Saturday, April 02, 2011

Extremes in the media

My first point:

In the video text on tv, there was this headline:
Radioactivity reaches Europe! (Yes, the exclamation mark was there)

When I went to the page where the text was, it said that some radioactivity was detected in Iceland, but that experts said there was no reason to panic. Then why do they make the headline sound so dangerous and stressful? Besides, Iceland is not exactly in the heart of Europe, and it is only geographically Europe.

What's next? Radioactivity in every hospital worldwide? Oh yes, in every x-ray place there is radioactivity. Panic!!!

My second point:

Then what about the vocabulary? It's spring in Europe now and temperatures rise. But sometimes, it's only temporary and that can cause a drop by 10° C within a couple of days. Why do the media call it a "coldness shock"? It's not a "shock" when the temperatures go from 12° C to 2° C, especially when everyone has been used to sub-zero temperatures for almost half a year.

My third point:

The most ridiculous thing in the past months in my opinion was the way banks promote their services. There was a time, about 3 to 5 years ago, when it was still possible to get a normal bank account with an interest rate of about 5 per cent. Nowadays, it's really bad. It's never even 3 per cent. At the same time, banks keep using the same advertisement phrases like "miraculous interest rates", "amazing interest rates", "lucky", "incredible" and so on.

What's so incredible about a 2.2% interest rate?

Let's do the math: If you have 10 000 euros in your bank account for a whole year - which is already a lot of money to not put your hands on - then you will have 220 euros increase at the end of a 12 months period. How is that incredible? Not to forget that most people don't have that much money.

If you have one million euros , it will be a hundred times more: 22 000 euros. But you know what the catch is? People who already have that much money know better ways to increase their wealth. And using such a crappy bank account is not the way to get there.

My advice: Whether it's advertising or causing panic: Once in a while, leave out all the extremes and stick with the unemotional truth. That makes it easier to inspire an emotion the next time you REALLY want people to be impressed.