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Couch Potatoes Rejoice: Now you Can Order Pizza on Your TiVo

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Authored by Jon Mercer in Movies and Television 
Published on 11-29-2008

Remarkably, Americans continue to find new and innovative ways to get and stay fat. Case in point: Domino’s pizza has partnered up with TiVo to allow its viewers to instantly order a pizza via their TiVo remote control. And in an attempt to cash in on the “impulse overeaters” out there, TiVo users can now simply press the “I want that” button on their remote controls whenever they see a Domino’s ad on television, to instantly place their order.

All this suggests that perhaps it was too difficult the old way — when you actually had to pick up your telephone and press a button (you know you already had dominos on speed dial anyway!). The goal seems to be to put as few obstacles as possible between the American consumer and (mostly unhealthy) junk food. But is that really what the country needs at this time?

Don’t get me wrong, innovation is a fine thing. But when your primary source of innovation is the advent of new, fat-laden fast foods and effortless ways to get them, perhaps that is a sign that the country is on the wrong track.

It’s no secret that the phrase “couch potato” was invented in the US, but what may be less well understood is the lengths to which retailers will go to take advantage of sedentary American’s lifestyles. In the advertising industry, one even hears terms being thrown about like “couch commerce,” suggesting that Madison Ave. is not only aware of the destructive sedentary lifestyles — but is actually encouraging them and seeking to turn a profit off of all this.

Free-market or not, this obviously manipulative strategy doesn’t sit well with many observers.

What Dominos and TiVo refer to as an “effective marketing and commerce tool,” can also be seen as something much more sinister: taking advantage of the poor eating habits and overly sedentary lifestyle that has become the status quo in many parts of the country.

Of course, it’s not only the pizza retailers or TiVo that are supporting (and even contributing to) this unhealthy and unproductive way of life, but the new TiVo/Dominos partnership is an excellent example of the trend.

But if TiVo viewers can now order a pizza simply by pressing “I want that” on their remote control, how long will it be before other advertisers jump on the couch potato bandwagon? What about video games like Grand Theft Auto IV? Pressing a single button could have the game delivered directly to the viewer in just a few days; or better yet, downloaded directly to their home computer for instant gratification.

Perhaps we’ve reached a point where the “I want it all and I want it now” culture is no longer practical, helpful, healthy or relevant to the world we live in. Or then again, maybe I’m just sick of pizza…

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