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Rooney: No Place To Hide From Ads

Andy Rooney

CBS 60 Minutes

February 20, 2005

[Note: The following commentary is copyright by CBS and is reproduced here for non-commercial, educational purposes only as "fair use." Any other use requires the permission of CBS. As of February 21, 2005, it was also available online at]

Our advertising in America is really well done. Some of the most creative people in this country are in the business. The trouble is, many companies are selling their product better than they're making it.

You can't get away from being advertised at anymore. I come to work every morning, and the CBS building has been defaced with ads for its television shows.

The average time taken for commercials in an hour of television is 20 minutes now - one third. That's close to the limit of tolerance people have for commercials; they go for the "mute" button. So the networks sneak commercials into the program themselves, like the Bud Lite plug in the show called “Survivor.”

I get mad every week because they won't leave my piece alone. While I'm trying to keep your attention with what I'm saying, they distract you with a plug for “Cold Case.”

In the office here, we have ads coming in all day on the fax machine. How come a company using our FAX machine for their ad doesn't have to pay for our paper?

The great new communications tool, email, is inundated now with Spam, unsolicited advertising.

Wherever you go, you're being advertised at. There's simply no place to hide anymore. Taxi cabs everywhere carry advertising. It's on the sides and backs of trucks. Buses are covered with it. I don't want to be sold something everywhere I go.

I used to look forward to my mail - now mail is more a pain than a pleasure. Two-thirds of all the mail I get is advertising. And I throw it away without opening it.

Vogue is a beautifully done magazine but the table of contents is on page 28. Everything before that is advertising. Then there's another 46 pages of ads before a letter from the editor. The first little article is on page 82.

We're all familiar with the theaters that say the movie starts at 7 p.m. We know it doesn't. They turn the lights out at 7 p.m. and you have to sit through 15 minutes of commercials. You don't leave because you paid $9.50 to get in.

No matter where you go, advertising is in your face.

Most of us don't mind a certain amount of advertising. It can be attractive and interesting. It pays my salary. The only thing wrong is, there's too much advertising for advertising’s own good.