Advertisements are an inescapable part of American life. According to Inc. the average American sees roughly 3,000 advertisements a day.
People are constantly urged to use their purchasing power to better
themselves. All day, every day, the American people are helpless onlookers in a steady stream of product information.
There is no end to how far the crafty marketing specialists behind this flood of ads will go to infiltrate the private lives of their potential customers.
Even when the American people learn to tune out certain advertising tactics, advertisers are always developing new ways to reach their audience — even when it resists.
With new advances in TV technology, viewers can fast-forward through commercial breaks, but the notion that intrusive advertising would no longer interrupt favorite shows was short-lived.
Advertisers were quick to catch on to the digital recording trend and began to wonder: How could they reach people who fast-forward through commercials?
The answer was simple: Companies began investing heavily in “product integration.”
Unlike product placement, in which props serve as advertisements, product integration embeds a product directly into the plot of a TV program.
TV characters used to eat certain brands of food with the label always facing the camera, but now the entire plot of the story may revolve around a company or product.
For instance, in Thursday’s 30 Rock, a couple (played by Alec Baldwin and Selma Hayek) was reunited after a fight by their love of McDonald’s McFlurry.
CBS News reported that the FCC is “considering whether to require sponsorship identification notices to be in larger type, appear for a longer period on the screen or to appear at both the beginning and the end of programs.”
Sponsorship identification notices warn viewers that they may be unknowingly absorbing product information when advertising in shows “(blurs) of the line between content and commerce,” said the report.
Another new trend in advertising is hiring two or three people and sending them out into a crowded area to talk about a product — to unsuspecting potential customers who think (at least at first) that they’re being engaged in a genuine conversation.
When will this constant attempt to snare audiences end? Will the American people get to the point where everything in life is a ploy to make them buy something?
The constant barrage of advertising is taking its toll on America. American musicians sing not about the injustices in the world, but about their name-brand clothing and expensive cars.
The advertising industry is creating a sad new face of American culture by employing the artists and icons of our generation to act as corporate shills.
This can’t last much longer. Americans are building up a tolerance to standard advertising methods. It’s a vicious cycle: The more consumers learn to ignore ads, the harder advertisers try to make their product stand out in a jungle of competitors.
And the more American people learn to tolerate the tactics of advertising, the more their minds become habituated to and dependent on it.
What would they do if they didn’t have it to fill their lives with the things they want?
The continual growth of advertising may eventually consume the minds of people, limiting communication to product endorsements and subliminal wheedling.
There will be nothing left to think of but the constant need to buy.
Bryan Friesan is a junior majoring in mass communications.