I realize that acronyms like WTF are ridiculously overused, but I don't know what else conveys my reaction to this particular ad more perfectly every time I see it. And because I still see it several times a day, I am compelled to comment. Also, because I'm incredibly opinionated, I feel compelled to comment. It's from a company called InventHelp®.
Don't get me wrong. I am a strong believer that it takes many failures before you reach success; otherwise, you're not really trying. And I'm very impressed with inventors and entrepreneurs. I even had my own business in the 90s. The statistic I heard quoted the most was: "Ninety percent of all businesses fail in their first year." So when I made it through my first year, I thought I was in the clear. Then I learned, "And after that, another 50% fail in the second." Suck.
My business lasted four years. It was fun and challenging but it just didn't provide a reliable, steady income. The only reason I started it? After being laid off in the recession of '92 (that wasn't acknowledged until '93), and 75 unanswered résumé submissions, I had to make more than Unemployment Insurance offered. OK there were only 74 unanswered submissions, but I really dodged a bullet not accepting that one job offer, which is a blog in itself.
My company was AlphaNumerics, a data/writing/computer service. Basically me for hire. It's still registered, and I still have one client.
Back to the commercial.
Here's a transcript:
"Do you have an idea for an invention or new product? Bill Schafer, co-inventor of the Splash Wash did. He came up with the idea while watching his children play. InventHelp submitted his idea to Wham-O®, maker of toys like the Frisbee® and Hula Hoop®. To find out how InventHelp can help you to try to submit your idea to companies, call for free information."
Now if it just stopped there, you might think, "Hey! They helped Bill. I have a great idea. Maybe they can make me rich!" But they close with this last friendly disclaimer, and not at a hundred words a second like so many other ads. And it makes me laugh every time:
"Bill Schafer made a financial gain with his invention. Bill's experience is not typical and most inventions are not successful."
Who would pick up the phone after that buzz kill?
P.S. My favorite Wham-O® product ever is Trac Ball®.