Posts Tagged ‘television’

The Real Deal On Advertising VI

Hello everyone! This is Clonez, administrator of skydays147.com. It is finally the weekend, and I feel that I might as well pack this weekend with consecutive posting.  Happy reading! 🙂

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“The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, nor the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it’s the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when he discovers that someone else believes in him and is willing to trust him with his friend.” This quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson explains how important trust is in a relationship. There are probably people in your life that you feel like you can trust on for everything. You feel safe letting the person guard something special of yours, like a secret. You feel like you can give special opportunities to that person that you can give no other. This might be the person who you can trust to print out those pages of your science report if your printer is broken or the person who you turn to when you are having a problems at home with your parents. This is the person who will help you study for that massive test in history class.  It takes a long time for this trust to build up and for the person to become one of your best friends. You would not feel comfortable asking one of these favors to someone you do not trust, which is what makes the spark of friendship so strong and influential. Just like the magic of friendship is so powerful, the magic of trusting a brand name in advertising is also powerful. Although it may not sound so strong at the start, it is very important to have a brand that you trust on.

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Remember those days back when you sat in mommy’s shopping cart at the grocery store? You would watch mommy pick out the same Bounty brand paper towels, Kleenex tissues, Kellogg brand cereals, and Minute Maid juice boxes. Do you ever wonder why mommy always bought the same brand and she didn’t even bother buying Puffs tissues? The reason is because she has built a trust in certain brands. She feels comfortable buying certain brands because the other ones she finds are not worth it. This may be because of price, quality, quantity and other factors. Another reason why a person may buy a trusted brand is because their parents used to always buy that certain brand. It may not sound like much, but people are influenced by what their parents might have bought. Eventually, the whole family joins in and buys that certain brand. It just becomes an instinct to buy it. So don’t worry if mommy tells you that you can’t have those Lunchables snack packs. She just doesn’t have a strong trust for that brand because it is unfamiliar to her. There are some brands there have a world-wide trust because they just appear on almost every product. I am talking about those generic brands that do not have any part in this fight. For example, I know that the brand, Kirkland Signature has a wide variety of different products ranging from stainless-steel grills to medicines. The Kirkland Signature brand is trusted by almost everyone.

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In some ways, the trust in advertising might be because of the mixed messages that “everyone’s doing it.” What exactly am I talking about? Well, if you see a crowd of people around some store at the mall, what would you instinct be? I know most people would just go over there to find out what all of the commotion is about. You get the idea that, because everyone else is doing it, why can’t I join in? Probably the most famous example of this is the Verizon Wireless commercials. I remember seeing them on the television: the same dorky man in the square glasses with a large festival of people behind him. That man is a huge icon of the company because he speaks well when we wants to tell people “everyone’s doing it”. Usually these types of commercials try and touch the heart more than the person’s sense of humor. They don’t try to make a joke of other products, like the advertisement with the old turtle couple named the Slowsky’s in the Comcast commercials. Instead, they try and obtain your emotional appeal and personal appeal. It is like those insurance advertisements. They want to leave a good impression that they are a nice group of people who are there to help you. They are also trying to show that they are honest, loving, caring people who will understand you. Although it may be quite boring to watch one on the television, these insurance advertisers are trying to touch your heart and make you start the first steps towards a new trust bond between you and the company.

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There are some brands have have become quite a controversy among different families. These are the types of brands that completely clash with each other and there really isn’t a brand that dominates. Do you know what I’m talking about? I’m talking about the Mac versus PC. I’m talking about the Coke versus Pepsi. Let us start out by taking apart the controversy among Macs and PC’s. You may be thinking, “Oh, of course Macs are better!” or “Obviously PC’s are number one!” Well, it is quite impossible to tell which one dominates over the other. In fact, they are both very good computer systems and they both have their own set of flaws that make them both different. In Western Religions class in High School, our class was assigned to read through some pages in the book To Life! by Harold Kushner. We had just started studying Judaism, and I just found out from the reading that there is a part that has to do with this topic of trust. In the book it says, “We love Israel not because it is perfect, but because it is ours. We love our parents not because they are better parents than anyone else has, but because they are our parents. They gave us life and nurtured us. And we love Judaism not because we have examined its theological postulates and found them compelling and valid, but because it is ours.” What this reading is trying to say is that the reason we choose to buy a product that we trust is because we have grown up trusting it; it has gone through many generations in the family. It really is as simple as that. There is nothing better or worse than the one that we trust in. We just use the product because it is “ours” in a way. It is okay if people like one over the other because that is the one that they trust. That is one of their trusted brands when it comes to buying a computer because the person has grown up in a family that praises and uses a particular brand. Please, don’t even think about convincing another person to switch to the other. It just isn’t right because a person can not switch after many generations of getting used to the particular system. For example, if you are a Mac family, then you certainly are not going to get very far buying a PC computer for your house. I know my family uses solely PCs; I am not used to not having a right click feature on the Macs because I have adapted to using it so much on my PC.

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Lastly, I feel like I need to end the Coke versus Pepsi controversy. Like stated before, they are both very good brands and it does not matter which one you drink. In fact, people really can not tell a difference between the two of them because the taste is basically the same. There was a science fair at my old school once. Those old fashioned ones with the Styrofoam display boards all over the place. One of the groups did a taste test between Coca-Cola and Pepsi; it turned out that not many people could tell the difference between the two tastes. I just thought that was kind of interesting. I know my family has grown up drinking Coca-Cola products. My dad is obsessed with Coca-Cola so much that he collects old advertising memorabilia from the company. If he hadn’t stopped collecting them, I swear it would have gotten to the point where I would get a scolding if I came home carrying a Pepsi bottle. The soda you drink really depends on the family that you have grown up in. For my dad, Coca-Cola, for the most part, is carried on by generations. My family has built the strongest trust in Coca-Cola products – more than any other soda. No matter where we are out in public: at Target, Walgreens, the grocery, my family always chooses to purchase a Coca-Cola products. I will talk more about Coca-Cola in my next post. But for now, I just want to say that.

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Trusted brands are really a good thing to have in a society like this. By having a trusted brand of everything, you do not need to spend all of that time testing out which product you think is the best. For example if you want to order pizza, you go straight for the telephone and get that delivery from Domino’s Pizza, or Papa Johns or whatever place you like. You don’t go to the yellow pages and randomly choose a pizza place to order from. By knowing your trusted brand, you get the right product for you and you trust that it is going to work completely and be satisfactory.

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The Real Deal On Advertising IV

Hello everyone! This is Clonez, administrator of skydays147 .wordpress .com. Today’s segment is on the different role models that advertising provides along with who to listen to and who to ignore!

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Whenever you are feeling down; whenever you feel like you are about to give up and return back to where you came from, there is always one person that you have in mind to follow; to guide you in life. There are those times where things just do not turn out the way you want them to. You just want to hang up the skates and go home, but you don’t; because there is an urge that you have to keep going and tough things out in society. This urge may be because of an adult figure, like parents. In Religions class in school my class started learning about Confucianism, which is a belief system that declares that the adult figures guide you when you are young, and that they are the foundation of the tree trunk of society. It may be from a famous movie star or someone who you believe has achieved their potential. There must have been a time in everyone’s life when some biography in English class really sparks some light into your own life. You become inspired to follow the same steps of this person to guide you. This person: this parent, movie star, athlete, politician, is your role model.  Everyone has a role model. This role model maybe not exactly be defined in bold print. Must people don’t go around wearing a sticker that says, “Hello, my role model is *so-and-so*” because it may just be a personal connection between your role model that is private. But most definitely, there is always a time in your life where you have a temporary role model without even knowing it. In advertising, role models play an essential part in drawing you to buy a product. Because role models are people who you follow in life, you may be attached to whatever product that person appears to enjoy on a billboard, magazine, movie, or television program. And this leads on to our main topic: role models and advertising. There are two types of ways that the role model is used to convey thoughts about a product. This can be done with permanent role models or temporary role models.

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Permanent role models are usually conveyed in movies or in television shows that contain many well known actors and actresses. Brands don’t even have to be mentioned by the character like regular commercials or billboards. Research shows that consumers want to identify with the characters they watch on television and that seeing real products helps them to do that. Instead, there is a much more clever way that movie or television productions introduce products; and this process is known as product placement. Product placement is the practice of intentionally placing a specific brand or product as a prop into filmed entertainment (1). It is very rare to see if happen by accident. You might not even notice that a product is utilized in the movie or television program until you pay close attention to it. Possibly the most famous example of the use of product placement is in the television show American Idol. The companies American Idol and Coca-Cola have developed a strong bond to each other. They both help each other to gain a profit using product integration, which is when a company funds a program and in return their product is integrated into a show (1). This is an example of a visual placement; occurring when a product, service, or logo can simply be observed. If you did not notice, the judges of American Idol are always shown drinking out of a Coca-Cola glass. Although the cup does not get much of attention, the cost of placing it there is pretty high. A few seconds of exposure on a popular drama or comedy series can be worth as much as $500,000, based on the cost of a 30-second commercial(1). There have been other events where Coca-Cola appears in American Idol. The “green room” in the show was renamed to the “Coca-Cola Red Room” and special taped segments of the featured contestants became known as “Coca-Cola Moments” (1).  This product placement is used because the judges might be your role model; they are well-known people. And if they are your role model, then the television show and the Coca-Cola company profit from it because you go out to buy some of the soda. If you already drink the soda, all this advertisement does is make sure that the bond between you and the company is strong so that you will not switch to buying a different brand (they surely don’t want your spending to go to Pepsi).

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There are some good things and bad things about using product placement. The good thing is that the consumer has someone to associate the product with. The bad thing is that the consumer has someone to associate the product with. How can this be a good thing and a bad thing? Well, let us take for example the advertisement in which Britney Spears is seen with a bottle of Pepsi. There are an ad in a magazine with Britney Spears with the can; and now people who had Spears as their role model could associate her with Pepsi and start drinking it. Back when it was released to the public in early 00’s Britney Spears was a popular singer for that time and now times have changed and Britney had her own problems with life like driving drunk and shaving her head bald. Now anyone who saw that advertisement would not feel right associating Pepsi with her. The people who had her as a role model would not only dump the role model but also the drink that she was associated with. There are some instances that have worked over the years and still continue to be seen nowadays.

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The famous “Got Milk?” advertisement features famous people and characters all with the milk mustache. There are plenty of role models that are shown in the Got Milk advertisements and there is always one that you are compare with. Although the milk product hasn’t been given much praise lately, other companies are starting to follow on to the trend. Recently, the company that makes M&M’s has started to show advertisements featuring famous stars in the shape of an M&M to try and promote their product.

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The second type of role model used in advertising is the temporary role model. These role models are not famous at all, yet they do things that make you wish you were in their shoes. These advertisements have people in them that are relaxing and enjoying themselves when using the product. I had stated before in another post that Wal-Mart commercials make your mind run wild with ideas. Well, they also contain temporary role models. A mother might look at the mother in this commercial and see everything orderly and enjoyable and that is her temporary role model until the commercial is over. A child might look at the group of kids playing in the sprinkler in the summer with his or her friends and eating ice cream. This person is the child’s temporary role model until the commercial is over. You look up to this person because you want to be just like this person: enjoyable, relaxed, and fun. This is what makes you want to buy products at Wal-Mart. There are some ways in which this kind of advertising can be a bad thing– when it attracts the wrong kind of crowd. What I am talking about are advertisements for alcohol, cigarettes and other drugs. There advertisements almost always utilize this temporary role model concept, in which people are shown having a good time with these drugs. Most of the time, the product isn’t even shown in the ad. For example a tobacco advertisement will just show a group of people having fun in the forest around a campfire.  You feel like you need to smoke in order to have fun like this group of people, and so they become your temporary role models. What is really being sold is the desire to be around friends who enjoy being together. The real truth is that  tobacco isn’t the reason why the people are enjoying the campfire. The same thing applies to alcohol advertisements. An ad may show a beach scene with some nice, attractive looking people playing volleyball. It makes you feel like you need to drink beer because that person becomes your temporary role model. You feel that the beer is the reason you have fun with your friends. The truth is that the picture is staged. In fact, drinking alcohol impairs coordination, this, the ability to play volleyball would be affected. The two examples can drastically affect your health if you follow the temporary role models.

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Although having a role model helps you get on with your life, mixed messages are played when looking at the role models of advertising. It is important to figure out who you should follow and not to be blown away by the advertisers who are trying to hurt you with staged clips or scenes.

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(1)Kinney. Lance. “Product Placement,” 24 Jan 2009 <http://comm2.fsu.edu/faculty/comm/sapolsky/research/ProductPlacement.doc&gt;

Edited By Dublanous1

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The Real Deal On Advertising II

Hello everyone! This is Clonez, admin of skydays147 .wordpress .com. I decided to post another one in my series of Real Deal On Advertising. Club Penguin posts are to come back in the New Year.

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I believe I am a pretty creative person, there is no arguing with that. Ever since I was little, I have always loved to draw, paint, build, cook, act, and sing. I was in the Art Club for every year of middle school, I participated in a ceramics class when I was about eight years old, and who could forget my lead role for the play I was in at overnight camp. My mom would tell me to keep going at my dream of being more creative. My drama teacher in high school would see me in the hallway and always encourage me to join the next play that the school was performing. And my art teacher could not stop praising me enough to continue art in the future. You might be confused what I am getting at and why this has to do with advertising.

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Well, I decided last night I would plot the three rules to follow while looking at an advertisement so that you would not fall right into their grasp and buy their product. Those rules turned into only two guidelines, and eventually those two guidelines merged into one massive rule: don’t let your mind run wild. That is a very tricky rule to follow when you are one of the most creative people in the world. Everyone telling you that you should try and be more creative in order to do well in life. Well, that rule does the opposite effect when it is applied to advertising. By letting your mind run wild, you think of the endless possibilities of things to do with some product you see on a billboard, or in a commercial. This is more common among younger children. Young children are not able to distinguish between commercials and TV programs. They do not recognize that commercials are trying to sell something. (1)

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On a regular Sunday morning, my Dad, my sister and I had this daily routine that we would go around to the stores in our hometown and look around. My father would stop at the local Dunkin Donuts for a coffee, we would then go to the Walgreen’s, the Target, or the Michael’s Craft store. When we usually go to Michael’s, it is because my sister needs some project to work on at home. I usually wander around the store and look at the different craft ideas. There is one thing that bothers me though when I walk down the aisle of the different types of clay. There is this modeling clay bag on a hook on the wall. On the package, there are always these great ideas on what to make with the clay, but they are always impractical when you actually sit down to try and make them. When looking at the picture on the bag of clay, the creativity in my mind runs wild. I really think I am able to build something like that turtle, or that fancy car, or that teddy bear. I would then beg and plead to my father to get the clay so that I could make that masterpiece. By the time I got home, I would rush straight for the bag and try and create that impossible figure that only a professional could make; only to end up in tears: not all of the colors were included in the kit, there was too much of one color and too little of another. There’s a flaw with people: they always want something to come out their own way. They want everything to be perfect. Even if I had tried to make something my own way, I would have still ended up in tears because, compared to the photograph on the bag, it is supposed to come out perfect like that. The same thing applies to you builders out there. There was this one commercial I kept seeing on television with these kids playing with these magnetized rods and silver balls. It was called Magnetix. The product showed a group of children building a giant skyscraper, and a scale model of a bridge with these magnetic rods and balls. Watching television, I actually thought I could make something like that. The thing is, the box of magnets didn’t include enough pieces to build that skyscraper. In fact, you probably needed to buy at least 30 others sets of the same thing in order to make it: a waste of time.

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The best example that I can think of for a product that is a total waste of time is a pet rock. Pet Rocks were a popular fad in the 1970’s, and finally people had the common sense to not play with a rock. Who would want to pay for a rock, and what kind of person would pay money for one when they can be found outside?  It’s like a  doll  mixed with  nature.to form a complete disaster. Being creative when looking at an advertisement makes something seem like it is the greatest product in the world; it is making it sound like you absolutely need it. You develop an idea in your head and you try to make it happen through this product. Yet, it completely fails.

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There are some pretty convincing advertisers out there. One of the ones that me and my family fall for a lot is Billy Mays. He is the man who has a large beard, and usually advertises products for home-use. His tactic for advertising is very unique: he yells at the consumers so that they buy a product. I swear, Billy Mays will go to any limit to try and sell a product. It may be one of the craziest products, yet he still advertises it. There are a lot of products out there that can be completely useless, and it is your job as a consumer to find out which of the products aren’t what they seem to be. I remember this one product, which I actually bought; which turned out to be one of the biggest pieces of junk that advertising has to offer. I was watching television when I was little, and I saw this advertisement for some slime that looked like a lot of fun. Without any thought, my mom decided to get it for me. There were so many things wrong with it. The biggest problem was that it stuck to our rug in our old house and we had to replace it. Also, after a few days the slime wasn’t sticky anymore. In fact, there was lint and dust stuck to it, which was impossible to get out. I ended up throwing that slime out in the garbage. Even later in life I still get problems with products that ruin other things in my house. My parents had to throw out their computer and replace it because the computer game I had bought at the store had a huge virus in it and it totally destroyed everything. The sad part of it is, that game turned out to be my favorite computer game of all time. Of course, I wouldn’t want to mention that game on here. My parents banned the game from the house; we aren’t allowed to talk about it. Anyway, there was this book that I have heard of about crazy inventions that ended up being completely useless. It was created by some Japanese group of people.  One of my friends had recommended it for me a long time ago, and I never got to it. These are inventions that, at first, you think are going to be very useful in every day life, yet they turn out to be completely useless when you really think about it. There is one that I see every time I look at the book. It is a t-shirt that you wear, and it has a grid on the back of it. The point of it is that you have to try and tell someone a pair of coordinates on your back and that is the area that they should scratch if you have a hard-to-reach itch. Seriously, what person would want to scratch your back? This is a perfect example of some useless invention.

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I had a couple of ideas for a step two to talk about, yet this mainly goes along with not letting your mind go wild. When you look at that slide at the end of a commercial, there are tiny bits of information that are found, along with some gigantic printed text. When you look at that screen, your mind only focuses on the larger text. The larger text usually consists of a phone number, a price for the product (not the actual price), and of course the name of the product. The reason the advertiser makes certain text bigger is because he or she wants you to think that that is important and the rest is just a jumbled up mess. Yet they have to put the small text in for legal reasons. They really don’t want you to read that. And neither do you: you want to think that that item you see in front of you is a good deal. By doing that, you are letting your mind run wild. So you show your parents just the larger text. “Mommy, mommy, look at that it is only 30 dollars for that fishing pole!” you say. Then mommy gives you a look and decides to buy it, just because she loves you, but she knows in her head that that item actually costs over 100 dollars.  I am just going to focus on that price that they give. There are so many smaller words that will throw the price off: two/three/four payments of, shipping, handling, processing and of course tax. It can be quite tricky to calculate that actual price in your head. They don’t show you have to add tax to that on that information slide. Why would they? So mommy notices that she needs to pay three payments of 30 dollars, and then another 8 dollars for shipping and handling. Then possibly another 2 dollars for tax. Wow, isn’t that fun? By not telling you about it when you are little, it is just one more lesson that needs to be taught in consumer education.

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I like being creative. It really is a skill that you don’t want to lose. I hope you thought I wasn’t saying it was bad. What I really wanted you to get out of this is that you can apply creativity to almost anything, but please don’t apply it to a consumer watching an advertisement.

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(1) “Children And Advertising.” Mediawise. 7/08/02. National Institute on Media and the Family. 30 Dec 2008 <http://www.mediafamily.org/facts/facts_childadv.shtml&gt;.

Edited By Dublanous1

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The Real Deal On Advertising I

Hello everyone! This is Clonez, admin of skydays147 .wordpress .com. I decided that I wanted to give everyone a sample of my real-life writing. I thought this one up in a dream I had, and I was dieing to put it down on paper. I know it isn’t about what I usually talk about, but I hope you enjoy it:

Advertising has always fascinated me when I was little. It is one of those things that are simply unavoidable. They are found on billboards, in magazines, in the form of a commercial, and now they are posted all over the internet.  I used to wake up at six in the morning to watch television before going to school. I would come down in my pajamas and sit in front of the television while I was eating breakfast. It wasn’t just the show that I was watching that I cared about, it was also that five minute commercial in between them. Did you know that the average American child today is exposed to about 40, 000 television commercials a year? That is about 100 commercials a day.(1) This makes me think how crazy it is that one of them does not stick in our heads for the whole day like an engrossing song we hear on the radio.

Anyway, I would then go out to the bus stop; it was about Fifth Grade, and a few kids on the bus would always ask me to recite an entire commercial that I saw. I was literally known on my bus as “Ad Boy” because I had memorized most of the commercials on the television channel that I watched, and the kids were crazy. They wanted to hear ever single one of them, for humor, of course. There was this one song for a commercial that I had memorized for macaroni and cheese, and they would repeatedly ask me to thing that one as a “special request”. Now that I look back on it, no doubt about it, I was wasting my time and looking immature in front of everyone. I might still remember a few little songs to commercials nowadays, but I have mainly moved away from that.

A couple of years later after I had moved away from my recital of commercials, the most fascinating thing had happened to me. It started on a cold, winter morning in Seventh Grade. I came to school early because I was taking Choir, which was almost every day, and there was a sign on the door that said that it was canceled because the teacher was out. Like everyone else who was in Choir, we all went to the library. I decided to wander around, and I supposed that I could check out the nonfiction section for a couple of reading ideas. To my surprise, I had found one of the most moving books I have ever read on advertising. It was called Made You Look and I learned so many new concepts that are used in advertising. I felt like all of the pieces of the puzzle were coming together on why us kids are victims of advertising. In 1983, the amount of money spent on advertising for kids was only $100 million. (2) Now, advertising of kids has jumped up so high that those big, chubby businessmen at the head of the big corporations now spend $15 billion on us. (3)

You probably know someone who is a victim of advertising. What I have always wanted to know is, why do we fall for it? What makes it so that we “have to have it” ? There has to be something that goes on in our brains whenever we look at a billboard, a magazine, or watch a television commercial. That is the one thing that the Made You Look did not get at. I know a couple of my friends who are victims of advertising, especially the ones in commercials. Whenever I go to hang out at my best friend’s house, I notice in his pantry a lot of junk food items that have been advertised on television a massive number of times. They are all brand-name products like Goldfish Crackers, Oreos, Cheese-Its, and Chips Ahoy. One day while he was eating, I asked him, “Why do you only buy snacks that have a brand name?” For some reason, and I am still confused by this, he said, “Because they taste better”. First of all, how can he taste the difference between the no-name brand and the named brand when he hasn’t even tried both foods? Ladies and Gentleman, this is a victim of advertising. It is a person who does not give up their addiction to named product. There are other reasons why people might fall for advertisements. According to a national survey commissioned by the Center for a New American Dream, in 12-13 year-olds, 62% of the people say that eating named-brand products will make he or she feel better about themselves. Remember those days when you were five-years-old and you sat in the front of Mommy’s shopping cart? When you go down that cereal aisle, you say, “Mommy! Mommy! I want the cereal with the tiger on it!” You probably don’t even like Frosted Flakes, you just want it because it makes you feel better about yourself: that cartoon tiger. You scream and pout until you get what you want. When you are a tween, you don’t even bother looking at the generic brand cereal on the bottom self. Why would you want a product that doesn’t have Toucan Sam on it? I learned in Made You Look that there is a reason why they place things in a grocery store on the shelf that they are on. They put all of the brand name products on the shelf at eye-sight level and all of the generic brand products at the top and bottom shelf so that nobody will see them. Try it the next time you are at the grocery store.

There was this one time in Seventh Grade, in Sunday School, our class took a field trip to a grocery store. We were supposed to do this project in which we bought items at the grocery store for a homeless shelter. Each group of five people had to solve the enigma on how to feed a family of 5 people for a week, and under 50 dollars. By instinct, the first shopping items that our group picked out were name brands: bad choice. We went over our quota by a ton of money. The reason we had the instinct to buy named-brand food was because that was the food that we ate in our own household. We had to put everything back and start over from the beginning and choose cost-efficient food items. You probably do not realize it, but name-brand food is drastically over-priced. We do not realize this because normal people do not even bother looking at the price tag on things. Just because something is more expensive does not mean it is better for you. Most of the time, even, there is less food in a package that is advertised. One food that I enjoyed when I was little so much was called Kid Cuisine. It was an individual-sized dinner. On the television, the product looked like it was worth the money to purchase. What I realized when I read Made You Look, was that there are special ways that food advertisers use to make their product look more appealing to the public. For example, in a hamburger advertisement, they might stick a few slabs of Styrofoam in between the bun and the patty to make it look bigger. They also might put a glaze of glue on the bun to make it shinier. Yet the consumer does not realize that the product is fake because we think it is “to good to be true”.

There is one last example that I would like to give from my life. I decided to take a class on Religion this year in high school. In the class, we just started studying about Taoism. The teacher had everyone for homework go home and draw a picture that goes along with a reading that was handed out. It was of an old man fishing in a river between some mountains. (If you want to see my version of it, it is on my other website). Anyway, the next day the teacher taped our drawings up on the board, and right next to it she posted a Chinese landscape painting. There were many differences between them. I felt like in our drawings that it was influenced more by the media world. For example, the old man was in the foreground, signifying that man is more important than nature. The other thing that was different was the mountains in the background. Every mountain in our drawings were almost perfect. They look like an upside-down “U”, which is what we were born into thinking. I mean, I have been to a very rocky area before and I have seen a mountain. I know that mountains don’t look like that, but for some unknown reason, why did I draw that very media-based mountain? It might have been because I had an instinct to do that. The point I am trying to get is that advertising masks everything. What we see on billboards and in magazines is just blocking our vision of nature. The only place where advertising does not exist is in nature. I know when you think of some place like the Himalayas, or the Rocky Mountains, you do not picture all these billboards hanging off the side of the cliff or something. Nor do you see a giant television in the middle of a dense, dark forest.  I remember seeing the commercials for Wal-mart. It always showed these overly-happy people, and as the audience, you are supposed to believe that that is what life really is. The thing is, when you walk into a Wal-Mart, you aren’t going to see smiling cashier-people. You aren’t going to see that cartoon smiley face as their mascot, bouncing around the aisles. We have become over-dependent on advertising to show us what this “real life” is.

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(1) American Psychological Association, “Television Advertising Leads to Unhealthy Habits in Children; Says APA Task Force,” February 23, 2004,www.apa.org/releases/childrenads.html (accessed March 8, 2006).

(2) Juliet Schor, Born to Buy: The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture (New York: Scribner, 2004), 21.

(3)Susan Linn, Consuming Kids: The Hostile Takeover of Childhood (New York: The New Press, 2004), 1.

Edited By Dublanous1