The faster the required legal disclaimers are read, the happier the advertisers will be on average.
No advertiser wants to waste expensive air time on legal disclaimers. But they are required in some situations, either by regulations or to deflect litigation. So, the voice-over guy reads off the copy at speeds that could make your throat sore. In modern times, he's often assisted by a digital audio edit that removes pauses between words. Even more recently, it has become popular to hire someone with a relatively low-volume voice and have him read extremely fast, while what he's saying is being obscured beyond all hell by some form of background music, which is usually rather loud. And the rest of the ad is usually absurdly loud.
The result sounds like No Punctuation Period on cocaine.
Common in ads for prescription drugs
, where they talk up a half to 3/4 of the actual ad, ads for new cars (specifically, the dealer financing or lease plans that come with the cars), any campaign featuring a promotional contest, and banks (which—in the US—will always end "Member FDIC
"). Related to the Unreadable Disclaimer
, which is more common on TV because it is effectively faster than the speed of sound.
Rattling Off Legal still crops up in Radio commercials. Frequently.
Sometimes radio commercials will lampshade this by having the person in the commercial say that their lawyers have to say a few things or something similar, usually addressing the lawyer in a derogatory tone. This is usually more annoying than the rattling. Even worse is the sarcastic Dumbass DJ
, who is required to read their radio station's contest policy but adds a bunch of unfunny one-liners in to try to mine some humor out of the requirement when it's just faster to read the legal copy straight.
Even radio station identifications have fallen victim to this trope as of late, where stations not actually licensed to the major city in their metropolitan area say the actual city of license like it's a mark of shame that their station is actually licensed to Lake Success, NY (which major New York City
station WKTU is licensed to serve) rather than New York itself; Lake Success is rushed through like it's in the middle of nowhere, while NEW YORK!
is emphasized much more.
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- In Joe Somebody, a pharmaceutical ad plays with an increasingly ridiculous series of side effects listed, finishing with death.
Live Action TV
- George Carlin's "Advertising Lullaby" descends into this for about a stanza or two.
- In one of The Nostalgia Critic's commercial reviews, a Burger King Kids Club commercial shows a gorilla sitting down next to some kids. The Critic's voice comes in and reads "Actual odds of getting raped by a gorilla in a Burger King now only 1 in 5".
- In a review of a commercial for the Slim Suit, he treads off "Scientists also recommend these magic beans, mixed with a placebo brought to you by the tooth fairy...when you're in Oz."
- In The Simpsons episode "A Star is Torn", a commercial for Krusty's Lil' Starmaker pageant based on American Idol has a voice saying that it's not based on the show and that they've never heard of it.
- Gravity Falls: The end of Li'l Gideon's ad includes a series of disclaimers, and then the Motor Mouth reader adds, "Carla, I've always loved you but I've never had the guts to say it."