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The Advertisers Strike Back

 by Bennett Gordon

Tags: advertising, ad creep, Lucas Conley, New Humanist,

Advertising is often thought to be a manipulative force for consumption that dupes people into buying things they don’t need. The “ad creep” that pushes product placements into unexpected venues, including airport baggage carousels and eggshells, is generally thought to be a bad thing by many in the media. Last week, author Lucas Conley and I spoke about the “arms race” between advertisers and everyone else, where advertisers try to sneak advertisements in, and people try to push them out.

The perception that advertising is hated by most people is flat-out wrong, Winston Fletcher writes for the British magazine the New Humanist. Fletcher cites statistics that 80 percent of Britons believe advertising is a good thing. While intellectuals collectively wring their hands over the glut of advertisements, Fletcher writes that ads are simply a dialogue between companies and prospective consumers, and the more creative the better.

hannah lobel_4
7/15/2008 12:04:35 PM

Looks like the FCC, or at least commissioner Jonathan Adelstein, is trying to take on the product placement issue: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/14/business/media/14adco.html?_r=1&sq=product%20placement&st=cse&adxnnl=1&oref=slogin&scp=3&adxnnlx=1216141289-ucRYZ0RYdiWage5XdeGq9A

bennett gordon
7/13/2008 1:43:11 PM

The question I'm faced with is what does "creative" mean in this context. If creative means well thought out, funny, surprising, I like it. If "creative" means insidious ways of slipping advertisements by people, then I don't like it.

7/13/2008 11:35:34 AM

The problem is that most people think advertising is banal in its effect. They are not making the connection that seeing/hearing the same kinds of messages over and over has an effect (quite often on their self-esteem). More insidious than that, the plethora of mainstream ads that are taking over our public spaces are causing us to be more and more and more dissatisfied with ourselves. The basic process is to point out that you are not quite good/happy/popular/independent/fun/beautiful/sexy/young/etc enough, and then offer a product/service that purports to be able to help you get there. Of course, it never quite does, so you feel not quite good enough and the merry cycle continues. And more than that, it really contributes to distorting your sense of yoursel, especially your sexuality (since sex is used so much to sell). The cumulative effect is that we have more and more in our lives, but feel less and less satisfied. Mainsteram advertising is not simply dialogue between producers and consumers... it is a scourge we have visited upon ourselves. And we don't even know it yet.

lucas conley
7/9/2008 2:59:04 PM

80% of Britons like their advertising? Oh, statistics. Add these to the pile... Advertisers in the US spend more than $10,000 a second every year trying to reach us. 65% of Americans feel "constantly bombarded" with ads; 59% see ads as having little relevance to their lives. Without prompting, consumers remember just 1-3% of the 3000-5000 ads they see a day. 77% of US employees don't feel brand mission statements reflect the way their company does business. Only 16% of marketers believe brands make life more meaningful. ...Had to volley back on that one! Lucas Conley Author, Obsessive Branding Disorder www.lucasconley.com

7/5/2008 2:44:47 PM

The problem with advertising is that you can never really believe it. If you simply watch truck/car commercials on tv, you can see what I mean. Almost every one of them claim to have been voted number one in their class (how can they ALL be number one?) and all claim to be the best. With everyone claiming to be the best, it makes no one the best. Sometimes, advertising turns me off of products more than gaining my interest as they are trying to do.