Advertising and popular culture — страница 10

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“free” and save the radio station the high expenses for producing contents. Therefore the company would want its commercials spread and, of course, its products placed in the show. Thus, the series ‘Ma Perkins’ was created, which P&G skilfully used to promote Oxydol, the leading detergent brand in those years and the Soap opera was born …” While critics basically worry about the subtle influence of the economy on the media, there are also examples of blunt exertion of influence. The US company Chrysler, before it merged with Daimler Benz had its agency, PentaCom, send out a letter to numerous magazines, demanding them to send, an overview of all the topics before the next issue is published to “avoid potential conflict”. Chrysler most of all wanted to know, if

there would be articles with “sexual, political or social” content or which could be seen as “provocative or offensive”. PentaCom executive David Martin said: “Our reasoning is, that anyone looking at a 22.000 $ product would want it surrounded by positive things. There is nothing positive about an article on child pornography.” In another example, the „USA Network held top-level ‚off-the-record’ meetings with advertisers in 2000 to let them tell the network what type of programming content they wanted in order for USA to get their advertising.”23 Television shows are created to accommodate the needs for advertising, e. g. splitting them up in suitable sections. Their dramaturgy is typically designed to end in suspense or leave an unanswered question in order

to keep the viewer attached. The movie system, at one time outside the direct influence of the broader marketing system, is now fully integrated into it through the strategies of licensing, tie-ins and product placements. The prime function of many Hollywood films today is to aid in the selling of the immense collection of commodities.24 The press called the 2002 Bond film ‘Die Another Day’ featuring 24 major promotional partners an ‘ad-venture’ and noted that James Bond “now has been ‘licensed to sell’” As it has become standard practise to place products in motion pictures, it “has self-evident implications for what types of films will attract product placements and what types of films will therefore be more likely to get made”. Advertising and information

are increasingly hard to distinguish from each other. “The borders between advertising and media …. become more and more blurred…. What August Fischer, chairman of the board of Axel Springer publishing company considers to be a ‘proven partnership between the media and advertising business’ critics regard as nothing but the infiltration of journalistic duties and freedoms”. According to RTL-executive Helmut Thoma “private stations shall not and cannot serve any mission but only the goal of the company which is the ‘acceptance by the advertising business and the viewer’. The setting of priorities in this order actually says everything about the ‘design of the programmes’ by private television.” Patrick Le Lay, former managing director of TF1, a private

French television channel with a market share of 25 to 35%, said: "There are many ways to talk about television. But from the business point of view, let’s be realistic: basically, the job of TF1 is, e. g. to help Coca Cola sell its product. (…) For an advertising message to be perceived the brain of the viewer must be at our disposal. The job of our programmes is to make it available, that is to say, to distract it, to relax it and get it ready between two messages. It is disposable human brain time that we sell to Coca Cola.” Because of these dependencies a widespread and fundamental public debate about advertising and its influence on information and freedom of speech is difficult to obtain, at least through the usual media channels; otherwise these would saw off

the branch they are sitting on. “The notion that the commercial basis of media, journalism, and communication could have troubling implications for democracy is excluded from the range of legitimate debate” just as “capitalism is off-limits as a topic of legitimate debate in U.S. political culture”.25 An early critic of the structural basis of U.S. journalism was Upton Sinclair with his novel The Brass Check in which he stresses the influence of owners, advertisers, public relations, and economic interests on the media. In his book “Our Master's Voice – Advertising” the social ecologist James Rorty (1890–1973) wrote: "The gargoyle’s mouth is a loudspeaker, powered by the vested interest of a two-billion dollar industry, and back of that the vested interests