Sunday, January 07, 2007

The NAB Code

That’s not to be confused with the Morse Code or the daVinci Code. It’s the voluntary standards set up by the National Association of Broadcasters. Back in the days of family tv, it meant there would be no ads for liquor or “personal products.”

Personal Products can be defined, loosely, as things you would not pull out and hold up during a church service. You might hint at them, perhaps ask your pharmacist in quiet tones, or go through a check-out with a person of the same gender.

You certainly would not see them on tv. You would hear about Special-K, but not Preparation-H. They would talk about a Boutique, but not Feminique. Learn about Spartans, but not about Trojans. And, yes, John Barleycorn was taboo, as well. People even thought there was a law against advertising whiskey on tv.

Now? It’s hard to tell if they’re holding a tube of toothpaste or Prep H. Those little boxes we went to a drugstore in the next town to buy? You can see them on late-night tv. I doubt there’s a product, other than maybe an abortifacient, that’s not advertised day and/or night.

I know that drugstore clerks just run the products over the scanner and probably don’t even think about it. But I really feel uneasy with them seeing a few of the very ordinary, daily items I buy. What are they going to think, that I have this or that condition?

Or do they even give a rat’s ass? (Sound of chewing gum snapping.)


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