Advertisements upset me. They seem designed to appeal to the misinformed, uninformed, or gullible; preying upon every emotional and logical weakness they can find. I often find myself insulted on behalf of humanity that the people behind these schemes think so little of humanity. And yet, ads persist, likely because they work on enough of the population to be sustainable (not unlike a virus). For a time I was happy knowing I was hopefully above the sort to be tricked by underhanded marketing, I recently reached a breaking point and wanted to push back against the nonsense. And thus this series was born. Welcome to…
A Regular Critique of Advertising Nonsense
I hope you have all had the joy of catching the following commercial for HD Vision sunglasses, but if you haven’t here’s the clip:
Besides the irony of the video itself not being in HD, I don’t even know where to begin. I mean, it’s an infomercial, so it’s laughably bad in that respect, but the entire premise doesn’t even make sense.
I guess a little background is in order. High-definition (HD) is a poorly defined term used to describe the resolution of a screen. In the United States, HD is usually defined as anything with 480 horizontal lines or above. You may have also seen this written as 480p, which is the same thing.
Sunglasses are a type of eye-wear that shade your eyes from the sun. The sun is very bright, so looking at it is a bad idea (even if you’re wearing sunglasses) but the glasses can make life more pleasant and less squint-inducing. Plus, sometimes they look cool because they’re aviators (Fig. 1).
Sunglasses can also be polarized, which means that they have a polarizer which an optical filter that blocks light coming in at certain angles, usually vertically. This is why two perpendicular polarizers can block light entirely. I wore a pair of polarized sunglasses fishing one time and felt like an eagle. It was awesome.
Unfortunately for the makers of HD Vision, life is not made out of pixels. While some new research suggests that if we’re living in a simulation there might actual be a minimum resolution to the universe, our eyes are not evolved to see at such a scale. I don’t really know how to debunk the HD claim any clearer than that. It’s one of those “not even science” sort of statements.
The makers tout a few other attributes on the products Amazon.com page:
- Reduces glare
I assume this is just a weird way of saying they’re polarized.
- Enhances color and clarity
Unless they work the same way as those rats who can now sense infrared, I’m guessing this is just a nonsense claim.
- Optical quality lenses
This literally just means that they’re made from the kind of materials one would use to make lenses.
- UV 400 protection (same as 100% UVA/UVB protection)
This is the minimum level of protection required to be labeled as UV protecting sugnlasses.
- 1 x HD Ultra Sunglasses Ultra – in Black
This describes what you get in the box when you order them (Fig. 2).
So since there isn’t a whole lot else left to say about this silly product and its even sillier ad, I’ll open it up to you. Has anyone out there purchased this product? If so, what did you think? They claim to offer a 30-day satisfaction guarantee which I’m tempted to try and use with the above argument just to see how they respond, but only if Dunning is willing to pay for shipping and handling.
Have an ad you want to see featured in this column? Leave a link in the comments below or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org!