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.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Emotions and Celebrity Endorsers

So, I’m really upset--that is to say I’m emotional--right now, because I read this morning that Baltimore-based Under Armour signed New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady to a major endorsement deal that includes a owning a piece of the company. What? Tom Brady owns a piece of Baltimore? As a Baltimore Ravens fan, I think that sucks. Moreover, I don’t like Tom Brady on so many levels, and that brings me to the topic of my blog post. I’m speaking tonight about Imaginary Social Relationships we conduct with media figures. Sometimes these relationships are based on liking or love, sometimes on extreme admiration, and in this case it’s out and out hate. There’s an advertising connection here, because I buy Under Armour products, or at least I used to. Now I understand perfectly well that I am not the target audience for the line of products that Brady is going to be hawking for Under Armour. However, throughout the history of advertising endorsers were supposed to be those we admired, those we want to emulate. In fact, emulation is the basis for using famous people as product endorsers. So, what happens when someone like me learns that a nemesis is endorsing “my” brand, or for someone else who may have used a product endorsed by Tiger Woods before his fall from grace, or any number of celebrity endorsers for whom we have over the years changed our opinions from positive to negative. My point here is that using celebrities in advertising is always risky business. If there is a consistency between the celebrity, the product, and a set of values that are shared with the consumer, then perhaps it makes sense to use a celebrity as a spokesperson. But Under Armour just made a Nike fan out of me. Take that Tom Brady.