Re: virus: Ads creep into TV content

Wade T.Smith (
Wed, 31 Mar 1999 11:45:21 -0500

>But in TV the
>advertising *is* the price of admission. Why turn off the show?
>Cui bono?

It behooves _me_ to separate dramatic from merchandising content- I do not wish to view propaganda, and any dramatic show with product placement is nothing more and nothing less. Sometimes, rarely, this propaganda is clear. I still see no reason for me to accept it. I see no reason for you to accept it. Advertising may be the price of admission, but it _should not be any content_ of the show. In fact, that is my main objection.

Once the NAB was established, the clear denunciation of product and program was a rule- ads were to be entirely separate and uniquely identified entities within a show.

For years, product placement was verboten in movies as well, until the ability to film outside a studio became commonplace, and it became logistically too difficult to mask or otherwise film around billboards or slogans or advertising at a location, but every attempt was made for quite a while.

And we can blame Kubrick for the blatant product placement in film as a financing tool, with his inclusion of Pan-Am and Parker Pens, among others, in '2001'.

In TV land- the NAB would zealously oversee studio production, and would levy fines, but voluntary compliance was almost 100%. Similarly, TV production also moved outside, with portable equipment, later than film of course, but, inevitably. Advertising as part of the background scene is unavoidable in most location situations, but all efforts to mask or otherwise de-focus or avoid such background is usually made, ethically and aesthetically, and I will continue to applaud such efforts.

I will not continue to watch any show where an obvious placement has been made, or obviously been failed to be avoided. Movies, due to their production costs, have side-skirted this issue, and with apparent ease and acceptance. I ain't accepting.

And I will also consciously make a decision not to purchase the brands that so place themselves.

And in all cases, I have found equal quality and less expensive alternatives to these products.

So, 'cui bono'? So far, it's been for me all the way. Less crap in my face is always a benefit.

Wade T. Smith
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