Tuesday, July 26, 2011

For Sale (An Unapologetic Rant)

Ever get the sense we are overwhelmed by advertising?

You probably do, because we are. But I think a lot of people are totally accustomed to advertising – so much so that they consider it the norm.

What's not for sale anymore?

I'm especially bothered by the placement of ads, and its non-stop intrusion into our lives. The fact that advertising is at best misleading but most often a lie is, for the purposes of this rant, beside the point.

The placement of ads began to really bother me some years back when I noticed some on the inside front of shopping carts. Anymore, they are positioned wherever you might innocently cast your eyes, or devote a few moments of your attention. Marketing people research the hell out of this and constantly dream up new schemes.

There is nothing these bastards will not stoop to.

You can't even watch a lousy stinkin' baseball game on the tube without advertising intruding at the most unlikely times. All that is required is the thinnest of pretexts. Current examples: a team's manager might visit the mound to make a pitching change. This becomes a "Sprint call to the bullpen!" complete with corporate logo. A pizza company might underwrite a re-cap of the game's key scoring – the "delivery of the game."

It's nauseating. These media sluts will use any opportunity to infect your brain.

"Advertising exists only to purvey what people don’t need," wrote Jerry Mander, in Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television. "Whatever people do need they will find without advertising, if it is available. This is so obvious and simple that it continues to stagger my mind that the ad industry has succeeded in muddying the point."

Kinder and gentler? Nope – just its infancy.

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