It’s a familiar rant. “Would it kill the budget to add captioning to the commercials?” Super Bowl commercials, at least, have no excuse. With the millions they pay for production and air time, the expense to caption the commercials would be a drop in the bucket. A small drop, at that.
Here we are, four television days before election day, and it’s almost impossible to watch a newscast without an overabundance of bureaucrats and lawmaker wannabes talking at us, the viewers and voters. How many are captioned? My unofficial estimate: about half.
So why bother? Why take the time and spend the money to add closed captioning to an admittedly short run for a commercial? Here’s why.
- The baby boomer generation is aging into hearing aids, and they vote. The baby boomers, not the hearing aids, that is. If a candidate wants his/her platform known to this valuable demographic, captioning is a great way to do it.
- When a commercial (or program) is captioned, the mute button only mutes the sound. The video still has a chance, a remote possibility if you will, of penetrating the consciousness of someone looking in the direction of the television screen.
- If a non-captioned commercial follows one with active captions, sometimes the last caption remains on the screen. Imagine this: incumbent Scott Walker babbling at the camera as the top of the screen announces: Tony Evers is committed to you, for a change.
And that, my friends and family, is irony enough for me. Go Tony!