handfull.
This is probably true in many aspects of our world, and I'm going to sum it up in a seemingly nonsense sentence.
These companies are competing against themselves to create false competition, making you think you can get a better deal down the road, when in reality your money still goes to the same place.
And we all buy into it. This is something I think we are guilty of from time to time, taking things at face value.
I'm a trusting person, and I have a general "good faith in mankind" sort of attitude.
It's sad to say that this attitude will increasingly burn you, more so now than a dozen years ago when I bought my first car that turned out to be a piece of junk.
There used to be a sense of greater good among Americans. What happened to the days of doing the right thing simply because it was the right thing to do?
This is most certainly a topic for a future column, but for now I will continue to hope that honesty and justice will prevail, all the while being more and more suspicious of "money saving" products and services.
Jesse Murphy is a reporter for the Maryville Daily Forum. He can be reached at email@example.com .