Now that it’s been reported the Comcast-TimeWarner merger talks have collapsed, there will be much ad time to be filled on television and radio (as well as print). At least if you live in the D.C. area, radio commercials are often about impending legislation and a voiceover urging listeners to “vote no” or “vote yes.” The ads are usually paid for by lobbying groups and aimed at lawmakers.
On the radio, the Comcast-TimeWarner campaign ran a series of ads featuring two men having a friendly conversation. One guy asks his friend what he thinks of the possible merger. The other guy is not so well-informed. He thinks it sounds like an awfully big company and isn’t sure if that’s a good thing. At which point the other man lays out the case for the $45-billion merger (the companies actually preferred the term "transaction"). He talks about better bandwidth, better choices, freedom, and Internet access to disadvantaged children. It’s never revealed where the pro-merger fellow works, but I assume it’s at Comcast.
In any event, now that the deal has fallen through, we won’t ever hear another conversation between these two men. Which is a shame, for with each ad, the conversations seemed to get more and more compelling—a harder sell each time. I imagined the next ad running as follows:
First Guy: So, have you given more thought to this Comcast-TimeWarner transaction?
Second Guy: Yeah, but it’s sort of hard to wrap my head around. It sounds so big.
First Guy: I told you how it makes good business sense, didn’t I?
Second Guy: Yeah, but—
First Guy: And that your aunt who’s a teacher, she’d like it, too, since it means more Internet access for her students.
Second Guy: Absolutely. I just—
First Guy: So what the (expletive) is your problem?
Second Guy: I’m sorry, but is that a giant seed pod you’re carrying?
First Guy: We came here from a dying world. We drift through the universe, from planet to planet, pushed on by the solar winds. We adapt and we survive. The function of life is survival.
Second Guy: Nooooooo!!!!!!