ARE YOU IMMUNE TO ADVERTISING?

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“By the way if anyone here is in advertising or marketing… kill yourself…  No really, there’s no rationalisation for what you do and you are Satan’s little helpers. You are the ruiner of all things good. You are Satan’s spawn filling the world with bile and garbage. You are fucked and you are fucking us. Kill yourself. It’s the only way to save your fucking soul…”

– Bill Hicks

Well, you may have noticed that this is the second post in a row that I’ve opened with a Bill Hicks quote. It’s fitting, as this is an addendum to my last post Freedom’s Enemy – Television.

A friend of mine read that post and asked “Well, Marty… is it about television or is it about advertising?” And I had to admit, upon re-reading it, that my focus wavered. In response I stammered, though had I more time to think I would have said “They’re one and the same.”

You see, everything on television is a means to a sale.

Every talk show, reality show, sit-com, game show, rodeo, card game, car race, amazing race, dance-off, runway and segue is a viable marketing platform for product placements, for the development of products based on these shows, and for generating stories powerful enough to engage the viewer in the process of his or her own manipulation. Even the sacred movie-watching experience is sullied by the advertiser’s need to move units.

Do you believe that you are immune to advertising?
There’s a saying that goes “Fish can’t see the ocean because they are swimming in it”. I’d like to think that I possess an immunity to the seduction of advertising, but I’m not so foolish. When I hear the term “1.9% APR on Ford half-tons”, there’s a biological reason that it resounds with the familiarity of a song lyric.

One current trend among marketers that particularly irks me is to play to our egos and our beliefs that we are immune to advertising, using our cynicism against us. This is the kind of offensive pandering bullshit I’m talking about:

It says “You’ve evolved beyond traditional forms of advertising. We know that, and we’re having a hell of a time trying to keep up with you (you smart and discerning consumer, you).”

This trend actually isn’t so current and, sadly, it works. Back in the early 90’s, Sprite told us that we were too smart to buy into their ad campaigns, so we went ahead and bought into their ad campaigns.

Be aware that every time you click the “on” button of your remote and place yourself in front of the TV screen, you open up an active dialog between your subconscious and a flood of subliminal consumer-shaping information. There’s the ad, and then there’s all the emotional triggers embedded within the ad doing God-knows-what to your impulses.

For my part, it’s better doing without. I’m guessing there’s roughly a 0% chance that these advertisers and marketers will save their souls and actually kill themselves.

Save your own souls. Kill your television.

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One response to “ARE YOU IMMUNE TO ADVERTISING?

  1. I do use my television — but it’s mostly for DVDs of British dramas and comedies. Commercial television has so many commercials now that it’s unpleasant to watch a program.

    For me, when sitcoms first reached the point of having 16 minutes of commercials per half hour (which first happened toward the end of Seinfeld, I think), they lost their entertainment value.

    I like this blog. I’ll be watching more closely in the future.
    Gip

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