Saturday, January 19, 2008

Oh, that? I just like to enjoy a cool refreshing glass of product placement

Admittedly I have to say that I was a little reluctant to write about this current post. For today Brian and I have decided to discuss Advertisement and product placement in the media. Personally we feel that though this is an important subject to discuss but it is also a subject that we are all familiar with. We all know that advertisement is everywhere and that it is meant to invoke in us a feeling of wanting to buy whatever product they are trying to sell us. We were trying to com up with some new way to discuss this topic without it sounding like the same argument that we’ve heard before. To tell the truth, there is no way to agree that advertisement is harmful to society without sounding repetitive, so I have decided to argue for advertisement. I’m not just arguing this for the sake of having a new stance or trying to invoke discussion but a part of me has no problem with advertising, the other part of me only has a problem with advertising when I can’t ignore it. So here I go….

As a consumer of products I like to know what new products are out and how they have improved on some of the current products that I use. This is what I call an informed consumer, if they didn’t advertise, for instance, MacDonald’s having an all white meat chicken nugget I probably would have never tasted another one of those gross, purple, meatish-looking things again. Seeing however that they did at least make an attempt to put “meat” in their nuggets it made me happy and even led me to try one, they’re still not good though but almost. I’m a firm believer (as you may have been able to tell from other post) that people should be allowed to put whatever content they want out their and have people make up their minds about it.

I do disagree with advertising when it infringes on two things; the first being when I can’t chose to look away from it or ignore it. In these cases there is no choice for me to make I have to accept it. A large part of this argument comes from those stupid advertisements that they put in a half hour before a movie starts in the movie theater. I’m forced to sit there and watch the same advertisement over and over again and even those dumb trivia questions they put up seem to be the same ones for the past three years. I have no choice in this situation, I am forced to watch these advertisements and I can’t turn the channel or press mute to ignore them. Luckily they do serve a purpose and that is for me and whoever I’m with at the time to mock the advertisement which helps to pass the time while we wait. The other problem that I have with advertisement is when it annoys me or I’m not expecting an advertisement. What I mean by this mostly pertains to the internet. The internet has been better about it but every now and then I get an annoying popup about something that has no relation to me. What I mean by not expecting an advertisement is do you ever get an email or a Myspace message that is very personal and even uses your name? Then when you open that email it is an advertisement for “Great stock tips” or for a porn site. This enrages me to know extent! I once got an email and in the subject it said something along the lines of “Hey JD! It’s me Sarah and I want to show you the pictures we took in Florida.” Having just gone to Florida and having a friend there named Sarah I opened it and it was just an onslaught of ads. It left me feeling deceived and duped.

Advertisements should not hide the fact that they are advertisements; I don’t have a problem when I know it is an ad that I am looking at. However, I do have a problem when those advertisements try to deceive me and try to play it off as if they were something else. Interestingly enough, Brian and I are reading a book by Arthur Asa Berger called “Media and society: a critical perspective” and the way that this author describes it, the advertising companies are the ones having a hard time coming up with ways to captivate us. He says:

“Some are dealing with this problem by increasing the use of product placement in shows, that is, paying to have their products used in films and television programs, which is a kind of ‘stealth’ approach to advertising. But product placement alone cannot solve the problems new technologies pose to the advertising industry and the companies for which advertising agencies work.” (Berger: p.60)

You really never notice product placement that much so I don’t really have a problem with it but as of recently I’ve been noticing more and more advertisements everywhere. The new advertisement scheme seems to be products in videogames. I was playing a demo of “Burnout Paradise” and you spend a large portion of the game breaking through billboards. These billboards happen to be for stores like Circuit City and other real life products. Maybe it’s for the sake of realness or maybe it’s all a ploy to get us to buy their products. In any case I don’t think that product placement and advertisements will stop but as long as they give us a choice in whether we look at them or not advertisements are ok with me.

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