Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Advertising Age

"Call 267-8433, because the next best thing to new"......if you just finished singing this jingle in your head, you watch too much TV!  Or could it be that we are just subjected to far too many advertising messages each day?  While the former may be true, the latter is most definitely true.  In fact, when I was a kid home from school in the summer, I could pretty much give you the names and numbers of at least two or three local attorneys after being blasted by their commercials during the "CHiPs" reruns I watched.  And if you needed the phone number for Dalworth carpet cleaning, got it memorized! 

Based on the information I found on Google, Americans see an average of 3,000 advertising messages per day.  Holy cow--that's a lot of intrusive advertising!  Most of the time, we don't even realize we're being brainwashed--I mean influenced by the media.

When I was a freshman in college, I took a speech/communications class for which the big project of the semester was to write and deliver a speech in front of the class.  We were given the opportunity to choose any topic we could think of.  I chose to discuss the media's influence on society.  I explained how we are force fed hundreds and hundreds of messages indicating what is "expected" of the population--such as what is "beautiful," etc.  After a couple years, I went on to major in advertising and minor in marketing.  How's that for irony?!

It really is amazing if you stop and think about how many advertising messages we view each day--not just on TV, but everywhere.  I don't know about you, but I can't help but notice (and judge the creativity of) all the billboards lining the highways of Dallas/Ft. Worth.  Most of them are terrible--a few are cute, but mostly, they are just intrusive!  I do enjoy the Chick-fil-A cows, and I assure you that campaign has made Stan Richards (of Dallas' the Richards Group) a ton of money!

In addition to billboards, we get fliers for the new Chinese restaurant down the street, drycleaning coupons, etc. etc.  And don't even get me started about the annoying TV commercials that are broadcasted at 3x's the volume of the episode of the prime time sitcom you're watching!  Since I don't have TV right now (it's a long story), I'm no longer subjected to broadcast advertising other than radio commercials, which I avoid at all cost by switching stations ASAP.

Does advertising really work?  You bet it does!  Whether consciously or subconsciously, we make hundreds of decisions each day based on the advertising messages we've seen.  That explains why companies will spend a kajillion dollars to advertise their products during the Super Bowl.

As technology progresses, the format of advertising continues to adapt to these changes.  DVR's and Tivo have most certainly affected the advertising industry since television viewers now have the option to fast forward through commercials at warp speed.  These technological advances don't seem to have hindered advertisers' messaging--they simply have forced them to come up with innovative ways to annoy the heck out of the general public.

I really can't complain about being bombarded by advertising.  After all, it is my livelihood, and it ensures job security.  Plus, I feel like my college degree came in handy when I can analyze a commercial and tell you exactly why it sucked.  So I guess at the end of the day, advertising is a necessary "evil."  Unfortunately, though, now I'm gonna have that damn Dalworth song stuck in my head all day!

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