They are everywhere, television, Internet, phone calls, posters, along the road, papers, magazines, and even the sacred electronic mail. What are they? Cockroaches? Aliens? Government spies? Worse. Advertisements. They are in places you wouldn’t believe and are found literally everywhere. That windbreaker with the “swoosh” on the back. Advertisement. Bet you never thought about that. There is no one alive who doesn’t have a tee shirt or jacket that doesn’t have some advertising purpose. How about the fact that a certain tissue and gelatin company has cleverly manipulated our language to use their product name? Don’t believe me? When was the last time you used the word tissue or gelatin?
Now that you know the nasty fact that we are all human advertisements, I will tell you more about the gruesome ads that plague society. A news magazine that I receive weekly–I won’t mention the name–recently sent me an issue with a “Special Advertising Section.” What the heck is that? What is so special about advertising? As I mentioned advertisements are everywhere. Why should I feel special that I received a magazine that is half advertisements and half news? Advertisements break up articles in newspapers and magazines, forcing you to flip the page for the rest of the story about the mutated cow-bird-dog cross gene.
Television. Aside from the commercials, do you know how much advertising you are subjected to? No? Well, that’s because product placement is a subliminal message. When Jerry Seinfeld reaches for that familiar cereal or soda, that is product placement. When Archie Bunker reaches for the unfamiliar, weird looking beer, that’s television without product placement. You don’t notice product placement when it’s there, but when it’s not there, you notice. The reason you notice is that you stop to think, “What is it that they are drinking or eating? I’ve never heard of it.”
You may say, “What’s wrong with product placement?” There are two answers: nothing and everything. First: nothing. As I stated, you are distracted when you see a “Mr. Fibb,” or a “Cola Cola” with the trademark wave that belongs to a name-brand cola. It is better when you can pay attention to what is happening without the confusion. Second: everything. Usually companies pay for their products to be used or they just allow them to be shown for free advertising. Well, with products paying for the show, wouldn’t that mean fewer commercials? No. A television series that uses product placement has the same amount of annoying car, feminine product, painkillers, and laxative commercials as the one that doesn’t use it.
Okay, television has commercials, but movies don’t, Or do they? In the first half-hour at a movie theater that you paid eight to twelve dollars to get into, you are subjected to previews of upcoming movies, the digital sound system, and overpriced dancing candies sold at the concession stand. In the following two hours, you are subjected to an overuse of product placement. What is the problem if a product is placed in a movie? Earlier I stated that there is more of a reality and less distraction when a real product is used. But is there reality when you are forced to believe a certain computer with the icon of a multicolored apple can hook up to an alien space ship as shown in the movie that is named after the American holiday Independence Day?
Enough about television and movies. The medium I will attack next is the information superhighway, which, by the way, is being built around advertising. What’s so super? On the real highway, do we not see billboards as we drive past? A super highway to me would be one free of such advertisements, but no, plastered all over every page, there is an advertisement, which more than likely draws your attention because it moves.
The electronic mail system is the same way. Though quicker, advertisements make it no better than the Postal Service. Ever notice what the cancellation mark on your ground mail says? It may say, “Support your local Girl Scouts,” “Prevent Cancer,” or “Buy stamps.” (Which of course are all good causes.) E-mail, the “point, click, gets you there by the speed o’ light,” has advertisements also: “Sign up for your free e-mail account with juneau.com” or “Get your free, private e-mail at correocaliente.com.”
Ad, ad, everywhere an ad, buy this, don’t buy that, can’t you see the ad. Special thanks for my friend at correocaliente.com who gave me this idea and no, I won’t use this medium to convey his election campaign or the fact that he can offer superb long distance rates. I do not do product placement, and as you can see, I cleverly tiptoed around all mentions of actual products. Now excuse me while I finish my Mountain Dew, the nice carbonated caffeine beverage that keeps you running. all day. Ah, Do the Dew.
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