In living Color


In Living Color
Everything people eat, wear, or use is pushed at the public through commercial advertising. Whether it is the fertilizer that the farmer chooses to put on the vegetables he grows, the clothing that is chosen at the department store, or the pen to write a report, it has been advertised. Advertising occurs even in the packaging of a product. From the colors the manufacturer chooses to use on the wrapping, to the multi-million dollar expense of television, everyone is influenced by advertising. One of the most powerful forms of advertising is in the advent of television. Since its inception, advertisers have viewed television as their most powerful tool. Television provides an excellent avenue for companies to sell and promote their products. There are fewer and fewer people living today who were around when television was not. Today’s generation was raised entirely on television! Since the 1940’s, television has been an important part of American life. Television is able to sell products like no other medium can. This incredible power of television comes from three specific areas: an inordinate amount of time spent in front of the television, it’s ability to target a specific audience, and it’s ability to attack the viewer on both the auditory and visual field.
The time spent in front of a television continues to grow with each generation. The number of hours a child spends in front of a television is rapidly overtaking even the number of hours that they will spend in school. Included in their weekly television viewing are an extraordinary amount of commercial messages. Before entering school, young children will have formed many of their beliefs of what is good by the commercials they have viewed. Due to the number of hours spent watching television, advertisers use the concept of repetition to "promote goods, services, ideas, images, issues, people, and indeed anything that the advertiser wants to publicize or foster" (Pride & Ferrell 1). Even in politics, advertising sells its candidate. In the past presidential election it was impossible to watch TV on any given evening without seeing Bill Clinton or his ideas numerous times. Brand names for many well known products have been adopted as the name used for all brands of the same product. People request a Kleenex rather than asking for a tissue or might ask to use the Xerox machine rather than the copy machine. This ability to bombard a consumer greatly increases the chances the consumer will buy their brand because of the recognition they have with it.
Television has the advantage of airing an advertisement at a particular time of the day or during a specific program to gain the attention of a specific target audience. For instance, a morning cartoon show will break for commercials advertising toys, games, and certain breakfast cereals targeted at children, while a daytime soap opera will target women with advertisements of household cleaners, hair products, and other beauty supplies designed to "help" (Wrighter1) them look and feel more beautiful. "Mc Donald’s success can be traced to [this] precision of advertising" (Solomon 334). Instead of a standard advertisement for everyone, they have different ads for "different age groups, different classes, even different races" (Solomon 334). They have Ronald McDonald and his friends advertisements for children, "hip and happy adolescents singing dancing and cavorting together" (Solomon 334), for the teenage ads and for the older audience, there is the "Mac Tonight" ads or the new "Arch Deluxe" hamburger that is being advertised as the "adult" hamburger. Airing advertisements at specific times enables the promoter to match the ad to the viewer. Even though attempts are made to match the ad with the audience, many feel this should be regulated even more. "All major media organizations need advertising to exist; that’s how they pay their bills" (Peart 17). At the same time, though, each organization sets its own advertising standards. Many of the ads during the Super Bowl were for beer while many of the viewers were under the age of 21. Some groups feel that it is morally incorrect to advertise certain product while children are viewing. There are not many laws on this subject but most stations regulate themselves as to when it is appropriate to