a better life?
As a consultant, I spend a lot of work days at my desk at home. I use that term loosely. My desk is sometimes my desk in my home office but more recently it’s the breakfast bar. Working from home is a great perk but it has its challenges. One of which is that you’re the only one in the office. I can try and ask Anakin what he thinks about my spreadsheet or what he’s doing this weekend but mostly I get back blank stares. So… I have the television on. It’s good background noise and from time to time it’s even interesting. Usually I’ll have the Food Network playing. I know what you’re thinking bu think about this… when you have background noise, you want it to stay there… in the background. I don’t want to find I’ve spent the day watching Friends reruns instead of working. Food Network is perfect because it hangs out just outside my attention and once in a while shows something interesting to keep me from getting completely bored.
Lately, they’ve been running these commercials that don’t advertise a product. The commercials have nothing to sell. Can you believe this?! There’s one about two Latino kids in a classroom taking a test while a very pregnant young teacher walks around proctoring. The first kid begs for the answer to number 4 and the second kid passes him a note. The teacher catches them and as it turns out, the note says “Let’s not cheat.” – a commercial for honesty. Just on the TV now, a black woman is enjoying time with her mother when the grouchy white neighbor comes over complaining about the weeds coming through her fence when she’s having a wedding the next day. The mom tells the daughter to bring the cake they were going to share to the neighbor while she changes into her gardening clothes. The commercial ends showing all three gardening together while the grumpy lady continues to grumble, though a little less… a commercial for patience with people. The last one that’s on quite a bit is the slightly chubby white girl, new to school. She looks around and all the tables are filled with groups of friends hanging out together. She walks over to a table filled with girls and asks “Is it OK if I sit here?” The britches and hose girls get up and leave saying things like “Is she serious?” and “new girl!”, leaving our protagonist to eat alone. Another girl sees all this and leaves her friends to come sit with the new girl… a commercial for reaching out. You can see all these here.
I think they’re pretty cool, other than the fact that they’re a little overly rotated in the mix. The website says they’re a privately funded organization that does not accept donations. All seems pretty cool. I thought I’d dig a little to see who was funding the non profit (all this info has to be disclosed publicly so you can eventually find out the 411 on any non profit). As I was a’Googling, I came across several blogs commenting on the commercials.
Check out these comments:
Something isn’t right about it, especially the part about the private funding.
Why would this person be interested in spending millions of dollars to advertise it? My gut tells me that something’s not right.
I wrote to the FFBL, told them that they should use one of their “values” and such as “compassion” and quit playing their obnoxious and cheese-laden ads so many times on the TV channel I watch at night, that way I can have a “better life.”
I akin these TV ads and billboards with Thomas Kinkade paintings and “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book series. It is what it is…just some rich guy trying to buy his way into Heaven without having to get his hands dirty. whatever.
I think we have had “no such thing as a free lunch” so ingrained in our heads that we’re distrustful of anything that doesn’t immediately cost us money, time, or aggravation. It’s probably a big reason missional living, outreach and just random niceness are treated with such suspicion.
The responses on this one blog weren’t all negative… there were some like this:
Don’t let CNN be your view of the world. In an effort to fill up a 24 hour news cycle we’ve managed to equate cynicism with maturity. How crazy is it that we as a nation choose to tune in and listen to bad news for so many hours each day. Why are we so immediately suspect of Foundation for A Better Life. It’s nice to have a reminder in a media laden with 90 percent who hurt whom and the latest media darlings that the reality is more what For a Better Life reflects and less what the pundits that grace our television sets would have us believe.
I hope the FFBL keeps on doing what it’s doing. Their message inspires me to live out my life with Gospel values… valuing others needs above my own, loving others, sharing faith. After all, it’s how you choose to live rather than how it’s interpreted that matters. Interpretations can change, after all.