Sleazy External Cues On Daytime TV

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    From weight loss gimmicks and diet pills to for-profit trade schools trying to enroll new students, daytime TV commercials are directed at a specific demographic of people who have problems with money and self-esteem. The purpose of this article is to explore the poor external cues on daytime television and discuss how some of these advertisements appeal to the impulses of certain students.

    Sleazy External Cues On Daytime TV

    Yesterday I received a rather curious private message from a person who shall forever remain anonymous. He described himself as a low-income guy in his late twenties, and was seeking my opinion on enrolling in either a pharmacy technician program or a course that trains students to become medical assistants.

    I responded, "I completed a medical assistant program 12 years ago when I was 19 years old and was never able to land a job with my training." My response was also unfavorable toward pharmacy technician programs that are offered at high-priced trade schools. "If you're going to be a pharmacy tech, train at an affordable community college or adult education program."

    He replied a few minutes later: "The pharmacy tech program is $30,000 at the school that I'm looking at, but I'm low-income. The people at the school said I would only have to repay $10,000."

    I wanted to bang my head against the wall. "Repaying $10,000 will be difficult on a pharmacy tech's pay, and there's no guarantee of a job at the end of your training, even if this school offers job placement assistance. You'd feel trapped with $10,000 in student loan debt and no job to pay it back."

    Fast forward to today. I would like to discuss the abundance of poor external cues on daytime television. To be perfectly blunt, many of the programs and commercials that run during the daytime are aimed toward a specific demographic. How does any of this relate to being a student? You'll soon see.

    First of all, the people who are responsible for daytime programming assume that the viewers are unemployed and broke. This is evidenced by the commercials for payday loan places, car title pawn loans, financial services with no credit checks, pawn shops, and other forms of poverty financing.

    Secondly, they've concluded that the viewership consists of mostly overweight and obese people. This claim is supported by the multiple ads for fat-burning pills, diet centers, support groups for overweight people, and weight loss plans. Furthermore, they think these viewers are down on their luck due to the ads for personal injury lawyers, bankruptcy services, psychic hotlines, and 'second-chance' car insurance.

    Finally, the people who advertise on daytime television believe that the viewership is uneducated and/or undereducated. This is evidenced by the lower-budget commercials for overpriced for-profit trade schools, business colleges, and quick job training programs. Some of the friendly voices announce, "No high school diploma or GED needed for some of our courses!"

    In summary, many daytime television commercials are targeted at people who are unemployed, financially stressed, overweight, and undereducated. If a school constantly needs to advertise on TV for new students, it is most likely because the tuition is staggeringly expensive and too many of its graduates would never recommend the place by word of mouth.

    Think twice before you utilize any good or service that advertises heavily on daytime television. The businesses that purchase airtime on daytime TV think you are poor and dumb, which should be enough to insult anyone's intelligence. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
    Last edit by Joe V on Jan 24, '17
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    10 Comments

  3. by   VivaLasViejas
    Excellent advice, Commuter!
  4. by   TheCommuter
    Another important consideration is the lifetime limit on government-sponsored student loans. The person who borrows a massive amount of money to attend an unaccredited trade school or business college might be trapped later on in life.

    Assume that the person obtains $36,000 in student loans to pay the tuition for a private surgical technician program. The person cannot find a job after graduation, so (s)he returns to school to pursue nursing at a state university.

    Problems are now arising because this student is creeping very close to their lifetime limit for Stafford loans. The lifetime loan limit is $57,500 for independent undergraduate students, and no more than $23k may be subsidized.
  5. by   amoLucia
    Commuter, your information is spot-on. But I'd like to add that these questionable advertisements are not just limited to daytime television viewing, but also abound on late-late nite TV.

    Add to the gimmick ads are the promos for exercise equipment and/or videos/programs that look so health-promoting but are they realistic to start for the targeted audience????? And the use of celebrity promoters seems to just add to the allure of all this.

    As you said, "if it sounds too good..." I would add "let the buyer beware".
  6. by   TheCommuter
    Quote from amoLucia
    But I'd like to add that these questionable advertisements are not just limited to daytime television viewing, but also abound on late-late nite TV.
    I totally agree. After 11 o'clock at night, the TV commercials become downright tawdry again. You see advertisements for vodka, cheap exercise equipment, credit repair companies, rent-to-own furniture, bad-credit financing for used cars, more psychic hotlines, and more supplements that promise to burn fat.

    It is hard to believe that people actually get sucked into these commercials and purchase the goods and services that they advertise.
  7. by   nursefrances
    Great article commuter. I also want to add that credits from many of these schools don't transfer if changing schools/ colleges. (trade shool to a junior college, State, etc.) I met a girl in a pre-req class that had student loans to pay from a school she went to. She changed majors, criminal justice to nursing. She had already taken some pre-reqs from the previous school but had to retake them because they did not transfer. She was not a happy camper.
  8. by   TheCommuter
    Quote from nursefrances
    I also want to add that credits from many of these schools don't transfer if changing schools/ colleges. (trade shool to a junior college, State, etc.)
    Yes, many of the credits will not transfer because most of the trade schools are not regionally accredited. Trade schools tend to be accredited by agencies that only accredit other trade schools.

    However, many of the 'admissions directors' will conveniently skip over the issue of transferability of credits earned because they would not want to lose a money-generating student. The whole game is shady and lacking in ethics.
  9. by   mangopeach
    Excellent post!!!

    When I was in my last semester, I was having lunch at a place close to school. While having lunch I had my books out and a young lady sat next to me and started asking me about nursing school because that is what she wants to do. She worked next door, at Payless. She had gone to one of these schools that advertises on tv, had about 28K in loans for a medical assistant program. I thought that was insane. A program that does not give you a degree for 28K? Well the kicker to that is that she's trying to get into a community college to pursue nursing, only to find out that those credits from the tv school, do not transfer.
  10. by   HM-8404
    I had an advisor tell me a while back it is never a good idea to take out student loans that exceed what you can realistically expect to make in one year on the job. She said don't take out $50K in student loans to get a degree that will land you a job that pays $25K a year. I thought that was good solid advice.
  11. by   TheCommuter
    Quote from HM-8404
    I had an advisor tell me a while back it is never a good idea to take out student loans that exceed what you can realistically expect to make in one year on the job. She said don't take out $50K in student loans to get a degree that will land you a job that pays $25K a year. I thought that was good solid advice.
    It is good advice because student loan debt can easily turn into the perpetual ball and chain that weighs a person down for life.

    Last year I read an article about a young lady who accrued a whopping $97,000 in student loan debt to attend NYU. She earned a BA in religious studies. Predictably, she cannot find a job related to her major or degree concentration, nor can she find a job that pays enough to repay her staggering debt.
  12. by   HM-8404
    Quote from TheCommuter
    It is good advice because student loan debt can easily turn into the perpetual ball and chain that weighs a person down for life.

    Last year I read an article about a young lady who accrued a whopping $97,000 in student loan debt to attend NYU. She earned a BA in religious studies. Predictably, she cannot find a job related to her major or degree concentration, nor can she find a job that pays enough to repay her staggering debt.
    I would assume that if this lady found a job that paid $100,000 she would have a hard time qualifying for a home loan, since she she is already $97,000 in debt. That would be the equivalent of already having one mortgage.

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