By now, we’ve all seen the tiny fine print on media advertising that warns us all that the images we are seeing were performed by professionals and we should not attempt. The wording is different, but the meaning is always the same; please don’t bother trying to sue if you are stupid enough to try this on your own.
Some lawsuit somewhere in the past probably started it, but now the lawyers seem to have made it mandatory on all commercials where people do just about anything. In many examples, I’m never quite sure whether the disclaimer is meant to be real, or sarcastic or ironic.
Today I watched a commercial for the Fido cell phone service that had really cute video of dogs, surfing. The music and pace and tounge wagging images made me believe the dogs were indeed, having a great time zipping across the water, much like human water skiers might on any Ontario cottage weekend.
Then I caught the fine print. As it turns out apparently, these are professional stunt dogs, and we should not try this ourselves.
After I got over the shock of breaking the fourth wall realizing these dogs were being paid to look this happy, I was confused. Do they mean we should not go surfing and water skiing, or our dogs should not?
I pondered if this was actually a law. A commercial has told me not to let my dog on a surf board, but if I decide to do anyway, will anything happen? Will Fido be able to sue me?
I suppose, if I do dog surf, and my dog breaks a paw, I can’t claim that it was all because the Fido dog looked so happy, they made me do it. Clearly, they told me; do as I say, not as I do. This activity is a spectator sport. Fido dogs are better than my dog.
Like all such warnings, they make me question, how does one become a professional, if we are not allowed to perform the activity. In car commercials, I am told all driving is done on a close track by professional drivers, and I am forbidden from attempts. How did they get to be professionals if they can’t try it as amateurs first?
Wouldn’t it be funny if everything on tv could only be done once, as long as that disclaimer appeared. It was binding, like copyright. Mazda tries to hire a driver to drive in a commercial and he answers, I’m sorry. I can’t. Ford td me not to attempt that stunt.
I think we should do away with the disclaimers. They spoil the fun when they reveal the things we are watching are professional stunts.
Instead, they just create a blanket “no fault stupidity clause” that says you can’t blame TV if you hurt yourself being stupid trying something you saw on TV.