I have been told the measure of a successful commercial is in its ability to create attention and form a memory in the audiences’ minds. One such commercial has accomplished precisely this as it causes me to simultaneously laugh and feel a bit insulted.
It is for Roku, a digital box that allows you to use various Internet services to stream content onto your television. Here is the transcript for the recent radio ad I keep hearing:
“America, a majestic land made even more magnificent by the tenacity of our compatriots. And because we entrust this great country to these great Americans, you can just sort of take it easy, and watch Roku. Roku is a tiny box that streams your favorite shows on Hulu Plus, HBO Go, and hundreds of other channels straight to your TV. You want to watch episodes of ‘Glee’ for hours on end? Great! Someone else will successfully transplant a dolphin heart into a human being. Stream a ridiculous amount of ‘Modern Family.’ Let some other American create a battery-powered battery charger. Watch ‘New Girl’ till your eyes swell. Another American is testing a prototype engine that runs on compost. Let’s face it TV lovers, you weren’t the leading candidate to patch the ozone anyway. So get a Roku, and keep streaming America.”
In a way, it’s funny because it’s true, right? Rather than pretend that watching more television can be beneficial to you or the world, they come straight out and say definitively that it is not. Yet watching TV remains America’s favorite pastime.
I cannot help but think about what Paul writes in Romans 12, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds … Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.”
This advertisement highlights its contrast to the mission and purpose of the church. Why we gather again and again is to hear the message that God believes you are the leading candidate to bring world peace. Don’t sit back and let someone else do it, because you can make a difference in the life of others through acts of charity and love. The church reminds us that Christ has given us the responsibility to make our lives, and the lives of others, better, happier and more fulfilled.
It’s the complete opposite message of Roku, and it leads to a far better life. So what’s the problem? Why are not more people participating?
While I don’t have an answer, I do have a promise; that God is with us, transforming the world through you to be the place that God originally intended it to be. And that is an ad worth hearing.
The Rev. Derek Fossey is pastor of Memorial Lutheran Church in Afton.