the great ethical
Advertising is so great, isn't it? What's that, you say? You hate commercials? Whatever for? They intrude on your favorite TV show? On your favorite movie? They shorten a three hour movie into two and a half?
What the hell are you complaining for? You've got a free movie coming to you, obviously one you wanted to see. And hell, advertising can be ENTERTAINING in and of itself... otherwise, there wouldn't be awards, million dollar commercials during the Super Bowl, or TV specials interrupted by crappy commercials while they show you the better ones.
Let's cut to the chase, though - advertising is about money, YOUR money, and getting it into THEIR pockets. This isn't anything that's a surprise... I could probably have done away with that sentence altogether. But, not only is advertising about getting your money, it's about getting your attention... which is probably why advertising can be so fun to watch.
Where else can you see the "Devil Bug Eyed Girl" from that Welch's White Grape Juice commercial? She definitely won't be getting another part any time soon - she probably only did the damn thing because they promised to give her a dark shade of glasses to hide her eyes (so all the kids wouldn't make fun of her anymore).
Where else can you see elaborately designed sets like in that 10-10-3000 (??10-10-something-or-other??) commercial? Yup, two actors who get to sit in comfy chairs with big ass numbers behind them talking about this great service about you not knowing a phone number.
Where else can you watch a movie like THE SAINT, and see the hero driving around in some sports car. Not just any sports car, no, no, no... the commercials told us that it was THEIR car in the movie, and THEIR wonderful exterior that caused him to look super cool. This isn't condensed (Campbell's) Chicken and Stars, this is some big Velveeta.
Advertising doesn't have to be in your face.... It's enough knowing that Jerry Seinfeld drinks from a red cup with a white and gray wave down the side. It's about knowing what the hell kind of shampoo we're supposed to be using when we see that green bottle. It's about knowing that Casey Becker is making Jiffy Pop (mmMmMmm, Jiffy Pop) before she see's her boyfriend gutted.
I like advertising because it showcases a great American Dream. One that every little boy loves to hear about - of being determined, innovative, likable, charismatic, fighting against all odds, and eventually getting enough fucking money to get out of the shithole ghetto that you're living in.
Ahhh... smells like sun freshness.
three word poem
by ed nodbarb
the great unethical
by Cameron Barrett
A few years back, we were subjected to one of the most horrific displays of immoral advertising I've ever seen. I'm, of course, speaking about the Coca-Cola and Nike advertisements that were thrust upon theatre-goers across the nation. Remember? You'd go pay your eights-bucks-a-head to see the most recent blockbuster and the first thing you'd see, even before the previews, was a commercial. Yes, a commercial.
If my memory serves me right, there was some public outcry about this absolutely immoral and unethical form of advertising. Consumers weren't going to the theatres, and paying money, to be subjected to something that most people despise. And we haven't really seen much action in this arena since.
But the Great Unethical Advertising Beast has arisen again. This time in the form of advertisements placed in front of video rentals. This weekend, I was taking a much-needed mini-vacation at my brother's house, the snow falling silently outdoors, the computers warming up for a very long game of networked Diablo and the VCR standing by for a movie break when we got tired of computer games or were killed by King Leoric or the Butcher.
And that's when the Unethical Advertising Beast struck, right between some preview and the main attraction, Lethal Weapon 4. A [long] commercial for Microsoft Windows98 masquerading as a plug for DVD. I was so angry. I didn't pay $3.50 to watch some stupid Windows98 commercial. Damn, how immoral. How much more unethical can Microsoft get? Worse, how long before the rest of the corporate monoliths follow Microsoft's lead and we start seeing shoe commercials, long-distance ads, and psychic network plugs in front of every movie we rent?
The movie rental industry is huge, no doubt. Just look at Blockbuster or Hollywood Video. Are Warner Bros., Viacom, Fox Home Video, Paramount and the rest of the movie distributors so hard up for money that they're forcing unwanted advertising and commercials onto their unsuspecting consumers? Has corporate greed gotten so bad that we've come to this?
Shame on Microsoft for throwing their money around and convincing Warner Bros. (the distributor) to let them put their commercial on their tapes. Shame on Warner Bros. for being so crass and uncaring towards their consumers.
I urge you to send negative feedback to Warner Bros. Let them know how unethical they're being. Tell them we don't want to see pre-movie advertising to become the norm. Tell them that it's wrong to subject their PAYING viewers to this type of advertising.
Now, I know that some of you are going to say, "Just hit that Fast-Forward button if you don't like it." Well, I think you'd be missing the point. People rent movies for one reason and one reason only: to be entertained. Do you really think that Microsoft is sitting around in their conference rooms thinking about how to entertain us with their commercials? No, I don't think so. They're simply playing the repetition game they know so well. Their goal is to get people to associate the name "Microsoft" with DVD technology. While it's true that most new Microsoft-enabled PCs are capable of playing DVD movies, I very much doubt that the family is going to crowd around their PC to watch a two-hour movie. Before long, we're going to hear reports from the field (usually Best Buy employees) saying that customers are asking for those new "Microsoft DVD" computers.
Note: I watched another movie this weekend, The Negotiator. It too had the same Windows98/DVD commercial in front of the feature presentation. This movie is distributed by New Regency, for whom I can find no email address anywhere on their web site: http://www.newregency.com/.
© 1998 Cameron Barrett. All Rights Reserved.
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One reason ads in Europe are catchier than their counterparts in the States is (based on TV viewing in Ireland summer of 1998) that the commercials are typically in a 15 second time slot, as opposed to 30 in the U.S. of A. (United States of Advertising).
The ad companies have to deliver the same impact in a shorter amount of time. This leads to catchier graphics, more quick-cuts, and more associative, intuitive messages. Whether this leads to smarter citizens is a different matter. I know I was both intruiged and disturbed by the quickness and jumpiness of European commercials.
On a side note, us Americans observed the Irish had the uncanny ability to talk to each other all at the same time and call this a conversation rather than a cacophony of interruptions and cross-talk. An Irish person speculated that us Yanks, having been raised on 45 years of scripted TV sit-coms, used similar conversational styles as we waited for our conversational cues...
In my horrible, misspent youth, junior high to be exact, I spent the better part of thirty minutes explaining to my fellow classmates that 1-800-COLLECT was owned and operated by MCI and that this bit of information was being kept from the consumer to convince them that it was run by AT&T, the much more established and popular company. I failed. Despite the fact that I actually called the number, got an operator on the line and asked her, and relayed all this info to my class, they still refused to believed it was run by the accursed AT&T. Even after a rival commercial using the number 1-800-CALL-ATT as an alternative to COLLECT came out, my classmates and teacher, bless their hearts, still did not believe me. What does this teach us?
Two things: One: Everyone I know is an asshole and Two: Phone companies are clever, annoying, and immoral. Luckily AT&T didn't wait to long before blowing the lid off that caper.
Advertising is a necessity. It pays for everything. Every medium you can think of would be nonexistent without it. Radio, TV, Film, Devil Shat, everything. Without advertising, the first and last words spoken over television would've been "My God this is expensive!" It's a necessity but does that mean it has to be so intrusive? Why, every time I log on to AOL, am I bombarded with ads before I even hear if I've got mail? (which is usually filled with porn ads, anyway) Why have I been clicking the X on that stupid "Holiday Hotline" piece of crap that takes five minutes to load every time I log on. Why is the whole world pissing me off?
I too don't like seeing advertisements before films, and before I left America seven years ago, I was never subjected to them in US cinemas. However, here in England, it works slightly differently.
We have five channels regularly available to consumers who don't wish to pay for cable, satellite or digital television. These channels are quite entertaining and have a wide range of programs, and in many ways (IMHO) this is a blessing. All five show films on a regular basis, and two of these channels (BBC1 and BBC2) don't interrupt any of their broadcasts with commercials. And don't go thinking that we live in the dark ages over here - too often have I heard that comment. We get all the same programs that the US does, albeit two or three weeks later, but we still essentially get the same stuff. Two of the other channels (ITV and Channel 4) do support ad breaks during their programming. Channel 4 is the channel which gets most US imports such as Friends, Frasier and anything else you might find on the US network's Friday night line-ups. But we only get one ad break during the entire 30 minutes the program is shown.
I remember going back to the States a few years ago and sitting down to watch ER at my mothers house. I was knocked totally off-guard by the commercial break just after the opening credit sequence. I think that advertising, particularly in the US, is over-saturated and irritating. In England, probably due to the frequency that advertisements are broadcast, the ads are funnier, eye-catching, witty and tounge-in-cheek. This creativity in advertising and marketing allows the ad-men to know for certain that the ad in question is going to stick in the consumers mind. I often find myself sitting in my living room with the television on, pausing from what I'm doing to look at the TV when the ads come on. Not to knock British programming, but the ads can sometimes be more compelleing viewing than the programs themselves - and I don't have to look in the TV guide to see when they're on. :-)
As far as ads in the cinema go - well, we've been putting up with them since I can ever remember in England. True, it can be a bit irritating sometimes, but society over here is acceptant to it. Some advertising agencies even do different versions of their ads to take advantage of the large screen and sound equipment. In the end, we know it's never going to go away, and rather than keep us bored and irritated, the agencies would rather prefer to see their target consumers entertained by their ad, so that their product or service sticks in their mind. It's also comforting that you can show up 7 minutes late for the film and not miss any of it.
And as for videos - well...if you're prepared to sit on your butt and stare at a small television screen for two hours, I don't see what harm lies in pushing the fast forward button. Hell, if you're -that- bothered about it, take a break to the bathroom or microwave some popcorn. You can send all the emails you want to the film distribution agencies, but in the end it's a conventional means of advertising their product. Not only that, but if you were the one whose paycheque depended on how much of a target audience you were reaching, I doubt you'd do any differently.
Granted, probably 95% of the computing population (myself included) wouldn't mind seeing Microsoft go under (and they probably will), but they have to be admired for their shark-like ability to snatch up a conventional medium and copy and paste their branding all over it.
I work at a Best Buy, and I HAVE been asked about the "new Microsoft DVD-ready PC's."
What kills me is TV ads. Nowadays almost everyone has 40-80 channels available on the cable hookup. To get more channels, you simply pay more money. Yet when you go though those channels that you are paying for, more and more have those "info-mercails", that are really hour long ads. Why should we have to pay to see those?? Brian "book a day" Newman