Asking people to part with their money these days is no mean feat, so I focused on a catchphrase and imagery that would convey optimism and altruism without being preachy.

This is something of a metaphor for what I've tried to teach my son.  He's got a mind of his own and very rarely asks my advice.  He doesn't share my beliefs, and I never try to force the issue.  After all, it took me most of my life to find my way back to faith. 

One pastime we share is an appreciation of unintentionally funny television commercials.   is one of my favorites - it's a vegetable chopper with a smarmy spokesman named "Vince." Just as some mothers try to sneak veggies into kids' meals, I use ads to impart some subtle life lessons to my boy.

is a great example, in the sense that it's over-the-top and not meant to be funny, but it is.  It's an earnest testimonial from a true believer - a woman who doesn't realizing she's yelling.  "The TOOTH PAIN was EXCRUCIATING," she tells us.  I liken this one to religious folks who try too hard to get their message across, to the point where it's painful. 

is another gem in the annals of awful advertising.  It's ironic that this ad for an online school is so mind-numbing. This degree is unlikely to help you find a job, since even this commercial doesn't work. The message here - be aware of how you're being perceived.

is a product that almost defies explanation.  The only word that comes  to mind is "huh?"  It's essentially a tiny weight used to strengthen arm muscles, but in the hands of creepy advertisers, it has become something obscene and porn-like.  The message here is, be careful of whom you allow to represent you. 

The only thing that sometimes falls by the wayside in advertising is - the facts.  Does this product work?  Will it break after a week?  Does the manufacturer stand behind it?

The truth doesn't turn like the or set like the .  The truth is always true.  So be true to yourself.  You are the product.  You own your life, so make it your own.  Find out what you stand for.  Be about something.  Blaze your own trail.

Be a blessing and you will be blessed.  Now that's what I call "Truth in Advertising."

Every day without fail,
I tell my son: Always do the right thing.
If you give your word, keep it.

Sometimes he rolls his eyes,
but I know it sinks in eventually.

I look back at the fading
forensics of those times
You tried to reach me too.
Rolling my eyes toward the heavens, I tuned You out.

Look at the whole of nature and the arc of life and it’s clear:
I gave you my word, and I’ll keep it.

-Ruth Williams


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