Dennis Lyons

I saw a TV commercial recently that I guess, to some degree, achieved its purpose. 

It got my attention. I remembered it more than a few seconds after I saw it.

The ad, for Hewlett Packard printers and ink, shows a young father holding an infant. He tells his baby that he wants to introduce someone.

For a moment, the camera scrolls to a very much alive grandfather. The ad abruptly fades to the young father holding a photo of that grandfather and saying “I wish you could have met him.”

I found that transition unsettling. 

Having recently experienced a death in my own extended family and seen friends and colleagues face the recent deaths of loved ones, I guess my sensitivity meter was on high.

The ad’s message of guilt: Print those photos with an HP printer and ink if you really loved those people and want to keep their memories alive. 

Holy manipulation, Batman!

I think they teach this strategy in marketing school as Heart String Tugging 101.

HP won’t be getting any new purchases from my house as a result of the ad. My wife Mary, who handles any photo printing, has a Canon printer.

I’ll agree that it’s nice to have photos of family and friends. It’s also fine to have lots of contacts on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram.

But being present with people is what counts.

We’ve done a lot of driving this summer to visit family and friends, with more trips to come. It’s not much fun being on the road for several hours, but sometimes that’s what it takes.

Being present in the community is also important, and something the team here at The Daily Item and The Danville News takes seriously. 

Of course, our reporters and photographers are out all the time covering Susquehanna Valley news and interviewing all sorts of interesting people.

But we’re also involved in our communities in a variety of ways. Many members of our staff are involved with community groups, churches, etc. We just don’t work here. We live here.

Publisher Fred Scheller, who grew up in Sunbury, is on the board of The Campus Theatre in Lewisburg. 

I’m part of the Early Learning Investment Committee of the Susquehanna Valley, a group of community members passionate about developing strategies and programs to improve early childhood education. 

This Friday at Shade Mountain Winery and Vineyards in Middleburg, Managing Editor Bill Bowman will moderate the Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce/League of Women Voters of the Lewisburg Area “Coffee with the Candidates” event. 

The forum, scheduled from 8:30 to 10 a.m., will give the voters a chance to hear from Republican David Rowe and Democrat Dr. Jennifer Rager-Kay, the candidates seeking election to the PA 85th Legislative District, which covers parts of Union and Snyder counties.

The election, scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 20, is to fill the seat vacated by Fred Keller. There are still several dozen seats available, according to the Chamber.

If you go and decide to take a photo, feel no obligation to print it out. 

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