There’s the occasional ad that will be witty enough to fool consumers into sharing it around all over the internet, there are well-made ads that get the point across, there are terrible ads that don’t resonate well with viewers, and there are even ads that change something perfectly acceptable to something racist depending on what country it appears in.
I think what I don’t like about ads (and what subtle product-placement successfully avoids) is that they have usually 30-90 seconds to convince me to buy a product. This same 30-90 seconds will air several times a day to attempt to establish a permanency in my mind so that when I go to the store, I will think about their product. And whether I like it or not, advertising works.
However, it’s unfortunate that because of this short medium, messages tend to be given in short stereotyped ways. They are trying to drive their point home, and an easy stereotype can be an effective way to do that. But there are several examples of this that are just plain silly – most notably in gender categories. Products are gendered in a way that are generally unnecessary and then, after the “gendering” process, some are sold in almost the most sexist way possible. Ads tell us not only what we want, but who should want it.
There are thousands of essentially indistinguishable products vying for our attention. Advertising agents simplify things by splitting some products along certain categories, which makes some sense – for example, many products in the “family” category don’t appeal to me, as I don’t yet have a family. Women get household contraptions, cosmetics, scented house products (Febreeze etc), food (chocolate, yogurt, etc). Men get fast food, steak, cars, beer, video games, etc. There are exceptions, of course, but there are obvious trends. More…