Tuesday, January 17, 2012

This Old Spice commercial featuring Terry Crews, a professional athlete who we might consider hypermasculine, features the tagline "Smell is Power." If that is the case power in a masculine or in this case hypermasculine world is rather ephemeral. After all, linguistically, how can smell equal power? So, what is this commercial saying to its target audience? That you don't have any real or actual power, so you need to substitute some symbolic form of power instead? If that is the case, then what does this commercial also say about the status of males in U.S. society?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

This is NOT what is meant by seamless integration

Product placement is a technique--perhaps trick--to get an advertising message across to a distracted audience. In other words, while members of a TV audience may turn away physically or mentally when the commercials appear on the screen, or when viewers choose to do something else like go get something to eat, product placement is offered as an antidote. Because the "ad" shows up in the context of the program, viewers cannot escape it (at least theoretically they can't). The product placement above is a really bad example. Here's a link to the full article with two more examples of how not to do this.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Advertising and Social Responsiblity in Network Television

To paraphrase the infamous Jerry Lee Lewis song, “there’s a whole lotta’ cusin’ goin’ on” in broadcast television, at least that’s what the Parents Television Council claims. The PTC just released a report detailing what they believe is an increase in foul language in scripted network television during the 2010 season. What might be of interest to students of advertising is that the PTC believes advertisers should exercise their power over the networks as purchasers of commercial time to, as the report says, “encourage greater responsibility in programming…” Well, ain’t that calling the kettle black. Advertising, which isn’t exactly known as the cornerstone of social responsibility itself, is being called upon to influence network television to be socially responsible. The report acknowledges these two “institutions” are tacitly in cahoots, as the only thing advertisers want is to reach a targeted audience, and the PTC believes that the only way broadcasters can attract those audiences is by pushing the edge of the envelope. Now let me be clear, I’m not a fan of the PTC, but there is a germ of truth to the point that those airwaves used by the networks are public and therefore subject to government rules and regulations. The question for you is: should the TV space be a free-for-all no holes barred arena, or do we as a society need to go beyond the “turn it off if you don’t like it” mindset to establish clear parameters in which broadcasters can operate?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Lady Gaga and the Illusion of Intimacy Video

When we consider the ways in which new media impact imaginary social relationships, the illusion of intimacy becomes more intense, as social media require such a high level of disclosure. Beyond disclosure, social media require celebrities to directly address their fans. In this way imaginary social relationships, a term John Caughey coined in the mid-1980s, are amplified. The 24/7 nature of new media suggests that such amplication may lead to greater volatility. Think about how quickly Tiger Woods lost some of his key endorsement deals as we learned of his gross infidelities. Lady Gaga, along with Kim Kardashian and several other celebrities are now masterfully utilizing new media in order to manage their public personae.