Pandora, please stop playing ads that insult not only your listeners’ intelligence – but also their taste in music.
A long-time user of Pandora’s personalized music service, I entered some sort of Pandora Twilight Zone this weekend when my music stream was twice interrupted by disingenuous – and disturbing – corporate-sponsored ads.
Just like the tobacco industry execs testified to Congress in 1994 that they didn’t believe nicotine was addictive, today the natural gas industry and health insurance companies are the wolves in sheep’s clothing. One Pandora-aired ad praised the safety of fracking, suggesting that its opponents were ill-educated, while another ad pretended that children will suffer as a result of Obamacare.
Doesn’t Pandora have a limit to the crap they’ll readily pass off to earn a quick buck?
Fracking: ‘Safe For Land, Water, Air’
The first ad snuck up on me while I was relaxing in the bath on Saturday afternoon. A woman and mother living in Colorado shares how her education at the hands of natural gas drillers led her to know for certain that fracking chemicals are safe – “safe for the land, the water, and the air.” So she had no hesitation about ceding her land to drilling. How convenient for Shell Oil, which is featured in the ad that was paid for by the American Petroleum Institute.
Among its many fallacies and unanswered questions, the ad’s most obvious oversight is that the wildfire-prone American West is not a good area to be depleting of the millions of gallons of water needed for one frack job.
Image via tweet @pandora_radio from @mouselink.
Thus, Western communities, firefighters, and farmers that already face water restrictions and shortages due to drought are now expected to compete against fracking companies for the world’s most precious resource. Hey, did anyone pay attention to the raging Arizona wildfire that took down 19 firefighters? The West will literally go up in smoke if it is depleted of its water, while continually baking under rising temperatures.
Fracking also releases gases that contribute to climate change. Not to mention the more than 2,000 leaks and spills that happened at fracking operations in just Colorado in only five years. Perhaps none of this speaks to the dangers of drilling rock for gas more than knowing that doctors are required to sign a “confidentiality pledge” called “Form 35” in Colorado before they can access information about fracking chemicals that could be responsible for their patients’ health conditions.
In the vein of hidden dangers, drilling companies have had court records sealed in cases where they settled with people who fell ill as a result of fracking chemical exposure.
Obamacare: The Monster Lurking In The Hallway
So after spending Saturday thinking this “smart people love fracking” ad was a Pandora anomaly, last night I heard from someone posing as a doctor who told an almost storybook fantasy about Obamacare.
She said Obamacare means the government will knock down her exam room door and insert itself in the medical decisions regarding the young child on her table. She imagines that she’ll have to close her office doors under the threat of Obamacare, which will leave sad little “Bobby,” or whatever his name was, with no one to cure his illness.
Back up. Interfering with private medical decisions…and causing practices to close? While that doesn’t sound like Obamacare, it does sound a lot like what’s happening on the anti-abortion front, with its mandatory vaginal probes and closing of clinics in places like North Carolina.
The commercial is a laughably thin veil for the motives of insurance companies, which aren’t happy with health care regulations that require them to offer “Bobby” and his family free preventative health services, and his mom free birth control – or a free breastpump if she chooses to have another child. If someone in his family has diabetes, they’ll get free blood sugar testing equipment as well.
Not to mention Bobby and his family can’t be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition – or because a catastrophic illness or injury causes them to reach an annual or lifetime limit. (It wasn’t too long ago that an insurance company could say: “Sorry, that’s too expensive, while there might be something to save you, we have decided it’s time for you to die.”
To sum up, Pandora, please lay off the devious energy and insurance ads. Hold yourself to a higher standard for your brand, and your listeners.