Thursday, March 25, 2004

Like Anna, I was also curious how much advertising and the images/roles/ideas it enforces can create a self-fulfilling prophecy or just a general narrowing of our perceptions. How readily do we accept what we are proffered? How conscious are we of the effect of advertising in forming our tastes, opinions, etc.? Is it really that easy to filter out or how much do we passively pick up? I know when I go to check my hotmail account, I try and dismiss the flashing advertisements around my email, but I usually passively read or glance out of plain curiosity/boredom. It can be anything from a weight lose scheme to a credit card ad. Yet, magazines at a store are expected to sell within 3 seconds. It is disturbing to think “that a cover must make the most of a very short instance of opportunity by telegraphing the right prejudices to the right targets” (page 95).

In chapter 4, was the recognition of Hispanic-Americans, African Americans, and homosexuals as lucrative and targetable segments of the population in advertising indicative of a larger recognition of our society’s diversity and the importance of each of these groups within the whole? Why were they suddenly worthy of a voice in the media? Were they just another branch of the market that advertisers sought to exploit and fragment? Was this an act of inclusion or an exclusionary move? Is this just surrounding individuals with “mirrors of themselves, their values, and their activities” (page 126)? Is it just as limiting as not be included or targeted by the media?

In the 80s and 90s, there was a perceived need to signal and develop a relationship with a definable portion of the viewers. What is the affect of “trying to alienate the wrong people while attracting the right ones” (page 102)? Why do programmers use derision to cement the brand or show’s identity with viewers and advertisers? Was this controversial- should it be? How did this continue over into the Internet and with the use of new information technologies?

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