Most people in our society would have a really hard time believing or accepting the idea that most advertisements are tailored made just for them. The essays “Targeting a New World” by Joseph Turow, and “Buy this 24-Year-Old and Get All His Friends Absolutely Free” by Jean Kilbourne Ed. D”, elucidate interesting points of view on the topic of how target and mass media marketing techniques have negative effects by dividing American society.
The majority of the population is not aware of the master plan behind advertising. Advertisers do not want ordinary people to believe they are being influenced by them to sustain their positive image. “Advertisers…” says professor at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania Joseph Turow, “… do not pitch their marketing campaigns to a universal audience. Rather, they target specific audiences to market specific products” (330).
Advertisers use demographic profiling to sell specific products to a particular group of people. Suppose an ad is selling a product just by narrowing down on a certain social group based on age, income, ethnicity, geography, and in jobs.
... should look at is people you know people who can afford their product. They need people who constantly watch television. People who like to stay ... and watch what they want. Ti Vo makes there product possible for people to watch a show that they missed at anytime ... them the best service for there product. Give people who decide they want to buy your product a free trial, make they want ...
Advertisers have taken advertising to a whole new level, using technologies as targeting devices. “Using computer models based on zip codes, and a variety of databases, it is economically feasible to tailor materials for small groups, even individuals. That is already taking place in the direct mail, telemarketing, and magazine industries” (333), says Turow. It has also become some sort of a science by using professionals to understand human behavior. Many companies hire anthropologist and psychologists to examine consumers’ product choices, verbal responses, even body language for deeper meaning and analysis. Expert in psychology and the media Jean Kilbourne asserts, “One new market research technique involves monitoring brain-wave signals to measure how ‘engage’ viewers are in what they are watching” (338).
Doesn’t this quote scare you? Imagine being persuaded, on the subconscious level, in to buying an item one might really not need or never wanted in the first place, and it sounds like peer pressure in a sort of way.
Even though advertisers with the advertisements are the root of all evil, and it is entirely to blame for the social segregation in the United States, the mass media market is the branch of this root, and another key player who facilitates the advertising agencies. Mass media is media which is intended for a large audience. It may take the form of broadcast media, as in the case of television and radio, or print media, like newspapers and magazines. Mass media are there to serve advertisers. Most revenue from mass media companies comes from selling their audiences to advertising agencies, and not from selling their audio/visual contents. For example, do you really think a newspaper company like the New York Times, which is the oldest newspaper circulating in New York City, is that much concerned about giving the news or finding more ways to increase their audience to induce more advertising agencies to advertise more through them and make huge profits? It always comes down to money.
Think about what television show is given ones a year and produces an amazing average of 90 million viewers, the Super Bowl. The last Super Bowl, which was number 43, did not feel like it was about the game, but I was more interested in watching the elaborate commercials. Product companies pay an average of 3 million dollars for a 30 second spot during the Super Bowl 2009. It is ridiculous amount of money for 30 second for product placement.
... distribution of that same product. To make it more simple, instead of owning just a film, the media company owns the studio in ... broadcaster, and given more financial aid from the government. Advertising could be controlled more vigorously and regulated, particularly during children ... 'critics of the critics'; who insist that ultimately the audiences are the ones who decide what is shown on commercial ...
In search for the profitable audience, “…cable companies aiming to lure desirable types to specialized formats felt the need to create ‘signature’ materials that both drew the ‘right’ people and signaled the ‘wrong’ people that they ought to go away” (333), declares Turow. For example, Nickelodeon’s Ren and Stimpy and MTV’s Beavis and Butt-head chase away irrelevant viewers as much as they attracted desirable ones.
Let’s analyze some advertisements from Chapter 10 Advertising and Consumerism. There is an ad called Heiress depicting a young woman selling a perfume. She is beautiful and is striking a sexy, provocative pose, just like the perfume has a nice and sleek design. Her name is Paris Hilton, granddaughter of Conrad Hilton co-founder of the Hilton hotel chain, and that is also the name of the perfume, Heiress. It is essential to the product’s success that viewers recognize the woman, Paris Hilton; she is considered by most, a celebrity and celebrities sell almost anything just through their fans alone. The likely audience for this ad is young female adults considering Paris Hilton’s sex tapes. The lifestyle this ad promotes is the rich and famous, and it is implied that if you were this perfume, you are part of this social group.
Another interesting ad named Gap Red shows Don Cheadle (celebrity) taking of a shirt barely showing his face, but flexing his right bicep, with a statement “ADMI(RED)”. This ad is very confusing because it does not clearly states what it is promoting or selling unless the company name is attached to the ad. Now my question here is what is actually being sold? Is it Don Cheadle shirt or his sexuality? But, you will only know that when you research the RED project and that is advertisement’s strategy to lure you in. The RED project is “Every time you choose to buy a (RED) product or service, at no extra cost to you, the company who makes that product will give up to filthy-percent of its profit to buy and distribute antiretroviral medicine to our brothers and sisters dying of AIDS in Africa, states joinred.com.” Ones you understand what the RED project is, your whole perspective of the ad changes for the better. Another important fact comes into light on why they chose celebrity Don Cheadle and it is because he represents Africa according to the color of his skin.
... activities they undertake. – Brand recognition. – By buying (RED) products consumers learn about how serious the AIDS problem in Africa ... the problem facing in Africa by purchasing the RED product. 6) RED compaign is not only good for the global ... Starbucks, Converse, Nike and Gap. These compnies incorporated (RED) products to increase money for the global funds. Collabaratively, they ...
Should these advertising agencies have the right to sell us products just fitting on our social groups? Should television shows make programs to allure certain types of people and reject others? As an individual, we should be able to purchase any items we choose too. Do not offer us products or create television shows just based on my skin color or my ethnicity. “Market segmentation and targeting”, Joseph Turow believes “may accelerate an erosion of the tolerance and mutual dependence between diverse groups that enable a society to work” (334).
Gap Inc. “Admi(red).” Advertisement. Dialogues. Mar. 2009: 418.
Kilbourne, Jean Ed. D. “Buy This 24-Year-Old and Get All His Friends Absolutely Free”. Deadly Persuasion. Glencoe, Illinois: Free Press. 2000. 33-56.
Macy’s. “Heiress.” Advertisement. Dialogues. Mar. 2009: 422.
RED Project. “Joinred”. Mar. 2009. <//www.joinred.com>
Turow, Joseph. “Buy Targeting a New World”. Breaking Up America: Advertisers and the New Media World. Chicago: U of Chicago. 1997. 1-17